Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Chocolate Orange Cookies

As far as I'm concerned Christmas is the best time of the year. I love absolutely everything about it, and spend 11 months (im)patiently waiting for December to come round again, so I can watch Elf repeatedly, have Christmas CDs playing at full blast in my car and excitedly shop for presents before ruining them entirely with my rubbish wrapping skills.

One of the best parts though, is the baking.

In the run up to the 25th I'll be posting a series of 10 festive-themed bakes, all ranging in difficulty, and hopefully providing a little inspiration for homemade gifts, alternatives to traditional desserts (not everyone likes Christmas pudding…) and the perfect naughty treats for yourself that are totally allowed in December.

Remember, calories don't count at Christmas.*

* Unfortunately they do, but let's pretend like they don't…

It's not Christmas without a Chocolate Orange. They're practically a staple requirement in Christmas stockings, and I don't think I know any family that doesn't end up with at least one to tap and unwrap on Boxing Day. As most supermarkets will have them on offer over the next few weeks, it seemed like the right time to try experimenting and these cookies are the ideal way to put your Terry's Chocolate Orange to good use!

The recipe below is adapted from the basic Chocolate Cookie recipe in The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, which I'd really recommend asking Santa for if you don't already have it in your collection...


112g unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 1 orange
1 Chocolate Orange, roughly chopped (you don't need the whole thing - only around 120g - so there should be 4-7 segments left over for you to do with as you wish…)


Preheat the oven to 170C / 325F / Gas 3.

Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixture with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric mixer) and cream until light and fluffy.

Add the egg, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and mix will until a smooth dough forms.

Stir in the orange zest and Chocolate Orange until evenly dispersed.

Arrange the cookie dough on baking trays lined with baking parchment. This recipe makes between 20 and 25 cookies. To achieve similar sized cookies I like to use the Lakeland Traditional Ice Cream Scoop - this gives very large cookies - and then halving the scoop of cookie dough by hand. The cookies are then all uniform in size and not enormous!

Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and quite flat. The cookies should still be quite soft when removed from the oven: don't worry, they'll harden while cooling but still retain a chewy centre.

Leave the cookies to cool on the trays for at least 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If any of the cookies have become a little cosy in the oven then using a palette knife gently slice along the join and carefully ease them apart slightly. This way they'll harden up separately rather than as one massive unit, and dividing them at this stage leaves a lot neater finish than if done when they're cool.

There you have it: Chocolate Orange Cookies!

The orange is quite strong, so if you'd prefer a more subtle flavour then don't add the orange zest and instead rely purely on the flavours to come through via the chocolate. The orange zest coloured the cookies in the oven a lot quicker than normal - they went golden brown after a few minutes - so be careful when they're in the oven and make sure you don't remove them too soon as they won't set properly, or too late as they'll be rock hard.

These cookies keep in a tin for a couple of days if you fancy enjoying them yourself while indulging in a Home Alone marathon, but they also make wonderful gifts. Most craft stores have clear presentation bags (Lakeland has 50 for £3.29), and with the abundance of Christmas ribbons to chose from in shops at the moment you'll be spoilt for choice!

So, what do you do with your Chocolate Orange? Do let me know if you end up making these - I'd love to know how they turned out for you!

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