Fear not fellow guac addicts. Lest you think I have completely abandoned you for an avocado-free life, I’m popping in to say hello. And share my new favorite holiday cookie recipe with you. Gah, these cookies. I love them. If you’re as much of a peppermint/ chocolate freak as I am you’ll love them too. But first – I should catch you up on where I’ve been the past month (yikes, how has it been almost a month!).
These past couple weeks have passed in a blur, but have been host to several personal and professional milestones. I visited old friends in Boston, got to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents, and celebrated my 25th birthday last weekend. Professionally, milestones included occasionally leaving work in time to make a 7:45 gym class and doing my share to deplete the stash of snacks that sit next to me. I kid… sort of. You’ll be pleased to know, however, that I celebrated my birthday – thanks to my mom and sister – in absolute guacamole for dinner style. We had a full brunch with avocado frittata, and my favorite coconut cake!
The bummer part of being so busy is that I’ve been in a serious cooking slump lately. I have officially depleted the stash of tomato soup in my freezer, eaten a lot of eggs on toast, smoothie bowls, and snacked on peanut butter pretzels at work until it’s probably too late to eat dinner anyway. I felt like a serious failure as a cook and started doubting my belief in 30 minute dinners (everyone has time to cook something nutritious and healthy, right?). I can officially say sometimes, that’s just not reality. It’s good to be reminded of, and also good to remind myself why I do like taking the time to cook when I have time to prep ahead. I’m hoping the next few weeks filled with family and friends will refuel my love of cooking for and with others.
Luckily, I had a good start when my sister came to visit me for my birthday, and we started by baking no less than 4 different holiday goodies. On our holiday baking list: Toasted Hazelnut and Chocolate Cookies, Cranberry White Chocolate Coconut Bars, Saltine Toffee, and these Peppermint Mocha Cookies. All were amazing, but the peppermint cookies were definitely my favorite – I can never pass up the combination of chocolate and peppermint.
I love a good peppermint mocha around the holidays, and if it’s in cookie form – even better. The chocolate cookies here are super fudgy and taste incredibly rich. The peppermint flavor is infused throughout the cookie batter, and enriched with crushed peppermint pieces as decorations. The coffee taste is not incredibly strong here – really it just acts to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. So, got that? Super fudgy, super chocolatey. Uh, yum.
The cookies come together really easily, but do require at least 3 hours of chilling, so make sure you plan ahead to allow time for the dough to rest in the fridge. I suggest watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls while you wait. That’s what we did :). Once the cookies are baked, they get a nice dunk in melted white chocolate, and are sprinkled with crushed candy canes for a little extra holiday cheer. The recipe comes from one of my favorite bloggers, and I didn’t find myself updating it at all, except for a few things to make it a little easier. I already had white chocolate chips on hand, so I just used those for melting instead of pure white chocolate as she suggests. I didn’t notice a difference :). I also found some pre-crushed peppermints in the holiday aisle of my grocery store – if you see them I highly recommend grabbing a bag – it was a great time saver!
They’re the perfect thing to get you out of a baking, work, or holiday slump! I think these cookies could cure just about anything – and my taste testers agree!
Peppermint Mocha Cookies
Total Time: ~5 hours / Active time: 45 minutes
Yield: 20 cookies
Recipe from: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/12/07/peppermint-mocha-cookies/
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini (or regular size) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (or 8 ounces white chocolate)
3 large candy canes, crushed (or about 1/4 cup crushed peppermint pieces)
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or large bowl and hand-held mixer), beat the butter for 1 minute, until smooth. Add both sugars, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Finally, beat in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extracts on high speed.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant coffee, and salt. Slowly add to the butter/ sugar mixture with your mixer on low speed. Once combined, add the chocolate chips, and mix just until combined. The dough will be thick and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours (or overnight).
Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350F. Allow the cookie dough to warm up for about 20 minutes while your oven pre-heats – this will make it easier to scoop.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, and scoop dough into balls of approximately 1.5 tablespoons each. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes, then allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, or in 15-20 second bursts in the microwave (microwave 15 seconds, remove, stir, and repeat until smooth).
Dip each cookie into white chocolate, and then sprinkle with peppermint pieces. Place on parchment paper or a silicone mat while they set. If you don’t mind dirtying your counter or table, I actually found placing them right back on the cooling rack worked well, and prevented any sticking. Place the cookies in the fridge to help them set up faster.
Store in a sealed container for up to a week.