A Food & Travel Blog

Christmas Treats – Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread

11/12/2015 | By

This Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread is another very quick and delicious recipe to add to your Christmas repertoire.

Orange and Fennel shortbread

There’s only 14 more sleeps to go until the big day and kitchens all around the world are humming.  It’s a very busy time of the year and if any of you are still on the lookout for speedy, delicious treats for the family or to give as gifts then I think this Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread is just the ticket – when it comes to quick and tasty recipes, this food blogger has it all covered.

Oranges are a traditional Christmas treat in the northern hemisphere and up until relatively recently were placed in the toe of Christmas stockings. The origins of the tradition are related to the story of St. Nicholas who was a bishop in Asia Minor in the fourth century. It is said that he secretly left gifts of gold for the poor in his region (which also explains the tradition of gold coins at Christmas), including a poor man who could not afford a dowry for his three daughters, putting them at risk of a life of sin. The story goes that St. Nicholas threw the gold coins for the dowry down the chimney and they landed in the toes of the girls stockings which were hung over the fireplace to dry. Over time, oranges have come to represent that gold.

I don’t recall oranges playing much of a role in my childhood Christmas celebrations, but I was probably more focused on chocolate and treats, rather than fresh fruit, on the big day. A shame really, as we grow spectacular oranges here in Australia and there are usually still some pretty fabulous ones available in December.

processor shortbread, orange and fennel

In this recipe I’ve paired them with fennel – one of my favourite spices and a flavour which goes especially well with orange. This recipe is an old favourite of mine because it uses a food processor and takes roughly no time at all to throw together and put in the oven. I pounded the fennel seeds a little before using them – just long enough to break them up a little to make the aniseed flavour more accessible. The orange flavour is quite subtle as I only used zest, but you could certainly dial it up a notch or two by adding finely chopped glace orange or  candied orange peel. I’m pretty sure you could also pretty yours up much better than I’ve managed – especially if you want to give them as gifts.

processor shortbread, orange and fennel
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Orange and Fennel Processor Shortbread

Crush the fennel seeds just a little in a mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with the back of a spoon, before adding to the mix.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Baking
Author: Amanda McInerney of www.lambsearsandhoney.com


  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup ground rice
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lightly crushed fennel seeds
  • finely zested rind of 1 orange
  • 250 gms cold butter cubed


  • Preheat oven to 160C (320F).
  • Grease and line with baking paper a 23cm square baking pan.
  • Place flour, rice, sugar,fennel seeds and orange zest in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to combine well.
  • Add butter and process until dough just comes together.
  • Press into prepared pan, score into squares, pierce each square with a fork, and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until very lightly golden, but not browned. Cut into squares along the score lines while still hot.
  • Cool in pan.



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  1. Liz Posmyk (Good Things)

    What a lovely combination of flavours Amanda! Eeks, 14 or so days… I had best get my act together!

  2. Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas

    I had been wondering whether I could make shortbread in a food processor. Thank you for answering the question 😉 I am finding myself quite short on time this year and this shortbread is absolutely the answer to all the small gifts I normally give. Brilliant!

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    I’ve got a few shortbread molds that this would really suit for Christmas. I bet the shortbread smells heavenly 😀

  4. Hotly Spiced

    Humming??? Mine’s roaring. I loved reading the story of St Nich – wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had more people in the world like him today. It’s definitely shortbread season. I’ve made it with orange but never paired it with fennel. Fennel is a favourite spice of mine as well xx

  5. Helen | Grab Your Fork

    I always joke to my niece and nephew that maybe they’ll just get an orange in their stocking for Christmas but they always look at me strangely. Haha. Love the idea of processor shortbread though. Will definitely have to give these a whirl!

  6. Tania | My Kitchen Stories

    Great flavours Amanda. I imagine this shortbread would be well eaten by now, at least it would be at my house!

  7. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    5 stars
    I do recall oranges and tangerines in the toes of our Christmas stockings. I had no idea of the tradition – I always figured my mother put them there so she didn’t have to put so many presents. (seriously!) LOL You’ve made me laugh and that’s good.

    I love your shortbread and the orange and fennel would be delicious together.

  8. Nagi@RecipeTinEats

    What a yummy combination for Christmas! Like you, I don’t recall much fruit from my childhood Christmas. But that’s probably because I was eyeing on the chocolates too. Lol!