Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 1: Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

Every year, the seasonal holiday drinks at coffee shops serve as a reminder that peppermint and chocolate is one of my favourite flavour combinations; along with chocolate and hazelnuts, chocolate and peanuts, chocolate and oranges, you get the idea. I like chocolate.
I made these last week amidst a huge snow storm that hit our humble little college town and shut down the school for 3 days.  And although the wise thing to do would have been to get some extra studying done since we were in the middle of exam time, to me, free time is baking time! This recipe is adapted from one I got from allrecipes (the original is found hereI reduced the sugar and chocolate chips, added more peppermint extract and replaced the regular chocolate chips with peppermint flavoured ones.
They taste like a combination of a brownie and a girl scout thin mint, i.e. amazing. They turned out soft and chewy like I had hoped and I topped them with some crushed starlight mints to add a bit more peppermint flavour. Besides, I personally find crushed starlight mints rather aesthetically pleasing. Obviously I’m not the only one, because my reckless nut-allergic roommate, PB helped herself to one without asking whether there were nuts in them. Reckless.
I did have to experiment a bit with the candy topping before I got good results. The first batch I rolled in the mints before baking and well, the mints melted and I was left with a mint puddle sort of thing around each cookie. (See below) They did still taste good, so if you don’t mind the whole candy puddle thing, go ahead and do that.
The next batches I quickly pressed in crushed mints right when they came of the oven. Those turned out looking much nicer.
Next time I make these I’m going to use candy canes instead of starlights because they are actually extremely resilient to crushing and resulted in a very cracked tupperware container, whoops. You could also try pre-crushed candy canes if those are available. I conveniently saw those at the store AFTER I made the cookies. Lesson learned. Also, I would be comfortable reducing the sugar even more, they are quite sweet.
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies:
Yield: 61 cookies
  • 1 butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mint chocolate chips
  • 25 starlight mints or mini candy canes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Crush mints however you see fit (I used a heavy olive oil bottle, but if I owned a hammer, I would have used it)
  3. Cream together, butter, sugar and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Blend well.
  4. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-9 minutes. (I baked for 8, maybe try 9 if you want them crispier?)
  6. Press crushed candy into cookies immediately out of the oven
  7. Cool about 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (I don’t actually own a wire rack, but if you do…)
Per cookie:
71 calories | 5.3g sugar | 3g fat
Enjoy alongside a mug of peppermint hot chocolate for mint/chocolate nirvana :)

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