There are few things I do without deliberation. In fact, taking
more risks is on my New Year resolutions list. But, being that it is still December, I don’t feel any guilt in sharing how I came to decide upon a cookie for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. Besides, what good is a resolution if you start it before the New Year, anyway?
My qualifications that make a cookie worthy of the task are pretty simple and haven’t changed much from last year: I want a cookie that is both durable enough to hold up on its parceled journey and whose moistness or flavor gets better after a few days. That way the recipient will receive them at the peak of their deliciousness. After all, no one likes a crumbled or dry cookie, though there are worse things in life.
Shortbread is known for keeping well so I decided to start there, but I wanted to add a festive quality. The flavors of orange and chocolate go hand in hand with Christmas as they remind me of the chocolate oranges Santa used to leave in my stocking. Santa – is it too late to add one small request to my Christmas list this year?
When I found this recipe I knew I had a winner. So whether you’re looking for bragging rights at your next holiday party or simply want a good standby to leave with milk for Santa on Christmas Eve, this cookie is up for the job.
Orange Chocolate Chunk Shortbread
Adapted slightly from Bon Appétit
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons whipping cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped into small chunks (I used a Ghirardelli 70% cocoa bar)
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour large baking sheet (I used a jellyroll pan with a Silpat, which worked well).
Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and orange extract in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in yolk, then cream. Add flour mixture; beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Stir in chocolate chips.
The recipe calls for dropping the dough out by tablespoonfuls, but I took a different route to ensure perfectly shaped cookies. Here’s how to do it: Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap. Divide the dough into two to three roughly shaped logs and place on the plastic wrap. Roll the dough up in the plastic wrap and smooth it out using your thumb and index finger as if you were making an “Okay” sign. You can also roll it out on the countertop. I did a little of both.
Once you’ve got the dough in plastic-wrapped logs, put them in the fridge for at least twenty minutes to chill. Theoretically you could leave the dough at this stage for a day or two, if making in advance, but goodness help you muster up the willpower to not nibble off little pieces of the dough.
Once the dough is adequately chilled, slice the logs into ½ inch rounds. Place them on the cookie sheet about ¾ inch apart (they do not spread). Bake until golden, about 18 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.