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!
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. The stockings that my parents would pack for us back in the 80s and 90s are quite different than the stocking we present to our children nowadays.
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!
Every single time I pack a stocking for McKenna and John.e, and most years for my dad as well, I always think back on the stockings I would open on Christmas morning. I stuff their stockings with gift cards, chocolates, and smaller items like a pair of earrings for McKenna, and maybe a movie, a wallet, 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’s chocolates, 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.
Now, the only food items I include in a stocking I’m preparing is a chocolate or some type, maybe some stuffers like a roll of lifesavers or even a package of breath mints. Oh, and I did mention that they are all wrapped. Seriously, Dear Reader, 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.
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?
Well, Dear Reader, I’m going to wrap up day 10 before this post turns into a novella. Sometimes, I get carried away! Please be sure to take a look at the first 9 recipes in my 24 Cookies of Christmas series, by clicking on the name(s) of the recipes below.
Tomorrow, we’re heading back to my roots with another very traditional Newfoundland recipe which is particularly rustic and nostalgic – at least for me!
UPDATE: Since all of the 24 Cookies of Christmas have now been published, I’ve compiled the complete list for you right here!
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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.
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