Thursday, January 5, 2012

Holidays - Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles

And why did it take me so long to get this post out?  I had no pictures.  Sigh.  I made these cookies the day before Christmas, shipped them three days later, and throughout the entire process, I somehow had none.  Luckily, my brother liked them enough to request a repeat performance.  Yay, pictures! 

I don't normally name my photos, but I'm calling this one "Luxury of Home."

I realize that the holidays may be "over" for many people.  I am convinced that I can keep celebrating from Thanksgiving to Chinese New Year, due to the sheer number of days that different groups of people can call celebratory :)  

These cookies are a typical example of holiday cookies, and I've seen them in many a cookbook.  This recipe was slightly tweaked from the website Real Simple.  Quite happily, I'm home now, and have the use of an electric mixer, albeit broken and only usable on the third setting.  Despite this handicap, I'm reminded of the beauty that is properly creamed butter and butter-based rather than oil-based cakes.  Once I mixed the butter with the eggs, the dough turned into a smooth, creamy frosting that melted on your tongue (excuse me, I like the taste of dough).  Butter and oil have their pros and cons, but for the time being, I'm going to admire the beauty of fat from dairy sources.

These cookies are not nearly as dramatic as I had hoped, but I'm wary of overly sweet holiday (or anytime) confections.  I suppose that I'll have to truly overload on the powdered sugar for the cookies to stand out.  Either way, they're quite good, sturdy yet tender inside, sweet and darkly chocolatey, with just a hint of peppermint.  Lovely for the holidays, any one (or many) you celebrate.

Or you can build an igloo with the little snowballs.  I'm partial to that option, myself.

Peppermint Chocolate Crinkles slightly tweaked from Real Simple
Makes about 4 dozen cookies or so, depending on size

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder 
¼ teaspoon salt 
½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature 
1 cup light brown sugar*
large eggs 
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 large mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl (optional, you can just toss all the dry ingredients into the butter)
1 electric mixer
1 rubber spatula
¼ teaspoon measure
½ teaspoon measure
1 teaspoon measure (optional, only for baking powder)
¼ cup dry measure
1 cup dry measure
1 sifter/strainer (for cocoa powder if your cocoa is lumpy)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet as you please.  I used parchment paper, which is in the original recipe, but truthfully, I use parchment paper whenever I can.  I think you'd be able to get away with just greasing the cookie sheet or using a nonstick sheet, but I also suspect the powdered sugar may melt and stick. 

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the peppermint extract and cream until light and fluffy.

3. Sift the cocoa if you have a sifter and if your cocoa is lumpy.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Using the rubber spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  You can also use the mixer on low, but I find the spatula to be less messy, i.e. less flour everywhere.  You will have a dark, very sticky, but malleable dough.

4. Form the dough into balls and drop into the powdered sugar, coating completely.  Press gently on each ball until the balls are somewhat flattened, about half as tall as they are wide.  Arrange on the cookie sheets and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for around 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!  They ship well :)

Bring some cheer in the form of chocolate :)

I used dark brown sugar and it didn't make any difference.

You will have quite a bit of powdered sugar left over.  Next time, I'd probably start with 2 tablespoons and go from there. 

Next time, I'd also refrigerate the dough for about an hour, then preheat the oven only as I finished forming the cookies.  The dough gets less sticky and more manageable when cool, and you can put it back into the refrigerator if the dough is sticky again halfway through.  Also, you get time to wash all the dishes >_<

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