Most of my Christmas traditions center around baking, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to anyone. To me, Christmas means Christmas cookies, and now that I am done grading all the papers and exams ever and I have finished bathing in the hopeless tears of my students (not really, I swear), I can turn my focus on baking as many treats as I can get away with.
What am I baking, you ask? I have so very many things on my list and I’ve only made a couple of them so far! One of my favorites are these peppermint hot chocolate cookies! I love these especially because they are adaptable. Don’t like peppermint (you soulless human being, you)? Well, you can leave off the peppermint topping and use sprinkles instead. These cookies are a lovely, chewy, chocolaty, fudgy treat.
The recipe is adapted from one that I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my go-to food blogs for baking treats. I loved that the cookies actually use hot cocoa mix to add that special hot chocolate taste to the cookies.
The original cookies require you to wrap a few mini marshmallows in the middle of the cookie dough to bake. I did that the first time I made them, and they were good, but I found the marshmallows a bit fussy to work with. Sometimes they oozed out of the cookie and made a gooey mess on my baking sheets. On the other hand – marshmallows in cookies. It’s hard to say no to that. If you want to give it a go, you are free to try!
Pumpkin might belong to Thanksgiving, but peppermint belongs to Christmas, so I gave this hot chocolate cookie recipe some festive cheer by melting white chocolate on top and crushing candy canes to sprinkle over them.
Yes. Candy canes must die for these cookies to become what they are.
I even have a tiny hammer that is perfect for candy cane execution (courtesy of my husband’s tiny, adorable grandmother who gifted it to me along with a special note that “this is for you to use. It is a girl hammer!” She thought it was hilarious, and so do I. Also, my husband never uses it, so the flowers are doing their girly job in deterring him).
These cookies are chewy and chocolaty with just that perfect hint of peppermint. I don’t add peppermint extract because I want the chocolate to shine through and peppermint is a powerful flavor. The crushed candy are enough, in my opinion. Of course, you can adapt it as you please!
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of hot chocolate mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*
4 oz white chocolate (like Baker’s or Ghirardelli)
2 or 3 crushed candy canes
- Cream butter and both white and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy
- Add eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly
- In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until you have a thick dough (this is where a stand mixer is your friend)
- Stir in chocolate chips
- Refrigerate dough for at least an hour
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of dough and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet at least a couple inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes
- Cookies will still be soft when you remove them and that is good. If cookies look done when you take them out, chances are, they are overdone. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack. Cool completely before decorating.
- Now for the fun part. Melt your white chocolate in a double boiler, a candy melting pot, or in the microwave. Do not overheat if you use a microwave. Heat in 30 second increments and stir, stir, stir. You don’t want burnt chocolate. Burnt chocolate is sad.
- Use a small spoon and spread a little white chocolate on each cooled cookie and then immediately sprinkle with some of your crushed candy canes
*replace either the milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips with festive M&Ms if you want! I used dark chocolate to contrast with the milk chocolate chips
I intend to share a few of my other favorite Christmas cookie recipes, but in the meantime, does anyone else have a tried and true favorite? I’m always looking for new ones!