Of all the many moments in a year, cookie season might just be the best. While I’m baking up my favorite sweets every month, cookies become so much more once the holidays hit. Suddenly, they’re an extra-special weekend baking project, a gift to drop off on neighbors’ stoops, and a delight to share with friends alongside a cup of hot chocolate. Cookies are the moment—and these Chocolate Orange Shortbread Linzer Cookies might be the tastiest treats you enjoy all season.

If you didn’t grow up with the nostalgic, foil-wrapped chocolate orange slices, then I’ll take a moment to wax poetic. The combination of bright and bitter orange against the chocolate’s sweetness is the ultimate flavor pairing. And as we were planning our holiday cookie swap and the recipes everyone would share, I knew I had to pay homage to my chocolate orange memories. These cookies are delicious, easier than they look, and wildly impressive to everyone you’ll share them with.

Linzer cookies are the ultimate sandwich cookie. They’re a traditional Austrian recipe adapted into a sandwich cookie that is lightly spiced and filled with jam. And while mine are a far cry from tradition, the formula is the same. A crumbly shortbread, a filling, and a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

My cookies lean on the buttery side of shortbread and are speckled with orange zest to add an extra burst of flavor. The filling is a simple but indulgent chocolate ganache and everything gets finished with a little sugar on top. If you prefer, you can nix the ganache and use jam instead, or even an orange curd if you wanted to lean all the way into the orange flavor.

Tips for Making Shortbread Linzer Cookies

Making a butter-heavy sandwich cookie can be intimidating. You want each cookie to be the same size—heaven forbid they spread in the oven! But don’t worry, I’ve learned some tricks to make this step extra easy. Hint: The fridge will be your best friend.

This dough starts off pretty soft. To cut into sandwich cookies, place the batter on a sheet of parchment paper and top with another sheet of parchment paper. With your dough between the two sheets, roll it out with a rolling pin to the desired thickness. Not only does this help keep the batter from sticking to the pin or the counter, but it also minimizes clean up. Then, you’ll place the flattened dough into the fridge for about thirty minutes or so until it’s completely solid. To bake, remove the solid dough and cut out shapes while the dough is still firm. Bake immediately.

The firm dough is easier to cut, and this method keeps the cookies from spreading in the oven. They maintain their pretty shapes and create the perfect cookie sandwich.

How do I make chocolate ganache?

I’m a fan of shortcuts in the kitchen. For the ganache, I heat up milk or cream in the microwave in 15-second increments. Then, I pour over a bowl of chopped chocolate, letting it sit until the chocolate is melted. Stir together until smooth and thick.

If your ganache is too thin, add more chopped chocolate to thicken or let set in the fridge. If it’s too thick, add heated milk or cream a little at a time. Worst-case scenario, I’ll just spread over melted chocolate and call it a day. Trust that these shortbread linzer cookies will be delicious either way.

For even more flavor, I add a little orange zest or a splash of Grand Marnier to tie the bright, citrusy bite together.

While I’ll be bringing these shortbread linzer cookies to my holiday cookie swaps, I keep a handful of other cookies in my arsenal for all the gatherings this season.

These chocolate peppermint snowball cookies are a chocolate lover’s dream.

My slice-and-bake cookies with cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate are a crowd-favorite.

I’ve made these gingery molasses cookies for the last two years and they’re always a hit.

And if none of those satisfy your craving for sweetness, get our free Holiday Cookie Guide that includes a collection of 10 recipes from our favorite food bloggers and recipe developers.

Scroll on for the recipe, and if you make these Chocolate Orange Shortbread Linzer Cookies, be sure to leave a rating and review, and tag us on Instagram so we can see yours.

Chocolate Orange Linzer Shortbread Cookies

Serves 18 sandwich cookies

These chocolate orange sandwich cookies are the ultimate holiday treat.

By Suruchi Avasthi
Prep

30 minutes

Cook

15 minutes

Categories

vegetarian

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar (90g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ¼ cup flour (270g)
  • Powdered sugar for garnishing

For the orange chocolate ganache:

  • 1 ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • Optional: small splash of grand marnier


Ingredients

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and orange zest. Beat for about 10 seconds at low speed just to combine the zest and softened butter together.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat for about 30 seconds at low-medium speed to incorporate until smooth, scrape the bottom if powdered sugar doesn’t incorporate fully. Note* Don’t overbeat together as we don’t want to incorporate too much air.
  3. Add the flour and mix on low speed at first, then bring up to medium. Dough will go from crumbly to cohesive. Again, don’t overbeat, just until the dough comes together.
  4. On a flat piece of parchment paper, place the dough and shape into a rectangle with your hands. Place another sheet of parchment on top and roll with a rolling pin to about ¼-½ inch thick. Place covered dough into the fridge, laying flat, for at least 30 minutes to an hour until the dough is firm. Note* Chilling the dough here is very important for ease of cutting out shapes and preventing spreading in the oven.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Remove dough from the fridge and peel off the parchment paper. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. If cutting out holes, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the middles of only half of the cookies. Note* If dough softens while lining sheet, place back into the fridge until solid again.
  7. Bake for 12-13 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  8. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Add the milk to a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup and heat in 15 second increments in the microwave until warm, about 45 seconds - we do not want the milk to boil! Add the heated milk to the bowl with the chocolate and let sit until the chocolate has melted. Stir gently to combine and until mixture is thick and spreadable. If too thin, add extra chocolate, if too thick, heat up a little more milk and add about a teaspoon at a time until spreadable. Add the orange zest, stir to combine. Let ganache cool completely.
  9. To assemble sandwich cookies, spoon a little of the ganache onto the cookies and spread into an even layer, sandwich with a cookie with a hole cut out. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

Instructions

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Comments (2)
  1. 1
    Kerry December 4, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    How many grams is 2 sticks of butter please.
    In Australia we don’t have sticks…. and use grams to accurately measure.

    Reply
    • Suruchi Avasthi December 5, 2022 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Kerry – 113g per stick of butter (:

      Reply