11.13.2009

Cookies For Christmas



♪♪ I'ts beginning to look a lot like Christmas....♪♪




I couldn't resist making these this week....I've been saving the recipe since last year. Such fun. Even unfrosted the chocolate cookies are delicious. Boring looking, but really good. I wasn't certain about the peppermint extract- worried about the amount and that it might be too strong a flavor for the cookies- but it wasn't. Very mild and just the right touch. (Frankly, leaving enough cookies to dip in the white chocolate will be your main problem!)

Are you thinking Girl Scout Mint Cookies here?


So. I thought it might be clever to arrange the cookies and candy the way it was done in the magazine photo. Never had so much fun alone in the kitchen. Choked. Up. With. Laughter. First: take a hammer to the candies. Then: trying to balance uneven peppermint candies in a tall pile is a simply absurd idea. There was even supposed to be one standing upright on top of the tall pile of candies (which in my photo resembles the leaning tower of Pisa). Cute idea to balance the candy on top, but it won't work. Short of using super glue anyway. The pile fell a dozen times before I finally threw in the towel. No doubt the magazine hot-glue-gunned it all together. In the end I licked 'em and hoped they'd stick together. So you are seeing the real thing here- no glue, all imperfections of the amateur (understatement of the week) food designer showing. It was still fun.
The contortions we go through to get decent photos!

Now for a couple practical notes: You can melt your chocolate in the microwave. Carefully. In 20 second increments, stirring after each 20 seconds. Stop before it is completely melted and stir until it's all melted. Then spoon the chocolate over the cookies while they are on a rack...forget the dipping by hand experience. Messy. You may need to give it a quick zap to reheat your chocolate a couple times to keep it as thin as possible-which isn't easy with white chocolate. No real need to cover the bottom of the cookie with the chocolate anyway unless you are an extreme chocoholic OR taking a photograph.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2008)


Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour plus more for surface
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 large candy canes or 30 peppermint candies, crushed
2 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar with a mixer for 1 minute. Add egg, then yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract. Slowly add flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Mold dough into 1 large disk and cut in half. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least an hour (or up to two days).
Roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 2" cookie cutter to cut out circles and place them on parchment paper. Freeze until firm, at least 15 minutes.
Repeat with remaining disk.




Bake until cookies are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment, with cookies, to wire racks and allow to cool. Try not to eat all the cookies at this point. (Undecorated cookies will keep up to 3 days, covered.)

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat and dunk cookies into the melted chocoate. Turn cookies using a fork; let excess drip off and gently scrape the bottom of the cookies against the edge of the bowl. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the crushed candy.




Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours. Decorated cookies are best served the same day.

69 comments:

  1. Wow, these cookies are incredible looking. The photo alone is stupendous. Thank you & cannot wait to get my arms up to my elbows in dough! Happy weekend to you ~

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  2. They look incredibly delicious and I'm going to have to try making, Barbara! I had to smile at your food-styling contortions - What a great photo! Now, where's my hammer?

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  3. Ooooooooooooh I am LOVING this!!!!!!!!!! Of course its a martha stewart recipe daaaaahling :D, everything she does is fab! This reminds me of that christmas chocolate bark they do at williams-sanoma.

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  4. Finally, a cookie that freshens breath, instead of making it worse!

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  5. No. Nononononoooo ! You can't do that to me before November 15th!!! My husband will never let me bake these before December and that's more than 2 weeks away! Damn!!

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  6. This post made me laugh, because I often wonder how magazine food photography is done--I've always assumed it involved all kinds of tricks and your line about a hot glue gun was hilarious. ANyway, the cookies look incredible, and so festive! I am definitely bookmarking this one.

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  7. Oh my goodness, these are absolute heaven and there is no way I could resist indulging in one (maybe two!) of these.

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  8. I would eat the whole stack of these scrumptious cookies!

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  9. Deborah and Susan: The photo was fun to do but even the chocolate covering in the original photo was perfect- mine were far from perfect!

    HH: bet anything that's where Living got the idea from!

    Buffalodick: Nothing like peppermint to do the job!

    Once in a Blue Moon: They are-thanks!

    Dolce: So sorry! The devil made me do it.

    Hungry Dog: I can tell you there is NO WAY my cookies turned out as evenly covered as theirs. Do you think they paint them???

    Bridget: As I said, I had a difficult time not eating them BEFORE I frosted them.

    Natasha: I did, I am ashamed to admit- then quickly ran them to a neighbors. No will power.

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  10. Hi Barbara,

    PRINTING! Love this recipe!

    Your photos are absolutely stunning. Aside from being a wonderful cook your an amazing stylist and photographer!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

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  11. How beautiful do these look? Ah! I want one right now :) Please pass through the computer screen. Delicious. Hope you have a nice weekend

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  12. They not only look delicious (I want one immediately), they're gorgeous.

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  13. Whoopsie...meant to say you're not your, darn typos!

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  14. Oh my! Santa is coming already?! It does look like Christmas here, and a delicious one ;)

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  15. Karyn: It's a good recipe but I am NOT a food stylist! Just a mimic! (We all screw up spelling in our comments- we are typing so fast!)

    Erica, Catherine and Rita: They were really fun to make- and the cookies are excellent!

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  16. These are such pretty cookies...and they'd be perfect for my Christmas cookie tray! And the chocolate/peppermint flavor combo is a favorite of mine!

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  17. Oh what fun this will be! Beautiful and your photograph is wonderful! Peppermint is popular at my house...these cookies will be a hit! Thank you for sharing!

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  18. Hi Barbara,

    I love the look of your Christmas cookies and I will jot the recipe down, thank you.
    They look very yummy. I think that is one of my favourite things, making Christmas cookies and then giving them as gifts to friends.

    Have a happy weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  19. These are gorgeous! I want!

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  20. Faith: Thanks! I was surprised at how much I liked them!

    Kate: They were fun to make and arranging for the photo was fun.

    Carolyn: So glad you liked them!

    Cakelaw: I really appreciate your comment- they are delicious.

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  21. Oh my those cookies look delicious and what great photos!!

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  22. Wow...these looks so great. To be honest, I'm not much for the combination of chocolate and mint (so weird, right?) but I actually feel like I would want to make AND eat these.

    Your top photo turned out fantastically!

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  23. Yay! I love Christmas!! These cookies look like such fun to make. Fun for the kiddies to help with too. I think your styling is very cute! I am going to have to give these a try.

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  24. These are absolutely gorgeous pictures! They really look like they came out of a food magazine. I am so impressed.

    There are few better combinations than peppermint and chocolate. And then white chocolate. Delicious!

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  25. Barbara, first I have to admit that the Girl Scout Thin Mint is my absolute favorite. I have some in my freezer right now. I never can just eat one or two or even three, so I buy a dozen or so to last the year.

    Second, your cookie is definitely a keeper ~ I will definitely be making several 'bakers' dozen for the upcoming holidays. Many thanks for sharing this terrific recipe.

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  26. These are perfect Christmas cookies! Love the contrast between cookie and frosting. Bookmarked to try!

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  27. Wow! Beautiful cookies.They would be an excellent replacement for the large amount of Peppermint Jo Jo's my family consumes.
    I love your food styling.
    Mimi

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  28. omgosh, these might be my favorite christmas cookie so far. i LOOOVE the mint chocolate combo, you got these looking just gorgeous too!

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  29. Simply Life: So glad you liked the recipe!

    Jan: I never liked mint with chocolate either that's why I was worried about the extract. But it's very mild.

    Cheri: I thought there might be a way for kids to help with these- cutting, dipping and decorating should be OK.

    Joanne: So pleased you liked my photo. It didn't look anywhere near as good as the original!

    George: I knew someone out there would love those Girl Scout mints!

    Megan: The contrast is striking isn't it?

    Mimi: The styling was such fun..also eating the unfrosted cookies!

    Teresa: Yup- they're good all right!

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  30. Im sure those magazine photographers have tricks we could never dream up! Your picture turned out so cute and I think the recipe sounds incredible! Im so in the mood to Christmas bake now!

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  31. Your picture turned out wonderful! Those are lovely! Since you say they don't keep well, can they be frozen?

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  32. You did a great job with the photo and licking them is less toxic then glue so, totally preferred, haha.

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  33. I love these! My daughter love peppermint bark - she would adore the cookies.

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  34. Flourchild: I agree- I bet a lot of them would be inedible!

    TKW: I don't know why not. We can freeze candy bars. I would wrap them in tin foil carefully- that prevents freezer burn.

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  35. wow...These look amazing. kinda like thin mints on steroids! I might make these just so I can have fun with the hammer. Hopefully I wont end up with candy cane dust HAHAHA

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  36. Whoa... That is heaven for our house. I'm all about GSA Thin Mints, and the Knight is all about white chocolate. The basset is all about peppermint candies, but that's another story. I'll definitely be giving this a try.

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  37. Can I be on your Christmas list for these yummy cookies? They are so pretty!

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  38. how do i love this post? let me count the ways:
    -chocolate cookies.
    -white chocolate. period.
    -peppermint + chocolate + white chocolate.
    -an amazing display of food styling prowess--i, for one, appreciate the effort!

    bravo, barbara!

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  39. Danielle: Funny! Mainly because the magazine suggested using the dust on half the cookies and the bigger pieces on the other half.

    Channon: Let the basset lick the peppermint dust!

    Nazarina: Wish you lived near enough so I could share!

    Grace: Ah...you make me blush. And coming from you, I am honored you feel that way about my post. (But everyyone knows you love chocolate- any kind! The only thing this is missing is gooey.) ;)

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  40. Those look absolutely brilliant. Pass one this way :)

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  41. Can't believe it's christmas cookies time! I love the red and white colour theme. Love the presentations :)

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  42. Too cute Barbara!Oh the frustration of getting food to behave when trying to take a photo - licking them is a good idea :)

    By the way, I'm handing over an award to you, just swing by the blog to pick it up.

    Cheers!

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  43. You know the ones in the magazine probably were all glued together! These look so delicious - I'm a fan of the peppermint, so I need to make these for the holidays!

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  44. I really love how you have set up this photograph. Very magazine like. And the flavours? Yes, definitely starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

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  45. First of all, I love love love the presentation of the first picture. Ooooh la la.

    Anyways, lately I've been looking for cookie recipes that I will be adding to my Christmas basket that I will be giving away.

    This sure is definitely a try. It looks sooo good. I've never thought that pepermint candies would look sooooo delish like this. Yum.

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  46. You did well with the food styling! I dont know how you managed to keep those peppermint candies standing for your picture! Anyway, love the idea of coating a chocolate cookie with even more chocolate!

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  47. These are absolutely amazing, Barbara - would love to try them!
    I've never seen peppermint candy around here, but am willing to try these cookies even without them - they are too pretty to miss!

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  48. Jacqueline: Thank you!

    Ellie: I know..Thanksgiving is next week and then the madhouse begins.

    Shaz: Thank you for the award- that was so sweet of you!


    Deborah: I'm dead certain they did!

    Julia: Thank you!

    Rylan and Trissa: It really was fun to at least TRY to stand those peppermints up! And yes, the cookies are really good.

    Patricia: I've never been much of a peppermint fan, but these changed my mind.

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  49. Wow, Barbara!! These cookies look as white snow & I so like them,...they look stunning!!

    A creative job well carried out!!!

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  50. Well it was worth it because your picture is magazine worthy...really awesome! The kids have already started asking me when we can start making Christmas cookies - I'm gonna print this one out for our files!!!

    :) T

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  51. Those cookies are absolutely beautiful. what nice cooies to make for christmas! :)

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  52. wow great cookies hence all the comments thanks for coming with me to Paris love rebecca

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  53. What pretty cookies! A perfect Christmas treat!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  54. I just love chocolate and peppermint together. These look irresistable and so pretty. You're making me long for Christmas already!

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  55. Your cookies and photos look great! I'm always trying to think of different ways to pose cookies. The stack with the candies is lovely with or without superglue.

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  56. looking a lot like christmas indeed!
    decorations are up extra early this year.
    your putting me in the holiday mood already!
    awesome looking cookies dear :)

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  57. Barbara - Fantastic photo and the recipe is one I will definitely try this Christmas! If licking them gets the job done I say.. Go For It !! lol
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.. I'm noticing some of your other recipes I need to check out!

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  58. You guys are always so enthusiastic and encouraging! I love your comments! Thanks!

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  59. Yum! Love chocolate and peppermint. Your presentation is gorgeous!

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  60. They look just like Christmas :) I like your description of stacking them... I'm not great at stacking biscuits, but you're look so professional.

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  61. using spit as glue!!! LOL
    These looks wonderous and festive!!!

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  62. OMG, how can i missed this! I can't wait to try out this recipe. These look super delicious. Thanks for sharing it, Barbara! Cheers.

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  63. No, no, no! I can't start making Christmas cookies already!

    Oh, who am I kidding? I'm totally making these.

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  64. Oh, man, do these look delicious. I love the fact that you licked the peppermints to make them stick together!

    Thanks for this recipe. I'll use it.

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  65. You did a fabulous job as a food stylist! The cookies look wonderful. This I will have to make for my Christmas baskets. I love this blog! Great job! Pam

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  66. If these taste anything like the Girl Scouts' Thin Mints, I am forever indebted to you.

    Thank you for posting this recipe, Barbara!! :)

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  67. Ok, I should know better than to come here at 11:30 at night. My tummy is rumbling now. Thanks. Hahahaha

    So many great recipes lately. But I MUST try this one. Girl Scout Thin Mints are my favorite, so I know I'm going to love these. Wooohooo!

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  68. These are absolutely gorgeous looking! Amazing job you did there! :D

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