1) Today I made these cookies. As in, that is MY cookie in the photo. MINE!
2) I am officially firing my oven
To understand how these two statements are related, you need to understand that I have spent the better part of my life as a failed cookie baker. There is no need to recount every sad and sorry cookie disaster here. Just trust me when I state that my failures have far exceeded my successes. For that reason, I avoid cookie baking at all costs. But, when one is faced with an invite to a cookie exchange, there is nowhere to run and hide. Time to put on my big girl pants, roll up my sleeves, take a deep breath and throw caution to the wind.
Then, just as I was poised to step off the baking cliff, came an offer I could not refuse from a good friend. “Why don’t you all come over to my house, have lunch, and we can bake cookies together?” My friend has a really nice, BIG oven. My decision was instantaneous. I quickly stashed my ingredients into a shopping bag, grabbed a bottle of liquid
courage refreshment from the fridge and headed over to her house.
I’m telling you, I witnessed a miracle in her kitchen today that had nothing to do with the liquid refreshments we were enjoying. My cookies magically appeared from her shiny Viking oven looking …. perfect. No need to keep flipping the pans around, double the cooking time, peel the burnt bottoms off the parchment paper. I literally put them in, baked them for the recommended cooking time, and took them out. I am not the problem, apparently. But I certainly knew where to cast the blame. Back home, there was a 12 year old, 30″ drop-in gas oven whose manufacture shall remain nameless, that had a LOT of explaining to do
Said oven is now cowering in fear, I can tell you. Pleading for just one more chance to prove its worth. Since it is the holiday season (and also because a new oven will likely run me thousands of dollars), I suppose I will give it a temporary reprieve. Besides, any time I need to bake cookies, I know who to call!
Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips), divided
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 large eggs
- 6 candy canes or 16 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir 2 cups chocolate chips in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Measure 2/3 cup melted chocolate; transfer to small metal bowl and reserve for drizzling.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy. Add sugar and both extracts; beat until smooth. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat in melted chocolate from medium bowl. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Measure 1 level tablespoonful dough; roll dough between palms to form ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies 11/2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until cracked all over and tester inserted into center comes out with large moist crumbs attached, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to racks to cool completely.
- Rewarm reserved 2/3 cup chocolate over small saucepan of simmering water. Using fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Chill just until chocolate sets, about 20 minutes.
Yields: About 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size