Friday, January 16, 2015

Chocolate Mint Cookies

I happened to see an article a few days ago about 3 new cookies the Girl Scouts have added to their collection: Toffee-tastic, a butter cookie with toffee bits that’s gluten-free; Rah-Rah Raisins, an oatmeal cookie with raisins and Greek yogurt chunks; and Trios, a peanut butter oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips that's gluten-free.  I also happened to read a piece about how the threat of crop pests or new disease along with our outsized demand for chocolate is making it difficult for suppliers to keep up with our habit.  So imagine a world without chocolate.  OK, had enough?  Here’s hoping that good precautions and robust crops will avert a chocolate crisis.  Yikes.  

Anyway, all this news about Girl Scout cookies and worries about chocolate production reminded me how much I like the combination of chocolate and mint, so I set about to make some Chocolate Mint Cookies.  These are simple cookies with ordinary ingredients in good combination to make when you want a tinge of cookie fun - a little bit of cookie, a little bit of chocolate and a little blast of mint.

Bench notes:
- I used natural, not dutched, cocoa powder in this recipe.
- You can re-roll scraps.  Just layer them as you go rather than gathering them up and squishing them into a ball.
- Cookie dough is much easier to handle and cut when thoroughly chilled.  They also hold their shape better.
- The cookies aren't super sweet so I suggest semisweet chocolate for coating.  Finely chop the chocolate so it melts evenly and quickly without overheating.
- When melting chocolate, the water in the bain marie should be barely simmering.  When chocolate gets too hot, it becomes grainy and may seize.
- You can either dip the cookies or use a small offset spatula to spread the chocolate.
- If you want to dip the whole cookie in chocolate, double the recipe for the coating.
- If you’re crazy about Samoas Girl Scout cookies, here’s my take on those flavors in the form of Samoas Ice Cream.
- And speaking of oatmeal and peanut butter, these are really good: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies.  And if you like toffee bits in your cookies, this Almond Toffee Shortbread will certainly cheer you up.  For a bold and delicious hit of mint and chocolate, try Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cake.

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies

1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz) flour                                                         
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) cocoa powder                                    
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (6 1/4 oz) sugar                                                                      
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                       
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 oz (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
1 egg                                     
1 tablespoon milk                                                                                      
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract                                                                                  
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 oz semisweet (54%) chocolate
2 oz (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Place the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and process until thoroughly mixed. Cut the butter into 1/2” pieces and add. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Combine the egg, milk and vanilla and peppermint extracts.  Add and pulse the food processor just until the cookie dough starts to form clumps and holds solidly together when pinched. 

Divide dough in half and place each on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough, cover each portion with another piece of plastic and roll out to a scant 1/4” thick circle or rectangle.  Place each one encased in plastic on top of each other on a baking sheet or pizza pan.  Chill thoroughly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Remove the rolled out cookie dough from the refrigerator and carefully peel the plastic wrap off of both sides.  Cut out cookies with a 2 1/2” cookie cutter and place on prepared baking sheets.  Bake until the tops and edges are dry to the touch,  about 13 - 15 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  

Finely chop the chocolate and place with the butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of about 1" of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.  As the mixture melts, stir to combine.  Add peppermint extract.  Remove from heat and cool for just a couple of minutes or so.  Dip each cookie in the chocolate for a nice thick coating, scraping the bottom of the cookie along the edge of the bowl to remove excess.  Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet to dry.


Beth said...

How well do you think these would hold up as ice cream sandwich cookies, maybe either not dipped or dipped after stuffing with ice cream?

pastry studio said...

Hi, Beth. These are pretty sturdy so I think they might hold up well unless you want a much softer cookie. Love the idea, especially the dipping after stuffing!