I have been on a chocolate and peppermint kick lately. I have always loved the combination, but this year I decided that it is probably my favorite seasonal flavor. If there is a chocolate-peppermint dessert offered, I’ll always take it.
Peppermint bark is one of my go-to winter treats. It is easy to grab, filled with that peppermint and chocolate flavor, and so delicious. The only issue is that I’m not a white chocolate fan and always wish it was made with only dark chocolate. I have made peppermint bark cookies before, and while they are delicious, I wanted a simpler cookie that was filled with deep dark chocolate and that fresh, pure peppermint flavor without the white chocolate or other add-ins taking over the cookie. These simple chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies are just that – simple, but so tasty.
I started by using dark cocoa powder in the cookie and dark chocolate in the ganache, and amped it up a level by adding a little bit of instant espresso powder to really bring out the dark chocolate. To get that great peppermint flavor and scent throughout the cookie, we add peppermint extract to both the cookie dough and the ganache before sprinkling the cookies with crushed candy canes to bring the festive look home.
These chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies are the perfect size for popping in your mouth and pack a great punch of tastes. The cookies are dense and rich, and the ganache is smooth, creamy, and filled with the perfect amount of peppermint flavor. Now that these are around to solve all of my woes, you won’t see a spot of white chocolate in my kitchen this year.
Chocolate peppermint thumbprints are a delicious addition to your cookie plate this year. Packed with rich dark chocolate and peppermint flavor, it is the best of both worlds.
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Chocolate Peppermint Ganache
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 10-20 seconds. Add the sugar and beat for another 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, then add four and salt and whisk again. Whisking the cocoa powder first helps you get all clumps out of the powder before it gets mixed with flour. Set aside.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, cream, peppermint extract, and instant espresso powder. Add the liquid ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix for about 10-20 seconds, until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium-speed for about 30-45 seconds, until the mixture is fully incorporated and the texture is uniform.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed until fully combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the chilled dough into 1 ½-tablespoon balls, about the size of a golf ball. I used my medium cookie scoop for this. Roll the dough balls in turbinado sugar and place them a few inches away from each other on your prepared trays. Press your thumb or pointer finger gently into the middle of the balls to slightly flatten and form a small indention in the cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cookies should be set and have small cracks on their tops. Press the thumbprint in the middle of the cookie again when they come out of the oven and are still warm. Cool slightly on baking sheet and then transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.
Chocolate thumbprint cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. The dough can be frozen for a few weeks. If you want to freeze the dough, scoop it into balls, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and freeze the cookie sheet for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer, place the frozen cookie dough balls in a gallon-sized zippered freezer bag and freeze until you want to bake them. They can be baked from frozen, though you may need to add an extra minute or two to the baking time.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between heating, until melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. While it is still warm and pourable, spoon the ganache into the center of each cookie then allow to cool completely. The ganache will solidify as it cools. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.