These Orange Shortbread Cookies are flaky, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth goodness! I really wanted to utilize orange + chocolate again this season, because it’s one of my favorite dessert combos. An orange flavored chocolate shortbread cookie came to mind, but then I decided to leave out the cocoa powder and dip the baked cookies in dark chocolate instead! I love the mix of the light cookie with the rich dark chocolate!
My first few attempts at re-creating multiple shortbread recipes with coconut sugar weren’t my favorite. Coconut sugar is so much darker than regular can sugar, and the larger granules don’t lend a good hand to such a delicate shortbread cookie. I ended up using powdered sugar, which is what the original recipe from epicurious calls for. I don’t find these cookies to be overly sweet, and my favorite part about them is how versatile the dough can be. Leave out the almond extract, replace the orange for lemon, etc – do your thing!
I think these cookies bake best with a thicker cut cookie, and the edges may spread a tiny bit. As soon as my cookies came out of the oven, I carefully (and slowly!) re-cut each one with my cookie cutter to clean the edges up a bit. In other words, don’t expect these cookies to come out looking super sharp. They’re packed full of delicious coconut oil, so they’re bound to spread a bit! As always, happy baking, friends!
Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies
Makes ~15 cookies, depending on cookie cutter size
1/2 cup coconut oil, solid
Zest from one medium orange
1/8 tsp almond extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
2oz dairy-free dark chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil, solid
1.) In a medium bowl, beat the solid coconut oil until smooth and a bit fluffy, around 5 minutes. Using a big wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the orange zest, almond extract, and salt. Sift in the powdered sugar and corn starch and mix with a spoon. Add the almond milk and stir until dough comes together. It will be crumbly. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten to a disc shape. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2.) Roll your dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4″ or 1/2″ thick, depending on how thick you like your cookies. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes (I used a 2″ circle), dipping your cutter in flour before each cut (I recommend a non-complicated shape, as you may have to re-cut the cookies post-bake). Gently move the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet and re-roll leftover dough, cutting more shapes. Once all your cookies are transferred to the baking sheet, freeze them for 10 minutes.
3.) Preheat your oven to 325°F. Bake the frozen cookies at 325°F for 10 minutes. If the edges of your baked cookies look messy, carefully re-cut the cookies with your cutter. It’s important to be extra gentle with this step, because these cookies are quite delicate. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
4.) Once cookies have cooled completely, use a knife to shave your chocolate (make small cuts along the edge). Melt half of the chocolate shavings in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring between each set. Once melted, add the second half of your chocolate shavings and stir until all the chocolate is melted. Add 1 tsp of solid coconut oil, stirring until melted and totally combined.
5.) Line a cooled baking sheet with parchment paper (or re-use the one from earlier). Dip half of each cookie in the chocolate and lay on your baking sheet to set. Immediately zest fresh orange over the chocolate. Alternatively, you can drizzle the chocolate over each cookie or cover your cookies totally by placing them on a cooling rack and pouring the chocolate over each cookie – you will need to melt more chocolate if you choose the pour method. Enjoy! Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.