The bright, zesty flavor of oranges always pair well with rich, creamy chocolate. It is versatile enough to be a good match for dark, milk and white chocolates, but even though it can pair with a wide range of flavors, I often find that chocolate and orange desserts can be a bit uninspired. These Blood Orange Brownie Sandwich Cookies are a fun take on the classic pairing of chocolate and orange, and one bite will rekindle your interest in this delicious flavor combination.
The cookies start out with brownie-like cookie rounds. The cookies are made with a rich batter that uses two different types of chocolate, as well as cocoa powder, for an intense chocolate flavor. They are so tender that they almost melt in your mouth! That ultra-tender texture makes them perfect for making sandwich cookies, as they will begin to meld with a filling almost as soon as they are stacked together. The filling in this case is a tangy mixture made with cream cheese, blood orange juice and blood orange zest. It is not unlike cream cheese frosting, but it should have a stiffer consistency so that it won’t run out the sides of the cookies when you are making your sandwiches. It is sweet, but makes a perfect contrast to the rich brownie cookies and the orange clearly stands out from both the cream cheese and the chocolate.
Every type of orange tastes different, so these cookies will have a slightly different flavor if you make them with naval oranges versus with tangerines. Blood oranges have a sweeter, more floral flavor than many other oranges, so they add a little bit of extra complexity to each bite. That said, if you don’t have access to blood oranges or if they are already out of season in your area, you can substitute a different type of orange and still have great results.
These little sandwich cookies keep very well in an airtight container and can be stored for several days after baking. The brownie-like cookies and the soft filling will meld together after the cookies are assembled and the orange flavor will become even well-integrated with the other flavors, leaving you with a perfectly balanced orange and chocolate combination in each bite!
Blood Orange Brownie Sandwich Cookies
3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp blood orange zest
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Filling and Topping
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp fresh blood orange juice
2 tsp blood orange zest
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or prepare a mini whoopie pie pan).
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest until well-combined. Stir in cooled, melted chocolate mixture.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk into the chocolate mixture, mixing just until everything comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour batter into a piping bag (or a large ziploc bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe quarter-sized dollops of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cookies will spread slightly as they bake, so leave about an inch between rounds of batter.
Bake for 5-7 minutes, until the cookies are set. Slightly larger cookies may need an additional minute or two of baking time.
Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Blend in orange juice and orange zest. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until icing is thick and fluffy.
Assembling and Decorating: Spread filling between cooled cookies and sandwich them together.
Transfer a small amount of leftover filling into another piping bag (or a ziploc with the corner snipped off) and drizzle lines of the orange mixture over the tops of the sandwich cookies.
Makes about 36 sandwich cookies.