Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints

Even though Christmas has been at Costco for the last 5 months and the holiday is now only a mere 12 days away, I'm still waiting to feel "holidayish".  We've hung our lights with care, wrapped presents, printed the annual Christmas letter, and decorated the tree.  But I'm still not feeling it.  Somehow the days seem to blur into one another as I write my lists and check them twice, but they are just days... not "holidayish days".

What better way to get me into the spirit than baking cookies?  Cookies with crushed candy canes - even better!  Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints have been on our holiday platters for a couple of years and are always well received.  With only a few ingredients to put together, they don't require an extended amount of time (though they do pack an "extended" amount of calories!).  A mint enhanced chocolate ganach-like filling topped with crushed candy confections provide the ultimate Christmas mood enhancer!

Shopping at our local Henry's the other day I stumbled upon (and had to have!) this canister of E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge, an unsweetened rare red dutch process cocoa which provided a robust, rich chocolate flavor that I haven't had with many other cocoas.  Beautifully dark in color, but with a deep cinnabar hue, this cocoa is not only lovely to look at, but definitely a bonus when it comes to baking.  I recently discovered Gittard chocolates when I made our White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Cups  for Thanksgiving using the white chocolate chips which melted like a dream.  Heading back to World Market where I had just happened to pick up a couple of packages because it was handy I've been faced with empty white chocolate shelves, leading me to believe that Guittard chocolates are not only popular with me...

Here's hoping that you are feeling "holidayish"!  I'm headed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprint.

Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints

For the cookie:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dutch process cocoa
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:
3/4 cup chopped chocolate, or chocolate chips
2 Tbs unsalted butter
scant 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 large crushed candy cane

Sift the flour and cocoa together into a medium bowl. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt; continue beating until blended and smooth, about 1 minute more. Add the flour-cocoa mixture and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm enough to roll into balls, about 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking liners.
Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange them 2 inches apart on the lined sheets. With a lightly floured thumb or index fingertip, press straight down into the middle of each ball almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. (Or use the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon.)

Bake until the tops of the cookies look dry, 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes and then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat.  Stir with a heatproof spatula until almost melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the mint extract. Let the filling cool, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and slightly warmer than room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes. Spoon the filling into a small pastry bag with a small plain tip. (Or use a small plastic bag and cut a tiny bit off a bottom corner of the bag.) Pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Top with crushed candy canes.  Cool completely before serving or storing. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days.

Note:  I you just happen to leave out the peppermint when you are mixing the chocolate topping it's still good!  (We just might know that from experience!!)

We are submitting this to Greens and Chocolate's  Merry Mondays! (Mint this Monday!)

Reviewing my photos I found this surprise shot on my card!  Liv took it of herself, looks like she likes the cookies!


  1. Those look pretty yummy. Send some this way...please :)

  2. I am a sucker for peppermint, esp at this time of year. All of my recipes seem to use it! Those look so pretty.

  3. Love the shot of Liv! She's a cutie! And those cookies are like heaven. I love chocolate and I LOVE peppermint. Photos are stunning too (=

  4. Oh, boy, Kim. I've still got a lot of Christmas shopping ahead of me and your 12-day mention just put the pressure on. I needed it, too! Well, it's too late tonight to worry about it so I'll just enjoy staring at these holiday-perfect thumprint cookies. Guittard chocolates are wonderful so I'm sure these were popular in your home. :-)

  5. Your cookies look so chocolaty good and very festive. I bet they didn't last long. World Market is such a great place to pick up something a little different. Of course there isn't one here but I did get to visit one when we were last in San Diego. They even had some Aussie chocolates.

  6. These thumbprint cookies look so yummy and festive with the sprinkling of the chopped peppermint.
    Your daughter sure is a pretty girl, with such beautiful blonde hair!

  7. What a beautiful looking cookie! They are the perfect chocolately holiday cookie. Sounds wonderful!

  8. those are gorgeous! thanks so much for contributing to our merry mondays!

    i hope you are able to join again next monday!!

  9. My husband would go crazy with these. He's the mint chocolate man!

    I know how you feel about the holiday not feeling so holidayish! We're trying and had a nice Christmas night last night. If we keep up with tradition during the last 12 days hopefully we'll get into the spirit of the season!

    Love the shot of Liv, cute and funny!!! I can see my daughter doing that when she's older!

  10. Oh of the top thumbprint cookies I've ever seen. ;) Excellent job.

  11. Great looking thumbprint cookies. She sure looks like she is enjoying.

  12. What a great spin on the classic thumbprint cookie!! This looks absolutely delicious! and so creative!

  13. i love how pretty this cookie looks! very festive indeed:)

  14. This recipe is perfect for my holiday contest to win a Foodista cookbook! It's not too late to enter. Share your delicious holiday cheer with more food-lovers! Would love for you to win :)

  15. This is such a fun twist on an old favorite. I have to make cookies for a cookie party. Maybe I'll try these. Happy Holidays.

  16. I have the same problem...with school taking up all of my time it doesn't seem like Christmas is only 11 days away...crazy! These cookies look so cute! Thanks so much for participating in Merry Mondays!

  17. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my laptop.

  18. tried to make these today - ended up with one big cowpat! not quite sure what i did wrong- might have been too much butter as i converted yr measurements to metric - gonna give them another go tonight - ive got candy canes to use up!

  19. Oh No!!! I sure hope the second try works better!!!

  20. Liv has such a fantastic smile. It definitely looks like she's enjoying the cookie (I'll have to take your word on that). As far as why you don't 'feel' the season yet; maybe the fact that it's freakin' 90 degrees there has something to do with it. You need snow and hot chocolate and dashing with sleigh bells; that kind of thing.


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