This year I had big plans of splendid wintery recipes for the blog, but once again, I’ve been plagued by amnesia of the recurring holiday sneak. I mean, I’m over here still trying to plan my Halloween costume for this year. It’s now a mere 9 days before Christmas and I’ve yet to buy a single gift or post a Christmas cookie recipe. Every year it feels like I am living in a mashup of of Bill Murray’s characters from Groundhog Day and Scrooged. The forced cheer and madness of the holidays brings out the Ebenezer in me. Every season I end up living a repeat of holiday procrastination mixed with a guilty mad dash to make spirits bright a few days before C day.
The development of this recipe directly reflects the chaotic hustle of the holiday bustle. I started with a simple Black and White Cookie concept that would somehow incorporate peppermint. Then, I began dreaming of a white chocolate cookie, just like the ones I used to know. I started to get sleepy, so I mixed in a hint of espresso powder. That lead me down candy cane lane, and before I knew it I was rolling out dough and cutting it into cute and festive little holiday shapes. Either hell froze over or my holiday spirit was fueled by spirits, and I’m not talking about the ghost of Christmas past.
Now that we’ve established that all I want for Christmas is a bottomless mug of Hot Toddys, I can get in the spirit and share my new recipe for Peppermint Mocha Cookies. I based the cookie recipe on an old standby favorite, my Big Pink Cookies. I adapted the dough into a rich, dark chocolate cookie laced with a hint of espresso. This dough is like an actual Christmas miracle. It rolls out like a playdough dream and bakes up with edges as sharp as the blade of a freshly sharpened ice skate.
These Peppermint Mocha Cookies are an ideal canvas for decorating any way you wish, but I went minimalist by dunking them in smooth and melty white chocolate and topped them off with cheery peppermint sprinkles. The rich notes of cocoa and espresso are warm and sophisticated, the white chocolate dip adds a kiss of sweetness, and the peppermint brings a twinkle of holiday tingle. It’s just the right amount of cheer without going all Clark Griswold on ya.
I highly suggest sending these easy to make, fantastically festive Peppermint Mocha Cookies to all of your friends, family, and that dumb guy who’s name you drew for the secret santa work party. Even the grinchiest of Scrooges can handle baking up a batch, and they taste like actual Christmas cheer.
- all purpose flour - 4 1/2 cups
- dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona) - 1 1/2 cups
- instant espresso powder - 2 tablespoons
- baking powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- salt - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)
- eggs at room temperature - 4
- granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cups
- brown sugar, lightly packed - 1/2 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- white chocolate chips - 2 cups (one bag)
- crushed peppermints or candy canes - 1/4 - 1/2 cup
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the sugar mixture one egg at a time, allow each egg to blend in completely before adding the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low until just mixed and smooth. The dough will be soft and sticky and looks like a giant tootsie roll at this point.
- Divide the sticky soft dough into two or three equal disks and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in refrigerator for at least an hour up to overnight, the dough needs to firm up.
- Be sure to have cookie cutters and a rolling pin available.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4" thickness on floured counter top. Cut the rolled dough into chosen shapes. Gather the scrapes and repeat until the dough is all shaped.
- I like to chill my dough at this point, at least 20 minutes so the dough will hold it's shape and bakes up with crisp edges.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Place cookies on lined baking sheets at least 1" apart and bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on size) until the cookies feel firm to the touch, rotating once during the bake. Remove from oven and cool on cookie racks.
- Once cooled, melt the white chocolate chips over a double boiler and dip the cookies into the chocolate as desired. Place on wire rack and while the chocolate is still tacky, sprinkle with peppermint bits. Allow the chocolate to set before serving or packaging.