Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

AKA False Scarcity Cookies. Because Trader Joe's only sells Peppermint Bark Baking Bits at Christmastime, so it is imperative to buy seven bags. Obviously. But then you realize, no one's going to want Peppermint Bark in July, so you've got to figure out what to do with them. Try this.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
(makes about 40 cookies)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (yes, really)
3 cups flour
9 ounce bag Peppermint Bark Baking Bits

These cookies come together like every other drop cookie you've ever made. If you feel like sifting the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, knock yourself out. (Wash another dish? I think not.)

Cream the butter and sugars together for three minutes until they're fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the salt, baking soda, baking powder and Dutch process cocoa, then the flour. Finally, turn the mixer on low and add the baking bits.

The cookies will be a little better if you let the batter sit in the fridge for a day, but it's not critical. You do, however, have to portion the cookies into balls and freeze them unless you want flat, cracker-y cookies. Sorry.

I used a #40 disher filled slightly past capacity to make about 42 cookies (maybe more, since I ate batter for lunch). This works out to a scant 2 tablespoons per cookie. Once frozen, you can throw them in a gallon-sized zipper bag and bake a few whenever.

When you NEED COOKIES NOW, bring your oven up to 350 (325 convection) and line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Leave about four inches between cookies since they spread a fair bit. I got eight per sheet.

You'll bake the frozen cookies for about 16 minutes, depending on your oven and how many sheets are in there at once. Take a leap of faith and pull them out when they are wet at the cracks and look half-baked. Baked longer, people will hear you crunching them in the next room. Underbaked they stay chewy in the middle. Trust me.

Slide the parchment off the sheet onto a rack or the counter to let the cookies firm up for five minutes, then move the cookies to a rack to cool until the kids come in and snatch them while you're pouring the milk. You could store them in a plastic bag for a couple of days, but why when there are two dozen cookie balls in the freezer?

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