Homemade for the Holidays – Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

December 7, 2012

It’s Day 5 with Amanda from the sweet Amandeleine. Again, following beautiful pins on Pinterest, I found her sweet sweet site. She is such an experimenter which I like and her writing is enjoyable to read. I do lots of snickering. :) Beyond that, I would like someone to make me any and all of the following: Fruit Baked Oatmeal, Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding, Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Tart, Fresh Raspberry Tart with Lemon Filling and Gingerbread Crunch Ice Cream. Here is Homemade for the  Holidays with Amanda.

Christmas time can be a joyous, yet difficult time for bakers. Sure, it may open up a venue of ingredients that are extra special this time of year. I’ll take gingerbread and peppermint not only in my coffee but all throughout my cookies please. However, in my experience, there’s also a level of stress that only seems to rear its ugly head around the holidays.

It’s all the nostalgia.

So you decide you want to make a pie. You ask those close to you that will partake in said pie, what type you should make for a lovely holiday dinner.

Friend #1: “PUMPKIN! It’s not the holidays if it’s not pumpkin.”
Friend #2: “Psh… pumpkin is for Thanksgiving ONLY, stop blurring the lines, go apple.”
Friend #3: “Whaaat, apple? There’s nothing Christmas about that, MY mom always makes pecan so you have to make pecan.”

Ah, the blessed “..my mom always ___ so you have to ____”. Meeting expectations of “my mom always…” can be particularly difficult. For some reason it will never actually just be that “My mom always makes pecan pie” but that “My mom always makes pecan pie with maple syrup. This one isn’t made with maple syrup, it’s wrong.”

I love Christmas, and I love how ingrained Christmas is in so many of our childhoods, but that tie to our past makes us crazy specific on how things should, nay, need to be done.

And so with all this pressure, I still felt the need to makes things even harder on myself and create a brand new recipe for a guest post on someone else’s blog and just hope it came out well enough to meet their expectations of my work.

You’re welcome Amy.

Perhaps I thought it would help skirt all those nostalgic expectations, to just make it something that couldn’t be compared to a similar iteration from once long ago.

The idea came to me in the shower (as the most ingenious of ideas always do) as I thought of one of my personal holiday favourites, Toblerone Shortbread. The recipe had a fabulous shortbread base, sandy without being dry, with a wonderful buttery flavour. Each shortbread was then topped with an entire piece of Toblerone.

So, I thought to myself amongst suds, what else could I stuff into a shortbread cookie that was inherently Christmassy?

Candy canes! Lots and lots of candy canes.

Which was an idea that flopped. But it’s all on how you approach the problem.

I had gotten… enthusiastic with the amount of candy cane I wanted to include in the shortbread. The dough just kept getting pinker and more candy cane-ish and I simply couldn’t help myself. What this meant was that when I baked the cookies, the low ratio of cookie dough to canes could not contain the candy that was slowly melting and turning the cookies into some sort of thin, crunchy, candy/cookie hybrid.

I was distraught. This was not what I had intended to make. But… the flavor was still good. And the texture wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t “cookie” texture. So I did what any sane baker would do. I covered it in chocolate.

It worked. The chocolate coating made it reminiscent of a candy bar, and gave a smooth richness to go along with crunchy sweetness in the middle, similar to a Heath or Skor bar. And it wasn’t like anything I had ever eaten as a kid.

When the holidays get crazy and you don’t which pie request to listen to or how to fix the enormous crack in your cheesecake, fret not. Listen to your baking heart and do what you know is right and delicious.

Cover it in chocolate.

Okay, so that doesn’t work for everything, but you get what I mean. Follow your gut. Your gut is the true expert in food, after all.

Merry Christmas and thanks to Amy for hosting me!

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Approx 3 dozen cookies

Recipe by Amanda from Amandeleine at http://amandeleine.com/

Ingredients

    Cookies:
  • • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • •1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • • 12 standard size candy canes
  • Chocolate Coating:
  • • 22 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Instructions

    Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 cookie sheets with silipats or parchment paper.
  2. Break candy canes directly into the bowl of a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (it helps the candy to not stick) and pulse until none of the candy is larger than a pea. (A good amount of it will have also turned into a candy cane powder. This is to be expected.) Put aside.
  3. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Sift in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat again until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
  4. Sift in rice flour and blend in. Sift in all-purpose flour and salt and mix until dough comes together (it will be soft).
  5. Stir in extracts. Save a 1/4 cup of the candy from the food processor and mix the rest into the dough (works best with an electric or stand mixer).
  6. Spoon large teaspoonfuls of cookie dough (or use a small ice cream scoop) onto an un-greased cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until spread thin and golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cool completely on a rack.
  8. Chocolate Coating:
  9. Line a cool cookie sheet with wax paper.
  10. Melt chocolate and shortening together over a double boiler.
  11. Drop a cookie into the chocolate, flipping it with a fork to coat it completely and use the same fork to bring it out of the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off the cookie, lightly tapping the fork against the side of the bowl.
  12. Carefully place cookie on wax paper and sprinkle with some of the remaining crushed candy cane.
  13. Once an entire sheet is done, place in the fridge to harden the chocolate.
  14. Once hard, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, with layers separated by wax paper.
http://www.thisheArtofmineblog.com/2012/12/07/homemade-for-the-holidays-chocolate-peppermint-crunch-cookies/

Thanks Amanda! These looks amazing!!!!!

Check out the rest of Amanda’s goodness at Amandeleine.

Take care.

Find more Homemade for the Holidays here.

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Amy Christie

Amy is a wife, mother of two and a maker. Making is her thing whether it is food, DIYs or photos of her children. Follow Amy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter, and through her once-a-month newsletter to keep up with the latest from this heart of mine.

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