Friday, October 14, 2022

FOODIE FRIDAYS: Nibble While You Knit: Chocolate-Orange Sandwich Cookies: Guest Post and Recipe by Peggy Ehrhart

Foodie Fridays. Today I welcome Peggy Ehrhart. Peggy Ehrhart is a former English professor who currently writes the Knit & Nibble mystery series for Kensington. The eighth book in the series, Death of a Knit Wit, appeared in March and her Christmas novella, Death by Christmas Scarf, is included in Kensington’s just-released Christmas Scarf Murder. Her amateur sleuth, Pamela Paterson, is the founder of the Knit & Nibble knitting club, and Peggy herself is a devoted crafter. Visit her at


Peggy Ehrhart: Nibble While You Knit: Chocolate-Orange Sandwich Cookies 

My Knit & Nibble mysteries are set in charming—and fictional—Arborville, New Jersey, where my sleuth, Pamela Paterson, is the founder and mainstay of the Knit and Nibble knitting club. Other club members are Bettina Fraser, Pamela’s co-sleuth and best friend; Nell Bascomb, who is in her eighties; Roland DeCamp, whose doctor advised him to take up knitting as a way to relax from his stressful job as a corporate lawyer; and Holly Perkins and Karen Dowling, the club’s youngest members.


The members take turns hosting the club, and each week’s host serves dessert, a dessert in keeping with that member’s distinctive personality. 


Pamela bakes and serves classic and cozy desserts, like apple cake in Murder, She Knit, peach cobbler in Knit One, Die Two, or rhubarb cheesecake pie in Knitty Gritty Murder


Bettina ceded all cooking duties to her husband Wilfred when he retired, and he loves having a larger audience for his creations when it’s his wife’s turn to host the group. In Knit One, Die Two, he makes a glorious lattice-top apple pie, and in A Fatal Yarn, he bakes a shoo-fly pie.


Nell thinks people eat too much sugar. But when she hosts the group in Died in the Wool, she serves a yummy cherry strudel that her husband Harold fetched from a special bakery he patronizes when he’s craving the sweets that she disapproves of. Left to her own devices she makes a sturdy bread pudding using leftover bread in Knit of the Living Dead


Holly is a twenty-something who is enamored of mid-century modern style and, in fact, all things 1950s—as only someone who didn’t live through this decade could be. She seeks out vintage cookbooks and likes to reproduce dishes that were popular in the fifties, like baked Alaska in Knit One, Die Two.


Karen, another twenty-something, at first knows how to make only one dessert, chocolate-chip cookies, which she serves in Died in the Wool.  


And Roland DeCamp prides himself on rising to the occasion with a home-made dessert when it’s his turn to host. I let him use shortcuts though—like a “dumpcake” that involves boxed cake mix, canned fruit, and a lot of butter in Murder, She Knit.

The knitting club meetings are not the only occasions on which food is served, however. The series includes many festive meals, often holiday meals. In Death by Christmas Scarf, one of three novellas in Kensington’s recently released Christmas Scarf Murder, Pamela bakes a special cake as her contribution to the Christmas dinner hosted by Wilfred and Bettina. It’s an orange-flavored yellow cake with vanilla cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting.


Christmas and oranges seem to go together. I imagine that’s because before we could buy any produce flown in from anywhere at any time of year, oranges were one of the few fresh fruits available in the winter—perhaps because they held up even when shipped overland.

The recipe for Pamela’s special cake is included at the end of Death by Christmas Scarf, so I thought it would be fun to combine oranges and chocolate in another recipe for Foodie Fridays: Chocolate-Orange Sandwich Cookies. These are sugar cookies with a “sandwich” filling: a layer of chocolate and a layer of orange marmalade. You can use ready-made sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator case at the supermarket or you can make the cookies from scratch.


Here’s my recipe for the cookies from scratch. It makes about 32 cookies, enough cookies for 16 “sandwiches.”



Ingredients for Sugar Cookies:


2 generous cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2  tsp. baking powder

3/8 tsp. salt

7/8 cup butter, softened (14 tbsp.)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

Ingredients for Filling:

3 oz. good-quality chocolate, semisweet baking chocolate or from a chocolate bar (semisweet or sweeter if you wish)

2 tbsp. butter

Orange marmalade, about 16 tbsp.


Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together in a larger bowl, add vanilla, and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until blended. Add the flour gradually and beat on low speed until all is thoroughly combined. 

Scoop off tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and form them into balls. Arrange the balls on a greased baking sheet with at least two inches between them. Press down on the balls to flatten them slightly.


Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. (Check them after 12 minutes.) They should be very slightly brown around the edges when done.

Let the cookies cool and remove them from the baking sheet with a spatula. 


Break the chocolate bar into squares and melt it in the top of a double boiler or heavy-bottomed pot with the butter. 

When the chocolate and butter have melted together, remove the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool and thicken slightly. While it’s cooling, spread orange marmalade on the bottom of half the cookies, about one tsp. per cookie. 


Spread the chocolate mixture on the bottom of the rest of the cookies. (Photo is just one cookie.)



Press the cookies together to make sandwiches.