Bon Appétit (December 2009)
Bon Appétit (December 2009)
We got the holiday cookie bug this year.
Nearly all the magazines we receive had beautiful spreads of adorable cookies in their December issues. We pored over them, trying to figure out what to make.
The options were mind-boggling. Did we want Chewy Chocolate Raisin cookies? Golden Chocolate Truffles? Citrus Sugar Cookies shaped like snowflakes? Candy-Cane Meringues?
In the end, we settled on these Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies. And are we glad we did!
The thing that sealed the deal for us with these cookies is the variation offered in the final lines of the recipe. If you desire, you can skip the peppermint and substitute either peanut butter cups or peanut brittle.
We're suckers for anything chocolate-and-peanut-butter flavored, as documented to an almost embarrassing degree here on the blog. But we liked the idea of the peppermint, too, so a double-batch was in order.
If it's going to snow in your neck of the woods this weekend, like it is here, then these cookies are a great project. They're not complicated, but they do take a few hours to cook. Basically, you make a shortbread dough, bake it, slather it in chocolate, sprinkle with whatever topping you choose, and then drizzle in white chocolate, chill and then break it into pieces.
It may sound complex, but it's a fairly easy series of steps and we loved the pay-off of these beautiful, oddly shaped cookies. When the cookies were finally done and we tasted them, we were over the moon. The shortbread itself was crisp and delicious, but slathered in chocolate and candy, it was divine.
The peppermint version is delicious, and the little sparkles of red and white flecking the chocolate make them perfect holiday fare. But we adored the chocolate and peanut butter version.
Looking at two huge platters of cookies, we contemplated having a cookie-eating contest between the two of us, but instead opted to wrap them up and take them to our day-job workplaces, where they got great reviews.
If you're looking for a last-minute gift idea for a good friend, these might be just perfect.
Want more holiday cookie ideas? Try Jacques Torres' Cherry-Nut Mudlslides.
Makes about 36
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 large egg yolk
• 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes (about 3 ounces)
• 2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of 9-inch-wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.
Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.
Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in refrigerator in airtight containers between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper.
For a variation on this cookie, sprinkle the melted dark chocolate with chopped peanut brittle or peanut butter cups instead of the peppermint candies.