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Recipe

Bittersweet Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints

Featured in our 2017 Christmas Guide
Tina Rupp

Yield: Makes 18 cookies

These two-bite cookies pack just the right amount of chocolaty richness and minty freshness to cure whatever ails you. With their natural cocoa powder, buttery bittersweet chocolate, and a dash of crunchy peppermint candy, they are the perfect triple-threat treat to satisfy a chocolate-loving crowd.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 8 Tbs. (4 oz./113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄3 cup (2-3⁄8 oz./67 g) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup (3⁄4 oz./20 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1⁄4 tsp. table salt
  • 3⁄4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1⁄8 tsp. pure peppermint extract
  • 1 cup (4-1⁄2 oz./128 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

For the filling and assembly

  • 2 oz. (57 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 3 Tbs. (1-1⁄2 oz./42 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1⁄3 cup (1-5⁄8 oz./46 g) chopped peppermint hard candies

Preparation

Make the cookies

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas 4). Line two cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners.
  • Put the butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters). Beat on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.
  • Using a 1-Tbs. mini scoop, shape the dough into balls and lightly roll them in your palms to smooth the edges. Arrange them about 1-1⁄2 inches (4 cm) apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Using a round 1⁄2-tsp. measure, press down into the middle of each mound to make a well that is almost as deep as the dough ball. If the dough sticks to the measuring spoon, dip the bottom of the spoon in a little flour. Small cracks are fine but if the edges break open, reroll and try again. The finished cookies will look better and hold the filling without leaking if the edges are smooth.
  • Bake until the tops look dry, 14 to 16 minutes. Move the cookie sheet to a rack and let cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Make the filling and assemble

  • Put the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. (This can also be done in the microwave.) Remove from the heat and set aside until cool and slightly thickened.
  • Arrange the cooled cookies on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. Using a small spoon, drizzle the thickened and cooled chocolate into each indentation, filling just to the rim but not to overflowing. Alternatively, scrape the chocolate into one corner of a small zip-top plastic bag, press out the air, and seal. Cut off a small piece of the corner and pipe the chocolate into the indentations. Set the cookies aside until the chocolate filling is set but still tacky to the touch, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with the chopped peppermint candies. Let cool completely before stowing or serving.

Make Ahead Tips

The cookies can be baked and cooled, then layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container and stowed at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months before thawing at room temperature and filling.

The chocolate filling can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Gently reheat in the microwave or on top of the stove and fill the cookies while the chocolate is still warm.

The filled cookies can be stowed at room temperature for up to 3 days. To keep the cookies looking their best, arrange them on a half sheet pan in a single layer and cover the pan tightly (avoiding the cookie tops) with plastic.

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