German Chocolate Orange Cookies (Orangenplätzchen)

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There’s nothing about these cookies I don’t like. The batter is delicious (and believe me, I tasted enough to say this with certainty). They’re just as delicious after they’re baked too, although they’re not as sweet as, say, chocolate chip cookies or oatmeal raisin. That’s part of what makes them so good, I think. They would probably be just as good with a little lemon rind thrown in if you want to try out another citrus flavor.

I got about 18 cookies because my cookie cutter was a bit larger than 2 inches, so I ended up having way too much glaze. If you find that you only have 18 or 24 cookies, cut the glaze recipe in half and don’t saturate the cookies with the glaze. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (1 bar), very finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice ($0.66)

Cream the butter, sugar, orange zest, and salt with a mixer (on high) for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute at moderate speed. Add the chocolate and flour and beat at low speed just enough to combine. Then divide the dough in half, flatten each half into a 6 inch circle, wrap them in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

After chilling the dough, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll each circle of dough between sheets of lightly floured wax paper until 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling with flour once during rolling. Carefully peel off the top piece of wax paper. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds, but do not lift off the paper.

Slide the paper of cut dough onto a baking sheet and set in the freezer for 5 minutes so the individual cookies will be easier to remove. Using a spatula, carefully lift the cookies from the wax paper and space 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Transfer at once to wire racks set on wax paper.

While the cookies are baking, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the orange and lemon juices in a small bowl until smooth. Brush the glaze on the still-warm cookies once they’re done baking.

Prep time: 30 minutes (2+ hours chill time)
Bake time: 10 minutes
Makes: About 2 dozen

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