Day 25: Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope that you and yours have a wonderful day full of giving and holiday cheer!!

It’s Day 25, the last and final day of my Christmas baking extravaganza and although I highly doubt you’re reading this right now, I’ll keep it short. This has been one helluva experience for me. A thrill even. I hope you’ve enjoyed this 25 days of goodies as much as I have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following along.

These cookies are a very welcomed twist on regular, good old peppermint bark. A shortbread base, chocolate, peppermint candies and white chocolate drizzle. Enjoy!!

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
from Bon Appetit, December 2009 (also available via Epicurious) via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped candy canes
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (not chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both short sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

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Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over the top. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies/candy canes over.

Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50% power for 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst.) Transfer the chocolate to a resealable plastic bag, snip a corner and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Chill until the white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Using the parchment overhang, lift the cookies from pan and transfer to work surface. Using a large knife, cut the cookies into irregular pieces.

The cookies can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator in airtight containers.

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Day 23: Cookies and Cream Fudge (candy cane style)

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I have a confession to make…

I pretty much hate fudge.

I try and try to like it, trying a taste here and there but I’m always disappointed. It’s just not appealing to me. It’s a cross between a brownie and a chocolate bar and to me, someone with major texture issues, can’t get past it.

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This fudge however is a different story. I LOVE this fudge. LOVE. I’d scream it from the rooftops… if I wouldn’t fall off and end up in a body cast. But you get the picture. This is good stuff. Make it. Don’t argue with me on this one. It’s light but rich, it has that punch of flavor you want without being too cloying. This is my idea of perfect fudge!

It’s day 23 of my Christmas extravaganza and only 2 more days until Christmas!! Are you excited?! I know I am!! I have tons of baking left to do, woo boy!

My only note for this recipe is that all my butter didn’t quite blend all the way into the condensed milk mixture but it turned out fine. I’m betting that you could reduce the butter by a tablespoon or two (if you’re feeling adventurous). I also used candy cane sandwich cookies but you can use your favorite kind of sandwich cookie, the red filling Oreos would give it a nice festive flair!

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Cookies and Cream Fudge
Slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups

3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff
1 t. vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
2 cups crushed Oreos (I used candy cane filled cookies)
1 cup coarsely crushed Oreos

Line 9×9 square pan with foil and spray with cooking spray evenly

In a medium saucepan combine butter and sweetened condensed milk.
Heat over medium heat until mixture is boiling, stirring constantly.
Continue to stir while boiling for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in Fluff, white chocolate chips, vanilla and 2 cups crushed Oreos.

Spread into prepared pan.

Now sprinkle 1 cup coarsely crushed Oreos on top and press gently into fudge.

Chill for 1 hour and cut into squares!

For extra indulgence, melt an ounce or so of white chocolate and drizzle it on top of the cooled fudge. YUM!

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Shipping Safe: YES. Just pack em up separately and make sure they don’t move around or that you send it during warm weather.

Day 19: Chocolate Mint Brownies + 3 Extra Variations

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Christmas is almost here.

There are Christmas songs playing non-stop wherever you go. Seriously, it follows you!

There are stockings hung by the chimney with care and I’m pretty sure visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head.

Oh, not to mention there is toxic sludge colored mint on top of brownies.

Whaa?

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Day 19 of my extravaganza and I am sharing brownies. Yummy, fudgy brownies. Yummy, fudgy brownies with a layer of toxic sludge colored mint on top of them. Yum.

But seriously, these are great!! The brownies themselves are a great plain canvas for any number of mix ins and toppings. Just be sure not to have such a heavy hand with the gel food coloring… that stuff is POTENT! Easy does it. Unless toxic sludge green is your favorite color. In which case, color away!!

Chocolate Mint Brownies
adapted from The Joy of Baking via My Baking Addiction

Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (114 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (70 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mint Layer:
2 tablespoons(28 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (115 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract or 1-2 tablespoons crème de menthe
green food coloring (optional)

Chocolate Glaze:
3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Have ready a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan that has been lined with aluminum foil across the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan. Set aside.

Brownies: In a stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with a wooden spoon) after each addition. Stir in the flour and salt and beat, with a wooden spoon, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan (about one minute). Pour the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges of the brownies are just beginning to brown. A toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies will come out almost clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool.

Mint Layer: In the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients until smooth. Add a few drops of green food coloring if you want the frosting green. If the frosting is too thick, add a little extra cream. (The frosting should be just thin enough to spread.) Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled brownie layer. Place in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes or until firm.

Chocolate Glaze: In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the mint filling and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate glaze starts to dull.

To Serve: Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil and transfer to a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into 30 squares. It is a good idea to wipe your knife between cuts with a damp cloth to get clean cuts. These brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or else frozen.

Makes about 30 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares.

Optional Garnishes:
chopped peppermint bark (sprinkle over warm brownies and let come to room temp)

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chopped candy cane oreos (sprinkle over warm brownies)

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a few dollops of caramel sauce (lightly swirl into batter before baking)

Shipping Safe: YES. Brownies can ship great if packed snugly so they do not move around in whatever tin/box you place them in.
Make Ahead and Freeze: YES. Bake the brownies, cool to room temp, wrap tightly and freeze. Take them out one day before they are needed and let them thaw in the fridge and continue with the mint filling and topping.

Day 9: Candy Manor Peppermint Hot Chocolate

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Sometimes when the world seems to deal you it’s worst hand or when it’s ridiculously cold outside or even when you scrape your knee… hot chocolate is the best cure for all that ails you.

Don’t believe me? Give this one a try and get back to me.

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Best part? You can go crazy with the toppings or flavoring of the whipped cream. The cream is your oyster.

Ew, remind me not to ever EVER reference ‘cream’ and ‘oyster’ in the same sentence again. Cringe.

Are you still with me? Good. It’s day 9 of my Christmas Extravaganza and if you’re just now joining me (welcome!) scroll back and catch up on days 1-8. You’ll thank me. Again.

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Candy Manor Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Lora Brody’s “Chocolate American Style” via Ezra Poundcake
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

Whipped Cream:
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Hot Chocolate:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated (I used bittersweet)
1 quart (32 ounces) whole milk
1/3 cup (3 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (recommended: Boyajian)
Crushed candy cane, garnish
Chocolate shavings, garnish

Instructions:

1. For the Whipped Cream: Place the cream, powdered sugar in a chilled mixing bowl, and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream.

2. For the Hot Chocolate: Place the chocolate in a 2 1/2-quart metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over (but not touching) a pan of simmering water. (The bowl will seem large, but you need the space to mix in the milk.) Stir the chocolate occasionally with a rubber spatula.

3. In the meantime, pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan. Whisk in the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk begins to simmer and bubbles form around the edge. Turn off the heat.

4. When the chocolate has melted, reduce the heat so the water under the pan barely simmers. Pour the 1/3 cup of boiling water into the melted chocolate, and whisk or beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Dribble in the hot milk mixture as you whisk. When the ingredients are well incorporated, remove the bowl from the water bath, and stir in the vanilla and peppermint.

5. To serve, ladle the hot chocolate into mugs, and top with a generous dollop of the whipped cream. Garnish with crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings.

Notes: The whipped cream can be infused with peppermint extract and crushed candy canes. Just include 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (recommended: Boyajian) with the other ingredients and fold in 2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy at the end.

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This is not shipping safe, but do share this with someone you love 🙂

Day 7: Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

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I feel like my brain is scattered and being pulled in 90 different directions. Usually that’s not a bad thing as I tend to be more productive, unlike when I’m empty headed.

BUT I have cookies to share and so many other goodies and I almost forgot to post today completely undoing all of my work!! Yah yah it’s only day 7, you say. But dang, this is hard work people!!

Baking a few days ahead just to be able to have a variety of posts. Creaming butter, getting covered in a powdered sugar snow, and making damn sure my jeans don’t fit. Whew. Time for cookies.

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It’s day 7 and I’m not stopping yet! Thanks for joining me. Come on it, take your coat and your shoes off please and have a seat by my imaginary fire.

These cookies are GOOD! Super simple to throw together and with an overnight (or few hours, pick your poison) chill you are ready to roll… your cookie dough, that is. A few notes of my own: if you have a better quality peppermint extract, now is the time to use it. Also, use bittersweet chocolate, will you? If you MUST use something else, be sure to use good quality. I didn’t and I regret it. Do as I say, not as I do.

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Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
Adapted slightly from Bakers Royale
Yields 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup of it set aside
1/4 cup canola oil (I used veggie)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of peppermint extract
1 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, beat together well the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for 15 seconds more and stir; set aside.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together 2 1/2 cups of the sugar, the oil, butter and corn syrup to blend. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract. Then on low, beat in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and beat in on low speed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line bakesheet with parchment. Take out about one-quarter of the dough at a time to shape. Roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar into one bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in another bowl. Roll each cookie dough ball lightly in granulated sugar first, then very heavily in confectioners’ sugar. (By rolling in plain sugar first, the confectioners’ sugar does not soak in so much and stays on the surface better).

Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the foil. For crisp cookies, bake 12 to 14 minutes. For a chewier cookie, bake 10-12 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time.

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Shipping Safe: YES. These are great to pack in a tin or even stack and ship.
Make Ahead and Freeze: YES. Make the cookie dough, chill and shape. DO NOT COAT IN SUGAR. Place on a cookie sheet to flash freeze dough balls then once frozen, place in a zip baggie for future baking.