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Chocolate-Dipped Trail Bites

Makes: 60 servings
Serving size: 1 cookie Yield: about 60 cookies
Prep 45 mins Freeze At least1 hr Bake 350° 11 mins  per batch Cool 13 mins
Chocolate-Dipped Trail Bites
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 1/4  cups  dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2  cup  fresh (or partly thawed, frozen) cranberries
  • 1/2  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1/2  cup  unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/3  cup  corn oil, canola oil, or other flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2 1/2  cups  unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 2  tablespoons  orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1  recipe Melted Chocolate
  •  Sea salt (optional)

1. In a food processor process half the sugar and the orange peel. Cover and process until sugar is colored and very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add dried and fresh cranberries and chocolate pieces. Pulse until chopped moderately fine but not pureed. (Chocolate bits should be in 1/8-inch or smaller or dough will be hard to slice.)

2. In a large bowl beat butter, oil, remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer on low speed until evenly blended. Beat in half the flour and the baking soda until evenly incorporated. Add orange-sugar mixture and orange juice concentrate stirring vigorously until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in remaining flour until evenly incorporated. If dough is slightly dry or crumbly, gradually knead in 1 to 2 teaspoons more orange juice concentrate until cohesive. Let stand about 10 minutes, or until soft but not sticky.

3. Divide dough in half; place each on a 12-inch square of plastic wrap. With lightly oiled hands, use plastic to shape each into an evenly thick 11-inch log. Roll each log in plastic wrap; twist end to close. Freeze at least 1 hour before slicing.

4. Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside.

5. Working with one dough portion (keep the other frozen) cut into slices a little more than 1/4 inch thick. Place slices about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, return to freezer until firm. Repeat with second portion.

6. Bake one baking sheet at a time for 7 minutes. Rotate from front to back; bake 4 to 6 minutes more or until cookies are just beginning to brown (watch carefullythey brown rapidly near the end of baking). Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool 3 minutes to firm up. Using a wide spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack. Cool completely. Dip in Melted Chocolate, and if desired, sprinkle with sea salt or top with quick candied orange slices.*

From the Test Kitchen
  • Store at room temperature up to 3 days.
  • Freeze up to 1 month.
  • *For a bright citrus spark, top cookies with quick-candied orange or clementine slices: Brush slices with melted orange marmalade and let stand on parchment paper to cool.
Melted Chocolate
  • 1  cup  milk chocolate pieces
  • 1  cup  semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 4  teaspoons  shortening

1. Place chocolate pieces in two separate small microwave-safe bowls. Add 2 teaspoons shortening to each. Microwave each on 50 percent power (medium) 1 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring twice. Dip cookies partially or completely in milk or semisweet chocolate; transfer to wire rack to cool.

Nutrition Facts (Chocolate-Dipped Trail Bites)
  • Servings Per Recipe 60,
  • cal. (kcal) 62,
  • Fat, total (g) 3,
  • chol. (mg) 4,
  • sat. fat (g) 1,
  • carb. (g) 9,
  • Monosaturated fat (g) 1,
  • Polyunsaturated fat (g) 1,
  • Trans fatty acid (g) 0,
  • fiber (g) 0,
  • sugar (g) 4,
  • pro. (g) 1,
  • vit. A (IU) 49,
  • vit. C (mg) 1,
  • Thiamin (mg) 0,
  • Riboflavin (mg) 0,
  • Niacin (mg) 0,
  • Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0,
  • Folate (g) 12,
  • Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (g) 0,
  • sodium (mg) 15,
  • Potassium (mg) 12,
  • calcium (mg) 0,
  • iron (mg) 0,
  • Mark as Free Exchange () 0,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Nutrition Facts (Melted Chocolate)
  • Mark as Free Exchange () 0,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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