Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

I have to admit I'm a coffee addict. I actually keep my coffee pot on my night stand so that I can roll over in the morning and instantly make coffee, although I mostly keep it in my room because my dad and I do not agree on what coffee should taste like.
In any case I love coffee and anything with coffee in it. It being christmas and all I decided I needed to make something festive that also had a punch of caffeine so I did what all artists do I copied an idea. So here it is a Starbucks tradition turned cookie.

Peppermint Mocha Cookies
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup Cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbs. hot tap water
3 dozen unwrapped peppermint kisses

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in egg and then vanilla and espresso
stir cocoa, flour and baking powder until combined and then with the mixer on low slowly add dry ingredients.
Once the dough comes together cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Once the dough has chilled dish it out in 1 tsp portions onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Bake for 15-18 minutes
Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately top with the kisses. 
lift the parchment paper off the sheet tray and transfer the cookies to a cooling wrack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peppermint Bark

Every year for Christmas my mom and I put together baskets of food to take to our neighbors and friends. We usually do things like party mix, fudge, cheese straws, and peppermint bark. I've always made the peppermint bark and without fail the night before we were supposed to deliver baskets I would be cranking out batches of bark and wanting to pull my hair out. It seemed that no matter how careful I was the dark chocolate and white chocolate would always separate when I tried to cut the final product. I think I've finally found the problem and the solution. I'm to lazy to use a double boiler, I hate waiting for the water to boil and waiting for the chocolate to melt, all while trying not to get water in the  chocolate. I had started to just melt the chocolate on the stove and I think that was the problem. The chocolate wasn't getting tempered correctly. Another problem I've run into with this recipe is sometimes I'll try to melt the white chocolate and it seizes up and looks like cookie dough, this typically means the white chocolate isn't fresh enough. The only option is to toss it and start again.
Last year when I was away at college I made peppermint bark for my secret santa and we didn't have any saucepans so I just melted the chocolate in the microwave and magically it didn't separate. So here's my fool proof method for melting chocolate.

Peppermint bark
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
crushed candy cane or starlight mints

Place the dark chocolate chips in a glass microwave safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, stir and microwave for 30 seconds, stir microwave for 15 seconds, stir microwave for 10 seconds. If chocolate still has some small unmelted bits microwave for another 10 seconds and stir.
Pour the dark chocolate onto a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet and pop it into the freezer while you repeat the same microwaving steps with the white chocolate.
By the time the white chocolate is melted the dark should be set so remove it from the freezer. Using a rubber spatula dollop the white chocolate in four large drops over the dark chocolate and spread, don't move it around to much or the bottom layer will start to melt and you'll get marbling. Top immediately with the crushed candy.