Orange Butter Cookies with Chocolate Ganache

These simple orange butter cookies are flecked with orange zest, filled with smooth chocolate ganache, and taste identical to Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. We absolutely devoured these buttery cookies and I know you’ll love the flavors!

stack of butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate ganache filling

Let’s Make Orange Butter Cookies!

Earlier this week I baked a batch of orange scented butter cookies and stuffed them with smooth chocolate ganache. This cookie recipe is straight from my dear friend Rebecca Firth’s new cookbook, The Cookie Book. Rebecca runs the blog Displaced Housewife. Her stunning photography and food styling is GOALS; I’m inspired every time I click over. Her new cookie cookbook, packed with 75 decadent and unique cookie recipes, is equally awesome. This fully photographed cookbook is made for all of us: cookie lovers and beautiful food enthusiasts!

Rebecca is gracious enough to let me share a cookie recipe with you and when deciding which recipe to publish, I found myself in a delicious dilemma. My eyes (and stomach) were immediately drawn to the Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies. Then the Carrot Cake Bars and Red Velvet Madeleines and Pecan Brittle Bark Cookies and oh yeah, the Cold Brew Cookies. I finally decided on a shortbread-style cookie flecked with orange zest and filled with chocolate ganache. They’re sophisticated, simple, soft, and buttery and… best of all… they taste EXACTLY like Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.

These orange butter cookies were supposed to be for the weekend but they never made it past Wednesday night. I know you’ll love them too!

2 images of a stack of butter cookies and the cookie book cookbook by Rebecca Firth

orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling

What Do They Taste Like?

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies!

This cookie recipe begins a very familiar way: buttery cookie dough. You need butter, confectioners’ sugar, egg, an additional egg yolk for flavor, orange zest, vanilla extract, salt, and flour. If cut thick enough, these cookies are incredibly soft. Unlike sugar cookies which are typically crisp on the edges, these orange butter cookies are crumbly on the edges– very similar to shortbread. The orange gives the cookies a fresh flavor twist and is the perfect pair for that dark decadent chocolate ganache. Confectioners’ sugar, as opposed to granulated sugar, keeps the cookie thick and smooth. It also takes the place of some of the flour in the recipe, so these aren’t particularly dry like most butter cookies you’re used to. Rebecca, you’ve truly worked your magic.


Roll Out the Cookie Dough

After you prepare the dough, roll it out as if you were making my sugar cookies. This is a unique method that promises success, so follow the recipe closely.

  1. Divide dough in two pieces
  2. Roll out cookie dough on silicone baking mats or parchment paper
  3. Chill rolled out cookie dough for 1 hour
  4. Cut into shapes before baking

Notice that you roll out the dough BEFORE chilling it in the refrigerator.

  • Why before? The dough is so much easier to roll out before it’s chilled.
  • Why are we chilling it? So the cookies keep their shape when baked.
  • Why divide in 2? Because it’s difficult to roll out a huge mass of dough. Dividing into smaller sections makes rolling out more manageable.
  • Why on a silicone baking mat? Because you have to chill the rolled out dough in the refrigerator and you can’t really pick up a mass of dough you rolled out on the counter. Nor can you cut into shapes when the dough is this warm. So, roll the dough out on a nonstick surface that you can literally pick up, put on a baking sheet, and place in the fridge.

KitchenAid Misty Blue Stand Mixer with orange butter cookie dough

Shortbread cookie dough rolled out before shaping

2 images of cookie cutters and orange butter cookie dough cut into circles

butter cookies on baking sheet before baking

How to Shape Orange Butter Cookies

The only way to guarantee soft and thick orange butter cookies is to roll out the cookie dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Rebecca uses an adorable fluted edge square cookie cutter in her cookbook, but I reached for my fluted edge circle cookie cutter. You can use any shape cookie cutter you’d like. Since you’re eating two cookies at a time sandwich-style, I suggest using a small cookie cutter to make petite sandwiches.

I used the 1.5 inch size from this cookie cutter set.

Cut the cookie dough after it’s chilled. I pressed some coarse sugar into the tops of each orange scented cookie before baking. This is optional, but adds a little crunch and sparkle.

Since we chilled the cookie dough, the cookies will hold their beautiful shape as they bake. Bake until very lightly browned on the edges. So delightful even without the chocolate ganache! I literally want to throw a tea party just to serve these orange butter cookies.

butter cookies placed in the shape of a heart

2 images of assembling orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling and chocolate ganache in a bowl

Chocolate Ganache

Let’s sandwich them! Did you know you only need 2 ingredients for chocolate ganache? Chocolate ganache is made from warm cream and chopped chocolate. Make sure you let it cool and thicken before sandwiching in the cookies. Time saving tip: prepare the ganache as the cookies bake so it can cool down as the cookies cool.

After a couple hours, the ganache will set so you can stack and store the cookies. By day 2, the ganache will have softened the two cookies surrounding it AND that delicious orange flavor will be stronger. Each bite tastes like those orange flavored chocolate Milano cookies we all know and love!

orange butter cookies with chocolate ganache filling

Let’s give Rebecca a huge THANK YOU for these incredible cookies!

Print
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butter cookie sandwiches with chocolate ganache filling

Butter Cookies with Orange & Chocolate Ganache

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 20-24 sandwiches
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Shortbread-style cookies flecked with orange zest and filled with thickened ganache. They’re sophisticated, simple, soft, and buttery!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons orange zest (about 1 orange)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed for rolling
  • optional: coarse sugar for topping

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  • 4-ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar (113g), finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preliminary note: The chocolate ganache requires at least 30 minutes to thicken before it can be used in the cookie sandwiches. I recommend starting the ganache as the cookies bake!
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and orange zest, then beat until combined, about 1 minute. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on high speed until combined, scraping down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Finally, beat in the flour on low speed until combined. The cookie dough will be soft.
  3. Lightly flour your hands, work surface, and rolling pin. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  4. Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
  5. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and, using a 1.5-inch cookie cutter, cut into shapes. I used the 1.5 inch fluted round cookie cutter from this adorable set. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 2 inches apart. If desired, sprinkle + press some coarse sugar into the tops.
  6. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes until very lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  7. Make the ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to gently simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Allow to cool and thicken for at least 30 minutes or until spreadable consistency.
  8. Spread the ganache onto the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Repeat with remaining.
  9. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Chocolate ganache can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before using. Let it sit at room temperature to soften or microwave for 5-10 seconds before using. Plain (un-sandwiched) cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. You can chill the rolled-out cookie dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (step 4). You can also freeze the cookie dough, before rolling out in step 3, for up to 3 months. Then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. Chill for only 30 minutes in step 4 as opposed to 1 hour.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Rolling Pin | Fluted Edge Round Cookie Cutters | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet | Cooling Rack | The Cookie Book
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Oh and instead of chocolate ganache, try filling with salted caramel. Let the caramel cool for 15 minutes before sandwiching!

stack of butter cookie sandwiches with caramel filling

118 Comments

  1. I love the orange cookies even better without the chocolate! I’ll make those again for me to snack on. Everyone loved the sandwich cookie, I made them as houses for a new neighbor housewarming gift. My only issue was the ganache is not shiny, I had wanted to dip a few and sandwich a few. What did I do wrong? I used Callebaut 54% chocolate and whipping cream, but I heated the chocolate in a double boiler then added the cream – is that what made it look dull?

    1. Hi Anita! I’m so glad to read that you love these orange cookies. Chocolate is rather finicky when heated. The dull appearance could have been the way you prepared the ganache. I recommend following the recipe as directed, using warm cream and chopped room temperature chocolate.

  2. Sally,
    First, your recipes are wonderful! quick question- could you roll the dough in a log and chill and cut cookies? I’m just looking for a quicker method, but more importantly one that takes up less space in the refrigerator. Have you ever tried it this way?

    1. Hi Jean! You can definitely make this dough slice and bake style. Divide in half, roll into 2 logs, then slice and bake. You can use the same shaping/baking instructions as these Dark Chocolate Orange Slice & Bake Cookies.

  3. Do you think that these cookies will be good if I left out the orange zest and filled them with jam? and make a hole in half of the cookies so the jam can show, like your chocolate gingerbread sandwich cookies? Will the cookies be buttery, or should I use your sugar cookie recipe for that?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jenna, You can make them either that way! They would be slightly different flavors so it’s just personal preference 🙂 You might also like these Pistachio Linzer Cookies.

  4. The cookies were delicate with just the right amount of orange flavor. I sandwiched them with a dark chocolate ganache and it was the perfect mix of light and rich! Love these and will be making them again on the regular.

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