Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies



I am way behind on the holiday baking this year! I know most food bloggers have had cookie and cake recipes coming out of their ears since the second week of December. While I had planned my baking for earlier this month, I just finally got started this past weekend. And I’m actually kind of glad. I personally don’t need a whole month with my apartment overflowing with sweets everywhere I turn. As it stands, the loads of cookies I’ve churned out over the past couple of days are going to have to be gifted ASAP if I want to avoid eating them all. 




This one is gonna be short and sweet. I love love love chocolate and peppermint. They are a match made in heaven. If you also love the combination, you simply must make these cookies. The cookies themselves really are like homemade Oreos, but with a stronger chocolate flavour (which I love). And the peppermint cream filling? I am speechless. It is too good for words.




Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

I was a little worried these cookies wouldn’t turn out, as I had never made a cookie dough with this technique before. The dough really is quite sandy and dry. But you just have to push the crumbly bits together really well before rolling out the dough and they will turn out perfectly. It’s like a sand castle.

The only change I made to the original recipe (aside from doubling it) was to the levening. I only had Dutch processed cocoa left in my cupboard, so I swapped the baking soda for baking powder. If you have regular un-dutched cocoa, you can change it back to baking soda. I don’t know if this change really affected the end result, as the cookies don’t rise that much to begin with, but better safe than sorry. I also really like the deeper chocolaty flavour I got from the dutched cocoa.


Ingredients – Peppermint Filling

1/2 Cup heavy cream
8 Ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon pure peppermint extract

1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to boil over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and add the finely chopped white chocolate and peppermint extract.  Let the mixture stand for 1 minute (this is important), then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted.

2.Transfer the filling to a small bowl and let stand until room temperature.  The filling will need to be thicker to assemble the cookies, so cover and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour, until a thick consistency is reached.  If the filling hardens too much, it can be warmed in the microwave for a few seconds.  It’s best if left at room temperature until the proper consistency is achieved.  I actually sat mine out on out chilly balcony for about an hour, where it was cold but not as cold as the fridge.


Ingredients - Cookies

3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 c+Cup unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
15 Tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed.  With the mixer running, add the butter a few pieces at a time.  The mixture will have a sandy texture at first and then will begin to form pebble sized pieces.  As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the mixer.  Make sure all the butter is well incorporated.  If there are large butter pockets, mix for a few seconds more.

3. Form and roll the dough straight from the mixer.  The dough becomes hard to work with if chilled. Transfer the dough to a board and use the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper to shape the dough into a block about 5 by 7 inches.  Cut the block into two pieces.

4. Roll each block of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into 2 inch rounds.  Place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  You can form and roll the dough scraps once after the first roll.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes.  They will be too soft to move straight from the oven.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.


To assemble the cookies

1. Place half of the cookies upside down on a work surface.  Stir the filling lightly to loosen it, but don’t over mix or it will separate.  It will lighten in color and fluff up a bit.

2. Dollop a teaspoon of filling in the center of each upside down cookie.  Place another cookie on top and press down gently. I found it helped to twist slightly as you press, to distribute the filling evenly.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. My double batch made about 4 dozen cookies. I had a few cookies left over when I ran out of filling, but I like a lot of filling in mine.




Are you all enjoying the holidays? I hope you are able to find some time to enjoy the season amidst all the craziness. I finished up my shopping this afternoon (thank god that is over!), and I am looking forward to sipping hot cocoa while I wrap my gifts by the fireplace tonight.

It might be an electric fire, but I make the best of things. Happy holidays!

XO,

Maia

2 comments:

  1. Chocolate and peppermint is one of my favorite combinations. Gorgeous cookies. Happy holidays!

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