These Fudge-Striped Shortbread Cookies look like the kind you can buy in the store, but taste so much better! Crisp, buttery shortbread is coated with rich semi-sweet chocolate to make a delicious, beautiful treat.
Chocolate thermometeroptional, only if you want to temper the chocolate
This recipe works best in a large (10-14 cup) food processor. If you have a smaller processor, you should make the dough in 2 batches, and if you don’t have one, a mixer can be substituted using the instructions that follow. Begin by combining the orange zest and sugar in a small bowl, rubbing them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and very fragrant.
If you’re using a processor, combine the sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of the processor. Pulse briefly to mix the dry ingredients. Add the cubed butter and pulse in 5-second bursts, until the dough begins to clump together. Once it just comes together, turn it out of the bowl and knead it briefly into a ball.
If you want to use a mixer instead, use room temperature butter, and combine the butter, orange-scented sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat them together until just combined, then add the flour and mix on low speed until blended. Turn the dough out and knead briefly by hand to incorporate any dry patches.
Divide the dough in half, and roll each half between two sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper until it is 1/4” inch thick. Refrigerate each sheet of dough on a baking sheet or cutting board until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Working with one sheet of dough at a time, cut out 3-inch circles. Use a small 1-inch cutter to cut a hole in the center of each one. You might want to wait a few minutes to cut out the center circle, because cutting the dough straight from the refrigerator might cause the firm cookie dough to crack. Re-roll the scraps and cut again, until you have about 32 circular cookies.
Transfer the cookies to a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes, until they start to color and the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and, while still hot, press the cutters into the cookies again—the cookies will spread a little while baking, and re-cutting them after baking will keep the edges clean and neat. Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets before carefully removing them.
Melt the chocolate, and dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate, then place it face-up on the baking sheet. Once all of the cookies are dipped, refrigerate the tray to set the chocolate. Then flip the cookies upside-down so that the chocolate is on the bottom. Transfer the rest of the melted chocolate to a plastic bag with a hole snipped in the corner, and drizzle lines of chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Refrigerate once more to set the chocolate.
If you want to keep these cookies at room temperature in a somewhat warm environment, I recommend tempering the chocolate instead of simply melting it. Tempering is a simple process of heating an cooling chocolate to specific temperatures, and it makes your chocolate shiny, smooth, and able to withstand warmth without getting soft or sticky. You can learn how to temper chocolate here. You’ll need a chocolate thermometer, but nothing else in the way of special equipment.