A Peek From my Porch

If you could sneak a peek into my kitchen from the back porch, this is the scene you would come upon…

In preparation for our upcoming Open House, I’ve baked 12 dozen Cheese Straws, 29 dozen cookies, two batches of Puppy Chow, and have several other recipes still on my agenda!  I’m pacing myself, baking a recipe or two each day.  I’m loving it!  My kitchen counter has gotten washed off more than Santa’s elves’ kitchen, I’m sure,  but it’s such fun.  My freezer is quickly filling up with Ziploc bags and cookie tins.  Peppermint ice cream awaits there for the punch bowl that will turn the frozen confection into a dreamy punch.

I’ve tried a couple new recipes this year, thanks to some great Internet blogs.  One came from Pioneer woman – Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies.  I just happened across this recipe the other night and knew I had to make these.  Oh, my.  Am I ever glad I did!  They are soft and chocolaty, and the peppermint crunch on the outside is incredibly yummy!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
2 sticks Salted Butter, Slightly Softened
1 cup Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar
1 whole Egg
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2-1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
4 ounces, weight (4 Squares) Almond Bark Or White Baking Chocolate (almond Bark Works Best And Is Cheaper)
 Large Handful Of Red Or Green Peppermints

Preparation Instructions
Cream softened butter with powdered sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix together until dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on surface of dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.
In the meantime, unwrap candies and place them in a plastic bag. Beat with a mallet until finely crushed, leaving larger chunks if desired.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll cookie dough in walnut-sized pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Gently press balls flat with a plain, smooth surface. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, being careful not to burn. I did mine for exactly  minutes so they’d be soft in the middle.  Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
Place crushed candies in bowl. Melt almond bark in the microwave. Dip cooled cookies into almond bark, coating half the cookie. Immediately sprinkle crushed peppermints over both sides of the almond bark. Gently set on parchment paper or other nonstick surface and allow to cool before serving.

The other cookie was found on Better Homes and Garden’s Instagram baking picture of the week – Mint (Spiked) Milanos.  I wasn’t interested in the “spiked” version, so I tweaked the recipe and came out with a  fantastic little gem of cookie.  Can you tell I LOVE chocolate and mint?  These recipes just call for my attention and my tastebuds!  These were husband approved, too!  He’s such a great guy and servant – “You can’t serve those un-tasted!  What if they’re bad?!!!!!!!”  Whatever, he can have whatever he wants, since he has my heart, too!  Not only are these cookies both delicious, but they’re really pretty!

I chose to not make these sandwich cookies.
Maybe next time I’ll make them a little smaller and do that.

Mint Milanos
Cookie dough
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1&1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Peppermint Mocha Coffee Cream – This is my addition.  Yum!

Peppermint Chocolate Ganache
6 ounces chocolate – I use semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add egg and egg yolk.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Alternate adding in dries with Baileys till combined.
Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours to over night.
Roll out dough & cut out cookies using holiday cookie cutters
Chill cookies at least 30 minutes before baking to keep their shape.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes rotating once halfway through. Start checking them after 10 minutes. As soon as they get a little blonde on the edges, they’re done.

Peppermint Ganache
Bring heavy cream up to a near scald.
Pour over chopped chocolate and mix to combine.
Stir in peppermint extract.
Set ganache aside so it can set, stirring every so often.
Once ganache has thickened, dip the cookie half way into the chocolate pool.  Place on waxed paper; refrigerate.  Add sprinkles.  Store in refrigerator (or sit down and eat them all right now.  Trust me, you’ll be tempted!).

4 thoughts on “A Peek From my Porch

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