I have been on a chocolate and peppermint kick lately. Evidence: the box of peppermint bark in my pantry, the candy canes on the hot chocolate bar that is still up from a party last weekend, these chocolate peppermint cookies, the three other types of chocolate peppermint cookies I made in attempts to find the best one. Too far? Nah.
I don’t know what it is about December, but I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint in just about everything this time of the year. I usually don’t like white chocolate, but when combined with semisweet or dark chocolate and peppermint bits, I don’t even mind it. Peppermint bark is so easy to make, but has also started popping up at Williams-Sonoma and Trader Joe’s for the season, which is exciting, convenient and dangerous all at the same time.
Today we are replacing the chocolate chips with bits of peppermint bark and crushed candy canes. The pieces are suspended in our deep dark chocolate cookie dough base, which balances out the sweetness from the white chocolate and peppermint candy. These chocolate peppermint cookies are soft and chewy, with melted chocolate pillows spread throughout. They are thick and dense and almost black in color from the dark cocoa powder we use.
Can you imagine how good they would be with peppermint ice cream sandwiched between them? Or maybe straight out of the oven with a scoop of peppermint ice cream on top, melting down the sides of the cookie as the heat of the cookie comes in contact with the frozen ice cream? Yum!
You can make these as small or as large as you want (just remember to adjust the cooking time). I like to make big ones if they are a gift for someone, but I prefer making small ones if I know there will be lots of other Christmas cookies around, so people can try multiple types of cookies instead of just one or two big ones.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 ½ cups peppermint bark, chopped into small pieces*
¼ cup crushed peppermints or candy canes, plus more for topping
*You can use homemade or store-bought peppermint bark. You can also substitute ¾ cup of chopped milk chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate chips will work too, they just won’t melt as much), ¾ cup of chopped white chocolate (or white chocolate chips) and 1 additional tablespoon of chopped peppermint candies for the peppermint bark.
To Make Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cold butter until it clumps together and forms a ball. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat until they are both fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. The batter may not be smooth, which is fine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until the flour is almost combined but there are still some streaks of flour-cocoa mixture. Fold in the chopped peppermint bark (see notes for substitutions) and crushed peppermints or candy canes. Be careful not to mix the dough too much, or your cookies may become more tough.
Roll the dough into 1½ inch balls and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 8 cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheet with about 1-2 inches between each dough ball. Lightly press each dough ball down with your palm and sprinkle the tops of the pressed cookie dough with crushed peppermint candy. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just set. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before eating or serving.
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