Written by Marillyn of Just Making Noise
I simply love December. The special Christmas parties with friends & family, the homemade sweets, and especially in celebrating the birthday’s of my sweet Mommo, my Little Man, and myself. Yep, my birthday lands right between Christmas and New Year.
When Christmas rolls around, peppermints, eggnog, cranberries and all those seasonal treats make their appearance in our home. In the midst of all the special sweets, my heart always beats for those buttery shortbread cookies.
Since I married my hubby, nearly every year my in-law’s Scottish neighbors give us a plate of yummy homemade shortbread cookies.
They’re so good, that it sent me on a mission to make a healthier version and now I can’t picture a Christmas without these sweet buttery guys.
Of course, if you know me, I don’t usually settle for the original recipe. I usually like to spice it up without taking the focus off of what the cookie is supposed to taste like.
That led me to look for ingredients that I had around my kitchen and outdoors. Looking outside, I had oranges in abundance. My trees are currently heavy with beautiful balls of sunshine.
Since moving to our place in Honduras, I’ve learned to appreciate and use oranges beyond just making juice & zest. I’ve made dehydrated orange slices, orange powder and orange extract – which I used to make these fantastic buttery cookies.
Now, along with flavoring the cookies with oranges, I decided to use arrowroot powder and ground almonds as a substitute for cornstarch. For the sugar, I substituted honey and was pleasantly surprised how it complimented the rich, buttery flavor without it being too sweet. The results were melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
I’ve always enjoyed shortbread cookies just the way they are, but decided that these little guys needed something to jazz them up. Along came the idea of dipping them in chocolate and topping them off with orange zest.
Perfectly healthy & addicting!
I gave my family the first round of cookies to see if they passed the test. My hubby and kids LOVED them, especially jazzed up with chocolate and zest. My hubby even said they were way better than his old Scottish neighbor’s shortbread cookies. That’s right, baby!
Now my kids are begging for more – off to the kitchen I go to make a few more batches.
Naturally sweetened, almond orange shortbread cookies – jazzed up with chocolate and orange zest.
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (preferably soaked & dehydrated)
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 2 cups whole white wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 1/2 tsp orange extract or vanilla extract
- 2 tsp orange zest, plus extra
- slivered almonds
- dark or semi-sweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease two cookie sheets and set aside.
- Grind slivered almond finely in your food processor or coffee grinder.
- In a medium bowl, stir together ground almonds, arrowroot powder, flour & sea salt. Set aside.
- In your KitchenAid mixture or large bowl, beat together butter and raw honey until smooth. Add extract, zest and beat until light & fluffy.
- Add the flour mixture one cup at a time and blend to combine after each cup. When done, the dough should be thick and smooth.
- Scoop small amounts of dough into the palm of your hand, roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Gently flatten the balls using the base of a glass or the palm of your hand.
- Firmly press a piece of slivered almond on top of each cookie.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are just starting to brown at the edges.
- Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them onto a cooling rack.
- If desired, melt your choice of chocolate using the double boiler method. Dip each cookie and lay them on parchment paper. Sprinkle orange zest and allow them to fully cool & harden before moving them into a sealed container.
Before you head to the kitchen to make these guys., let me give you some suggestions. If you don’t have orange extract, don’t panic, simply use vanilla extract and increase the orange zest to 3 teaspoons. If you don’t have slivered almonds chop whole almonds in small pieces before measuring and grinding them. If you don’t have arrowroot powder, simply use flour instead.
What are your favorite shortbread cookies?