orange and chocolate ribbon cookies are festive and
delicious. They go beautifully with a cup of coffee
many holiday treats are, at heart, just butter cookies:
flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs and a lot of butter. It’s what
else goes into the mix — or how the ingredients are
handled — that distinguishes, say, spritz from pizzelles
week’s recipe came from Food52.com, but the author,
Suzanne Debrago, says its origins are in a 1960s Better
Homes and Gardens magazine recipe that her mother had made.
Debrago’s update of the festive chocolate and vanilla
striped cookie includes toasted walnuts, cardamom and orange
zest. The original had no nuts; the flavorings were just
vanilla, chocolate and (surely a 1960s signature) rum
website’s notes on the recipe indicate that "this
dough is the perfect base for any cookie, it’s very
forgiving and surprisingly easy to work with no matter how
much you handle it."
to rise to that challenge, so first I made the cardamom
version, which originally caught my eye because I love the
flavors of chocolate and orange together.
dough is indeed easy to handle, which is good because you
have to knead it quite a bit to get the chocolate smoothly
through that half of the dough. The stripes are created by
alternating the layers in a lined bread pan, chilling the
dough and then slicing it into rectangles. A refrigerator
cookie, really, but the striped rectangles are more fun than
round cookies, I think.
now how to adapt them to other flavors? A picture of an
Italian rainbow cookie elsewhere on the website inspired my
chocolate/pink/white/green stripes, but the flavors are my
Chocolate layer: Omit the toasted walnuts but add some
instant espresso powder.
Pink layer: Dried cherries, chopped and soaked briefly in
fresh orange juice (since I already had used the orange’s
zest in the first version) plus red food coloring.
White layer: Add a little almond extract and some toasted
Green layer: A bit of ground anise and green food coloring.
is insistent in her recipe not to overbake the cookies, so I
pulled the cardamom ones from the oven right at 10 minutes.
They had a little crunch, but many of the tasters later said
they liked that.
where baking becomes science: My four-color version had just
a bit more liquid, mostly from the orange juice, but at 10
minutes they were barely brown, and the cookie was soft, not
crunchy. Something to keep in mind for other variations.
definitely make these again, but might put pistachios and
orange liqueur in the four-color version. And for baseball
season maybe an orange-colored stripe will substitute in the
slightly by Kathy Morrison from Suzanne Debrago’s version
on Food52.com. The ingredients for the four-color variation
are at the end of the instructions.
toast nuts: Put nuts in a small dry frying pan over medium
heat, shaking often, until nuts just start to smell toasty.
(Careful — nuts can burn quickly.) Let cool before
cup unsalted butter, room temperature
cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
teaspoon baking soda
large egg, room temperature
tablespoons whole milk or half and half
teaspoon vanilla extract
unbleached all-purpose flour
of one orange
cup dark chocolate chips, melted (microwave is easiest)
cup toasted walnuts (see note above), chopped finely
mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric
mixer for approximately 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda
and salt; beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk and
vanilla. Add flour, slowly, and mix just to combine.
the chocolate in the microwave, at 30-second intervals,
stirring in between, until smooth.
the dough in half. Knead the melted chocolate and walnuts
into half the dough, then knead the zest and cardamom into
the other half. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic
wrap. Divide the chocolate dough in half; press half into
bottom of the loaf pan. Put half the vanilla dough on top of
the chocolate layer, now another chocolate layer, and finish
with the vanilla layer. Cover with plastic wrap and
refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and
invert pan onto cutting board; remove plastic wrap. Divide
length into 3 equal pieces (each 3 inches) and cut each
third into 12 equal pieces, about 1/4 inch thick.
cookies on baking sheet covered with parchment paper 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 light
brown. Too long and they become really crunchy.
VARIATION AND NOTES
dough into four equal parts. First layer gets 3 tablespoons
melted dark chocolate plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso
powder. Second layer: 2 tablespoons tart dried cherries,
chopped small, soaked briefly in 1 tablespoon (or less)
orange juice, plus 5 drops red food coloring. Third layer: 3
tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted and chopped, plus 1/2
teaspoon almond extract. Fourth layer: 1/8 teaspoon ground
anise plus 3 drops green food coloring.
Dough benefits from chilling. Rechill if it gets too soft.
Tasters said the orange/chocolate version had "great
flavor, crunch, aroma!" and was "not too
sweet"; the four-color ones were pretty, delicate and