Saturday 12 April 2008

Posh chocolate orange biscuits

It is a sign that I am moving up in the biscuit-making world when I go to a local farmers market and don’t feel terribly interested in buying the fine biscuits displayed by excellent bakeries because I have a fancy batch at home that I whipped up last night. What foodie would not be delighted with these butter biscuits with cocoa nibs and candied orange!

Last year Cindy shared her delight at making Haalo’s wonderful recipe and she has kindly helped point me in the direction of local sources of cocoa nibs (that is wholefood shops not cocoa farms). She called these biscuits (which our American friends would call cookies) ‘an addictive new rendition of the classic chocolate-orange combination.’ Haalo was similarly enchanted: ‘The nibs give you that chocolate flavour but without unnecessary sweetness, it's a more adult taste and the orange perfumes the whole cookie.’ I had to try these biscuits.

Luckily I had been warned by Cindy that the cocoa nibs were expensive. Once I found the cocoa nibs (at the organic wholefoods store on Lygon St in East Brunswick near the corner of Albion St), I also struggled to find what Haalo called ‘glace orange slices’. Finally, after some searching, I found candied oranges in the upmarket David Jones food hall. They are unbelievably beautiful glossy whole oranges. It seemed a shame to cut them but finely chop I did in my quest for these biscuits.

The biscuits were fairly straightforward to bake. Unfortunately I made them too big because they really are frightfully rich, old chap! The orange flavour was very pleasing and I enjoyed the chewy buttery biscuits but they are not really my sort of biscuit. E loved them but I would prefer a chunky textured choc chip cookie with lots of melty chocolate chips.

I feel a bit of a prole admitting my preference of the common chocolate chip over the posh cocoa nib. I think part of my reason is that I couldn’t really taste a lot of chocolate flavour in the biscuits. E and I tasted the cocoa nibs by themselves before I started baking and they tasted just like cocoa. Bluergh! So much for the claim on the packet that you should eat the stuff in trail mix to make you feel energized and happy. Which is not to say that I wont continue to experiment with the remains of the pack, but at $17 for 250 grams, I am not yet won over. Nevertheless I am glad I made these biscuits. They are definitely worth the experience.

Butter Biscuits with Cocoa Nibs and Candied Orange
(from Cook (Almost) Anything at Least Once)
Makes 40

- 125 grams softened butter
- 200 grams caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 grams self-raising flour, sifted (or use 200 grams plain flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking powder)
- 40 grams roasted cocoa nibs
- 40 grams candied orange (approx ¼ of a candied orange), finely diced

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Beat the butter and sugar in a medium-large bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla til well combined. (I did these steps by hand.)

Mix the candied orange with a spoonful of the flour to make sure it is well-coated and stop it clumping in the biscuits.

Gently stir the remaining flour through the butter mixture. Add the cocoa nibs and candied orange and stir til just mixed.

Drop teaspoons of the batter on a greased or lined baking tray. (I did heaped spoonfuls which was too big for the richness of these cookies so go easy!) These cookies will spread so leave space around them.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until a pale golden colour. Sit for a minute before using an eggflip or spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool.

On the stereo:
Wilde Jaeger: Alpine Myths and Masked Rites: Various Artists


  1. As soon as you mentioned the cocoa nibs, I thought, "ooh, bitter." I've had cocoa nibs at the organic market near my home (in a trail mix, come to think of it), and they are not to my taste, either--now, if you'd made that exact cookie with regular chocolate chips and everything else, the same, well--THEN they would have been irresistible!! (PS can't believe the astronomical price, either--wow.)

  2. Cocoa nibs are amazing! Especially in cookies. =) Fantastic idea. Those cookies remind me of my youth.

  3. I recently tried some chocolate made from cacao nibs and although really nice, it wasn't at all like your bog-standard Dairy Milk. As you say - each has their own place (but for a good bit of comfort eating I'd go for the bog-standard chocolate chip myself too!)

  4. The world would be a dull place if we all had the same taste, Johanna! There should be no foodie shame in preferring the much more economical chocolate chip. :-)

  5. thanks Ricki - bitter indeed! I think I would love these bisuits with choc chips and probably some oats too.

    thanks Romina - these biscuits also remind me of my youth because my mum sometimes made quite buttery ones

    thanks Lysy - that chocolate sounds interesting (albeit not comfort food)

    thanks Cindy - all your help in finding the nibs is appreciated - and I agree that different tastes are not a bad thing (and choc chips are a very very good thing)

  6. Chocolate and orange are an idea combo. These would be perfect with a strong cup of tea. I'll bet the kitchen smelled heavenly as these were baking!

  7. thanks Susan - the combination seems more butter and orange but it does have a pleasing comforting richness!


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