slice & bake chocolate orange shortbread cookies
Honestly, you don’t need to make any other cookie — these slice and bake chocolate orange shortbread cookies should be your go-to, now and forevermore. Made with salted butter, citrus zest and chunks of semisweet chocolate in a buttery shortbread dough, I dare you — DARE YOU — to eat just one at a time.
You guys, I know I say this a lot, but when it comes to these cookies? I think we can just stop here. I’ve reached full cookie potential with these BBs.
Because when you combine the flavors of sea salt, chocolate, orange and a buttery shortbread cookie, it’s the closest thing to dessert perfection, in my book. And we have one person to thank for it all.
The Story Behind ‘The Cookies’
That person is Alison Roman whom, if you have any connection to the food world, you’ve probably heard of before. She’s the star behind the cookbook Dining In, and she’s also the person who invented The Cookies — which is what started me down this tasty road of cookie tinkering until I developed my own riff on her famous treat. And so, here we are.
If you’ve never heard of The Cookies, just Google it and you’ll instantly be bombarded with scroll after scroll of recipes and photos of Roman’s game-changing dessert. It’s her take on the chocolate chip cookie — a classic that she says is “deeply flawed” — with a shortbread base, decadent chocolate chunks and the intriguing use of salted butter (she says it gives the cookie a better depth of flavor, and I have to agree).
How to Make Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies
Ever since I heard of these cookies, I knew I had to make them. But here’s the thing — for whatever reason, I was attracted to the idea of adding a citrus flair to the cookies. Maybe it’s because I’ve done the chocolate-orange thing before and it’s kind of AMAZING, so I knew it could only be an upgrade here. In any case, I went that route, and I have zero regrets. I also like to think it sets this recipe apart from the legions of others out there.
So here’s the situation: You start with a salted butter-based shortbread dough (yes, please go out and buy salted butter just for this recipe — you won’t be sorry, I promise times infinity). You stir in the chocolate chunks (use a bar of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate here and chop it up into larger, coarse pieces. No thin shards of chocolate or, heaven forbid, chocolate chips allowed). Add in a couple tablespoons of fresh orange zest, roll the dough into logs, let them chill until really set, then slice and bake.
And if that wasn’t enough, let’s go ahead and dip them in chocolate and top them with sea salt and more orange zest, shall we? WE SHALL.
Tips for the Best Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread can sometimes be a finicky dough to work with, since it’s lacking in eggs for added binding. Nevertheless, it becomes less tricky with practice, and with these tips you’ll be on your way to cookie bliss in no time:
1. Be sure to incorporate the ingredients completely. Scrape the sides of the bowl after adding in each ingredient so everything gets mixed together evenly.
2. Don’t skimp on chilling the dough! Two hours minimum is absolutely necessary for these cookies to bake right.
3. Make sure to use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the log into slices, and use a gentle sawing motion when you hit a large chunk of chocolate. If the dough crumbles slightly after slicing, just gently press it back together into a round before baking and it should come together in the oven.
All right, my friends — it’s time for you to make The Cookies, GVD-style. I hope you love them as much as I do (because, like, I really, really do).Print
Slice and Bake Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
- Cook Time: 13 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours 43 mins
- Yield: About 2 dozen cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Sweet and salty slice and bake-style chocolate orange shortbread cookies based on Alison Roman’s famous riff on chocolate chip cookies. SO GOOD.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablepoons (2 1/4 sticks) cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
- Zest of 1 medium orange (about 2 tablespoons)
- Flaky sea salt and more orange zest, for topping (optional, but highly recommended)
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugars and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Scrape down sides of the bowl, then stir in flour on low speed until just combined. Stir in 6 ounces chocolate chunks and 2 tablespoons orange zest until just incorporated.
- Divide dough in half. Place each half on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Fold over plastic wrap to cover dough, then use your hands to roll each piece of dough into a log about 2-2 1/4 inches in diameter. Wrap dough in plastic wrap to cover completely and chill at least 2 hours until firm (can be chilled up to 1 week).
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Uncover one log and, using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice log into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (use a sawing motion to cut through chocolate chunks). Place cut side-up on prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
- Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until edges of cookies are just beginning to brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with second log of dough.
- Melt remaining 6 ounces semisweet chocolate in microwave or in a double boiler according to package directions. Dip one end of each fully cooled cookie into melted chocolate; let excess chocolate drip off, then place cookie on cooling rack. Sprinkle with more sea salt and orange zest, if desired. Chill dipped cookies in fridge 30 minutes until chocolate is set.
- Store cookies in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Keywords: Alison Roman, Freezer Cookies
Oh my, these look wonderful. I LOVE orange and chocolate.
This is mostly how I make my chocolate shortbread biscuits. Instead of having ‘bald’ oranges with all the skin zested away lying around I think I shall use my homemade candied citrus peel.
I always use salted butter in my baking as I believe it improves the flavour. To buy unsalted butter costs considerably more. Amazing really, they remove something then charge you more for doing it!?
Mary, Salted butter is so good in cookies! Love the idea of using candied citrus peel, too.
Shortbread + dark chocolate + orange zest = ? What type of zester do you prefer? I use the smallest size grate on my hand grater but never get enough zest from any citrus for a recipe.
Carol, I love my Microplane zester! It works perfectly.
This is a perfect Minnesota snow day recipe!! Starting them now–can’t wait to taste the final result!
Emily, Yes! One good thing about this snow! 🙂
what do you say to someone who really really hates slice and bake cookies but wants to try these ?
Sarah, these are worth it.
I love chocolate and orange together! These cookies look delicious ?
These look unreal! Maybe will bake this weekend considering it’s colr and rainy in Ohio :’( the citrus will trick me into thinking it’s WARM.
Courtney, Sounds good to me! 😉
Made the first half of the batch and they spread like crazy:( I’m gonna try to chill on the pan after slicing while oven is preheating to see if that helps
Isabelle — Oh no! Did you let them chill for at least 2 hours? I hope chilling them on the pan helps, too.
Mine spread like crazy too, and they were fully chilled. Also not nearly sweet enough, so flavour was flat. I had very high expectations, as the orange chocolate combo is divine. I wasted good butter and expensive chocolate on these; disappointed.
Simply said, these are amazing. I made them last week and I was a bit confused while making them because the dough was so crumbly, but they went right together once I wrapped them. I made them for some students and put them in cellophane bags, they were SO pretty! I used extra dark chocolate, well…because that’s what I like. They are a treat without being overly sweet and go amazing with a nice dark cup of coffee to cut the richness. 🙂 My first recipe from here and I’ll be back for sure!
Wendy, thank you SO much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! And I agree, they go great with coffee. 😉
Would these hold up in the freezer after being baked?
Gretchen, I think they’d hold up beautifully before they’ve been dipped, yes!
I recently acquired an older Kitchenaid stand mixer (like… 1970s) that doesn’t come with a paddle attachment. It has a whisk attachment that seems to be a little sturdier. Any chance I could use this to help make these?? Thanks!
Rae, I usually don’t like to use the whisk attachment for cookie dough since it’s very hard to clean and doesn’t mix the dough as well. If you have a hand mixer, I would suggest using that. Or, use the whisk attachment to cream the butter + sugar, but then mix in the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon. Hope that helps!
I made these today, and when I went to cut the doe after refrigerating them, it just kind of shattered into crumbs. What did I do wrong? I rolled it into balls and they still turned out delicious. But just wondering for in the future.
Mackenzie, Because this is a shortbread, the dough can be a little more crumbly than usual. I’ve found it helps to just really be sure the dough is well-compressed when it’s rolled into a log and to make sure the dough is chilled enough. But rolling into balls works well, too! 🙂
I made these for a bourbon tasting party, and they paired perfectly! Not too sweet, an interesting twist on a classic taste. Since it’s nearly Halloween, I piped the melted chocolate in a spider web pattern on each cooled cookie, and they were a hit. Thanks for a great recipe Stephanie!
Kate, Ummm can I come to your next bourbon tasting party? Because that sounds AMAZING (also LOVE the spiderweb idea!).
These look amazing but I live in the UK and we don’t use the American “cup” measuring system. Could you give me the weights in pounds or grams of the ingredients? We also don’t have “sticks” of butter and nor do we measure butter in spoonfuls. Thanks!
Carol, I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t be able to give you the exact measurements of these ingredients in pounds or grams without a lot of calculation and estimation. There are a lot of online calculators that could help you with this, though — King Arthur Flour has a great one on their site!
I’ve made these cookies a handful of times now and WOW! They have become my favorite cookie. Looking forward to making them again during the holiday season to share with friends and family!
Heather, You just made my day. 🙂 Thank you!