Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies...

If you've been following us for any length of time, then you know we are deep in the trenches of preparing for the annual Christmas Baking Spree! We've made our runs to the various markets to pick up supplies (hello 68 sticks of butter sitting in the refrigerator) and have got all our traditional recipes lined up, along with a few new ones. We did decide to try out one of the new ones, these Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies, and make them for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day just to make sure the process of making them would be smooth later on.

The dough for these wafer cookies ends up being jet-black thanks to the use of Dutch-process cocoa powder - this not only allows the wicked dark color, but gives the cookies a rich chocolate flavor that is more smooth and mild. I do suggest seeking the cocoa powder out as we both found it to blend well with the peppermint bite and provide a striking constrast to its white chocolate wrapper.

Rolled quite thin, this dough does tend to warm up quickly - you'll notice a few resting steps in the directions which you can use your judgment on. If you find the dough difficult to work with, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up - however, if you are in a cool room and work quickly, you may be able to get the business done in a snap. To make sure the cookies bake evenly and keep their shape, I do recommend that you at least don't skip the final freezing step before they go into the oven to bake. With such a dark cookie, doneness isn't as simple as a visual cue of baking until "golden brown" - you should notice a definite chocolate aroma when they are close and if you touch the tops of one or two, the cookies should feel set and dry.

Once baked and completely cool, we dipped the entire surface of each cookie in a large vat of melted quality white chocolate. If using real chocolate frightens you, there are a couple other options - almond (white/"vanilla") bark or candy coating could take the place of the white chocolate easy enough. If you'd rather use the chip variety, you may need/want to add a dollop or two of shortening as they don't always melt or smooth out well on their own.

Just after they are dipped, the cookies are sprinkled with crushed candy canes for another peppermint punch, along with extra crunch. If you want to be super clean and fancy, you could sift the candies, giving you plenty of mint-y dust, while keeping the larger pieces aside. Then use just the dust to give the cookies a sparkling finish against the white background - we, however, liked the chunky pieces on the cookies! Jeff noted that he really enjoyed the texture of the cookies - they have a notable snap, but they don't shatter into a million pieces when you bite into them.

After this trial, I'm very glad we picked these cookies and they are definitely making their way into our gift packages. You could even make the dough ahead of time, cut out the cookies, freeze them raw and keep the rounds, well wrapped, in the freezer to get a jump start. If you wanted, I'm sure you could even bake them ahead of time and keep the naked cookies frozen until you are ready to dip them -I would let them thaw completely before working with them though.

I do have one comment on the cookies themselves after making and baking them off. While they are fantastic with the peppermint twist in the dough, if you replaced it with vanilla (and maybe a hint of espresso powder), I think you would have a very close clone to those expensive "famous" wafer cookies! Dark, thin (you could easily roll them a touch thinner too, if desired) and super crisp, with plenty of chocolate to go around, I'm looking forward to giving just the cookies a try sometime - maybe ground up and used as a decadent homemade base for a cheesecake!



  1. Joe... these look just amazing! My experiences with melting white chocolate has never been good, I would always get a big gooey "glop" that I was simply not able to use. However, with your butterfinger white chocolate eyeballs I had my first success!!
    Last year I think it was you who made the peppermint Cheesecake? Something like that... the peppermint joe joes for the crust, a chocolate layer and topped with candycanes. They were the hit of our New Year's part and are up on the list again this year. These cookies may have to be added as well... Thanks!!

  2. That's a lot of butter. I hope you got a deal on it Joe. Today I am baking for a fundraiser that my son is having at University. Trying new recipes. It's always fun. This treat looks really good.

  3. These cookies look delicious.

    They sell really good Dutch cocoa at penzeys.com and if you ever find yourself in the Triangle area you can check out their retail store which just opened at Cameron Village in Raleigh.

  4. Kim - Yes! I still remember those cheesecake bars. I need to find a reason to make them again.

    Helene - It is and yes, we do go through it!

    Jackie - Yep! That is where we typically get ours, though I very much miss having a store close to us like we did in Minnesota!

  5. oh boy - I love your Christmas cookie posts - I'm gearing up to start baking next year and I have about 80 sticks of butter ready to go! I am really thinking about trying these - it's always nice to have a little something different. If you follow Joy the Baker, she has a peanut butter sandwich cookie recipe on her site that you may want to try. They are a huge hit with everyone that tries them! Several of your recipes are now in my repertoire as well. I hope you and Jeff have a great Christmas!

  6. Thanks for this post. Have a happy holiday season!

  7. Debzy - Thanks! I'll check it out!

    Juliette - You do the same.

  8. These look amazing, and I am not big on chocolate and mint. I have tried to make many of mint cookies but can never get them right so i am gonna give these a try. I really enjoy your blog! thanks!!