Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Archive Recipe of the Week: Mint Chocolate Cookies

Of course there would be nothing wrong with making these cookies any time of the year. Chocolate and mint can fit into any cookie-making occasion, including no occasion at all. A co-worker recently declared these cookies, “better than Thin Mints,” and we certainly don’t have those at Christmas time. Well, some of you who stock up when you can get them might have a few on your Christmas cookie plate.

The point is that I really only make these cookies when preparing to celebrate Christmas. As good as they’d be the rest of the year, they just seem perfect for December. I mean, come on. Chocolate and mint.

In the original post of this recipe, I made a lazy but flavorful change from the way I first learned to make these cookies. I simply stirred in Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (Andes brand) and made an especially minty cookie. In the recipe below, I describe the original way these were made in my family: by melting a piece of Crème de Menthe candy on top of each cookie as it comes out of the oven and spreading it around the crackled chocolate cookie top. This not only gives the cookie a pleasantly minty kick, but a thin but firm chocolaty-minty cap. Super-delicious and a bit elegant, too.

Whichever way you make these Mint Chocolate Cookies, you and all the people you bake for are bound to be satisfied if not enthralled. Well, there are those who cannot have or dislike chocolate and/or mint, or wheat flour, etc. and I don’t mean to offend them. The rest of us will just have to eat all of these cookies and find something else for those folks to like.


Mint Chocolate Cookies
From my aunt, Tina Thibeault

For a slightly faster baking experience and more mint flavor, simply stir a 10-ounce package of Andes brand Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips into the batter before chilling. Bake as directed, skipping the step of melting the candy on the baked cookies.

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
2 eggs
about 2 packages (28 pieces each) Crème de Menthe chocolate candies (such as Andes brand), unwrapped

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. 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. Remove from the oven and immediately place ½ of an unwrapped crème de menthe candy on top of each cookie. Allow to melt. Once the candy has melted, swirl it on top of the cookie with a butter knife or the back of a spoon. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container.

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