Halloween is fast approaching! Have you chosen your costume and stocked up on candy yet?… I haven’t dressed up since I was a kid. And these days my participation ends the moment I plunk that carved pumpkin in front of the house. Then I bunker down in the basement, letting my Mom ooh and ahh over all the little ghosts and ghouls. That being said, any excuse to bake! Right?! 😉
This year I decided to make cookies. Mainly because I have a bunch of Halloween themed cookie cutters that haven’t seen much action. There are bats and pumpkins and coffins… Ok, so I didn’t actually use those shapes, but I have an excuse! The bats and coffins were too small. I mean, who wants a puny cookie?… Then I decided that I didn’t actually like the pumpkin cutter. So, ya. I didn’t use that one either… But I did use a gravestone!… and a generic round one 😕… Moving on… The other reason I chose cookies was purely selfish. I just can’t get enough of cream filled sandwich cookies!!!
These cookies are soft and delicate, with a deep chocolate flavour, and just a hint of orange. It’s the addition of black cocoa powder that makes them extra dark and intense. If you can’t get any, you can use dutch-process cocoa powder in it’s place, but keep in mind that it will change their flavour and colour… The filling is sweet and creamy, with an orange kick, thanks to a little orange extract. Of course, feel free to skip the orange and keep it vanilla if that’s more your thing.
How do you celebrate Halloween? Or do you choose to skip it?
Dark Chocolate and Orange Sandwich Cookies
Recipe Type: dessert
Makes: approx. 18 – 20 sandwich cookies (using a 2 1/4 inch, round cookie cutter)
- 2 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 cup Black Cocoa Powder*
- 1/4 cup Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder*
- 1/2 cup Vegan Butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 cup Shortening
- 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tbsp Orange Juice
- 1 tsp finely grated Orange Zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup pureed Silken Tofu
- 3 tbsp Vegan Butter
- 3 tbsp Shortening
- 1 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 1/2 – 2 tsp Plain Non-Dairy Milk (I used unsweetened almond)
- 1/4 tsp Orange Extract (optional)
- Orange Food Colour (optional)
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Plain Non-Dairy Milk (I used unsweetened almond)
- Orange Food Colour (optional)
to make the cookies:
Whisk together the flour, black cocoa powder, and dutch-process cocoa powder. Set aside.
Beat together the vegan butter and shortening until soft and combined. Beat in the sugar. Add the orange juice, zest, vanilla, baking powder, and salt, and beat until fluffy. Scrapping the bowl when necessary. Beat in the tofu.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Mixture may become too stiff for a hand mixer, finish mixing dough by hand with a spoon if this happens.
Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disc. Wrap each disc tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one disc from the refrigerator and roll out to 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick (I kept mine on the thicker side).**
Cut into desired shapes and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.***
Remove the second disc from the refrigerator and repeat.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the cookie’s edges are firm.
Allow to cool for 3 minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack. Cool completely before decorating.
to make the filling:
Cream together the vegan butter and shortening. Beat in the sugar. Add the extract, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk, and beat until light and fluffy. If your frosting is too firm, beat in more milk, 1/4 teaspoon at a time (remembering that you don’t want the frosting too soft, or it will squish out the sides when the cookie is bitten into). Beat in food colouring (if using), a couple of drops at a time, until the desired shade of orange is reached.
to make the icing:
Stir together the sugar, salt, and milk until smooth. Stir in food colouring (if using), a couple of drops at a time, until the desired shade of orange has been reached.
Pair up all the cookies into matching sets.
Pipe or spread the filling onto the bottom cookie of the set. Place the top cookie onto the filling and gently press down to seal it in place. Repeat with the rest of the cookie sets.****
Using a bag fitted with a small holed tip, pipe designs onto the face of your cookies.
* You can use all dutch-process cocoa powder, but keep in mind that it will affect the colour and flavour of the cookie.
** Instead of working on a floured surface, I roll out my dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. This way I do not add any extra flour to the dough, which could lead to a tougher cookie.
*** This may seem obvious, but if you are using more than one cookie cutter, be sure to cut an equal amount of each shape.
**** I pipe my filling, as I find that it is both easier and results in a nicer looking cookie.