Recipe: Orange-Chocolate Cookies

Why you should bake: Because orange and chocolate are an evergreen combination. Add in a buttery shortbread cookie, and this becomes the definition of a go-to cookie.

Degree of difficulty: It’s one of those recipes that radiates the impression that you went to a tremendous amount of fuss, but only you will know that you didn’t.

What we didn’t tell you: As with all cookies, ingredients are everything. That’s particularly true of this one, since it’s basically butter, chocolate and orange. Buy the best of each that your budget affords.

Fun fact: The recipe was baker Eileen Troxel's first foray into recipe contests, proof positive
that you can't win unless you enter. "Last year, my neighbor knocked on my door with the Taste section cookie contest in herhand and said, `Eileen, you should be winning this,'" Troxel recalled with a laugh. "So I did it for my neighbor."
 

ORANGE-CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Note: This 2007 winner is from Eileen Troxel of St. Paul, who adapted it from Traditional Home magazine.

1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature, plus extra for chocolate dipping sauce
1 c. sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
2 c. flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/4 c. orange marmalade, divided
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add egg yolk and orange zest, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour and mix until just incorporated.

On a lightly floured work surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2 -inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds, and place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, gathering up scraps, re-rolling and cutting until all dough is used. Using your thumb, make a slight indentation in center of cookie and fill with 1/4 teaspoon orange marmalade. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a double boiler over gently simmering water, melt chocolate, whisking in enough butter (1 tablespoon at a time, up to about 4 tablespoons) to make a good dipping consistency. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate and place on wax paper until chocolate sets.