I’m not what you would call a chocolate mint addict. Some people die for it; I’m content to have it every so often, usually taking the form of mints on a hotel pillow or wrapped goodies in my grandma’s candy dish. This is the time of the year when my thoughts turn a bit towards this particular flavor combination. I blame the candy canes.
I have one of those great childhood memories of going to get our christmas tree from a local tree lot. In my head, it was always snowing, or had snowed, and it was still the pretty snow and not the mushy sort you get after a few days. So you went traipsing through the aisles of trees, trying to get what would obviously the best and only suitable one if you could only find it before anyone else did. As if that weren’t exciting enough, occasionally we whipped out the saw and cut down our own. When we were finished, we left with not only the captured tree, but a handful of those mini candy canes as well. I just remember it seeming like the perfect flavor for that particular moment. So ever since, my normally tiny craving for all things mint-chocolate gets a little frisky around the holidays.
It took me awhile to decide which recipe to go for this year. There’s just so many of them out there, and they all look equally delicious. After a few tweaks, this was the winner. For those of you who make mint-chocolate things year round, I have to ask: why is it that so many of them include barely a hint of mint flavor? Certainly if you’re looking to satisfy a craving, you’d want to go all out and layer the flavors. I did that here. There’s a hint of peppermint in the wafer itself, followed by a fresh little breeze of it in the ganache, and topped off with a snowfall of peppermint candy.
I think the best thing about these is their potential for variation. you could:
- make them into sandwich cookies using the ganache, put a little drop of the ganache on the top cookie, and sprinkle the candies.
- coat them completely in the ganache instead of just circling the top.
- use them for mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, which would be DIVINE. I may try that with the next batch.
- dip them in ganache and then in the candy canes for a nice little sideways treat.
- use white chocolate for the ganache and make them red, green, or whatever your little heart desires.
And let me take a moment to apologize for my penchant for lists in the past few posts. I’m aware that I do it. I’m all hopped up on holiday list-making right now, so I’m thinking that’s the reason I’ve been list-crazy as of late.
Enjoy these fresh little things, will you? Sadly, no one who lives in this house (aside from me) really likes mint-flavored things much. These treats will be headed out to relatives who enjoy (rather, love) a good mint-chocolate treat.
Adapted from a recipe for peppermint chocolate cookies found on Pennies on a Platter’s blog.
Chocolate Peppermint Wafers
for the wafers:
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners (icing) sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
for the ganache topping:
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3-4 regular size candy canes, placed in bag and beaten with wooden spoon by your 16-month old. If you don’t have a 16-month old, crush them yourself.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In either a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat butter until spread out and soft. gradually add the confectioners sugar so it doesn’t poof out all over you. You know what I mean, so please take your time. Beat in the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract until just incorporated.
Add the flour mixture to your butter mixture in three parts, beating after each addition and at the end until smooth. You should have a nice, stiff, tootsie-rollish dough you can easily shape. Form a ball with your dough and separate into two equal parts. Roll each half out to form a log. My logs were roughly 12 inches long and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Keep in mind these cookies do not spread, so your precooked log should be the size you ultimately want your cookies to be. Wrap logs in wax paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap your dough logs and, using a thin, sharp knife, cut logs into 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick (depending on how you want your cookies) slices. Place on prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake until firm, about 16-18 minutes. Let cool on sheets a minute or two after removing from oven, and then transfer to rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make your ganache. In a double boiler (or using a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water) melt the chocolate, butter and peppermint extract, stirring frequently. Please do not use a microwave to do this; believe me, it may sound easier but indeed it is not. I will warn you: since there is both butter and extract in with the chocolate, it will get a little thick at the beginning stages of melting. FEAR NOT: a brisk, continuous stir will have your chocolate smooth as it can be in a matter of minutes, so work through it. It’s worth it. Once your chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat. let sit a few minutes until cool enough to work with.
When ready to frost your cookies, Cut a small hole in the corner of a sturdy plastic zip freezer bag. Or use a pastry bag, but sorry: I live and die by plastic freezer bags for frosting things. Fill your bag and carefully draw a circle around the inside perimeter of your cookie, then fill it in. I do about 6 at a time and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Minty success! Makes 36 or so.