This, my friends, is the epitome of sophisitication in a cookie. And I won’t lie to you – it is probably the most complicated and time-intensive cookie recipe on this blog to date. But if you break it down into steps that you do on different days, it doesn’t seem that time-consuming, and the end product is SO much more than just your typical chocolate chip cookie. Where can I even begin with this one. It’s an ultra dark base using both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. And then there is the homemade candied orange peel that goes into the dough for the ultimate in amazing flavour combinations.
If you think that you don’t like the combination of chocolate and orange together, firstly, what is wrong with you, and secondly, try it before you judge. I mean, chocolate tastes good with pretty much any fruit except for the melon family, but it pairs particularly well with citrus. I always long for the beautiful candied orange peel strips dipped in dark chocolate in the fancy chocolate shop’s window, but since one little piece costs $2 typically I rarely indulge. But you can make your own candied orange peel and dip it chocolate yourself and then just feel incredibly accomplished. The recipe here makes a bunch and you only need half for the cookies, so I highly suggest making the whole batch, storing the leftovers in the fridge (it keeps for quite a while), and then removing them and dipping in chocolate every once in a while when you want to impress someone or just impress yourself.
But enough babbling. Onto to these utterly amazing delights. And bear with me because the recipe is a bit long.
Dark and delightful chocolate orange cookies (adapted from The Ulterior Epicure)
Ingredients – cookies
8 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. if you want you can reserve about an ounce of this to put into the dough itself, or grab additional chocolate chips to put in the dough because you know, why not
1 cup + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup + 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
100 grams / ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp of fleur de sel
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk (original recipe called for whole, but I used skim – gotta be healthy you know…haha)
½ batch candied orange peel, chopped
Ingredients – orange peel
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Making the orange peel – I suggest you do this one night several nights in advance of when you’re making the cookies if you don’t have a lot of time on the actual day/night you want to make the cookies.
Remove the rind from the oranges by slicing off the two polar ends (stem and blossom ends). Score the fruit in wide strips from one polar end to the other, cutting through the rind and the white pith, but stopping just shy of the flesh of the fruit. Peel the rind and reserve the fruit for other use (or eat it right then and there).
Put the rind in a small sauce pan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Drain the rind and return them to the sauce pan. Repeat the boiling process twice more. Set the rind aside to cool. If there is an inordinate amount of fleshy, white pith, gently scrape it away with a spoon. Slice the wide strips into thin strips – about the thickness of a chopstick.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the water and sugar. Place this over medium heat and bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange rind strips and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook the rind over a simmer until the strips of rind become translucent. The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the rind. This will generally not occur until the sugar syrup has sufficiently thickened. If the white of the pith is still opaque, keep cooking. I probably kept it on the heat for about 15 minutes. But you can pull it out and taste – obviously it needs to be sweet instead of sour.
Once the rind is sufficiently candied, remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents into a heatproof container. Let cool completely. Store the orange peel strips in the cooking syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. When you are ready to use the rind, drain them from the syrup and let them dry on a baking rack for no less than 6 hours, but no more than 12 hours. In addition to using them in cakes, cookies, and ice creams, they can be dipped in chocolate.
Now, cookie making time!
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put all the chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave, checking at 30 second intervals and stirring. Or be fancy and do it in a double boiler, but you know how I roll. Set the chocolate aside to cool once you’ve stirred it well and it’s completely smooth.
Now do your usual cookie thing. Cream the butter with the sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Then add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until incorporated (this is when it starts to really get delectable). Add the milk and chopped candied orange peel and beat until combined. Finally, add the cocoa powder, baking powder, and flour and fold in carefully until fully incorporated. You can add in a handful of chocolate chips around this time if you are feeling excessive (I normally am).
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch / 2.5 cm apart. Bake the cookies until they are just barely firm on top when lightly touched by are still very soft underneath, about 7 minutes. They will get firmer as they cool. They will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, but please, they are not going to last that long. This dough also can go in the fridge or freezer and is remarkable after removed from either. So by all means make a big batch and keep some on hand for those days when you just really need a special treat.
Dumping a whole lot of sugar into water
Ok, so this definitely isn’t your everyday cookie. But a bite of one of these is pure heaven and learning how to candy orange peel is just one of those fantastic life skills that is great to pull out of your back pocket every once in a while, right? After writing this I am craving these cookies so much right now. Sadly the dough and finished product are long gone…
One year ago: Cookies and cream cookies (another fantastic cookie recipe of mine if I do say so myself)