Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies packed with chocolate and laced with orange zest.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Elise Bauer

Please welcome Garrett as he shares the most chocolate-y of shortbread cookies. We ate them ALL. ~Elise

If you're lucky, you have a certain special someone who surprises you with dinner when you get home and takes out the trash without being asked.

Someone who instinctively knows that you can take on the world even when you're doubting your ability to just slog out of bed in the morning and who is happy to be hugged by you even when you're rank with sweat from the gym.

If you're lucky, and your loved one is someone who adores chocolate, then I have the recipe for you!

These chocolate shortbread cookies have a richness that's as sweet as a kiss goodnight. A heavy dose of orange zest perfumes them making them all the more tempting (assuming you weren't hooked by the words "chocolate" and "shortbread" already).

If you're looking for something different and chocolatey, then these are the perfect Valentine's Day treat - or even the perfect Just Because treat - for that special someone.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 30 servings

I like Hershey's Special Dark for this recipe as it gives baked goods a dark, nearly black color and a rich cocoa flavor. However, Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa or any other brand will do just fine and give more prominence to the orange flavor.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt:

    in a bowl. (Do not skip this step as cocoa powder has a tendency to clump. You want the dry ingredients sifted to ensure a tender cookie.) Set aside.

  3. Make the cookie dough:

    Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a mixer for 5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix for 30 seconds.

    Add about half the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides and add the rest of the flour mixture.

    Once incorporated mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

  4. Roll out the cookie dough:

    Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on it. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. (You can also lightly flour a work space, but I find my method far easier, cleaner, and the shortbread keeps a sandy texture by not picking up the extra flour.)

    You may find the dough getting too soft. If it does, place it in the freezer for ten minutes to firm it up before you continue rolling or cutting. (The dough is very hard to work with when soft.)

  5. Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheets:

    about 1-inch apart.

  6. Bake:

    Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. It can be difficult to tell when these cookies are done, so when they smell like freshly baked cookies and the edges are slightly firm but still give a bit then consider them done (simply enough, it takes some judgment on your part).

    Remove the pans and allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
78 Calories
5g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 30
Amount per serving
Calories 78
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 7mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.