Alright, I’ll be honest. I am pretty lazy, especially when it comes to baking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that even as a person who doesn’t bake a whole lot, I still do more from-scratch baking than the “average” person (whoever that may be), but I’m not one for several steps or for spending time decorating things. I appreciate (and am jealous of) beautifully decorated desserts that take a long time and a lot of skill to put together – but I’m probably not going to be the one spending the time (and I certainly lack the skill) to make them. The point of this rant is to tell you that, originally, when I wanted to make a chocolate-peppermint cookie, I was eyeing these from Martha Stewart. Gorgeous, right? But as I was putting into perspective all my other holiday baking and the fact that dipping things into chocolate (at least, uniformly) is not really my strong suit, I started straying from the recipe, pretty and festive as they may be.
I mentioned this to a friend, who told me she had made these chocolate-mint cookies last year and they were good. I’ve actually never made a thumbprint cookie before, so I thought it would be fun to try one out, and I liked the idea of some mint chocolate in the batter, too. Combined with the semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder, the mint flavor isn’t particularly prominent (it was, of course, moreso in the filling), but it was a nice added flavor. If you want an even mintier cookie, you’ll want to substitute a little more of the bittersweet chocolate for mint chocolate (or maybe add a bit of peppermint extract to the batter). I actually thought the cookies tasted better (and had a little more mint flavor) the next day and day after that. These are a great change of pace from your typical chocolate cookie (and if I’m being honest, chocolate cookies are not my favorite, anyway). These are not a very sweet cookie, which is nice if you want to highlight the bittersweet chocolate (and get a sweeter punch from the white chocolate-mint filling, which makes these both minty and festive). If you want to make them even more festive, you could always roll them in colored sugar instead of your standard turbinado.
The dough for these came together quickly. I actually doubled the recipe and froze a batch so I could bake more of these freshly next weekend. Rolling the balls can get a bit messy but it’s certainly not difficult. I did use my thumb (and index finger) for the first print, but for the second I used a 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon I had, which worked out much better and I wish I would have used that originally for more uniform (and slightly deeper) thumbprints. The amount of filling is perfect, which surprised me (I feel like every time I make a recipe with a filling or a frosting, I have too much or too little).
I’m submitting these chocolate-mint thumbprint cookies to one of my favorite bloggers, Susan, who is hosting Eat Christmas Cookies Season 3! Be sure to check out the always-growing round up and participate by posting your own cookies!
Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
Makes about 45 cookies
From: Food & Wine
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. mint chocolate, chopped (I used Andes mints)
1.5 cups AP flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
scant 3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar (I used light since that’s what I had)
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup coarse sugar, such as turbinado, for rolling
3 oz. white chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the bittersweet and mint chocolates in 30-second intervals until nearly melted. Whisk until smooth, then let cool.In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Add the chocolate into the mixer and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed, until combined (I usually do the last part of the mixing with a spatula since I am the queen of overmixing). Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a 7-inch disk. Wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spread the coarse sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop tablespoons of the dough and roll them into balls, then roll in the coarse sugar and transfer to the baking sheets. Using your thumb or a melon baller (or a measuring spoon, if it’s the right shape), make an indentation in the center of each cookie.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until slightly firm. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Using the melon baller/measuring spoon, press into the cookies again. Return the cookies to the oven, shifting the cookie sheets, and bake for 5 minutes longer, just until dry but not hard. Transfer the cookie sheets to racks to cool completely.
Put the white chocolate in a heatproof cup. Put the cream into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at high power until boiling, about 30 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate and let stand until melted, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Fill the thumbprints with the white-chocolate ganache and refrigerate just until set, about 30 minutes.