Candied Blood Orange Shortbread

This particular shortbread isn’t for everyone. Because you’re including an entire caramelized slice of blood orange, that’s quite a bit of softened rind; I’d recommend this for people who don’t mind the rind in orange marmalade, for example (though this doesn’t end up bitter, as marmalade often does). I’d call this a pretty grown-up, sophisticated sort of shortbread.

It’s also something of a time commitment, since you have to plan ahead to give the candied slices a day to crystallize and dry thoroughly. But all that said, these were interesting and fun to make, and I find them delicious to eat. ๐Ÿ™‚

Blood Orange and Jaggery Shortbread

(45 minutes + 15 minutes chilling time + 1 hr crystallizing time & 24 hrs drying time)

Ingredients:

4 blood oranges, sliced + 2 c. sugar and 2 c. water for crystallizing
3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c. jaggery or brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1 T blood orange extract or orange extract
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cloves

3 1/2 cups flour

Crystallize Blood Orange:

1. Add 2 c. water and 2 c. sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turned the heat to medium-low and add the orange slices. Simmer for 45-60 minutes until rinds are slightly translucent, stirring gently occasionally.

2. Transfer slices to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet; let sit for 24 hours until dry; dip in candied sugar if desired. (At this point, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.)

Bake Shortbread:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar; add the vanilla, blood orange extract, salt, and cloves. Then add flour and mix on low until dough forms.

3. Turn out dough onto floured board and shape into a firm ball. (If itโ€™s not coming together into a dough, the heat of your hands will help.) NOTE: Can be kept chilled at this point for several days, covered in plastic wrap, and then rolled, cut, and baked fresh.

4. Firmly pat flat and roll smooth (to desired cookie height, usually about 1/2 inch). Cut out circles (about the same size as the orange slices), place on parchment-covered baking sheet, and press a blood orange slice into each cookie; chill for 15 minutes (to help hold shape).

5. Remove from fridge and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, then remove to wire rack to cool.

NOTE: Can be stored frozen for two months, or will keep fresh for a few weeks.

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