A few years ago, my husband and I spent an anniversary weekend in Asheville, NC. Asheville is a beautiful city nestled on the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains and a place that I highly recommend everyone to visit. There are hiking trails that lead to picturesque mountain views, historical streets lined with cute little boutiques, and some of the best Indian food I have ever had. But beyond all of this, Asheville is home to a small bakery called Well-Bred, that is tucked on a side street and filled with superbly-crafted treats. One of those treats is a chocolate orange cookie that is arguably one of the best cookies that I have ever eaten. And I take cookie eating very seriously.
This cookie is the size of a salad plate and we mistakenly thought that we could just get one and share it. Quick piece of marriage advice- don't share cookies. It will be better for all involved parties. It was a fudgy cookie and its texture resembled a brownie more than your regular cookie. When it was broken open, little puddles of melted chocolate dripped onto your fingers. It was a magical experience and we went back to that bakery twice more that weekend, just for another cookie. *Another piece of marriage advice, find yourself someone who will take you to the same bakery three days in a row just for a cookie.
When we got home, I set out trying to recreate this cookie. I decided to make mine smaller so that you wouldn't have to even consider sharing them with someone else. The batter for this dough is very runny, but that's what gives the fudgy consistency. Just let it set up in the refrigerator for a little and then they will be scoopable. You can play with the different types of chocolate used, but I have found that I prefer the way that dark chocolate complements the orange flavor.
Chocolate Orange Cookies
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of one orange
juice of 1/2 of an orange
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat sugar with eggs, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Because of the high egg amount, it will be more runny than fluffy, but you want to make sure that the everything is really well incorporated.
3. Slowly add flour and baking powder, scraping down the sides to make sure that everything is mixed.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the chocolate mixture and mix until completely combined. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using either a medium or large cookie scoop, portion cookies onto tray, leaving space between them because they will spread a little.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes for smaller cookies, 10-12 minutes for larger cookies. Let cookies cool at least 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a cooling rack.