Tis the season! There’s nothing I enjoy more at this time of year than jamming the holiday tunes and baking cookies while a chilly wind blows outside. Speaking of Xmas tunes, I’ve got a sweet playlist this year – Straight No Chaser “Christmas Cheers”, She & Him “A Very She & Him Christmas”, Ella Fitzgerald “A Swinging Christmas”, Johnny Cash “The Classic Christmas Album”, Willie Nelson “Pretty Paper” and finally “Soul Christmas”.
Baking cookies is a ritual I’ve enjoyed with my mom and Grandma since I was little. I can even prove it: hanging in my hallway is a pic of my brothers, Grandma and me baking away when we were probably 2, 4 and 6! Now the tradition continues as I bake with my two daughters (and will be soon baking with my mom in a few weeks!!!). So with all the holiday craziness, and we have it x2 as we celebrate Chanukah as well, I still set aside time for at least one cookie-baking day (or at least cram it in after school!).
I started making Double Chocolate Mint Meltaways because I thought it time that I get my own annual Christmas cookie since my mom has our family’s cookie repertoire down-pat. I didn’t have to look any further than double – chocolate – mint!!!! This is a tender, shortbread-like cookie – a “meltaway” – coated with white chocolate then dipped in dark chocolate with a final drizzle of dark chocolate for good measure. They’re quite rich, so I like that they are little bites.
The recipe makes a lot – almost 4 dozen cookies. So plenty extra to give as gifts! Or if you’re like my household, plenty to last through the weekend. Oh well, we’ll just have to make a second batch for gifts. I’ll start jamming the tunes.
Double Chocolate Mint Meltaways (makes about 48 cookies)
Note: You may need to adjust the amount of peppermint extract. When I made these cookies in the States they tasted mintier, which leads me to believe that not all mint extracts are created equal. Best to start out with less and taste test to see if you want more. The cookies should have a subtle mint flavor – not shamrock shake level.
2 sticks (225 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered/icing sugar
2 cups (250 grams) plain, all-purpose flour plus extra for coating the fork
White chocolate ganache:
5 tablespoons heavy, double or whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
7 ounces (200 grams) white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Dark chocolate ganache:
7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Preheat the oven to 350º F (175º C). In an electric mixer cream the butter, vanilla extract and mint extract until light, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in the sugar only until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in half of the flour only until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the remaining flour using a spatula or wooden spoon (dough will seem dry but keep mixing – it will come together). Roll dough into small balls (if you have a scale and are as anal as I am, 10 grams is a good size per cookie). Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with baking (parchment) paper (alternately you can grease the cookie sheet, though it’s not as effective). Dip a fork in flour, shake off any excess, then press down on dough ball to flatten it to about 2″ (5 cm) diameter. Bake until just beginning to brown at the edges, about 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the tray, then remove to a wire rack or a piece of baking paper on a flat surface.
While cookies are baking make the white chocolate ganache. Bring cream and butter to simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Add white chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the mint extract. Transfer the ganache to a small bowl and refrigerate until firm enough to spread (should be consistency of lemon curd), about 15 minutes.
Spread ganache on the flat side of the cookie (not the side with the fork marks). Set cookies with white chocolate ganache facing up, on a cookie sheet lined with baking (parchment paper) or foil. Refrigerate until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes.
Melt dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Carefully remove dark chocolate from over the water (steam can be very hot). Stir in the mint extract.
Dip one end of a cookie into the dark chocolate ganache. Gently shake cookie to remove excess chocolate. Place cookie with white chocolate ganache facing down back on the same cookie sheet. When all cookies have been dipped, using a spoon drizzle excess chocolate over the fork-pressed side of the cookies. You will probably have leftover dark chocolate ganache (the recipe makes more than you’ll need so it’s deep enough for dipping). Chill until all chocolate has set, about 30 minutes. Remove cookies from cookie sheet, place in an airtight container or two and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Cookies can be eaten chilled or let sit out about 10 minutes at room temperature.