Welcome to the weekend! I hope that your week was a good one, and that your weekend's stacking up to be a great one. If you're new to Saturday Snacks, welcome! We're so glad that you're here at our virtual kitchen table, and I hope that you'll grab a cup of something warm and enjoy today's recipe. If you'd like to catch up on past recipes, click here.
To make our weekend even greater than it already will be, you and I will be whipping up a snack that'll help us celebrate one of our greatest national holidays: National Cookie Day.
Even though National Cookie Day was yesterday (many thanks to Jackie for bringing the big day to my attention), I figured that it's one of those holidays that deserves to be celebrated over the course of several days. I mean, how could we possibly celebrate ALL cookies on just one day?! It just wouldn't be right.
On my way to swap my FuelRod in EPCOT's World Traveler last Friday night, I noticed that the newest cookbook featuring Disney festival recipes, Disney Festivals Cookbook by Pam Brandon and the Disney chefs, was on the shelf. I've been on the lookout for new cookbooks, so I immediately knew that a copy needed to come home with me. I've enjoyed sifting through the recipes over the last week, and I know we'll have fun making them on Saturdays to come.
You might remember us making a cookie of the chocolate peppermint variety back in June. It was a recipe that had been released by Disney via Good Morning America, and I was hoping beyond all hope that it would get us pretty close to enjoying a cookie the likes of Contempo Cafe's perennial favorite. While the GMA recipe was good, I had to add peppermint extract to get it a smidge closer to Contempo's, and it ultimately fell a bit short.
Enter today's recipe: EPCOT's Chocolate Peppermint Cookie. Originally, this cookie could be found in 2017 and 2018 at the Cookie Nook Holiday Kitchen at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. When it debuted, it was called the Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookie, and for good reason. This cookie is no longer offered during Festival of the Holidays, making way for other cookies to be featured as part of the Holiday Cookie Stroll, as well as at the Holiday Hearth Holiday Kitchen.
My suspicion? I think that when the Chocolate Peppermint Cookie moved out of EPCOT, it made its way to the Contempo Cafe at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This recipe is just that close.
Before I get too much further, let me stop and say that I've been learning a bit about cocoa powder these days. You see, in reseraching today's recipe and its required ingredients, I saw that Dutch processed cocoa is preferred, and while I've heard the term many times, I've never really known exactly what Dutch processed cocoa is and why it would be preferred for some recipes and not for others. Cue the Mission: Impossible theme.
Basically, my cursory investigation has led me to understand that the Dutch prefer washing cocoa beans in baking soda, allowing the cocoa powder made from the beans to have a gentler and less bitter taste. My go-to Hershey's cocoa is not Dutch processed cocoa, and actually is a mixture of cocoa powder and sugar, causing a sweeter end result. Which, parenthetically, is part of the reason why the chocolate bouchons that I made for Thanksgiving tasted so different and a bit meh. Without knowing the impact it would have on the treats, I used a different, more bitter cocoa powder than I had when I made them for Saturday Snacks. Lesson learned. I guess we can't just go all willy-nilly when it comes to cocoa powder.
Thankfully, my local Walmart grocery pickup offers Ghirardelli Dutch process cocoa powder, so I was able to easily get my hands on what I needed. If you don't have peppermint extract in your cabinet, you might need to add that to your grocery list as well.
To start things off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grab a stick of unsalted butter out of the fridge. I don't know about you, but unsalted butter has been my go-to butter for baking all the things for years. I have Ina Garten to thank for that. Unsalted butter (and heavy whipping cream, for that matter) can do no wrong. Ever.
Soften the butter (use the microwave just a tad if you need to), and place both the butter and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Of course, you can always go the large bowl and hand mixer route if you'd like. Cream the two together for 1 to 2 minutes.
Once the butter and sugar are lighter in color and creamed, you can add in one egg and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Dear me, how I love peppermint extract. Start your mixer back up and beat everything until the mixture takes on a fluffy texture.
Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. And savor the smell of Christmas wafting through your kitchen. We owe it all to you, peppermint extract.
We'll now turn our attention to the dry ingredients. Grab a medium-sized bowl out of the cabinet and toss in 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour.
Next in the bowl goes your 1/3 cup of Dutch processed cocoa powder.
You'll now need to add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder.
Combine the dry ingredients together (a whisk'll do the trick), and then grab a sifter if you have one and gradually sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
If you don't have a sifter, make sure to break up any chunks with your whisk and slowly add the dry to the wet.
I started out trying to combine the ingredients by hand, but the thickness of the batter was incredibly tough to work with, so back in the stand mixer the bowl went.
The paddle attachment was perfect for blending the whole shebang.
Friends, as if this dough couldn't get any more chocolatey and rich, we are now going to add 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Remember that the cookies were originally called Double Chocolate Peppermint? Yep, here's the double chocolate. And we're not done.
Make heaping one tablespoon-sized balls out of the dough and place them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Give each dough ball about an inch and a half of space, and, if at first you make the dough balls way too big and thus only have 11 cookies, the dough balls can all be tossed back into the bowl and re-rolled. I speak from experience. Ahem.
A word of warning: while the recipe states that we'll get about 2 dozen cookies, you won't quite get that many. About is a relative term, isn't it? After re-rolling the dough to the proper size, I still got only 19 cookies out of the deal.
Press each dough ball down just a bit, and add a few more chocolate chips.
Pop the baking sheets into the oven and give them between 10 and 12 minutes to bake. The recipe calls for the sides of the cookies to be firm and the middles to be soft. I should've pulled them out of the oven at the 10 minute mark, but had an internal debate with myself over whether or not the sides of the cookies had reached the correct level of firmness, and ended up leaving them in for 2 additional minutes, and then another minute after that. Needless to say, while the cookies were lovely, I'll pull 'em out after 10 minutes next time. And there will be a next time. Very soon.
While the cookies are baking, grab your peppermint candies and place 20 to 25 of the unwrapped candies into a freezer bag. And, from my experience, I would recommend double bagging the bag.
Next, take the handle of a butter knife (or anything else that you have within arm's reach that'll get the job done) and crush the candies. Here's where you can channel Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove: "SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!"
Once the cookies reach your desired level of perfection, pull them out of the oven.
At this point, the recipe asks us to sprinkle and handful of crushed peppermint candies onto the top of each cookie. A handful? Well, if you insist. Who are we to argue?
Let the cookies cool on a rack, and enjoy.
And by enjoy, I mean eat three right off the bat. These little babies taste like the holidays, and you're going to want to savor every bite.
The cookies are rich and fudgy and softer inside than out. The chocolate chips, both inside and on top of the cookie, come out gloriously melty, and combine perfectly with the heaping helping of crushed peppermint on top.
If you're looking for a special cookie for the holiday season, I highly recommend this one. It might just remind you of the sights and smells (and tastes!) of your happy place.
What are your whipping up in your kitchen these days? What do you recommend that I start whipping up in mine? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Whatever you're up to this weekend, do it with a twinkle in your eye. And eat a cookie. Or two.
Ready to bring a taste of the holidays at Walt Disney World into your own kitchen? The recipe is below.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
makes about 2 dozen
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch cocoa)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup chocolate chips for topping
- 20 to 24 peppermint hard candies, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together butter and sugar in large bowl for 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg and peppermint extract and beat with mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually sift over wet ingredients, mixing well.
- Stir in chocolate chips. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and form dough into balls (each a heaping tablespoon) and place 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Press tops of cookies down and top with a few more chocolate chips.
- Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges start to dry but tops are still slightly soft. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle a handful of crushed candies on each cookie.
- Transfer to cooling rack until completely cooled.