Thursday, December 8, 2011
License to Cookie: Chocolate and Peppermint
If you witness some devious hand-rubbing and maniacal laughter from my corner of the world, it’s because I take the holiday season as my personal license to make (and eat) as many cookies as I want. I start out with bigger plans than I can carry out, of course, but cookies do get made (and eaten) every year, and 2011 is no exception.
I love this recipe for chocolate cookies with peppermint bits in them (I use Andes brand Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips). It came from my aunt Tina, who, sadly, is no longer with us, so I think of her very fondly every time I make these cookies. The original recipe called for half of a green Andes mint to be placed on top of each cookie just as the pan comes out of the oven. When the mint has melted, it is gently swirled (the back of a spoon works well for this) so that it spreads out over the top of the cookie. This makes for very pretty and elegant cookies, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making them this way.
One year, however, I discovered the Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips, which are a pretty red and white, and can just be dumped into the batter, streamlining the process a bit. I add the whole 10-ounce package to the batch, and that makes cookies that are so minty, you’ll feel it in your eyes and nose when you open the oven.
These cookies are also plenty chocolaty. A 12-ounce package of semisweet chocolate chips, melted, and a load of dark brown sugar and butter form their base, and they come out lightly crisp and chewy. The dough must be chilled prior to shaping or it will be too soft. It also freezes well, which I do often, since I can’t (or shouldn’t) eat a whole batch of cookies in a couple days, even if I do share them with my husband.
These cookies are fabulously delicious! I can’t say enough about how yummy they are, so I won’t even try. Okay, I will say that they’re a chocolate and mint-lover’s dream, and I have a hard time not gobbling up more than my fair share. They’re also fairly easy to make and it’s easy to make them look pretty. The chilled dough is easy to roll into balls that give you a nice, round cookie when baked and the pretty red and white peppermint bits show through nicely. I’m firmly convinced that Santa Claus would love these wonderful cookies. That is, if you can actually save some for him.
Mint Chocolate Cookies
From my aunt, Tina Thibeault
If you would prefer a slightly less minty cookie, you could follow the procedure I described above using green or red Andes mint candies.
You should be able to find Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips in the baking aisle near the chocolate chips.
¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
a 12-ounce package semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
a 10-ounce package Andes brand Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine butter, dark brown sugar, water, and chocolate chips. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until about half the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate has completely melted. (If necessary, rewarm the mixture gently to finish melting.)
2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl (or the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer) and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk or sift together. Set aside.
4. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and beat at medium to high speed until well blended. (You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.) Gradually add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well blended. Stir in the Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. Refrigerate the dough until it is easy to handle and no longer sticky, probably about 2 hours. (Or, refrigerate the dough overnight and allow it to warm up so that it is easy to handle when you wish to bake.)
5. Coat cookie sheets with a thin layer of nonstick cooking spray, or line them with parchment paper. Roll the chilled cookie dough into 1 ½ to 2-inch balls and place them at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies appear set and slightly dry on top. Cool on the pans about 2 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Other recipes like this one: Milk Chocolate Chip and M&M Cookies, Chocolate Cinnamon Hazelnut Cookies, Chai Spice Cashew Butter Cookies, Bittersweet Almond-Amaretto Truffles
One year ago: Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge
Two years ago: Gingerbread Granola