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orange i cooler than you

Recipe: chocolate-dipped orange peel cookies

Cooler than most of you, anyway! We are nearly a week away from the summer solstice and it is snowing outside.

and this is why i live here

Perfect timing as I have a double batch of lentil soup simmering on the stove. All of the barbecue I’ve been making over the past few weeks has me craving non-terrestrial animal foods. I say non-terrestrial because I don’t think I could ever EVER tire of seafood, our lovely, tasty, wonderful aquatic pals… We hit another sushi bar yesterday, but I won’t post on that right now because I don’t want to freak my dear Graeme out with too much fish.

these are not fish: chopped candied orange peel

and some fresh grated orange peel

I was never a huge fan of the combination of orange and chocolate. After teaching a self-defense class one evening, all of the instructors and assistants got together for the post-class meeting and one of the assistants had brought a giant bowl of orange-chocolate mousse to share. I nearly gagged (and I am pretty sure it was good because she was seriously into pastries). Whenever Jeremy tucked into a Trader Joe’s package of chocolate-dipped orange sticks I would try to like them – take a nibble and hand the rest of the stick back to him. It was only recently when I made some chocolate-covered candied orange peels that the flavors finally grew on me. It’s not something I crave, but now I can at least appreciate it.

don’t forget the fresh squozen orange juice

For some reason I’ve been mulling over high altitude issues and why some of my best and most reliable cookie recipes suck ass at our elevation of 8500 feet. I know why – it’s the elevation. I want to know how to fix each and every one of the failed recipes which requires research and testing on each recipe (I have about 20 that I want to salvage). Oh, and butter-rich pound cakes – those chap my hide too.

mix the dough and chill

The last time I made these ginger-lemon cookies I thought there was too much spread when they baked. I referred to Susan G. Purdy’s Pie in the Sky [hmmm, I just mistyped Sky and wrote Ski – where do you think my mind is right now?] for guidance. Taking a cue from her Highland Shortbread recipe, I substituted the granulated sugar in the ginger-lemon cookies with confectioner’s sugar (powdered) and a few other adjustments. But instead of lemon and ginger, I went for an orange flavor.

slicing the chilled dough

ready to bake

I used homemade candied orange peel, orange zest, and fresh orange juice to flavor the cookie dough. Although Purdy’s recipe doesn’t call for chilling, I did refrigerate the dough because that helps to limit spreading. It seemed to work better this time for me.



I couldn’t resist that extra step of dipping the cookies in some good dark chocolate. Kind of a cookie version of the chocolate-dipped candied orange peel. The cookies on their own (no dipping) have a nice orange perfume to them and aren’t too sweet. But dipped in chocolate…

waiting for the chocolate to set

They are fantastic paired with the dark chocolate. Jeremy did a little happy dance when I asked him to taste test the cookies last night. I’m rather pleased and I think at least I’ve solved one of my problems in dealing with shortbread cookies. So that leaves me with what? 19 recipes left to test.


Chocolate-Dipped Orange Peel Cookies
[print recipe]

1/2 lb. butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt (heaping for 8500 ft.)
1 cup candied orange peel stored in syrup*, drained and chopped
1 orange, zest of
1 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

*People have had issues with the candied orange peel turning hard during baking. To remedy this, when you make your candied orange peel, store the peels in the syrup rather than drying the individual orange peel slices. You can dry the ones that you want to turn into orangettes, but for this recipe, keep them soft and moist in the syrup. This should help with the texture when baking.

Oven: 325°F (or for 8500 ft. preheat to 350°F and reduce to 325°F right as you put the cookies into the oven).

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth. Beat in the salt and flour until large clumps form. Add orange peel, zest, juice, and vanilla. Mix well and press the dough into a tight ball. Shape according to how you want your slices to come out (rectangles, squares, rounds, wedges), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Slice the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and place on cookie sheet with enough space between for spreading. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden (for 8500 ft. bake 20 minutes). Let cool completely on cooling racks. Melt chocolate gently (temper it if you will, but I am too lazy). Dip cooled cookies in chocolate or drizzle with chocolate and let cool until chocolate sets.

Makes about 42 1.5-inch square cookies at 3/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.

61 nibbles at “orange i cooler than you”

  1. Kitt says:

    Oh my. WANT.

  2. Mollie says:

    ack… me want!

  3. deb says:

    These look SO delicious.

  4. Amy says:

    I’m not a huge fan of orange and chocolate either, but I can choke it down. :) Beautiful cookies! Love the pictures of the just-sliced dough…almost looks like butter.

  5. manggy says:

    First of all… Graeme is a wuss. Don’t listen to him, lol.

    Second: you are just crazy to brazenly make a recipe which incorporates a flavor combination you know you don’t like! But I have to give you mad propz for trying (hey, that’s just payback for “squozen”, hahaha! :) I on the other hand like the chocolate-orange combination and think the cookies you’ve made are fantastic! When I saw you slicing the chilled dough, I got all excited and giddy (I think I shivered a bit in my seat) and thought, “Wow, I bet she’ll dip these halfway in chocolate!” Lovely!

  6. Bridget says:

    I got my sister Pie in the Sky for Christmas this year.

    I love all of your pictures of the mountains – it really makes me want to live somewhere beautiful. On the other hand, I’m not such a big fan of snow in June. I love warmth.

  7. Sarah Brin says:

    I just recently started reading your blog and am loving it. I am from Denver but have been living in Portland, OR for the past five years. I have recently decided to move back to Colorado and have been very inspired by all of your high altitude cooking adventures. I am excited to come home and have cooking adventures of my own with CO ingredients.

  8. megan says:

    Those cookies are beautiful! They sliced and baked perfectly.
    I must try them.

  9. Chuck says:

    Orange or not… I’ll eat anything dipped in chocolate! Your cookies remind me of Big Island Candies’ chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies. I just received a flyer from them yesterday. I think this post is a sign for me to order some cookies now!

  10. sharona may says:

    Now that is some cookie. It does look wonderful.

    Also, you are much “cooler” than us here in steamy Atlanta!

    Sharona May

  11. magicfish says:

    I’ve been swimming around your lovely blog for awhile now and I just have to let you know how totally cool it is. The photography, the recipes, the stories….and your courage. Pretty amazing stuff….thank you! Now….if only I could decide which recipe to begin with…..

  12. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    What beautiful cookies! Funnily enough I never was into chocolate-orange combo (mostly due to some truly vile orange-choc-chip ice cream that you can buy out here, the orange flavour mostly coming from orange food colouring) but tried some candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate a while ago which was delightful.

  13. peabody says:

    Oh my! I love these. I love the candied orange peel in a shortbread cookie. What a fabulous idea.
    We got snow in our moutains this week as well…crazy weather I tell ya!

  14. Mrs Ergul says:

    Looks so yummy! You’re really good! I will love to have some hehe

  15. Christine says:

    Oh Jen, these cookies look and sound awesome. What a fantastic use of fresh and candied orange. I love how you dipped them on the bias – so stylish! I am a cookie wimp but I’d love to try this one.

    Snow in mid-June, huh? Well, with the humid weather we’ve been having, skiing sounds perfect :)

  16. food librarian says:

    these look so lovely!! i can’t wait to try to make them. i just love orange in desserts.

  17. Y says:

    That biscuits look incredibly moreish. I’ve always found it puzzling that there are people out there who don’t get the chocolate orange combo. What’s not to like!?, especially chocolate dipped candied orange peel.. mm… I could eat a whole bag of those :-P

  18. Rosa says:

    Such perfect cookies! Very pretty and tempting! Delicious!



  19. Maya says:

    Those cookies look PERFECT!!!

  20. Pomme says:

    Funny you mention the lemon and ginger cookies, I’ve just tried your recipe this week (since I had made a batch of lemon peels using your recipe, which is much faster than mine!).
    I had to make mine with margarine though (I know, but my friends are vegan, so no butter allowed…). I didn’t put enough peels or ginger, but they were lovely anyway… so much so that my vegan friends didn’t get to see any of these bad boys!
    I’ll have to make more, I guess… dipped in chocolate. they look amazing!

  21. bee says:

    you may like this link.

    disclaimer: i’m not connected to this author or book in any way.

  22. Mia says:

    I’m also not a huge fan of citrus and chocolate….but I think that preference only works in one direction: I never want to dilute my chocolate with a citrus flavor, but I’ll always add some chocolate to the citrus! Go figure…

  23. Rachel says:

    Sometimes I like orange and chocolate together and sometimes I don’t. I had a delicious chocolate-orange souffle once that was to die for, but I hate those chocolate orange peel things too.

    But I’d definitely give these cookies a try.

    After seeing your photos of snow in June I have sworn off complaining about the heat wave in NY!

  24. Kevin says:

    Those cookies sound like they are so full of orange flavour! Dipping them in chocolate is a great idea!

  25. jenyu says:

    Kitt – they actually taste as good as they look in this case!

    Mollie – :)

    Deb – thanks!

    Amy – these cookies have grown on me, but I still prefer the lemon-ginger version.

    Mark – ha ha, don’t pick on poor Graeme! Well, I figure since I don’t like to eat sweets all that much, it doesn’t matter if I make a recipe that I love or don’t love because most of it or all of it will be consumed by others. And yeah, when I was thinking of making these cookies I said to myself, “you HAVE to dip these in chocolate!”

    Bridget – I haven’t done too many recipes from the book, but I do refer to it for altitude advice. My MIL gave it to me last year!

    Sarah – well thanks and welcome back to CO whenever you get here!

    Megan – thank you, I hope you find them to be satisfying to make and eat.

    Chuck – yes, I am cahoots with Big Island Cookies :)

    Sharona – oh you poor thing, living in Hotlanta?! I’ve been there many times. I think of it as a moist city…

    Magicfish – aww, you’re very kind. Thank you.

    Laura – I may have seen that ice cream when I was in NZ (I like to scope out grocery stores in other countries). I found it curious since we don’t have that here in the US. Now I know to avoid it :)

    Peabody – we must get some of the leftover crazy weather that you guys get ;)

    Mrs. Ergul – too bad you aren’t here, I’d make you take half of them!

    Christine – Shortbreads are pretty well-behaved (except where I live). You ought to give it a try since I know you are a candied orange peel pro! I like the cold spells we get here in summer. Takes the edge off when it does warm up.

    Food Librarian – then you’ll appreciate these cookies as they are very orangey.

    Y – all of the folks on my distribution list give the cookies a thumbs up, so I guess they’re a nice combo!

    Rosa – thank you!

    Maya – a ha ha! Hardly perfect, but you are very sweet to say so :)

    Pomme – I really like that lemon-ginger recipe – in fact, more so than this one. So glad you tried it and liked it!

    Bee – ah, thanks – that’s the book I referenced for this recipe. I like the way she tests everything at different elevations!

    Mia – ha ha :)

    Rachel – I like the cookies despite my aversion to chocolate-orange combos. It works nicely here. So funny that people fear cold more than heat. I love the cold and can’t stand heat!

    Kevin – thanks!

  26. Susan at Stickygooeycreamychewy says:

    I love those ginger-lemon cookies, but these orange-chocolate ones have my name written all over them! They are teasing me, sitting there on my screen, looking so available! I have got to make them…..soon!

    I can’t believe that you had snow again. It was 95 freakin’ degrees here today! I gotta get out of this town!

  27. Patricia Scarpin says:

    When I think I have tamed the Cookie Monster inside me, you go and post these, Jen. Not fair, not fair at all! :)
    I’m a sucker for citrus, and I love it that you tripled the orange flavor in these cookies.

  28. nadia says:

    Lovely photographs and a recipe i must try!

  29. Tartelette says:

    I am not a big fan of orange in baked goods or orange and chocolate for that matter..but if you say they are good…then I know what to bake once we don’t have 100F in the shade at 6pm :) !!! They lookk outstanding!

  30. White On Rice Couple says:

    For not being a huge fan of this orange/choc combo, you sure do represent them in style! These look fab, beautiful and perfect for a party platter! We’re always looking for good, delicious and quick desserts that can be grabbed off a platter!
    I just can’t believe it, more snow! We going to the Eastern Sierra’s at the end of this month and excited to see some of the same beauty that you see 24/7!

  31. Holly says:

    I love orange and I love chocolate, but not always together. I’m sure these strike the perfect balance though. They look incredible!

  32. jenyu says:

    Susan – that’s mountain living for ya ;)

    Patricia – thanks and sorry for tempting you! If I could somehow figure out how to include physical samples in my blog entries, then everyone would be happy ;)

    Nadia – thank you!

    Tartelette – oh hon, I hope you all cool down soon. Weather like that makes me cranky :(

    WoRC – I am always amazed at how many people like these cookies since I’m “meh” about them. I mean they’re good, but I don’t crave them. Yay, you’ll be in my favorite mountains!!! Take lots of pics for me :)

    Holly – thanks :)

  33. Hillary says:

    Wow – I think you’re a genius. Two reasons: 1. “Fresh squozen orange juice” = hilarious. 2. Your cookie idea is SO creative! Nice job.

  34. Father’s Day sweets « LUSCIOUS says:

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  35. Rachel says:

    These look amazing! You continue to inspire the amateur (sp?) chef in me. I hope you start to feel better soon. Take care.

  36. jenyu says:

    Hillary – heh heh, thanks :) It’s a pretty cookie and doesn’t taste all that bad either!

    Rachel – most all of us are amateurs and the whole point is to share and encourage one another – so I’m glad this post does that for you :) Thanks for the sweet sentiments!!

  37. wing says:

    Que bellas! Those orange cookies were begging to be made..but .I had tangerines and a pomelo. Wonderful, but no one wanted to wait for the chocolate bath. Made hot cocoa instead and they were all gone in an evening. Many thanks to you and you blog (made your delectable apple cranberry crisp for Chinese New Year)

  38. jenyu says:

    Wing – that’s great! Glad everyone enjoyed the cookies. Next time you should save a few for yourself and dip them in chocolate :)

  39. PL says:

    Hey Jenyu,

    the cookies are looking good!

    i followed your recipe and even made the candied orange peels… those were extremely yummy!

    However, i’ve one question when making this chocolate dipped cookie……following “chilling out” in the refrigerator, I had an extremely hard time trying to cut through those orange peels…. as they kinda seemed too hard? that made the mixed cookie dough break…and i had to mold some of the shapes eventually by hand.

    any insider tips to get the cuts nice like yours?

    thanx heaps!


  40. jenyu says:

    PL – sorry for the delay in reply (lots of travel). I use a really really sharp knife.

  41. Erica says:

    Yum! These look amazing. Going to try to get these made today- I got the orange peel preglazed from nutsonline and can’t wait to try this recipe!

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  45. Manu says:

    I found my way through Pinterest to your amazing blog! Such yummie looking recipes and well photographed food pics – I made your orange peel cookies today ( as well as the candied oranges first :)) and they are so good, I am hooked!! I just made a second batch!
    Now I am going to browse through your recipes and figure out what to bake next :)!
    Greetings from Germany,

  46. Kim says:


    Just made your cookies and the flavor was great but they turned out a little dry. I checked your recipe of the lemon ginger cookies and it calls for 2 cups of butter for 4 cups of flour. This recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of butter for 2 cups of flour. Is that correct? Also how did you shape these cookies so perfectly? Did you use a mold? Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Cheers from SF,

  47. jenyu says:

    Kim – Yes, that is correct, but if you found them to be on the dry side, I suggest increasing the butter a touch. For these cookies, I just formed a rectangular log and froze them. Then when I’m ready to bake, I slice the frozen dough with a reall sharp knife (just be careful!).

  48. laurence says:

    I thought the recipe was wonderful and just made these cookies, starting by the homemade candied orange peel. But when I cook them, the pieces of orange peel at the bottom of the cookies become harder and tougher when cooking, and not so nice in texture. Did it also happened to you?

  49. jenyu says:

    laurence – I think it did when I baked these on a cookie sheet directly, but not as much if baked on silpat. Perhaps make the candied orange peel softer before incorporating into the cookie dough?

  50. Tehilah says:

    Help, I made these and the candied orange peel became rock hard in the cookie. Its like biting into a delightful crumbly cookie and then hitting stone. Any idea where I went wrong?

    Nice flavor though.

    Blessings, Tehilah

  51. jenyu says:

    Tehilah – Hmm, I think people are encountering this problem as well. Perhaps the better way to make the orange peel is to candy it and then instead of drying the orange peel, just store it in the syrup. Then drain the pieces you want to use, chop them up, and add to the cookie dough. I imagine they’ll be softer this way rather than drying the peel as if for dipping in chocolate. Sorry about the confusion. I’ll edit the recipe.

  52. Patty Stone says:

    It got cold here too, all the way down to 70. Lol. That’s when I know it’s time to bake. Thanks for sharing your recipe. It looks awesome! I have lemon peel and orange peel in the cabinet and Persian Limes on the counter. I am going to make my first batch according to the recipe and the second with lemon peel and Persian Lime Juice and some browned butter I made by the ton. By the looks of your cookies I have no doubt they will be delicious! Hope 2015 winter is treating you well. And I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with plenty to be thankful for. Thanks for sharing your awesomeness with the WWW.

  53. Patty Stone says:

    WoW! My cookies are so tasty and look great too! Thank you so much for the recipe. I printed it off to add to my favorites. The aroma… after zesting and juicing and baking my house smells wonderful.

  54. Laura says:

    These are lovely! As suggested, made the candied orange peel and kept it in the syrup until ready to add to the cookie batter. The orange peel stays chewy. What a beautiful, delicious and elegant holiday gift!

  55. Aly says:

    I was in Colorado at a friends (8400 ft) and wanted to make Matzo Ball Soup, Bought a box of Matzo Ball mix and made like I always do, adding in chopped parsley and other goodies…..They disintegrated, tried a second time and they disintegrated as well. I can sympathize as to the issues cooking at altitude, sometimes you just cannot figure out what went wrong.
    Orange Shortbread Cookies sound great, may try this year for Christmas.

  56. Stella Southwick says:

    What is the syrup, how do you make it?

  57. jenyu says:

    Stella – When you make the candied orange peels per this recipe: there will be orange syrup leftover from the candying process.

  58. Cassie says:

    How many cookies does this make ?

  59. jenyu says:

    Cassie – one batch will yield 42 1.5-inch square cookies rolled to 3/8-inch thickness.

  60. Cassie says:

    Okay so, I’m making your candied orange peel for the cookies. Do I still need to dry them that long since they’re going in the cookies?

  61. jenyu says:

    Cassie – No, you won’t need to dry them. Reference the note in the recipe: “People have had issues with the candied orange peel turning hard during baking. To remedy this, when you make your candied orange peel, store the peels in the syrup rather than drying the individual orange peel slices. You can dry the ones that you want to turn into orangettes, but for this recipe, keep them soft and moist in the syrup. This should help with the texture when baking.”

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