Nov 28, 2011 - Christmas, Cookies, December, Winter    2 Comments

Chocolate Orange Cookies – Kick off the Christmas Season

Ahh, my favourite baking time of the year has finally arrived. With the start of the Advent season, my little Christmas bakery has kicked off and first in line these sensational chocolate orange cookies.

It is a tradition in German speaking countries to make many different little cookies in the weeks prior to Christmas. Whenever family and friends come to visit, they are presented with a plate of delicious little treats known as “Plätzchen”. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more Plätzchen there are to choose from.

I usually bake way to many, on average 15-20 different ones, making them the perfect Christmas gift from the kitchen.

Most of them will keep for several weeks as long as they are stored in a cool, dry and dark place. This is why my guest room resembles Santa’s grotto, with tin boxes piling up left, right and centre.

Every year I try some new recipes but the majority are tested and tried favourites such as these delicious chocolate  orange cookies. They don’t keep as long as some of the other cookies but I love making them first. They are the herald of Christmas as they spread the most delicious smell of orange and chocolate during baking.

The first delight to hit your senses is when you grate the orange zest. The second, after the cookie tray is placed in the oven and the Christmas scent slowly but surely perfumes the air around you. The third, when you try your first cookie and finally every time you open the cookie tin, you will be captivated by their aroma.

If you too want to get into the Christmas spirit quickly, look no further and try my foolproof chocolate orange cookies recipe.

ChocolateOrange Cookies Ingredients (makes approx. 60)

Source: My friend Tanja
Preparation
Time: 15 minutes
Resting
Time: 30 minutes (or overnight)

Baking Time: 12-15 minutes
You will also need: A baking tray and greaseproof paper

  • 200g (1 2/3 cups) strong bread flour (high in gluten) or plain flour
  • 60g (1/2 cup) corn flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 125g (1/2 cup or 1.1 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 100g (0.6 cup) dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped

To decorate

60g (0.36 cup) melted dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

Chocolate Orange Cookies Preparation

1. With a food processor: Add all the ingredients in the food processor, except the chocolate, and blitz into a dough. Remove from the food processor, place on a clean, dry surface and quickly work in the chopped chocolate by hand. If  the chocolate is added to the food processor, it would be chopped up and you’ll end up with a dark brown dough.

Kneading by hand: Mix the flour, corn flour, baking powder, sugar and orange zest, in a bowl and pour onto a clean, dry surface. Make a mould. Whisk the egg briefly with the vanilla essence and pour into the mould. Spread small knobs of butter all over the flour and quickly work all ingredients together into a dough.

Note: Don’t kneed the dough longer than necessary as you don’t want the chocolate to melt and stain the cookie dough. The cookie dough should be pale and the chocolate pieces should stay intact and be clearly visible.

2. Half the dough and roll into two even sausages, with a diameter of a 2 pound coin (1 inch). Wrap in clingfilm and cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or over night.

Note: The dough can be prepared in advance and the wrapped dough sausages, frozen until needed for up to one month.

3. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/340°F/fan oven 300°F.

4. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper/baking parchment.

5. Unwrap the dough sausages and cut into slices of approx. 5-7mm (1/4 inch)

6. Warm the dough between your hands by rolling into a small ball and then into a small sausage. Place in a moon shape on the baking tray.

Note: Leave plenty of room between the chocolate orange cookies as they will spread during baking and stick if too close to each other.

Note: You will have 4-5 trays worth of chocolate orange cookies. If you have only one tray, cut another piece of greaseproof paper to the same size as the baking tray and place onto your table or clean kitchen surface. Continue making the little moons while the first lot is baking and place them on the greaseproof paper. When the first lot of cookies are finished, gently move them together with the baking parchment onto a clean, dry surface, and move the new lot of chocolate orange cookies back on the baking tray. Keep swopping greaseproof paper until all dough is used up.

7. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Note: Set your alarm to 10 minutes as oven temperatures can vary. Check every minute afterwards, making sure the corners of the chocolate orange cookies don’t catch colour as they tend to burn easily. Don’t open the oven, just peek through the window!

8. Once done, remove from the oven and let briefly cool down for 1-2 minutes on the tray as the cookies will easily crumble if moved to the cooling rack too quickly.

Note:  The chocolate orange cookies will feel soft to the touch straight out of the oven but will crispen up once cooled down.

9. Once the chocolate orange cookies are cold, leave on the cooling rack, melt the chocolate in a small bowl, place some paper underneath the cooling rack to catch the dripping chocolate, and with swift moves, drizzle the chocolate over the chocolate orange cookies.

10. Leave to set and store in a cookie tin in a dry, dark and cold place for up to 3 weeks (I store mine in our unheated guest room).

Happy 1st Advent!

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