Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Already? [Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies]


I hate and love the month of December. I hate the month of December, because it's the craziest time of the year for teachers. First of all, the month is only 3 weeks long, because we have winter break so I have to cram all the holiday surprises and crafts that I want to expose to the children. In addition to keeping up with the curriculum, I have to find time to go Christmas shopping and to use a weekend to make holiday cookies for the parents. Usually, that's enough craziness for me, but this year, my body decided to take a dive and get sick the week before the break. I was fighting a sore throat, a cough, and runny nose while trying to run class. Worst week ever.

However, I survived and I can finally enjoy the holiday spirit and desserts. My sweet tooth seriously gets out of hand this time of the year. I indulge in some chocolate, toffee, or some other form of sweets every single day.

In general,  I can't stand holiday sugar or butter cookies, but give me a chocolatey chewy cookie with the essence of peppermint and I'm there. This is my idea of a holiday cookie that warms the soul during the chilly winter months. These are so good that my sister devoured nearly a whole batch by herself and requested another batch to be made a couple weeks later.


Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

Note: For a classic double chocolate cookie, replace peppermint extract with 1 tsp vanilla extract and peppermint bark with dark chocolate chunks.

Ingredients
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 oz (1/3 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1.85 oz (1/4 cup) butter
0.05 oz (1/2 TBSP) instant espresso
4 oz (1/2 cup + 2 TBSP) white granulated sugar
1 egg
0.25 oz (1 1/2 TBSP) cocoa powder
2.0 oz (1/2 cup) flour
0.05 oz (1/4 tsp) baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
2.5 oz (1/2 cup) chopped peppermint bark

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips, and butter in 30 seconds intervals in the microwave. Remember to stir after every interval. Stop when smooth. Add espresso and set aside to cool down.
  3. Beat sugar and egg until thick and pale yellow.
  4. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture and peppermint extract.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt. 
  6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet batter. Fold in peppermint bark.
  7. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed and the top is cracked. 

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