Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars

Buttery, soft and crumbly these chocolate orange shortbread bars are packed with flavor! The combination of chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven! This recipe requires only 5 ingredients and comes together in literally minutes.

chocolate orange shortbread bars

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About The Recipe

Chocolate orange shortbread bars are bars of shortbread cookies that are flavored with orange zest and chocolate chips. They’re buttery, soft and quite literally melt in your mouth! These shortbread bars are a little but thicker than regular shortbread cookies, which makes them extra indulgent.

This recipe requires only 5 simple ingredients , and no you do not need any artificial orange extract because the zest of the orange itself contains so much flavor. You also do not need an electric mixer to make these cookies, but if you have one you can definitely use it.

These chocolate orange shortbread cookies are perfect for the orange season, and are great to make for you friends and family, or just for yourself because it is hard to share these! The recipe is totally beginner friendly, so even if you’ve never baked anything before, you cannot go wrong at any step.

What are shortbread cookies?

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit that’s made with 3 ingredients: sugar, flour and butter. Usually it’s made with the ratio of 1:2:3 for sugar: butter: flour, and it does not contain any leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. It has a high fat content compared to other cookies, which gives it it infamous buttery and crumbly texture. Read more about the history of shortbread cookies here.

For this recipe I added orange zest and chocolate chips along with the 3 main ingredients to make chocolate orange shortbread! And let me tell you that chocolate and orange are just meant to be together, especially dark chocolate! If you’re looking for regular chewy cookies that are chocolate orange flavored, or you just love the combo, here’s my chocolate orange cookies recipe.

What You Need To Make This Recipe

Flour: all you need is all purpose flour, I have not tried making shortbread cookies with any other type of flour.

Butter: It’s very important to have softened butter, otherwise it is going to be very difficult to combine with the other ingredients. Forgot to remove your butter from the refrigerator in advance? No problem, just use this easy hack! I used unsalted butter.

Sugar: use granulated sugar not powdered sugar!

Orange: You will need one large orange for the zest.

Chocolate Chips: I use dark chocolate chips because the bitterness really helps to balance the sweetness of the shortbread bars.

How To Make Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars

Step 1: In a large bowl mix together the granulated sugar and the zest of one orange. You really want to rub the sugar and orange zest together very well, this will release all of the oils that are present in the orange zest, making the shortbread bars as orangey as possible.

Step 2: Add in the softened butter and mix until the mixture become nice and creamy. You could so this with a spatula or an electric hand/stand mixer.

Step 3: Add in the flour and chocolate chips and fold to combine, the dough will look crumbly at this point. Now your are going to use your clean hands to bring the dough together.

Step 4: Transfer the dough into a greased and lined 6 x 6 inch square baking tray. Use your finger or a spatula to spread it out creating an even layer. Bake in an oven preheated to 160 °C / 320 °F for 25-30 minutes depending on how soft you want you shortbread. I prefer 30 minutes because I like mine a little on the crispier side, but if you prefer soft cookies, then 25 minutes will do.

Step 5: Once baked let the shortbread cool completely. Then remove the shortbread from the pan and cut them however you’d like. I made 12 square pieces. As an additional step, I like to drizzle on some melted dark chocolate (let it set) and then finish it off with some more orange zest!

Storing /Freezing The Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars

Store any leftovers in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

To freeze the baked chocolate orange shortbread bars: Once baked, let the shortbread cool completely, then cut it up (or freeze without cutting) and warp them in a layer of plastic warp, then place that into a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature, add on the melted chocolate (if you want) and enjoy! (Microwave for 10-20 seconds to warm it up a bit.)

To freeze the unbaked chocolate orange shortbread: Once you spread the dough onto the greased and lined pan, cover it up with plastic wrap and freeze. Once you’re ready to bake them, thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or at room temperature if you don’t have time), let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes then bake as usual.

Pro Tips

  • Here’s an easy hack to quickly soften butter: cut the butter into small cubes and place them onto a microwave safe bowl, then microwave at 20% power in 10 second intervals until the butter has softened (it should take about 20 seconds in total). Now you can use it to make you cookie bars!
  • Rubbing the orange zest into the sugar is important, because this causes the flavorful oils present in the orange zest to be released, giving the maximum orange flavor to our shortbread.
  • Measure your ingredients properly, especially the flour, adding too much or too little can drastically change teh texture of the cookies.
  • If you have a convection oven (oven with a fan setting), reduce the temperature by 20 degrees.
  • If you don’t like chocolate, you could also just make plain orange shortbread bars by omitting the chocolate chips and also the drizzle of chocolate on top.
  • Don’t have chocolate chips? No problem, you could add in chopped chocolate as well, or just leave it out to make delicious orange shortbread bars.
  • When it comes to the chocolate chips, you could add dark, milk or white chocolate chips.
  • It’s important to add in the chocolate chips with flour rather than adding it in after combining the flour, This ensure that they do no all end up at the bottom of the shortbread bars.
  • Want lemon shortbread bars? Add in lemon zest instead of orange zest and switch up the chocolate chips for white chocolate chips or just add no chocolate at all!

FAQ’s

Can I make the shortbread dough ahead of time?

You bet! Once you’ve made the shortbread dough, spread in onto the greased and lined pan then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. Just let the dough sit at room temperature for 10-15 before baking.

Can I skip the chocolate drizzle on top?

Of course, the bars still have chocolate chips in them, so they’re still chocolate orange shortbread bars.

Can I make this recipe without the orange zest?

Technically yes, but they would no longer be chocolate orange shortbread bars, they would just be plain shortbread bars with chocolate chips in it. You could also add in lemon zest instead to make lemon shortbread, and switch out the dark chocolate chips for white chocolate chips or add no chocolate at all!

How do I know the shortbread is finished baking?

The side will become golden brown and the top should be hard, the center however will be soft and look undone. but as the shortbread cools it will harden up. If you like softer shortbread bars, bake for 25 minutes, if you want it crispy then bake for 30-33 minutes making sure to keep an eye on them so they do not burn!

Why is my shortbread soft and mushy?

That’s probably because they’re underbaked. Just pop them back into the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes depending on how underbaked they were.

Check out my YouTube Channel for detailed recipe tutorials! Made one of my recipes? Tag me on Instagram, I would love to see your creations!

Recipe Card

Chocolate Orange Shortbread Bars

Buttery, soft and crumbly these chocolate orange shortbread bars are packed with flavor! The combination of chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven! This recipe requires only 5 ingredients and comes together in literally minutes.

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 35 min

Course: Dessert/Cookies

Servings: 12 bars

Calories: 316kcal

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened (200g)
  • 1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour (300g)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (100g)

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, bar or chips (50g) (for drizzling on top)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C / 320 °F, grease and line a 6 x 6 inch square baking tray.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine the granulates sugar and orange zest. Use a spatula to rub the orange zest into the sugar. Now add in the softened butter and mix until creamy (you could use an electric mixer if you have one).
  3. Sift in the all purpose flour, and add in the chocolate chips. Fold using a spatula until fully incorporated. The dough will look crumbly.
  4. Use your hand to bring the dough together, then transfer it into the prepared tray. Use your hand or a spatula to evenly spread out the shortbread dough in the pan.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how crispy you’d like your shortbread bars to be. Once baked let the shortbread cool completely before removing it from the pan and cutting it.
  6. Drizzle on some melted chocolate onto the cooled bars, sprinkle on some more orange zest and enjoy!

Nutrition (estimated per serving)

Calories: 315.85kcal

Total Fat: 18.55g

Carbs: 34.16g

Sugars: 12.98g

Protein: 3.5g

Sodium: 3.69g

Fiber: 1.75g


** Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more. **

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