This is the last cookie I will be making to include in my gift boxes. It’s such a beautiful cookie, festive and delicious. The recipe came from my Mom, it’s probably from the 60’s, the original recipe did not contain cardamom or orange, that was my idea. Both are very subtle and go well together, the sum of all the parts makes a wonderful cookie. You can add whatever flavoring you like, you are not bound by cardamom and orange. I think orange, hazelnut and chocolate would be great. Almond extract to the vanilla portion would be lovely also. The great thing about these cookies is that you can change the flavor profile to suit your taste. I hope you enjoy!
Makes Approximately 36 cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup good quality shortening at room temperature (I like Spectrum)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
Zest of one orange
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate melted (Use the microwave method — it’s great.)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped finely
In mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment for approximately 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add flour and mix to combine with spoon. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30-second intervals stirring in between. It took me 60 seconds.
Divide dough in half. Knead the melted chocolate and walnuts into half of the dough and then the cardamom and orange zest into the other half. Line a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Divide chocolate dough in half and press into the bottom of the loaf pan, now divide the vanilla dough in half and press on top of chocolate layer, now another chocolate layer, and finish with the vanilla layer. Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, I freeze or refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375° F.
Remove from refrigerator, invert onto cutting board, and remove plastic wrap. Divide into 3 equal pieces (each is 3 inches) and cut each third into 12 equal pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet with either parchment or silpat and bake for 10 to 12 minutes turning baking sheet around halfway through baking (5 minutes). BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERBAKE! Remove from oven when edges start to turn a light brown. If you leave them in longer than the prescribed baking time they become overdone and are really crunchy. I took out my batch of cookies at 11 minutes. They were just right.