Looking for the perfect year-end potluck offering? Nothing says “I need a holiday” more than more than these star-shaped cookies! I admit, these cookies took a bit more Martha Stewart than I had to give. I made them over two days, refrigerating the dough after the first, and rolling out and baking on the second. An extra set of hands went a long way as the rolling and baking happened on a Monday evening after work (i.e. prevented tears upon my realizing just how much dough the recipe actually produced). Despite the fuss, these cuties were as tasty as they are pretty and well worth the trouble.
Tip: Keep unrolled dough in fridge between rolling, and keep cut out shapes in freezer before cutting out smaller shapes. This recipe makes LOTS of cookies!
This recipe for Chocolate Orange Hearts came from the Complete Cookie Book by Elizabeth Wolf Cohen.
Chocolate Orange Stars (or Hearts)
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
These stunning cookies can be made in any shape — you need three cutters of the same shape: about a 3 1/4-, 2 1/8 – and a 1 inch. [I have no idea what size my cutters are, but being a bit lazy, I did most of my cookies with just two cut outs, not three…]
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour [I used whole wheat]
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
Superfine sugar for sprinkling [I used regular granulated]
In a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth. [I just microwaved the squares about 30 seconds or until soft!]. Set aside to cool.
Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and juice until well-blended. On low speed, beat in flour until soft dough forms. Remove half the dough, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
With mixer on low speed, beat melted, cooled chocolate into the dough remaining in bowl. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.
Grease and flour 2 or more large baking sheets. On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll out half the orange-flavoured dough 1/8 inch thick (keep remaining dough in fridge). With a floured, 3 1/4 inch cutter, cut out as many hearts [or stars or whatever] as possible. Place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet [they do not expand when baking] and refrigerate [I put them in the freezer]. Repeat with chocolate dough, cutting an equal number of chocolate hearts, and place on another baking sheet. Refrigerate until all cut-outs are firm, about 20 minutes.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. With a 2 1/8 inch cutter, carefully cut another heart from centre of each 3 1/4 one. Place smaller orange hearts in chocolate ones and vice versa. Then use smallest cutter to cut out middle hearts, and replace in other coloured one.
Sprinkle cookies with sugar. Bake until golden about 10 minutes. Remove baking sheets to wire racks to cool slightly. Then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.