• Susan Caldwell

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies (by Todd Mozingo, Flour Power North Hills & Falls River)

So, what does one do in a household that celebrates Hanukkah but still likes to give a nod to the minty, sweet wonderfulness that is the Christmas season? He bakes peppermint chocolate chip cookies--multiple times every December.

When I was a child, my mother and I made a plethora of cookies and confections for the holiday: peanut brittle, peanut butter balls, fruit cakes (that were actually good), and thumbprint cookies, just to name a few. And like any Southern family, Christmas would've been half-baked (pun intended) without classic sausage balls. But nothing--nothing--compared to my mother's peppermint shortbread cookies.

As an adult, my affinity for chocolate chip cookies outweighs my love of shortbread cookies, though they're still a very close second. And who can resist that once-a-year opportunity to indulge in recipes infused with candy canes? Admittedly, not me. I eventually found myself taking a break from peppermint shortbread in favor of the aforementioned peppermint chocolate chip cookies, though I strongly suggest you find a recipe that speaks to you and give the former a try.

Peppermint anything is fun, not only for adults but for kids. Imagine giving a seven-year old a meat cleaver and charging him or her with demolishing candy canes inside a gallon Ziploc bag. You'll have their attention for at least five minutes.

Happy Holidays and enjoy!

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

· 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened // 1 stick equals 1/2 cup)

· 3/4 cup sugar

· 1 large egg

· 1/4 tsp natural peppermint extract

· 1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

· 1/4 tsp salt

· 1/2 tsp baking soda

· 1/4 tsp baking powder

· 3 candy canes (finely crushed)

· 1/3 cup dark, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for about 1-2 minutes. Add egg, peppermint extract and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as you go to ensure even mixing.

3. Add flour, salt, baking soda and powder to a sifter and sift gradually over the wet ingredients mixing as you go. Mix until well combined.

4. Add chocolate chips and stir in with a mixing spoon and then chill in the freezer for 10 minutes while the oven finishes heating.

5. Form the dough into small balls (heaping 1 Tbsp) and place 1.5 inches apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press the tops down and then top with a few more chocolate chips (to indicate what's inside).

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes - the edges should start to dry but the tops will still be slightly soft looking. Let set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes more but sprinkle crushed candy canes on immediately. You may also stir candy canes into the batter if you'd like.

7. Transfer to a cooling rack to rest until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh for up to a few days or freeze for several weeks.


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