Monday, November 14, 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Cookies

This year is different. Usually by now I would have well exercised my playlist of *NSync Christmas songs and Mariah Carey on repeat.

Lately, those warm and fuzzy feelings are not as sensitive. I refuse to believe that age has anything to do with it because my mom still sends me chocolate Christmas calendars and I still get excited about them. Even though they haven't changed the shapes in 20 years, I still get excited on the day I open the door to the big mushroom!

I blame life in Australia for spoiling me with multiple December 25's on the beach. It was so wrong, even though it felt so good. I'll take sun over snow any day, but it just didn't feel like Christmas. This will be my first Christmas at home in 4 years. I'm hoping to bring those fuzzies back. Cookies are a damn good place to start.

These ones fall into the cookie category by a hair. They might look like a cookie but they taste and feel like a full-on fudge brownie. So moist, so chocolatey and spiked with peppermint. These belong on your holiday cookie tray!

You only need 3 tablespoons of butter to make these come to life but that's only because you also need 6 oz of chocolate. Balance.

First melt butter and chocolate together. Perfection.

Then beat eggs and sugar with a mixer until very pale and thick. You can also use a large bowl and a whisk with ample arm power and work on this by hand. Either way will be great.

Whisk the melty chocolate mixture into the frothy eggs with some peppermint extract and then stir in flour with just a touch of baking powder. The mixture will be quite soft and wet at this point, so just cover it and let it set in the fridge for just 30 minutes - enough to let the chocolate harden and stiffen up the dough. This makes it easy to scoop and roll into smooth balls. Any longer and the dough will be too firm though, so if you happen to get caught up with the rest of life and forget about your dough, then let it sit a room temperature to soften a bit before rolling.

I like to make these into little cookies, kinda like little truffle bites, which means this batch makes about 30. But if you prefer larger ones, divide the dough into 20 portions and bake for a minute or two longer.

Start your ovens. Let's bring on the fuzzies!

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Cookies
makes about 30 small cookies

6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder

Preheat your oven to 325°F and line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. 

Place the eggs, salt and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add both sugar combined, bit by bit while mixing and then increase to high speed and beat until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. You can also use an electric hand mixer, but you may need to beat for a minute longer. The mixture should fall back onto itself in ribbons when lifted with the beater. Gradually mix in cooled chocolate mixture on low speed. Mix in peppermint extract.

Stir together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Hold a sieve over the egg mixture in the bowl and sift through the flour mixture. Fold it in gently until well combined. The batter will be quite runny, like cake batter. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow it to firm up slightly, but still remain spoonable.  Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the mixture onto baking trays spacing them about 2 inches apart and then roll them into smooth balls. Flatten into small discs and bake for 7-9 minutes, slightly puffed, shiny and cracked at the surface. They should feel dry but still a bit soft in the center. Transfer trays to a wire rack and let cookies cool completely on trays (they are very delicate when warm and will stick to the baking tray and fall apart if removed too early). Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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