I have a confession to make, and you’re probs going to yell at me for whatever reason.
I went to school in Boston…well, actually, in my defense, I went to school about 20 minutes outside of Boston, in a town called Waltham. Anyways, I lived very close to Boston for 4 years. And…(deep breath)…I never…(brace yourselves)…went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston.
I’m sorry. I really really am.
I’m not even totally sure I have good excuses, seeing as I would have to come up with 4 of them, one for each year. I’m almost positive that one year we were on spring break at the time. Maybe. One year I was more concerned with Purim, a real holiday for Jews. One year (possibly all 4 years) it was raining because it rains from January to April in Boston.
Plus, I’ll admit it, I’m way Mardi Gras biased. I was a little afraid that if I went to the St. Patty’s Day parade, I would be like, “Where are the giant floats? The daquiris? Why hasn’t this parade been going on since January? This sucks.” Sorry Irish Bostonians, but nobody does parades like New Orleans. They have parades for funerals sometimes. Basically…they’re experts.
Ok. Whew. Now that I have that off my chest, it’s cookie makin’ time.
I hid a surprise inside those cookies. York Peppermint Patties. Heck yes. For the cookie part, I used my favorite double-chocolate cookie recipe: Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies from Baking Illustrated. I love how thick and soft they are, and I knew that thickness would be key to surrounding all that minty goodness. These cookies make excellent use of both cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, and they get all crackly and bumpy and perfectly imperfect on top. Perfect cookies from America’s Test Kitchen? Whaaaat? Shocker.
The only change in ingredients I made was to eliminate the instant espresso powder. I know that espresso usually just kicks up the chocolate flavor, but I didn’t want anything to interfere with the peppermint. I was a little worried because I remembered how soft this dough usually is, even when it’s ready to scoop and bake, so I just chilled it for awhile to make it a little less sticky. This didn’t seem to affect the taste or end texture of the cookies. They’re still a little messy to put together, but totes worth it.
I froze the peppermint patties so they wouldn’t get too melty and gooey and ooze out of the baking cookies. If you are a serious overachiever, you can make your own instead of using York patties…Alice at Savory Sweet Life has a fantastic recipe for them. Finally, because I wanted MORE mint flavor AND a touch of green, I drizzled the cookies with a super easy mint chocolate ganache, then a powdered sugar glaze I dyed green. Festive! The perfect accompaniment to a Shamrock Shake! Or green beer!
Except maybe not the beer.
Peppermint Pattie Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 3 to 3 1/2 dozen cookies, depending on how big you want them
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I like Tollhouse out of the non-fancy pants brands)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs (I find the dough works best when they’re cold)
2 tsp vanilla extract
10 TBS (= 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft and still a little cool
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
40-45 mini peppermint patties, York or otherwise, frozen
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup mint chocolate baking chips (I like Andes)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 TBS milk (or cream)
3 drops green food coloring, if desired
1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium glass bowl set over a pan of simmer water, melt the chocolate until completely smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla.
4. In a large bowl (sorry for all the bowls), beat the butter either by hand or with an electric mixer just until creamy…this doesn’t take very long. Creamy, not fluffy! Add both sugars and beat until completely combined, about 45 seconds. It will still look sugary and grainy…it doesn’t need to be completely smooth. On low speed if using a mixer, slowly beat in the egg mixture. Gradually pour in the chocolate and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl
5. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix. (You could use a mixer on low speed for this step, but whenever there’s a fear of overmixing, I just do it by hand.) Cover the bowl and refrigerate until chilled and scoop-able and not quite as sticky, about 1 hour.
6. Preheat oven to 350ºF with racks in the lower-middle and upper-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a heaping 1/2 TBS (ish…you can play around with the size), scoop cookie dough and place dough balls about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. It’s easiest to do this first, then worry about the patties. Once you have the bottom halves of your cookies on the sheets, lightly press 1 peppermint pattie onto each dough ball, like so:
7. Scoop out the dough by 1/2 tablespoons again, and press these dough balls on top of the patties, sealing the cookies around the edges to make sure peppermint patties around peeking out of the sides. You don’t want them oozing all over the baking sheet!
8. Bake cookies until still soft in the centers and just beginning to set around the edges, about 10 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets from back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Don’t overbake! Cookies will continue to cook while they cool, plus you want them to be soft and moist. They’re called “thick and chewy” for a reason. Cool cookies on baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to let cool completely.
9. For ganache and glaze – While cookies are cooling, make the ganache. Place the mint chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until just boiling, or in the microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes. Pour hot cream over mint chocolate chips, whisking until smooth and combined. Let cool until thickened slightly. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and milk/cream in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in the food coloring if using. Once the cookies are cool, drizzle the ganache over cookies. Let them sit for about 45 minutes, until the ganache is set. (Otherwise the ganache and glaze will run together, and this does not look pretty.) Drizzle the green glaze over cookies. Cookies will keep, tightly covered, for about 4 days.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen
The Weatherman said these cookies were super popular at the station. How could they not be??? I wish I had saved more for myself. Bummer. What’s your favorite baked good that combines chocolate and mint? Thanks for reading, happy baking!
[And for today’s Japan link…here’s a link to Global Giving, the organization I’ve decided to donate to. I picked it because they’re distributing funds to different organizations on the ground, like the International Medical Corps and Save the Children…and relief organizations like this generally don’t accept earmarked donations. So if you donate to Global Giving’s Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, you’re donating directly to those relief efforts.]