Sunday was my designated “Christmas cookie baking day.” Every year I set aside an afternoon to make a few batches of cookies. Usually I make three, this year I did two. The reason for eliminating the third is that i typically make peanut butter blossoms. You know, those addictive peanut butter cookies with the hershey kiss in the middle? Well, they’re a no-go now that I’ve discovered I have a nut/peanut intolerance (I’m still mourning their loss in my diet). Since I can’t control myself around these cookies, sadly I knew I couldn’t make them this year.
That being said, I could still make my other two favorites. I’ve been making these Molasses Drops for a few years and adore them. I substitute crystallized ginger for candied orange, add a 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, don’t add the ground ginger, and roll them in turbinado sugar to make them a perfect little ginger cookie. Yum. I’ve also been baking up another seasonal favorite for the past several years, Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies. There’s just something about chocolate and peppermint during the holidays, makes you feel all holly jolly inside. With the powdered sugar they’re also quite pretty – like snow covered… dirt? Ok, I swear they’re pretty.
They always get rave reviews too. Ross loves them and my co-workers clamor for them. So, I’ll keep making them every year. You should too.
Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies
*adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe
1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint oil (I used oil)
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1.) Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. When melted, set aside to cool a bit. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a separate mixing bowl.
2.) Use a mixer to beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and peppermint until well combined. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours, until firm.
3.) After two hours remove the dough from the fridge and heat the oven to 350*F. Line baking sheets with a silicon liner or parchment paper., Use a spoon to cut off tablespoon size pieces of the dough. Roll them into a ball in your hands then roll them in powdered sugar. Place on the tray. Refrigerate the trays with cookie dough balls for five minutes then bake for 15-17 minutes.
4.) Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes, then remove cookies to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
5.) Leave them for Santa with a glass of milk and a candy cane. Maybe this will give him the incentive he needs to finally leave me a pug puppy under the tree this year.