Monday, December 22, 2008

VGP #22 Peppermint Bonbon Cookies

I am SO in love with these cookies! They are only for the real chocolate lovers out there. I'm not talking about some token portion of cocoa powder; no, these start out with a hefty combo of melted bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates. Then later you add in some semisweet chocolate chips for good measure. Throw in crushed peppermint candy and peppermint extract and we have got a very serious confection. The kind that gave my eyes a minty tingle when I opened the oven, similar to the effect of walking into the peppermint room at Celestial Seasonings.
The chocolate is dark, the mint is sweet and fresh.
Merry Christmas to me.

8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies*
6 T sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Additional coarsely crushed hard peppermint candies, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar, optional
2 1/2 tsp milk, optional
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted, optional

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in large saucepan - this is the pan all the batter will be mixed in so make sure it is at least 2 quarts. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies and 6 T sugar. Let cool 30 minutes.

2. Add eggs to melted chocolate, 1 at a time, stirring well. Stir in extracts.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to chocolate mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in chocolate morsels. Cover and chill dough 2 hours or until firm enough to shape.

4. Heat oven to 325. Shape dough into balls (I kept them small to make them more like bonbons); place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and cracked on top. Sprinkle coarsely crushed peppermints onto cookies; press candy lightly into cookies. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. Optional glazing: Whisk together powdered sugar and milk; drizzle over cooled cookies. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Sprinkle cookies again with chopped peppermint. Let cookies stand until glaze and chocolate are firm.

Makes about 4 dozen of the size in the picture

*The food processor trumps all as the best way to chop candies - thanks for the tip, Kat!

Recipe from Oxmoor House magazine, June 2007

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