Christmas countdown#3

Peppermint is by far my favorite thing ever. It is the first candy I go for whenever I want candy. Every year I buy enough candy canes to last all year. Boxes and boxes of candy canes. Pure heaven I swear. I love being able to go to my pantry and open up a candy cane to enjoy. My birthday is in August (the 1st to be exact) and I adore making peppermint cupcakes for my birthday. They are so fun, You can melt them so they form hearts. One year I made candy cane hearts with white chocolate in the center for classmates.

The holiday recipes I am sharing today are filled with pepperminty goodness. This is another double feature. There is peppermint mocha cookies and candy cane fudge.

Let us first gather the mise en place for the cookies.

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed Light or Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Espresso Powder or 1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Mini or Regular size Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 8 ounces White Chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large Candy Canes, crushed

Now let us start, in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy (Make sure your butter is room temperature or else this step won’t be easy). Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough (dough chilling helps the cookies keep their shape as they bake). Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Depending on how long your chilled the dough, let it sit for 20 minutes if 3 hours and 30 minutes if left in there any longer.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets and set them aside. Scoop the dough into roughly 1 and a half tablespoon balls and set on the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.*

* If you do not own cooling racks I do suggest that you get some. They make baking things so much easier. When cookies or other baked goods are left in the pan they are cooked in they continue to cook even after they have been pulled from the oven. This can cause over baked goods. The cooling rack helps cool them evenly and quickly. Sometimes the bottoms do not cool as quick when left on a solid surface versus the gridded.

The next part is the best! Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the white chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cooled cookies. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!

The fudge is wonderful as well, let’s get the mise en place:

  • 110 (or 18 ounces) Hersheys Candy Cane Kisses (unwrapped)
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 large candy canes, crushed

It is fairly simple to make. Start by spraying a 8×8 inch pan with nonstick spray. Then line with waxed paper so that the waxed paper comes up two sides (you’ll want to use those two sides later like a handle to pull the fudge out of the pan). In a medium glass bowl, combine the Kisses, sweetened condensed milk and butter. Microwave in 30 second bursts until all is melted and smooth (stir after each burst). Alternately, this can be done in a double boiler. Heat until melted.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top and press gently to adhere. Chill for at least 2 hours, or until fudge is completely cooled and hardened. Loosen up the other sides of the fudge in the pan by using a knife. Use the waxed paper like handles and wiggle it out of the pan. Peel off the waxed paper and place the fudge slab on a cutting board. Cut and serve, or store in a covered container (at room temperature or in the freezer) until ready to serve.

So much peppermint goodness!!! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!

Always Yours,

JaCey

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