easy desserts & recipes: cream filled chocolate & orange shortbread cookies
It was 1977 and I was 9 years old when my sister took me to the theater and I saw the most amazing special effects movie of my life. I never cared for sci-fi movies as a child because, oddly enough, I found them unrealistic. (Funny, though, I did like the Jetsons, the cartoon about a futuristic family.) I grew up watching the classics from the 1940’s and 1950’s. And, after seeing every action/sci-fi movie ever made (you do that when you have two boys) I still prefer the classics. But, I will always have a fondness for Star Wars.
George Lucas’ science fiction extravaganza opened up my eyes to a level of imagination I never considered and the story seemed completely plausible to my 9 year old logic. A whole generation of Star Wars fans was born on May 25, 1977 when the blockbuster movie opened for the first time. The movie was an instant hit, earning over $450 million in the US alone. Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon that has ceased to be any less relevant than the day it opened. Lucas’ Star Wars Empire has grossed over $4,800,000,000 worldwide over the past 35 years.
With its timeless plot of good versus evil and a total of six Star Wars films my children have also grown up loving the series. There was a time when my own two boys were younger that my home was filled with the sound of dueling light sabers and the breathing of Darth Vader. Of course, being the only female in the house I’d have to don the earmuffs, pretending to be Princess Leia.
The light sabers have been donated to charity along with the Darth Vader helmet. But, the love of Star Wars continues as my son leaves for school wearing a t-shirt that has a print of Darth Vader and the following saying:
“Join the dark side. We have cookies.” We may not be on the dark side, but we do have cookies.
You will need a Jedi mind trick to resist these delicious chocolate cookies. Bring them to your next picnic and the forces will be with you (couldn’t resist).
Cream-filled Chocolate/Orange Shortbread Cookies (Cookie from Simply Recipes)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a mixer for 5 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the vanilla and orange zest and mix for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides and add the rest of the flour mixture. Once incorporated mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
4. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough on it. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. (You can also lightly flour a work space, but I find my method far easier, cleaner, and the shortbread keeps a sandy texture by not picking up the extra flour.) You may find the dough getting too soft. If it does, place it in the freezer for ten minutes to firm it up before you continue rolling or cutting. (The dough is very hard to work with when soft.) Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. It can be difficult to tell when these cookies are done, so when they smell like freshly baked cookies and the edges are slightly firm but still give a bit. Remove the pans and allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Vanilla Cream Filling (Martha Stewart)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (butter flavored)
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until well combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, and beat to combine. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.