Candied Blood Orange 6 Spice Shortbread Cookies

Let’s be honest, Santa deserves more than just a crumbly sugar cookie. I’ll be leaving him these special candied blood orange 6 spice shortbread cookies.

-North Dixie Kitchen

Speak the truth North Dixie Kitchen! We were not only taken by the the introduction to this recipe (as seen above), but also the amazing flavor profile of these unique holiday cookies.

This week, I found myself wanting to bake something new for the multitude of family members that will be gracing my parents’ house over the holidays. I’m not one to knock tradition—I love my family’s holiday baked goods and the respective aromas that annually waft through the house during the season. Nevertheless, motivated by my favorite food blogs and magazines, I went on a social media odyssey in search of sensory appealing holiday cookie recipes. What I discovered was nothing short of enticing.

The recipe: Candied Blood Orange 6 Spice Shortbread Cookies. My favorite fruit AND a cookie? Sold!

Candied Blood Orange 6 Spice Shortbread Cookies
Yields 16
A sweet & spicy holiday cookie to add to your seasonal repertoire!
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
For the cookie
  1. 2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
  2. 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cloves
  3. 4 star anise
  4. 1 tsp (5 mL) cardamom
  5. 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) ground ginger
  6. 2 vanilla beans, scrape out inside
  7. 1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cubed
  8. 1/4 c. (60 mL) sugar
  9. 1 c. (120 g) flour
  10. 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) salt
For the candied oranges
  1. 16 slices of blood orange
  2. 1 c. (200 g) sugar
  3. 1 c. (240 mL) water
For the candied oranges
  1. Make sure that your orange slices are all roughly the same size. Remember when cutting your oranges you want to cut width wise not length wise. This will ensure that you get those beautiful flower shapes.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil until all of sugar has dissolved. Add in blood orange slices. Simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. With a slotted spoon, remove blood oranges and let cool on a drying rack with a piece of parchment or paper towel underneath it.
While oranges are simmering, start on your shortbread dough
  1. In a bowl, combine cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamom, ground ginger, and the inside of the vanilla beans. In a food processor, chop ingredients until a fine consistency.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, four, and salt. Add in butter. Mix until dough resembles a course meal-like consistency. Gather dough and roll into a ball. Refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C) and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll out dough, using a cup or mason jar top, cut circle shapes into your dough. Shapes should be around the same size as your blood orange slices. The cookies will expand a bit so if your dough shapes are slightly smaller than one or two slices they should expand and become larger NO FEARS!
  5. Line your cut outs on your cookie sheets leaving about half an inch in between each cookie. Add one orange slice on top of each circular shape.
  6. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the outsides are light golden. Remove and let cool on a drying rack.
  1. In lieu of Blood Oranges, Cara Cara Oranges work well because they are also low in acidity. You won't get the same striking red color, but they'll still turn out beautifully.
  2. In lieu of a food processor, coffee grinders work well too!
  3. Save those vanilla beans! If you already make your own vanilla extract, toss them into the container to get everything you can out of them. If you don't--- simply put the beans in a small glass bottle or jar and add vodka or bourbon until the beans are submerged. Store in a dark place and shake weekly. In 8 weeks your homemade vanilla extract will be ready to put to use!
Adapted from North Dixie Kitchen

Blip #1: Blood oranges are most definitely in season, but could I locate any in my general vicinity? No. Apparently, Whole Foods will be stocking them, “Maybe later this week?”

Blip #2: I know I can make these with other citrus, but incorporating a varying citrus profile would mean some recipe reworking. Am I up to this challenge?

Solution: Cara Cara Oranges

Blood Orange 6 Spice Shortbread Cookies

Cara Cara Oranges

Cara Cara Oranges are NOT the same as Blood Oranges. However, they are similar in that they both have low acidity, and are rich in color and flavor. Had I not seen one of them cut open at the grocery store, it never would have occurred to me to do a little side research on them. Here’s a great rundown on the similarities and differences of the two types of oranges.

Candied Citrus 6 Spice Shortbread Cookies

Voila! You almost don’t want to eat them!

This recipe is the perfect addition to your traditional rotation of holiday sweets and comes highly recommended by our team. These are simple enough to make, yet sophisticated enough to gift to the host of your next dinner engagement. Need something more? Give a ChefXchange gift card to all of those food lovers in your life that are difficult to shop for.

Last but not least, Happy Holidays from your ChefXchange team!