Have your peppermint mocha and eat it too.
Hey Monday! I’m back in Philly after a quick trip to Texas for my book tour. I’m all done for 2015. What a trip. Or should I say, 10 trips. This week I’m sleeping in, staying in my pajamas, getting back into my running routine (can I run in my PJs???), decorating the Christmas tree, and baking Christmas cookies until I’m tired of baking Christmas cookies. Which is NEVER.
I’m so excited to be home that I’m going to skip Jude instead of walk Jude. Should I sing a little tune as we skip down the street too? My poor neighbors. This post is weird. I’m going to put down my wine now. So what’s new with you? What did you
do bake this weekend?
Before I left for Texas last week, I made a few new cookie recipes to share in my Christmas cookie palooza. First up this week are my soul-warming peppermint mocha cookies. Just like an actual peppermint mocha, but better. Because they’re COOKIES. That you can eat alongside your actual peppermint mocha and literally be the queen (or king!) of peppermint mocha things.
I was inspired to make today’s cookies after I whipped up my double chocolate crinkles and these mocha cheesecake brownies. I made the two on the same day and it dawned on me… hey Sal why not combine them in some glorious way?* Before I knew it, I was throwing espresso powder and peppermint extract together and crushing every candy cane I could find in a 5 mile radius. Oh my lanta! The end result was insane! In fact, my friend said “these are the best thing to happen to Christmas cookies.” And that’s a direct quote.
*I talk to myself.
Let’s talk about the recipe. You probably recognize the chocolate cookie dough. It’s my basic chocolate cookie dough, which is what I use to make the chocolate crinkle cookies I linked above and every chocolate cookie creation to come out of my kitchen. The reason I use it all the time? It’s the epitome of chocolate cookies. This magical dough creates thick and chewy chocolate cookies that stay soft for days. We’re talking soft cookies even on day 7. If in the very strange event that your chocolate cookies last that long. (Who are you?)
These cookies taste like fudgy brownies.
Which is the main reason I treasure this chocolate cookie dough recipe.
To turn things up a notch, I add two special ingredients to the chocolate cookie dough: peppermint extract and espresso powder. These are what give the cookies their peppermint mocha flavor. Always be careful using peppermint extract. That stuff is scary potent. A little goes a very long way. And make sure you are using peppermint extract, not mint extract. The latter tastes like spearmint toothpaste. It’s not good.
For the espresso powder– if you can’t find this stuff in stores, you can use instant coffee instead. (Which is found in nearly all major grocery stores.) You’d need a little more instant coffee since it isn’t as strong or rich as espresso powder. I find espresso powder at my regular grocery store. You can also find it online. And throw it into your mocha cheesecake brownies too. Don’t use ground coffee; ground coffee isn’t nearly as flavorful as espresso powder or instant coffee. Both of which have super concentrated flavor.
Besides these two, I add mini chocolate chips for extreme chocolate flavor. (How much chocolate is too much chocolate?) Sometimes I prefer mini chocolate chips over the regular size because you get more mini chips in a cookie! Though regular size is totally fine in these peppermint mocha cookies.
To make these cookies really stand out on my holiday cookie trays, I add some decor. It’s so easy: just melt some pure white chocolate, give the cooled cookies a nice dunk, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. The cookies are fabulous without the white chocolate dunk, but why not add a little pizazz? The bites with the white chocolate and candy cane crush are THE BEST.
Sorry for doing this to you on a Monday.
Peppermint Mocha Cookies
Make sure you chill the cookie dough for at least 3 hours. The longer, the better! Chilling helps the flavors develop, prevent spreading, and makes the otherwise sticky cookie dough easy to handle.
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (53g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder or 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (180g) mini or regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3 large candy canes, crushed
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
- Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls and place on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the white chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cooled cookies. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!
Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Baked cookies (without white chocolate and candy cane) freeze well - up to three months. Decorate after they thaw out. Cookie dough balls freeze well too - up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for about 10 minutes. No need to thaw them. For more information, read my tips on freezing cookie dough.
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Want more mocha/mint ideas? Try my mocha mint chocolate chunk cookies!
And my peppermint mocha cupcakes, of course.