Even though Christmas has been at Costco for the last 5 months and the holiday is now only a mere 12 days away, I'm still waiting to feel "holidayish". We've hung our lights with care, wrapped presents, printed the annual Christmas letter, and decorated the tree. But I'm still not feeling it. Somehow the days seem to blur into one another as I write my lists and check them twice, but they are just days... not "holidayish days".
What better way to get me into the spirit than baking cookies? Cookies with crushed candy canes - even better! Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints have been on our holiday platters for a couple of years and are always well received. With only a few ingredients to put together, they don't require an extended amount of time (though they do pack an "extended" amount of calories!). A mint enhanced chocolate ganach-like filling topped with crushed candy confections provide the ultimate Christmas mood enhancer!
Shopping at our local Henry's the other day I stumbled upon (and had to have!) this canister of E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge, an unsweetened rare red dutch process cocoa which provided a robust, rich chocolate flavor that I haven't had with many other cocoas. Beautifully dark in color, but with a deep cinnabar hue, this cocoa is not only lovely to look at, but definitely a bonus when it comes to baking. I recently discovered Gittard chocolates when I made our White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups for Thanksgiving using the white chocolate chips which melted like a dream. Heading back to World Market where I had just happened to pick up a couple of packages because it was handy I've been faced with empty white chocolate shelves, leading me to believe that Guittard chocolates are not only popular with me...
Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints
Here's hoping that you are feeling "holidayish"! I'm headed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprint.
Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints
For the cookie:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
3/4 cup chopped chocolate, or chocolate chips
2 Tbs unsalted butter
scant 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 large crushed candy cane
Sift the flour and cocoa together into a medium bowl. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt; continue beating until blended and smooth, about 1 minute more. Add the flour-cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm enough to roll into balls, about 30 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking liners.
Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange them 2 inches apart on the lined sheets. With a lightly floured thumb or index fingertip, press straight down into the middle of each ball almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. (Or use the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon.)
Bake until the tops of the cookies look dry, 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then move to wire racks to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat. Stir with a heatproof spatula until almost melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the mint extract. Let the filling cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and slightly warmer than room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes. Spoon the filling into a small pastry bag with a small plain tip. (Or use a small plastic bag and cut a tiny bit off a bottom corner of the bag.) Pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Top with crushed candy canes. Cool completely before serving or storing. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.
Note: I you just happen to leave out the peppermint when you are mixing the chocolate topping it's still good! (We just might know that from experience!!)
We are submitting this to Greens and Chocolate's Merry Mondays! (Mint this Monday!)
|Reviewing my photos I found this surprise shot on my card! Liv took it of herself, looks like she likes the cookies!|