Have a Heart

It’s V-day week! Somehow, since I have had kids, have been in the habit of making heart shaped cookies every year near Valentine’s Day. Usually, it is some sort of shortbread or sugar cookie recipe. This year, I was inspired and made up a new recipe that is well on its way to becoming a family favorite.

Chocolate Studded Orange Shortbread with Chocolate Sugar Sprinkle.

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Long name, I know, but I couldn’t come up with a fun name, so I went with the super literal version. At least you know what you are getting into when you read the title of the recipe instead of something vague like V-day cookies.

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This cookie starts with 7 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate. Chocolate chips will not really deliver the same amount of chocolate punch here and you also won’t get the chocolate dust that you need for the sprinkle, so it is worth it to dust off your food processor for this one or get out your knife and cutting board. Once the chocolate is chopped finely, it is sifted so that all the “dust” is filtered out and won’t discolor the cookie dough. The little chunks leftover will go in the shortbread and the “dust” is used for the sprinkle.

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Those little tiny chocolate chunks are the secret to delivering this cookie’s chocolate flavor while at the same time maintaining the cookie’s shortbread texture. Save your giant chocolate chunks for your giant chocolate cookies or for times when only straight chocolate will do. In this cookie, I wanted the sandy texture of shortbread to stay uninterrupted by huge chunks of chocolate. The orange zest adds a little brightness and compliments the chocolate nicely.

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If you absolutely must have pink or red for V-day, feel free to use colored sugar instead of the chocolate sugar sprinkle, but the cookie will not be as chocolatey and what would you do with that chocolate “dust”, anyway? Actually, we had a lot of chocolate dust leftover and it is very handy to have around. It’s great sprinkled on top of oatmeal or you can even make your own homemade hot chocolate with it. After all, what’s V-day week without chocolate?

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Chocolate Studded Orange Shortbread with Chocolate Sugar Sprinkle.

Makes about 3 dozen 3 inch cut out cookies. The exact number depends on the size of your cookie cutters.

7 ounces (2 regular sized bars) dark chocolate, pick one that you like to eat
7 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1 large orange
20 ounces (4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 ounces (1/4 cup) extra sugar for chocolate sprinkle

Break up the chocolate with your hands and process in the bowl of a food processor for about 10 pulses. The chocolate should be ground into little bits no larger than 1/4 inch. There should be a fair amount of “dust”. Sift the chocolate through a strainer with holes that are not too small. I had about 5 1/2 ounces of chocolate pieces and 1 1/2 ounces of “dust” when I was done sifting. You can also chop the chocolate by hand.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and chocolate pieces in a large bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until they are combined and smooth, but not fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract and orange zest.

With the mixer running on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. In a stand mixer, the dough should clean the sides of the bowl.

Take half of the dough and form into a rough disk with your hands. Roll between two sheets of wax or parchment paper to a 1/4 inch thickness. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Repeat with the remaining dough. The dough should be frozen for at least 15-20 minutes or can be held in the freezer for a few months. If the dough is totally frozen, take it out and let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Peel off the top sheep of parchment and, using your cookie cutters, cut out as many shapes as you can from the cookie dough. Place them at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.

Stir the extra sugar into the chocolate dust until combined. Sprinkle one teaspoon of chocolate sugar over each cookie on the baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned at the edges. Cool on the pans. You may reroll and refreeze the remaining dough scraps once or twice more until you’ve used up all the dough.

Enjoy with your valentine.

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Posted on February 10, 2014, in Baking, Recipe and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Ohhh … my favorite combination orange and chocolate! I do not bake much, but cannot wait to make this recipe. I wonder if the chocolate beer that I picked up recently would go well with these cookies.

    I just saw gluten-free AP flour is available at Trader Joe’s. I wonder if I could use that so that I could share the cookies with my friends at work who (many of which) are gluten intolerant.

    • Cookies are great for gf adaptations, especially shortbread, so it might work, but probably be a bit more crumbly. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

      • You are right, they turn out crumbly …. very, very crumbly. I baked two batches, one at 350 and the second for longer at 325. I was wondering if the low slower bake would be better. In the end the whole batch went into the trash :(. They were like sand to eat.

        It was a good experience to try. I might try and make another batch today as they smelled so very good; how can orange and chocolate not smell good.

        Thank you for sharing your recipe! Good luck with your Olympic knitting projects! I look forward to seeing your finished projects!

      • Aw, that’s a shame. I was hoping it would work out for you. Gf subsititutions can be so tricky.

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