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Chocolate peppermint cookies are a holiday treat

 

Chocolate peppermint cookies are made with a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate.

Chocolate peppermint cookies are made with a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. Photo by: Sara Moulton via AP

 

Sara Moulton/The Associated Press

 

 

If, like me, you're a fan of dark chocolate peppermint bark at Christmastime, you're going to love these cookies. Your friends and family will, too. But you'll have to plan ahead because the batter is so soft it needs to chill overnight before scooping. 

 

The main ingredient here is 1 1/2 pounds of chocolate, which guarantees an intensely chocolate-y flavor. The cookie's base is made of a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. Afterward, additional chunks of the bittersweet chocolate -- along with the crushed mint candy -- are folded in. 

 

The key to this recipe's success is good quality bittersweet chocolate -- that is, a brand that contains at least 60 percent cacao. The higher the percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar, the darker and more intense the flavor. That's why we're adding chunks of chocolate instead of chocolate chips -- bittersweet bar chocolate contains much more cacao than most chips. 

 

Chopping the chocolate will take a little time. I recommend using a serrated knife for the job. As for crushing the peppermint candies, the best way is to put them in a re-sealable plastic bag and then gently whack away at the bag with a rolling pin. The easiest way to portion out the batter is with a 1-ounce ice-cream scoop rather than a spoon -- and it'll make the size of the cookies more consistent, too; just dip it in hot water between each scoop. 

 

I suggest baking a single tray of cookies at a time because the cookies don't cook evenly when there's more than one tray. Finally, be careful not to overcook them. The cookies should be soft to the touch when you pull them out of the oven. That way they'll remain nice and gooey. 

 

As you might imagine, these cookies are delicious year-round. If you decide to make them during a season when peppermint candies are scarce, just leave them out and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of powdered espresso. You will end up with outstanding mocha cookies. 

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIES 

 

Start to finish: 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus 8 hours chilling time 

 

Servings: Makes about 3 dozen cookies 

 

 

 

1 pound bittersweet chocolate 

 

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate 

 

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons 

 

4 large eggs, at room temperature 

 

1 1/2 cups sugar 

 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

 

60 grams (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour 

 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

 

1/4 teaspoon table salt 

 

1 cup (about 5 ounces) hard red-and-white peppermint candies 

 

 

 

  • Coarsely chop one-half of the bittersweet chocolate and all of the unsweetened chocolate. In a medium metal bowl combine coarsely chopped chocolates and butter; set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure bottom of the bowl is not touching the water, and melt the mixture, stirring often. Remove from heat as soon as all the chocolate is just melted. 

     

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl with electric beaters (or in a stand mixer), beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until mixture is very thick and pale, about 10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. In a small bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. 

     

  • Chop remaining bittersweet chocolate into chocolate-chip size pieces. Chop or crush peppermint candies into 1/4- to 1/3-inch pieces. 

     

  • Fold melted chocolate mixture into egg mixture using a large rubber spatula. Add flour mixture and fold it in until it is just incorporated. Add the chip-size bittersweet chocolate and peppermint pieces and stir gently, just until incorporated. Cover and chill mixture overnight. 

     

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper, scoop out the batter into balls about 1 1/2-inches wide (size of a walnut shell) and arrange on baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them. Working with one sheet pan at a time, bake cookies on middle shelf of oven 9-11 minutes, until shiny on top and set around the edges but still soft to the touch on top. Let them sit on sheet pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. 

     

    Nutrition information per serving: 164 calories; 90 calories from fat; 10 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 31 mg cholesterol; 32 mg sodium; 20 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 3 g protein.

     

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