These orange shortbread cookies are buttery, zesty, and have a decadent chocolate cardamom filling! They're packed full of zesty orange and rich chocolate flavor. The easy orange glaze gives these cookies a wonderful texture and sweet orange flavor. These shortbread cookies are gorgeous gourmet cookies that are a must make for Christmas, the holidays, and all year round! A great addition for Christmas cookie boxes and cookie exchanges. The flavor and presentation are sure to impress!
🍊 Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- Orange: The shortbread and glaze are packed full of real orange flavor from the zest and juice.
- Texture: These orange shortbread cookies are buttery, zesty and melt in your mouth.
- Chocolate: They are filled with the most decadent chocolate cardamom ganache.
- Easy: This recipe is super easy to follow and uses minimal ingredients, but doesn't lack in presentation!
📝 Key ingredients
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
- Butter: A good, quality unsalted butter will make all the difference. These are shortbread cookies which primarily have butter, so the butter flavor is pretty strong. I don't recommend using salted butter because it can make the cookies too salty. Additionally, salted butter has a higher moisture content than unsalted butter, causing the cookie dough to be more wet and creating a harder cookie.
- Oranges: Grated orange zest in the cookie dough, and orange juice in the glaze give these cookies loads of zesty orange flavor! You can experiment with blood oranges and other citrus fruits. Try making my tangy lemon shortbread cookies.
- Egg yolk: Since I added a bit of orange juice into the dough, adding an egg yolk helps keep the texture tender and crisp. It also gives a more yellow-orange tint to the cookies.
- Chocolate: I used semisweet chocolate chips for this recipe. You can use chopped dark or milk chocolate instead if you prefer.
- All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
👩🍳 How to make chocolate orange shortbread cookies
Orange shortbread cookie dough step by step
Step 1: In a large bowl, rub together grated orange zest and sugar with your fingers until moist and fragrant.
Step 2: Beat in softened butter and salt into the sugar mixture until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl.
Step 3: Add the egg yolk, orange juice, and vanilla extract into the cookie dough mixture. Beat well to combine.
Step 4: Sift the flour right into the same bowl. Fold the mixture until a thick cookie dough forms together.
Step 5: Use a flour dusted rolling pin and roll out the dough to about ¼" thick. Keep a piece of parchment paper under the dough to prevent sticking.
Cut out round cookies using a round cookie cutter. I love using this linzer cookie cutter. Cut out star shapes or holes from the middles of half of the cookies. Reroll the scraps to cut out more cookies.
Step 6: On a parchment lined or non stick baking sheet, place cut out cookies about ½" apart. Chill the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes while preheating the oven to 320°F (160°C).
Bake them for 15-18 minutes, until the bottoms are barely golden. You don't want them to brown! Bake in batches and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Chocolate ganache filling step by step
Step 1: In a medium heatsafe bowl, place chocolate ganache or chopped chocolate. In a saucepan, heat cream until simmering and bubbling - keep an eye on it so that it doesn't boil over!
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Without mixing, add cardamom and salt on top then cover with a plate and allow to rest for about 8-10 minutes.
Step 2: Uncover the bowl and whisk the chocolate mixture together until smooth and creamy. Pop it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to thicken to a spreadable consistency.
Orange glaze and assembly step by step
Step 1: Add powdered sugar into a medium bowl. 1 tablespoon at a time, add freshly squeezed orange juice to get a dippable glaze consistency.
Step 2: Dip the tops of the cookies with the middles cut out into the glaze. Scraping off any excess glaze on the edge of the bowl. Place glaze side up to set and harden on a piece of parchment paper or cooling rack .
Step 3: Remove the ganache from the freezer once it is a spreadable consistency. If it's too firm, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to warm up slightly. Add about a teaspoon of ganache onto the bottom of a whole cookie.
Step 4: Top ganache with a glazed cut out cookie and press down well.
✔️ Expert shortbread cookie tips
- Use good quality real butter: Shortbread has a very buttery flavor so it's important that you use good quality butter since that's where most of the flavor will come from.
- Chill the cookie dough: Before baking, and while the oven is preheating, pop the cut out cookies into the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the cookies keep their shape really well and gives them a tender, crisp texture.
- Store the cookies in a single layer: This prevents the chocolate ganache at the top from spreading and smearing.
- Don't make the glaze too thick: If the glaze is too thick, it will be really hard to dip and coat the tops of the cookies
- Don't over bake the cookies: Shortbread is best enjoyed when it's pale and not golden brown.
🥄 Make ahead and storage
These orange shortbread cookies store well - store the glazed and filled cookies in the fridge in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 days.
You can bake the cookies ahead of time and fill them right before serving. Store the cookies at room temperature for up to a day in an airtight bag or container. The filled cookies store well in the fridge too - just make sure to keep them in a single layer so that the chocolate doesn't smudge before it's cold and firm.
❔ Can you use other filling options
Yes, of course! If you don't love chocolate and orange together, here are some other filling options that might intrigue your taste buds more:
(You can also omit the filling altogether for a shortcut)
- Lemon curd
- Raspberry curd
- Orange marmalade
- Chocolate hazelnut spread
- Jams - like raspberry or apricot
You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on top instead of dipping the cookies into glaze!
📖 Recipe FAQs
Yes, since the cookies are filled with chocolate ganache, they don't get very soggy as they sit. For extra crisp cookies, fill them right before enjoying. Store them in the fridge so they stay crisp!
Yes you can! You can make my lemon shortbread cookies that inspired this recipe! You can also try using blood orange instead of lemon.
Yes you can, just omit the filling and glaze from the recipe.
It helps add warm spiced notes into the filling, and cardamom and orange are one of my favorite flavor combinations! You can omit or substitute it with cinnamon if you don't like cardamom. If you love cardamom, you should make my cardamom orange cinnamon rolls.
🍊 More related recipes
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Orange Shortbread Cookies
- large cookie sheet
- Rolling Pin
- linzer cookie cutter
Shortbread Cookie Dough
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large oranges zested
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 cups all purpose flour 360g
Chocolate ganache filling
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate about ¾ cups
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream about 32-35%
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom optional
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Orange cookie glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons orange juice squeezed from the zested oranges, as needed
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine grated orange zest and sugar. Rub together with your fingers until moist and fragrant.½ cup granulated sugar, 2 large oranges
- Add the softened butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Beat until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl.1 cup unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Add the egg yolk, orange juice, and vanilla extract into the cookie dough mixture. Beat well to combine.1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 large egg yolk
- Sift the flour right into the same bowl. Fold the mixture to make a thick cookie dough. Stop folding when it comes together.3 cups all purpose flour
- Flatten the cookie dough onto a piece of parchment paper to help prevent sticking. Dust a rolling pin lightly with flour and roll the cookie dough to about ¼" thick.
- Cut out round cookies using a round cookie cutter. I love using this linzer cookie cutter. Cut out star shapes or holes from the middles of half of the cookies. Reroll the scraps to cut out more cookies.
- Place cut out cookies onto a parchment lined or non stick baking sheet. They will barely spread in the oven so you can keep them about ½" apart. Chill the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes while preheating the oven to 320°F (160°C).
- Bake them for 15-18 minutes, until the bottoms are barely golden. You don't want them to brown! Bake in batches and let them cool on a cooling rack.
- Place chocolate ganache or chopped chocolate into a medium heatsafe bowl. Heat the cream in saucepan until simmering and bubbling - keep an eye on it so that it doesn't boil over!4 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Add cardamom and salt on top. Don't mix it! Cover with a plate and allow to rest for about 8-10 minutes.½ cup heavy whipping cream, ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Uncover the bowl and whisk the chocolate mixture together until smooth and creamy. Pop it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to thicken to a spreadable consistency.
Orange Glaze and Assembly
- Add powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time to get a dippable glaze consistency.1 cup powdered sugar, 2-4 tablespoons orange juice
- Dip the tops of the cut out cookies with the middles cut out into the glaze. Scrape any excess glaze off the top on the edge of the bowl. Place glaze side up on a piece of parchment paper or cooling rack to set and harden.
- Once the ganache is a spreadable consistency, remove it from the freezer. If it's too firm, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to warm up slightly. Add about a teaspoon of ganache onto the bottom of a whole cookie.
- Top ganache with a glazed cut out cookie and press down well. Enjoy!
- Use good quality real butter
- Chill the cookie dough
- Store the cookies in a single layer
- Don't make the glaze too thick
- Don't over bake the cookies