Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies

Chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies are an easy slice and bake cookie that pairs bright citrus with rich dark chocolate.

chocolate dipped orange shortbread on a rack

What’s better than an orange in the toe of your stocking? A chocolate orange, of course! These cookies take that classic holiday combo and run with it!

Easy slice and bake shortbread cookies are a specialty of the house here in the Great Island kitchen. I come back to them again and again not only because it’s the easiest cookie dough I’ve ever made, but because the flavor and texture of shortbread can’t be beat. The simple combination of sugar, butter, and flour cooks up into a soft, crumbly cookie that literally melts in your mouth. The basic dough can take on many different flavor profiles, and in this case, it’s a sweet juicy orange accented with some rich chocolate. How can that not be delicious??

a stack of chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies

what you’ll need for chocolate dipped orange shortbread

  • orange zest ~ I use the zest of one orange
  • granulated sugar
  • butter, unsalted
  • all purpose flour
  • salt
  • orange extract (optional) I used Nielsen-Massey brand.
  • dark chocolate for dipping
slicing orange shortbread cookies

my special orange sugar infuses real citrus flavor

Of course I used my favorite citrus sugar technique for these cookies, why wouldn’t I? And, of course, the orange flavor just pops!

what is orange sugar?

It’s plain granulated sugar that has been processed with the zest of an orange. But combining the two in my food processor I’m able to extract the most flavor from that zest and infuse it into my sugar.

making orange sugar in a food processor

how to make orange sugar

  • Put granulated sugar in a food processor. For this recipe it’s 1 cup.
  • Use a sharp serrated peeler to peel the orange zest from one orange in thin strips. You don’t want any of the bitter white part, just the orange part, see the illustration above. You’ll smell an intense orange aroma the minute you start zesting as the orange oil bursts into the air. Note: you’re not peeling the orange, you’re just removing the thin outer layer, or the zest.
  • Process until the orange and the sugar are completely combined, this will take under a minute. Pulse the machine, if necessary, to make sure you get all the zest evenly ground.
  • The sugar will be pale orange, moist, and incredibly fragrant. It’s ready to use.
  • Orange sugar doesn’t keep well, so plan to make it as needed for recipes.
chopping chocolate for dipping orange cookies

a dip in chocolate elevates a plain cookie

It’s one of my favorite techniques for turning a delicious cookie into a holiday cookie!

You can dip any plain cookie, whether homemade, or not. Use your favorite store bought cookie for a super simple semi-homemade treat.

orange shortbread cookies with melted chocolate

chocolate dipping tips

  • Bar chocolate melts easier and has a better consistency for dipping than do chocolate chips.
  • Be sure to chop your chocolate finely before melting to help the process along and prevent over heating of the chocolate, which can cause it to seize up.
  • Transfer your melted chocolate into a small deep bowl for dipping. The extra depth will help when you dunk your cookies into the chocolate.
  • Set your dipped cookies down on a piece of parchment paper to set up. When they’re completely hardened you can remove easily to eat or store.
  • As an alternative to dipping, you can drizzle the chocolate over your cookies.
orange shortbread cookies with melted chocolate

why is there no orange juice in this cookie?

Cookies, especially shortbread cookies, are low moisture foods, that’s what gives them their crisp chewy texture. If we add too much liquid to cookies they take on a puffy, ‘cakey’ texture. The real flavor of the orange resides in the zest, anyway. That’s where the potent essential oils are stored, and this cookie takes full advantage of that.

a stack of chocolate dipped orange cookies

more shortbread to try

chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies
5 from 5 votes

Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies are slice and bake citrus-infused cookies dipped in dark chocolate.This classic combination is fabulous!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
chilling 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 27 minutes
Yield 48 cookies
Calories 150kcal
Author Sue Moran


for the orange sugar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler into strips ~ just the orange part, not the bitter white pith.

for the cookies

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange extract (optional.) You can also use vanilla.

chocolate dip

  • 8 ounces dark or semi sweet bar chocolate, cut in small pieces


to make the orange sugar

  • Add the sugar and the zest to the bowl of a food processor and pulse/process until combined.
    making orange sugar
  • The zest should be finely ground and the sugar will be moist and pale orange.
    orange sugar in a food processor

to make the cookies

  • To the orange sugar in the processor, add the flour, butter, salt, and extract. Pulse to combine, then run the machine until the dough comes together into a ragged clump. This should take under a minute.
    making orange shortbread cookie dough
  • Turn the dough out and bring together with your hands so there are no crumbly parts left. Divide in half and form 2 logs of dough, about 12 inches long each. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Slice the logs of dough into 1/2 inch slices and place, 2 inches apart, on the cookie sheets.
    a log of orange shortbread cookie dough
  • Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until just turning golden on the very edges, but still pale on top. Longer cooking will result in a crisper cookie, while shorter cooking time will yield a softer cookie.
    baking orange shortbread cookies
  • Let the cookies cool completely on a rack before dipping.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, starting with one minute, then in 15 second bursts, stirring well in between.
    Coconut Snowball Cookies ~ When you make these cookies, it's guaranteed to be a white Christmas!
  • Dip each cookie half-way into the chocolate, and then set on parchment paper to harden up. Sprinkle with more orange zest, if desired.
    chocolate dipped shortbread cookies with orange slices and melted chocolate

Cook’s notes

  • Halve the recipe for a smaller yield.
  • For a delicious variation, substitute lemon zest for orange zest.
  • Add chopped dark chocolate to the orange shortbread dough.


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Does this really use 4 sticks of butter, 1/2 c each stick? I tried this and cookies just spread all over the pan. I refrigerated overnight.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 22, 2022 at 12:23 pm

      Yes, that’s the ratio of all my shortbread cookies, I’m not sure why yours spread Judy. Remember it’s 4 cups of flour.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Sue how do you keep your dough logs so round? My logs always have a flat side. Thank you for all your shortbread cookie recipes. I’m a shortbread fan and have made many of your recipes.

  • Reply
    Marsha L Motzkus
    December 25, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve loved your recipes. I can’t wait to make these cookies.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 8:21 am

    These look delicious. Today i’m making your lemon snowballs. I particularly like that they’re nut free, so my daughter can eat them. And lemon!! Yum.

  • Reply
    December 24, 2021 at 7:48 am

    Sue, thank you for all the great cookie recipes this season! I have tried one or two but have pinned the rest for later! We will have a delish list to try in the coming year!
    Merry Christmas ?

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