Cardamom,Orange and Chocolate Ribbon Cookies

October 24, 2011
Photo by Nicole Franzen
Author Notes

Part of my gift box of baked goods is always these ribbon cookies, they are festive looking and delicious. This cookie is divided into four layers, a chocolate layer to which I added toasted walnuts and a vanilla layer with cardamom and orange zest. This recipe, which I have tweaked over the years, came from my mother ,and she got it from Better Homes and Gardens magazine in the 1960's. The original recipe does not contain orange or cardamom; you can omit if you like and just add the vanilla extract and, as the original recipe calls for, rum flavoring. Enjoy! —sdebrango

Test Kitchen Notes

The combination of spicy cardamom, bright orange, and chocolate complement each other well in this recipe. Adjust the ingredient amounts to your taste, if you prefer a bit more spice, less citrus, more nuts. If you prefer to change up the flavor combination altogether, this dough is the perfect base for any cookie, it's very forgiving and surprisingly easy to work with no matter how much you handle it. And the ribbon effect of the finished cookie is quite fun and will certainly get you thinking about the holidays. —Annie "Smalls"

  • Makes approximately 36 cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup good quality shortening at room temperature (I like Spectrum)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate melted (Use the microwave method -- it's great.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped finely
In This Recipe
  1. In mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment for approximately 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add flour and mix to combine with spoon. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30-second intervals stirring in between. It took me 60 seconds.
  2. Divide dough in half. Knead the melted chocolate and walnuts into half of the dough and then the cardamom and orange zest into the other half. Line a 9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Divide chocolate dough in half and press into the bottom of the loaf pan, now divide the vanilla dough in half and press on top of chocolate layer, now another chocolate layer, and finish with the vanilla layer. Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  3. Remove from refrigerator, invert onto cutting board, and remove plastic wrap. Divide into 3 equal pieces (each is 3 inches) and cut each third into 12 equal pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet with either parchment or silpat and bake for 10 to 12 minutes turning baking sheet around halfway through baking (5 minutes). BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERBAKE! Remove from oven when edges start to turn a light brown. If you leave them in longer than the prescribed baking time they become overdone and are really crunchy. I took out my batch of cookies at 11 minutes. They were just right. It's almost counterintuitive, but it's important for this recipe to adhere to the bake time.

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I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.