Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Cookies

'Tis the season for cookie exchanges.
Luckily for me, I'm just the hired help on this one.  Not the recipient of dozens and dozens of cookies.  For this my waistline is thankful.   This exchange is for my sister and her co-workers.  Never one to turn down a baking request, I'm happy to oblige whenever approached.  After all, the kitchen is my favourite place to be.  How couldn't it be?  Cupboards stocked with delicious ingredients and limitless possibilities.  It's not only my playground, but my laboratory as well.

I've got my eyes and taste buds set on cheesecake cookies this time around.  Yum!  The best of both worlds meet in one delicious mouthful.  It's a good thing these cookies headed out the door as soon as they finished cooling (well, almost all of them...) because they were scrumptious!  With a hint of orange, some chocolate, and rolled in a graham cracker/pecan topping, it's was hard to stop eating after just one.  I hope J's  co-workers enjoy a little cheesecake with their cookies.  If not, send 'em back my way.  I'm sure we can figure out what to do with them...

As an added bonus, if you enjoy eating raw cookie dough (and let's be honest, who doesn't?)  then you'll especially appreciate this recipe.  No eggs.  Go ahead lick the spoon...

Orange & Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure orange extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

In medium bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese.   Add in sugar and extracts, beat again. Stir in flour until well combined.  Add chocolate chips and mix well.  Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes so that it is easier to handle.
Meanwhile, mix together pecans and graham crackers to make the crust. Pour half of the crust mixture onto a large sheet of wax/parchment paper. Form a log with half of the chilled cookie dough and roll it in the nut-graham mixture. Repeat with remaining dough.  Transfer both logs to fresh sheets of wax/parchment paper and wrap.  Freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice dough into 1/2-inch thick rounds and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms are barely browned. Do not over bake.  Allow to cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
Store in an air-tight container.  Eat!!

Yields: approx 3 - 3 1/2 dozen
adapted from chickensintheroad


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