Orange Cardamom Shortbread Sweet-Hearts

Valentine’s Day is all about the Love, and I love cookies. I was recently contacted by Ogilvy Public Relations and asked if I would like to participate in a campaign for their client the American Chemistry Council. They had asked four bloggers to submit their favorite Valentine’s recipe for the campaign. As part of the project, ACC would send me an array of their plastic baking products such as mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, storage containers and silicone baking pans, (three big cartons full).

My recipe and photos are currently on their website for their “Plastics Makes It Possible” campaign, and you can view it right here. I was very honored that they chose to feature me, and was delighted to use the products that they sent me, as they really did enhance the baking process.

So, with Valentine’s Day being just a few days away, I hope you’ll try these shortbread cookies for your sweet-heart. The combination of fresh orange zest, cardamom and bittersweet chocolate is delish, and I put them on a stick…just because it’s fun! The first time I made these cookies, I dipped them in melted Nestle’s bittersweet morsels and I just couldn’t get the chocolate to the right consistency. I tried them again with Scharffen Berger Bitterweet Chocolate Baking Bar and the consistency was perfect, as was the taste. The better chocolate was twice the price of the morsels, but the appearance and taste of the Scharffen Berger was twice as good.

Bake some LOVE today!

Roll the cookies thick enough if you choose to insert the sticks

Orange Cardamom Shortbread Sweet-Hearts 

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  • paper lollipop sticks from craft store
  • heart-shaped decorations

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt and ground cardamom, and whisk to incorporate all the ingredients. Set this bowl aside.
  2.  Slice the butter into 1″ pieces and let it sit out until room temperature. Do not microwave. Using the paddle attachment on the electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Add the sugar to the butter, beating for several minutes to incorporate. Then add the vanilla and continue to beat a minute longer.  With the mixer on low-medium speed, add the orange zest.
  4. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture just until incorporated and a dough begins to form.
  5. Take the dough out of the mixer bowl and press dough into a rectangular shape. Flatten out the rectangle with your rolling-pin and then wrap in plastic wrap for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. When dough is chilled, roll out dough turning the dough 1/4 turn to achieve consistent thickness of the dough. Using cookie cutter, cut heart shapes. Cookies should be on the thicker side so that the sticks can be inserted into cookie.
  8. Gently maneuver the sticks into the cookies. If the stick pops through in the back, patch with a piece of scrap dough. Chill cookies for 20 minutes
  9. Prepare cookies sheets with parchment paper. Bake cookies 9-11 minutes, or until edges turn lightly brown.
  10. Let cookies  cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then place cookies on cooling rack.
  11. When cookies are completely cooled, gently melt chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave. Add the vegetable shortening and stir until dissolved.
  12. Dip cookies half way into melted chocolate and then place cookies on parchment covered sheets until chocolate is set.
  13. Decorate with chopped nuts, sprinkles of other garnish while chocolate is still wet.

Makes 24 cookies


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