Alas we have come to the third and final cookie I made for this year's holiday swap, and I'll have you know that this one was the clear winner among all voters under the age of 20 in my giving universe. My original plan was to make a peanut butter filled version of Thomas Keller's TKO's (his version of an oreo) as the 3rd cookie in my trio, but when I saw these little monsters posted by my friend, Sally, on her terrific food blog Bewitching Kitchen. One look at her post and I knew that these would be a hands-down winner with the kids, while also being a bit more holiday-ish in feel. In addition, I figured they'd survive shipping better than the relatively fragile TKO sandwich cookie.
Those of you swearing under your breath that I'm not sharing the Peanut Butter TKO recipe, relax. I would never tempt you with such a tease and then leave you hanging for too long, and I promise to send it your way before I take a short holiday break between Christmas and the New Year as they would be a great vacation week project to tackle with kids home from school.
This chocolate mint cookie recipe was originally from Giada de Laurentiis of Food Network fame, and I have stayed true to her original recipe with two exceptions. First, Giada calls for using Andes mints to mix into the cookie batter, and while I have nothing against those sweet little nuggets (my nana Dunn always used to have a bowl of them on her coffee table for when us grand-kids would visit), I was afraid that they weren't going to be quite minty enough for my gang given that their mint to chocolate ratio is pretty low. Instead, I searched out these chocolate and mint bon-bons from Trader Joes that are just oozing with mint cream, and using them resulted in cool minty lava flows in the finished cookies…..YAY! Second, she calls for scooping 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie, and baking 6 to a sheet tray. I thought that was a bit generous and so opted for smaller, but no less satisfying cookies with a slightly shorter baking time than she recommends. By all accounts, the chocolate-mint balance was perfect with these small modifications…..Huzzah!
Cheers – Steve
- 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet (60-percent) chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- One 5-ounce package chocolate mint thins, such as Andes, each cut into thirds (or use other mint-chocolate candies as we did, cut into quarters if they're bon-bon shaped)
- Place 1 oven rack in the center of the oven and 1 oven rack in the bottom third and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, 2 tablespoons water and vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Fold in the cooled chocolate. Stir in the chocolate mint pieces. Chill the dough 10 minutes to firm slightly. Drop mounds of batter onto each prepared sheet, spacing evenly apart (I used a Vollrath 47147 Scoop, Size 40, 3/4-Ounce . A double batch made over 3 dozen cookies).
- Bake the cookies 7 minutes. Reverse the baking sheets (top to bottom) and continue baking until the cookies are slightly puffed and dry looking with some small cracks on top, 7-8 minutes longer. Cool the cookies completely on sheets (they may deflate slightly as they cool).