Blood Orange and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blood Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was at last month's book club meeting where we were talking about The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner. I loved the book and I couldn't wait to talk about it, but I was also exceedingly excited to see my friends because I had a beautiful cake to share. It was a blood orange and chocolate marble cake that I'd made for myself for my birthday. It was something I'd simply thrown together, but I was still excited to share it. After all, it was my first birthday since having my baby, and therefore my first birthday as a mom!

My friend Aliyah had mentioned that she'd never had orange and chocolate together before, let alone blood orange and chocolate. I was stunned. "How is this possible?" I thought frantically, my mind racing with thoughts of my husband's absolute favorite flavor combination, and one of my top ten favorites as well! Naturally, I held my breath when she tried a slice of the marble cake. To my joy and delight, she loved it. I let out a sigh of relief. Driving home, I thought about how much of my own experience with food has been so shaped by the fact that I've had the luxury of exploring instead of simply consuming out of necessity. To cook is to explore, and to explore with flavor is to create your own world.

Okay okay...let's take a chill pill. 

What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to be limited with your flavors and how you put them together. Some rules do apply, of course, but that doesn't mean you can't have a blast with them. One of my favorite vehicles for flavors is, of course, the humble cookie. 

I'm obsessed with cookies! I make a big platter every year for the winter holidays, and I am always looking for new and fun flavors to try out with my family and friends. The trick with making cookies your own is to take something you know you love and twist it along the way. Let's think about what Grant Achatz coined as flavor bouncing, which is a neat technique I learned about for creating dishes when I was in culinary school. 

When you think of a chocolate chip cookie, chocolate is going to be one of the main flavors. You also usually have notes of brown sugar, which is lovely. Let's have a little fun by listing all of the things we know that go with chocolate.


  • Raspberry
  • Mint
  • Orange
  • Rose
  • Passionfruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Caramel
  • Pistachio
  • Marshmallow
  • Strawberry
  • Almonds
Quite a few more things go with chocolate, but we'll stop there for now. Since I know that it's late winter/early spring, that means that blood oranges are still in season. I adore blood oranges, as I think the standard naval oranges are a little too sweet and with too thick skin. Blood orange has thinner skin, a more fragrant zest, and is oh-so-pretty. Even better, my baby loves to eat them! It's easy for me to find reasons to keep them on hand. Are we sick of storytime yet? Alright. Let's get to the recipe. 

Courtesy of

Blood Orange and Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 6 oz vegan butter(or dairy butter of your choice), soft but not quite melted
  • 7 oz or 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • Zest of two blood oranges
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • Yes, I said soy sauce. Get over it.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 c old-fashioned oats, ground/chopped
  • 1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • Chocolate chips, as needed
Beat together the butter and sugar in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon, or in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. I personally prefer making cookies by hand because I enjoy the ASMR-esque quality of the sounds of butter and sugar scraping together. It's nice to make cookies when you're at home, alone, and all you can hear is that sound! Anyway...

When the butter and sugar are wholly combined and the mixture is light and fluffy, add your egg. Beat in the egg until fully incorporated and add in the blood orange zest. This may seem excessive but do trust me. To quote one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite plays: "I want to taste the fish. That's why I ordered it."

Add in your soy sauce, baking powder, baking soda, and oats, both ground and whole. Stir together until well-combined. Add in the flour, a third of a cup at a time, stirring gently to mix. For this recipe, I usually use about two cups of chocolate chips, but I'm guessing because I don't actually measure this part. Here's what I do instead:

Do you see the flecks of orange zest in the dough?

I mix in enough chocolate chips to the dough so I can tell that there are, in fact, chocolate chips in that dough. I cover it with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Then, when I'm ready to bake, I heat my oven to 325 degrees F and prepare my sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat mat, whatever I have on hand. I scoop out 2 oz balls of dough onto the mat and individually place more chocolate chips around the tops of the scoops so that the balls of dough resemble tiny porcupines. When I bake them, they look just perfect and I am ensured of having truly beautiful, Instagram-worthy cookies.

For larger cookies, I bake 6 to a half-sheet pan, and I'll usually get a dozen and a half out. For small ones, I'll usually get two-dozen! It, of course, all depends on the size that you, the reader, want to use. Either way, remember that you're the one who will be eating them at the end of the day!

Now then, let's talk for a second about why I chose soy sauce for this cookie, shall we? 

Soy sauce is a wonderful ingredient that I have in my cabinet at all times, and I think a lot of people have it too. Table salt and kosher salt are all well and good for the pure 'salt' flavor, but if you're going to make a cookie with a special twist in it, you might as well twist a little further and add some more depth. Soy sauce is made by fermentation and therefore has a beautiful depth to it. Chemically, it behaves differently as well, since it's in a liquid and not a solid form in the baking application. I think this is exciting! Even more, the depth adds to the blood orange, and it'll be one more little thing you can notice when you bite into this cookie. If you like, make a batch with soy sauce and another batch using a half-teaspoon of kosher salt and note the differences. I'm sure you'll see that you prefer the depth of the soy sauce more!

Baking is a funny thing that is quite a bit like chemistry in the sense of you have to be quite precise and therefore one isn't always afforded the luxury of experimentation. This is only true if you don't know the rules of what to do and where! I obviously can't change ratios of flours if I'm happy with the texture of the cookie, but I can switch around vehicles of flavor as I like it once I understand how compounds work and why they work the way they do. An alcohol-based flavoring extract, for example, is interchangeable. A liqueur is a little less interchangeable since it is - in fact - a liquid with some water in it, so you should treat it differently. All in all, this shouldn't scare you away. 

Now that you've got the basics and a little twisted fun to have, why not get out there and enjoy these cookies for yourself? I encourage you to experiment with your own flavor combinations, or even try another one of my twists on a classic, which is the ever-popular Chocolate Oregano Cookie. I hope you've had fun reading and learning about blood oranges and chocolate together and that you have a wonderful day or night. 

Happy cooking and happy eating!