Cardamom,Orange and Chocolate Ribbon Cookies

October 24, 2011
4 Ratings
Photo by Nicole Franzen
  • Makes Approximately 36 cookies
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"

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TheAnxiousBaker
  • betty888
  • Whitney GB
    Whitney GB
  • Beautiful, Memorable Food
    Beautiful, Memorable Food
  • Hilarybee
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.

20 Reviews

TheAnxiousBaker December 23, 2021
The best cookie I tried this holiday season. Made exactly as above, in a 9x5 loaf pan. Next time I’ll up the cardamom slightly, use a darker chocolate, and trim the ends of the loaf before dividing into thirds and then twelfths. The cookies bulk up a bit when baked, and have a nicer consistency if not too slab-like.
sdebrango December 23, 2021
Thank you so much!! I am very happy you liked them!! I totally agree with you!! I have made 4 batches this season and plan on making again it’s one of my favorites. Thank you so much for making them and Happy Holidays🎄
EO April 19, 2019
I made with all butter and they turned out well. I used 74% chocolate and pistachios rather than walnuts. Personal taste - I will cut the sugar by 1/4 c next time.
DocSharc March 4, 2019
I made these yesterday and they are SO tasty and absolutely perfect with a cup of tea. I didn't portion out my halves of dough carefully so ended up with only 3 layers (2 chocolate, 1 orange) but that's OK. I'm looking forward to making these again!
betty888 June 30, 2015
I made these for my mom (for Mother's Day), and she loved them. I had to make them gluten free, but I will definitely make them again for myself, with wheat flour. I love cardamom and orange, so I will increase the quantities of both ingredients, and I may try a darker chocolate next time. All in all, great recipe, and very easy!
Whitney G. December 15, 2012
These are phenomenal. I made this to the recipe, and they are very tasty. I like that they are not too sweet, while still having a great rich taste. They were pretty easy to make to, but they look fancy. I might up the cardamom the next time I make them.
ubs2007 January 22, 2012
Cookies look lovely! I'm not a fan of shortening and was wondering whether I could substitute with butter.
Renee B. February 9, 2016
I'm sure you found the answer to this long ago but will post for new readers of this recipe (like me). I researched and the main difference in cookies is that butter makes them spread and shortening makes them taller. Butter will taste better. I'd go with butter and will one day when I make these. The flavors sound fantastic.
Renee B. February 10, 2016
I'll definitely try dark chocolate and all butter — probably more zest and cardamom too. I like intense flavors. Wish I'd found this recipe before the holidays when I normally make cookies but Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
Beautiful, M. January 14, 2012
Hilarybee November 19, 2011
Can't wait to try these! They look incredible. Orange and Cardamom is my favorite combo!
Ms. T. November 11, 2011
Congratulations! These look lovely--what a nice flavor combo.
EmilyC November 11, 2011
Congrats on having your recipe tested and photographed by the editors! These cookies look fabulous, and the flavors are right up my alley! Saved!
hardlikearmour November 5, 2011
Just got a chance to sample these, and wanted to say they are delicious. The chocolate and orange flavors are perfectly balanced. The cardamom is subtle. The texture is spot-on for my memory of ribbon cookies. Nicely done, sdebrango!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 27, 2011
I'd have to omit the nuts, but am thinking they would still be pretty wonderful!! I love chocolate-cardamom-orange combo. One of my favorites!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 28, 2011
No worries! I wish it was mine. I've made it and it's wonderful!
Bevi October 25, 2011
I love the little pieces of zest and nut weaving through the cookies. They sound lovely and I am adding them to my gift boxes!
fiveandspice October 24, 2011
Gorgeous! And they sound stupendously delicious too!
Niknud October 24, 2011
They are beautiful (just like hla says). How does one go about ordering one of these gift boxes? :) That might be a fun thing to do - organize a food52 cookie swap! Love cardamom, it's good in sweets and savories.
hardlikearmour October 24, 2011
These are beautiful! The people on the receiving end of your gift boxes are lucky indeed.