Orange, Pistachio and Chocolate Shortbread Recipe (2024)

By Sue Li

Updated Dec. 5, 2023

Orange, Pistachio and Chocolate Shortbread Recipe (1)

Total Time
50 minutes plus 8 hours’ chilling
Read community notes

This buttery shortbread showcases the classic combination of candied orange and dark chocolate. The cookie ages very nicely and is even better in the days after it is baked. The cookie dough will feel crumbly when it’s removed from the mixing bowl but pressing the dough into the baking pan and allowing the dough to hydrate over the course of a few hours will help it come together.

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Yield:48 cookies

  • 3cups/383 grams all-purpose flour (see Tip)
  • 1teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • cups/284 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾cup/150 grams granulated sugar
  • 1large egg yolk
  • ½cup/76 grams roughly chopped candied orange peel
  • ½cup/76 grams shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 4ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (48 servings)

109 calories; 6 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 1 gram protein; 41 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Orange, Pistachio and Chocolate Shortbread Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Step


    Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale in color, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula, as needed. Add egg yolk and blend until combined.

  2. Add flour mixture and mix on low until combined. If there are dried bits of flour left around the bowl, use a rubber spatula to incorporate. Add orange peel, pistachios and chopped chocolate and fold in with a rubber spatula. (The dough will be crumbly. If necessary, use the electric mixer to add the mix-ins, or work them in with your hands until fully incorporated.)

  3. Step


    To form the cookies, line an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with plastic wrap and leave a generous amount of overhang on all sides. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press very firmly to flatten in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough 8 hours or overnight before baking.

  4. Step


    To bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Step


    Using the plastic wrap overhang, remove the dough from the pan and cut the square into three equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle crosswise into roughly ⅓-inch-thick slices (about 48 cookies total) and lay them flat on the prepared baking sheets, about ¾-inch apart. (If the dough crumbles when slicing, simply push the mixture together to reform the cookie.) Bake until lightly golden on the bottom but still blonde on the edges, 15 to 17 minutes.

  6. Step


    Remove from the oven, allow cookies to cool on the sheets. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


  • If using volume measurements, using a spoon, fluff and scoop the flour into a measuring cup, then scrape with a straight edge to level. This will help prevent adding too much flour, which can yield overly crumbly dough.



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Cooking Notes

Patti K

For those not fond of candied orange peel, dried dark cherries would make a good substitution.


I think she means you should line the 8x8 pan with plastic wrap--with enough overhang to cover the dough once it's in the pan. I believe there is a mistake in Step 5 where it says, "Using the parchment overhang, remove the dough from the pan"--I think that's supposed to be "Using the plastic wrap overhang." The sheet pans are lined with parchment paper, because the cookies are actually baked on those.


Please recommend candied orange peel that doesn't taste like a chemical concoction.


Rather than chill the dough in an 8x8 pan and slice the rectangles, why not pat it out in a regular sheet pan and later use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into squares? The pizza wheel will actually cut through the orange peel, but a knife will make the dough crumble--as the recipe warns. That suggestion aside, this recipes seems to have excellent basic proportions. I am grateful for that: thank you. This may be the kind of classic that can be adapted with all kinds of different add-ins.


Recipe says 3 cups or 419g of flour. Most sources say 1 cup = 125g, so 3 cups would be 375g. I used 375g and consistency of resulting dough was just right. I could cut in to slices with only very minimal crumbling.


Can you sub fresh grated orange peel for the candied?


Has anyone tried roll the dough into a log, chilling, and then cutting into rounds instead?


If the pan is 8" x 8", and you divide the chilled dough into 3 equal rectangles, and the end result should be 48 cookies, or 16 cookies per rectangle, shouldn't the slices be 1/2" thick rather than 1/3" thick?


I can’t see that weight conversion being correct for either the flour or the sugar. As previously mentioned in another comment, 3 cups flour would more likely weight 375g; ¾ cup sugar wound weigh 150g not 175! These are pretty big discrepancies!


Followed recipe as directed with exception of using dried cherries instead of orange peel and chilled overnight. Cutting the rectangles was very difficult as dough was very crumbly, was having to essentially completely reshape each cookie as I cut. It became easier as the dough warmed so consider allowing it to sit for 10 min before cutting. If using orange peel, orange blossom would be a nice addition. Was hoping for a lovely Christmas cookie to gift but the aesthetics were not there with shape


Just tried this and it is an absolute disaster. Dough completely too dry after refrigerating overnight. A crumbled mess of a waste of 1 1/4 cups of butter! Perhaps it needed a whole egg and not just the yolk


Reading cooks notes before I bake these myself and noting a number of people say the outcome was too dry and crumbly, the problem may be not enough fat to flour ratio. In a shortbread it is typically 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, 3 parts flour. (By weight not measure.) These may be a little "light" on butter. If that's the problem, adding just a couple of tablespoons could make a difference. I hope the author might revisit the recipe given the number of similar "dryness" comments.


Has anyone from the NY Times answered the question about the weights of the flour and sugar listed in the recipe which is different than standard weights for the measurement? ie 3/4 cup sugar is 150 grams in most conversions, not 175 gms and 3 cups of flour is 360 gms, not the specified 419 gms. I want to try this recipe but am reluctant until this question is answered given the comments on the crumbly nature of the dough and difficulty handling it.


8x8 = 64 sq in. To get 48, each should be 64/48 = 1.333 sq in.So each cookie could be 1 x 1.333 in.Cut the 8x8 into 8 strips one way, & 6 strips the other way.What's wrong with 1 x 2 in cookies? (32 cookies)


Unsalted pistachios: raw? dry-roasted? I’m guessing dry-roasted, but please make it clear in the recipe!


I should've known, based on the comments, that this might be a flop. Alas, after 8 hrs in the fridge, the dough was so crumbly as to make "reforming" impossible. The first batch was a series of crumbly hills of cookie. I then added 1 egg and about 1 T butter to the remaining dough and formed the second batch of cookies by hand. They were too thick/big, but at least they held together. And the taste was wonderful - buttery and not too sweet. Still, not sure I'd make these again.

Lauren Kerr

If you’re able to make the dough in a stand mixer, and measure by weight rather than volume, I’ve never had issues with crumbling. You simply let it mix till the dough really comes together. Then really chill it overnight.


Just make your own candied orange peel. So easy and delicious


Delicious but more of a delicate shortbread rather than biscotti.


I have made these three times. The first time I agree with many here that the dough was too dry and crumbly even after refrigeration. I added a second egg yolk and the dough was easy to work with and cut. With the second egg yolk they came out perfect. Great recipe. A relative keeps asking for a batch to be sent to them.


I've just made these for the second time - I adore them! I use an extra tablespoon of butter and a spoonful of the egg white to keep the cookies moist, and use a slightly rounded teaspoon of salt. I like my sweets on the salty side. But I upped the chocolate and pistachio by just a bit more than called for, and they are definitely better this time around. Next time I might try almonds, dark choc, and (rehydrated) dried cherries; or chopped hazelnuts, candied ginger, and 1/8 c orange zest.


Great cookie. I used pistachios, dried cherries and apricots, then put the dough in the pan and froze it for an hour before baking,eliminating the overnight refrigeration called for in the recipe. No issues with slicing, with this method.


I made about 8 nytimes cookie recipes for annual cookie drop. These were far and away the big winners. The only glitch was plastic wrap getting the dough out. Next time I’ll use a parchment overhang under the wrap.


Delicious! The cutting is difficult so the second time I made these I tried rolling the dough into two logs about 15 inches long and sliced them into 24 disks each. It was much easier then pressing the dough into a pan and cutting the slab into 48 small rectangles. The dough held together better, the cookies were evenly sized and they baked perfectly. What I don't recommend is using extra creamy butter. They are actually too buttery, almost greasy.


A good serrated bread knife works well for slicing the dough.


A good serrated bread knife works well for making the cuts.


I made these for my Mah Jongg group, and they came out perfectly - my new favorite cookie. And I LOVED the video!!


3 of us in the neighborhood made these and brought them to each other as gifts! I won’t say whose I liked best. :)


I used semisweet chocolate, homemade candies clementine peels, and added an extra tablespoon of butter, and used a whole egg and there was no crumbling. Made a 3x2 log, chilled the recommended time, and cut slices with a serrated bread knife. Turned out excellently.


My new favorite cookie. I had no problem with the dough holding together and they’re absolutely delicious.

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Orange, Pistachio and Chocolate Shortbread Recipe (2024)
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