One Bowl No-Chill Orange Shortbread Cookies
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The idea of a zesty orange shortbread cookie has been floating around in my head for several months now. I initially wanted to test and post this recipe early December as it would make a great Christmas cookie, but with all of our travel, it just didn’t happen. Honestly I had kind of forgotten about it, but bought some Filipino orange chocolate from Oodaalolly at a local market and the idea popped back into my head. I finally found the time to create it on New Year’s Eve, as a treat to bring to a party. The cookies were so good I had to share them with you asap! I’m actually glad the recipe was pushed out to January as we are in the thick of citrus season right now. These are a wonderful sweet addition to your table year-round, but are especially bright this winter!
Keep reading for an easy, no-frills, one bowl, cookie recipe that doesn’t require chilling!
I’ve always loved orange flavoring. I adore all fruit, but citrus is just so fresh and bright. It’s also a nostalgic flavor to me. Orange sweet rolls, push-pops, orange Flintstone vitamins (lol)… My dad shares a love of orange flavoring as well and when I was growing up, he would always eat Orange Milano Cookies. And that my friends is where my inspiration came from for this recipe! How can I recreate the nostalgia, as well as the flavoring and make it homemade? I like my citrus flavoring to hit me in the face and not be weak or barely a flavor. I’ve tried a variety of citrus based recipes over the years from key lime pies to lemon poppyseed muffins and most of the time I am slightly disappointed with the strength of the flavoring, so this was an important aspect of the recipe as well.
Are you familiar with the history of shortbread? It’s a traditional Scottish biscuit. It is likely that it dates all the way back the 12th century; however, Mary Queen of Scots is credited with its rise popularity in the 16th century. Much like the comparison of a biscuit to a piece of bread, shortbread compared to say a regular sugar cookie, is more dense. Shortbread doesn’t have any leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda, so it is literally what its name is - short! They also have a higher butter to flour ratio, which is what gives shortbread its crumbly nature. They are traditionally less sweet than a sugar cookie too. A classic shortbread ratio is usually something like 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3-4 parts flour. But enough of the science and specifics; let’s get to the recipe!
One Bowl No-Chill Orange Shortbread Cookies
Try this no-frills, super easy, shortbread recipe that includes an optional, but totally delicious dark chocolate drizzle with orange sugar.
1 Cup Unsalted Butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
2/3 Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Arrowroot Powder (can sub *corn starch if you’d like)
2 Oranges (I used Cara Cara)
2 TBS Orange Juice
2 tsp Orange Zest
1 Cup Dark Chocolate, Melted (I used Ghiradelli Baking Chips 72% Cacao)
1/4 Cup Course Sugar
1 Orange (I used Cara Cara)
1 overflowing tsp Orange Zest
Tiny Drop of Orange Juice
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Unwrap your sticks of butter and place them in the bowl and set aside. Use the butter stick wrappers to grease 2 loaf pans. My pans are are 9 x 5 / 1.5 lb but a smaller version like 8x5 would work well too. Line the pans with parchment paper, leaving edging on the outside of the pan, then set aside.
Take your 3 oranges (2 for cookies and 1 for the topping) and zest all of them. Be sure to zest before you juice! Keep the zesting from the two oranges separate. If you do accidentally mix, just divide into 2/3 and 1/3 groupings. Set aside. Juice an orange - you should only need to juice one of them. Depending on the size, it should yield about 1/4 cup. You can use a juicer, but squeezing it by hand works fine. Set juice aside. You don’t need the other 2 oranges from this point on, so keep or discard. We use them to eat later.
Time to make the cookie dough! Back to the bowl with the butter in it - add the (2/3 cup) sugar to the bowl and beat until smooth. Add in vanilla and salt, then combine. Gently add in the flour and arrowroot powder* and mix together. Fold in 2 tsp of orange zest and 2 TBS orange juice.
Divide your dough in half - mine ended up being about 646g, so my halves were 323g. Press each half of the dough into their respective loaf pans. They’ll look like two giant loaves of cookie! Grab a fork and gently make wholes across each pan. You’ll see these markings on traditional shortbread too - that’s because poking the holes helps moisture escape, giving them their signature shortbread texture. I did 3 stabs across the width, about 8 times, but it’s not that scientific. You just want to make sure they have the holes prior to baking.
Bake for 30 minutes, then start checking it. I ended up baking them an extra 5 minutes. You want them to be golden brown.
While they are baking, mix 1/4 cup sugar with the remaining orange zest and a drop of orange juice. I used granulated sugar as it was all I had. It was good, but would have been better with course sugar, so that’s why I suggested it in the ingredients. Set sugar aside.
Once the pans are removed from the oven, cut them immediately to avoid breakage upon slicing. I cut them once down the middle of the longest part and then cut 8 cookies across, making 16 cookies per pan. Similar to brownies, I like to use a plastic knife because it seems to reduce crumbing along the edges.
Let cool for 10 minutes, then gently lift the parchment paper out of the pan and lay it on a cooling rack to fully cool.
While they are fully cooling, melt your dark chocolate. I used a makeshift double boiler. I do not have a microwave, but you can use that if you’d like.
Make sure to keep your cookies on the original parchment paper for easy clean up, then grab a spoon (I used a soup spoon) and ladle a heaping amount of chocolate to drizzle across the cookies. I drizzled across groupings of 4 at a time, then Immediately sprinkled orange sugar across the same 4 cookies. Make sure to sprinkle the orange sugar pretty quickly after you drizzle the chocolate, so they have time to set together. Repeat until all the cookies are topped.
Let the chocolate drizzle harden completely, then serve or pack up into a sealed container.
Can use corn starch instead of arrow root powder if you’d like.
Swap out any other citrus for orange if you are craving something else like grapefruit, limes, lemon, etc.
Technically these are shortbread bars, but you can make cookies! Just make a ball of a little more than 1 TBS of dough and lay on the cookie sheet. Smash each ball with the bottom of a glass prior to baking, so they will bake evenly and through. It doesn’t have to be super thin, just flatter than a ball. If you do this, start checking the cookies around 25 minutes instead of 30. I wouldn’t use this dough to make cut-out shapes.
There are so many options with this recipe, you can truly make it your own. Perhaps try mini dark chocolate chips instead of the drizzle for an even easier recipe. Or keep the drizzle for a double chocolate moment! I’d also love to make this recipe with limes and have it resemble that of a key lime pie… maybe even with a freshly whipped topping?!
People loved these cookies at the party I went to, so add these to your must-bake list. They are seriously so easy, especially since you don’t have to roll out dough. The loaf pans are stress free and counting the bowl, you’re only dirtying 3 total dishes. You honestly can’t beat that!
I hope you enjoy these! Let me know if you make them and what you think. I loved baking them - they for sure will become a part of our winter rotation. You best bet I’ll be making them around next Christmas too! Happy baking. XOXO
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