Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Just recently, I bought my first house. It took tons of work to get the place move-in ready. From tile to paint to the biggest cleaning job I've ever completed, this house was a big job. Even upon bringing all my belongings over, I've still been working on it, slowly but surely.

Because I was so busy getting the inside ready, I didn't have much time to get to know my neighbors. They were friendly, but I am of the old school mentality that you give greetings with baked goods. Well, maybe that is more because I am obsessed with my kitchen. Either way, I finally set aside some time to make some fresh cookies to give a nice, warm, "Hello!"


My final choices were my ever-so-great Cinnamon Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies (I can say great here because I even had my baking queen grandmother's seal of approval), another variety of those with ground up dark chocolate, and then a new option, Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies. Why cookies and not a pie or even cupcakes? Because I can make a couple different options and I don't have to worry about tearing up any lovely frosting jobs when I pack them up. Simple.

Shortbread cookies aren't new to me; Mantecaditos are a variety of them. Those were made with shortening, though, and this time I was using butter. The biggest difference in shortening vs butter is the length of time they will stay fresh. Butter has water that evaporates, while shortening will keep the cookie the right softness for longer. This is great to know with muffins--if you are baking and expect something to last longer, use some oil or shortening.

The batter was easy. Cream the butter and sugar, then add in flour. As a bonus, I added some vanilla bean paste and orange oil to the cookies. A slight citrus flavor and the chocolate make for a tasty combo. And no! I did not forget the eggs. There just aren't any.


I rolled the dough into balls about 1/2 inch thick and set them out on a baking sheet.


After about 15 minutes of baking, they were flattened slightly and the texture had changed into a dryer form, appearing much like your average cookie. Because these are a simple recipe, they don't get the same golden brown look that chocolate chip cookies do.


I let them cool for a while because I needed them to be dry enough to handle being dipped into chocolate without crumbling. Due to a time crunch, I let these cool and dry out for several hours. If needing them to be finished right away, I would suggest waiting at least 30 minutes, or just see how long it takes until you can pick one up without it crumbling.

Dark chocolate is a rich flavor, and tends to go well with citrus. Besides, with all the sugar in the cookie already, a bittersweet chocolate was the ideal yang to the yin.


After dipping each cookie, I laid them out to harden on some wax paper.


Mmmmm, chocolate...


LOVE. A shortbread cookie has that dryer than the average cookie, almost crunchy texture, and these fit the bill. The hint of orange, though subtle, added a good flavor that contrasted well with the less sweet dark chocolate. The overall bite was sweet, but not overly so. I was impressed by the end result.

Vanilla bean paste is sweet in itself - I tried some right out of the lil jar and it is totally edible on it's own (don't try that with the orange oil, though). It seems to be a cross between vanilla extract and whole bean, which is handy for all desserts. I do love the more sophisticated look of fresh vanilla bean in a dessert, so I was glad to have them scattered throughout the batter.

I packaged up my cookie selection into some cute little boxes and brought them over. I had the chance to learn some interesting history on the prior owners of my home (and I mean interesting), learned a bit about them, while making some new acquaintances in the process. Need an opportunity to make conversation? Bake it up.

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon orange oil
2 cups flour
4 ounces melted dark chocolate

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the butter is light. Mix in vanilla bean paste and orange oil. Add flour and mix until well combined. Roll into 1/2 inch balls and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool. Melt chocolate in a small bowl. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate and set on wax paper.

adapted from shortbread cookies recipe

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