Never before have I spent a weekend making Christmas cookies, then had to plan to make more cookies the next weekend because the first cookies were gone.
But these are so good we ate our personal stash within 5 days. The freezer stash is in grave danger of being raided, and there’s no chance we’ll last a week until our families arrive if our willpower breaks. It’s fairly clear that I love the chocolate and mint combo. I honestly can’t imagine a holiday season without it – something about the coolness of the mint complementing the sharp winter air, I suppose. Now put that on buttery shortbread? I really should have known better than to make these two full weeks before Christmas.*
What we’ve got here is a basic shortbread base topped with melted dark chocolate, crushed peppermint candies and a drizzle of white chocolate ganache. These were supposed to be my go-to party cookies this year: beautiful, festive, and eye-rollingly delicious. Fortunately, they’re also easy and fun to make.
So excuse me, but I have to go make another batch so I can actually share these.
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2009 issue
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped hard peppermint candies or candy canes (about 3 ounces)
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate
A few dribbles heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13x9x2 metal baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper 9 inches wide and long enough to drape over the short sides of the pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, stopping occaisionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Reduce the speed to low, then mix in salt and flour, mixing until just combined.** Mixture will be crumbly.
Drop the shortbread dough by tablespoons into the prepared baking pan. Moisten your fingers, then press the dough together to form an even layer. If possible, pierce all over with a fork.***
Bake until light golden brown and edges begin to come away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Remove shortbread from oven and sprinkle the bittersweet chocolate on top while it is still piping hot. Let stand until the chocolate softens, or, if you were like me and did not chop your chocolate finely enough, simply return the pan to the turned-off-but-still-warm oven for 3 minutes. Once chocolate is melted, use a spatula to spread the chocolate into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle immediately with chopped peppermint candies.
Melt the white chocolate gently in the microwave using 20 second intervals. As the chocolate begins to melt, add a dribble or two of heavy cream to improve the consistency, until the chocolate is thin enough to be drizzled. Drizzle the white chocolate all over the cookies.