Some flavour combinations work very well together and chocolate and orange is no exception! Chocolate Orange Cookies are light and airy and bursting with bright citrus flavour!
WHY ARE ORANGES SYNONYMOUS WITH CHRISTMAS?
Do you know why oranges are so symbolic of Christmas? There are a few reasons why, and I’m going to talk about a few of them in this post. I used to receive an orange in my stocking at Christmastime every year. Even though the thought brings back fond memories, I think I’d rather get a stocking full of these Chocolate Orange Cookies! The stockings that my parents would pack for us back in the 80s and 90s were quite different.
I remember stockings not being a big deal at all. And, I can’t remember our stockings being stockings, but being fashioned more like a bag. I can’t remember the earlier years, but I can remember our stockings being Christmas-themed gift bags. Truth be told, I loved those, because mom and dad could fit more into them!
DO YOU PACK A STOCKING ON CHRISTMAS EVE?
Every single time I pack a stocking I always think back on the stockings I would open on Christmas morning. I stuff stockings with gift cards, chocolates, and smaller items like a DVD or a magazine, etc.
My childhood stocking never consisted of gift cards or presents of any kind. Our stockings were mostly food. I remember there being a can of Pringles. There would always be a can of Cott or RC Cola. A Toblerone bar was quite common, as well as an over-sized candy cane.
Without fail, there would be pretzels, and a box of Neilson chocolates. There was always a bunch of grapes wrapped in aluminum foil. There would be hard Christmas candy, an apple, a banana, and always, that one familiar orange right at the bottom. I wish there would have been some of these Chocolate Orange Cookies in it!
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
I TAKE A CHRISTMAS STOCKING VERY SERIOUSLY
The only food items I include in a stocking is a chocolate of some type. I like to include a roll of lifesavers or even a package of breath mints. Oh, and I did mention that they are all wrapped. Every single item, no matter how big or how small, no matter how cheap or how expensive, etc., each and every item in the stocking is wrapped in Christmas paper.
It’s become a tradition. And, once all of the presents under the tree are opened, we take turns opening one item at a time from our stocking. But, looking back on my adult years, not once have I packed an orange in a stocking. You can read about our family traditions here.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
SO, WHY ORANGES?
So, why are oranges such a popular stocking stuffer in the first place? Once upon a time, oranges were quite expensive and were only afforded by the wealthy. In traditional Christmas fashion, it’s a time of year of indulgence, so many not-so-wealthy individuals would splurge and purchase oranges for their children. It was a sign of prosperity and good things to come to partake in a fresh orange on Christmas morning.
Another reason is that oranges symbolize the season of giving. Since oranges are so easily divided because of the sections, the orange was the perfect food for sharing with friends and family. If only one orange could be purchased, then everyone could get a section or two at least.
One particular reason stems from an old fable from years ago. As the story goes, a man had three daughters that he could not marry because he was too poor to afford a dowry. St. Nicolas tossed three bags of gold down the chimney, which happened to land in each of the girl’s stockings. With the bags of gold, (balls of orange) the three daughters were married and lived happily ever after.
Hmmmm… does that mean if I put an orange in McKenna’s stocking this year she’ll think I’m trying to marry her off early?
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh, and be just as soft, as the day you first baked them.
Chocolate Orange Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup candied orange peel
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer to cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the orange juice and orange zest. Beat into the butter mixture.
- Add the flour and salt. Beat until just incorporated.
- Add the chocolate and the candied orange peel. Beat until just mixed through.
- Divide the cookie dough into three equal portions. Place two portions aside, and keep them covered they don’t dry out.
- Lightly pat the cookie dough into a ball and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to slightly less than 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut rolled dough into rounds using a cookie cutter. (I used a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter.) Transfer to baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie. Round up remaining dough and roll again until dough is used up. Repeat with the other two portions of cookie dough.
- Bake for 13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.