March Shortbread Project, Take Three: Chocolate Chip Orange Shortbread

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Orange chocolate chip shortbread. Simple, but perfect.

For the next installment of the March Shortbread Project, I made a rustic shortbread cookie studded with chocolate chips and flavored with orange peel. It didn’t look like a traditional shortbread cookie, which are usually shaped as narrow fingers, decorative squares, or thick wedges. Instead, this cookie looked like a regular drop cookie, with the same round and slightly lumpy shape.

I liked this unfussy shortbread – the crisp butter cookie married well with the soft and gooey chocolate chips, especially when they were right out of the oven. But this cookie was also a tease. When I see a drop cookie, I expect that it will be soft and chewy, with the texture of the classic Nestle Toll House cookie. I found myself disappointed that the texture of the shortbread drop cookie was crisp and crumbly, with a no-nonsense snappiness.

Still, as the week wore on and I was better able to accept this cookie for what it was, I found myself looking forward to them as an after-dinner treat. The chocolate-orange-butter combination is to die for.

I based the cookie on this recipe, but I made some changes. I omitted the orange extract, which I didn’t feel like buying, and upped the amount of orange zest to a full tablespoon. It may sound excessive, but you absolutely must add the full amount of zest – the orange makes the dough sing, and brings out the flavor of the chocolate.

Also, rather than adding a modest 8 ounces of chocolate chips, I dumped the whole 12 ounce bag in. After all, if you’re going to make a cookie with chocolate chips, why not go the whole hog? And this keeps me from eating the extra chocolate chips later (because you know that I can’t keep an open bag of chocolate chips in the house for long).

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Chocolate Orange Shortbread
Adapted from Epicurious


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs grated orange peel
1 large egg yolk
3 tbs whipping cream
1 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place sugar and orange zest and mix together until zest is evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Add butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add yolk, then cream, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until dough comes together. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by the tablespoon full onto prepared baking sheet, gently pressing down on the top of each cookie to flatten. Space 3/4 inch apart. Bake 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a rack to cool.



  1. Rebecca said

    I see that you lined your baking sheet with parchment paper. I don’t have parchment paper, is it something a good baker should buy? What would be the result if I just used a non stick cookie sheet?

  2. moderndomestic said

    You can also just butter your baking sheet- which I would do even if you’re using a non-stick sheet (you never know what will stick). I’ve used non-stick baking sheets before, but I’m not a huge fan (at least, for my oven).The non-stick coating is so dark that it conducts too much heat, and has a tendency to burn my baked goods.

    I use parchment paper a lot when baking – it’s less messy than buttering a baking sheet, makes it really easy to transfer cookies or other items from the baking pan to the cooling rack, and it’s especially helpful when making really delicate cookies that have a tendency to fall apart when you take them off the sheet. I also use it for lining the bottom of cake pans. I like it because it’s very consistent – I always know that my cookies will come off the baking sheet perfectly, every time.

    That being said, it’s not absolutely necessary in many cases – it just makes my life easier.

  3. […] This shortbread-ish recipe slips in under the wire as the final entry in the March Shortbread Project. […]

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