My love for peppermint hot chocolate knows no bounds (especially when you add booze), and since I already drink it by the gallon through the month of December, the only way to bring more of it into my life was to create a twice as nice Peppermint Hot Chocolate-inspired cookie so I could both eat and drink the flavors of my home. #christmasproblems

You may be looking at this photo and wondering “okay what is she doing?” and the answer is: I’m rolling up a neat little shortbread log that can be chilled and sliced into perfect, ready-to-bake cookies when spontaneous guests stop by (or if you’re me, when spontaneous, uncontrolled cookie cravings strike). I’ve actually had some major shortbread fails in the past, so I was determined to create a recipe that would be foolproof for even the most beginner bakers to master – no crumbly dough or sticky messes allowed.

Not to brag, but on the day of this shoot, one of our team members actually asked where I “bought” this roll of cookie dough — because it rolls out and slices THAT PERFECTLY. It took me a few tries to get the dough just right, and I will point out that I discovered three crucial keys to success: (1) give the dough enough time – at least an hour – to chill completely in the fridge before slicing, (2) don’t slice it too thinly – 1/2-inch thick slices turned out just right for me, and (3) use McCormick Peppermint Extract!

This shortbread cookie recipe is truthfully the tastiest cookie I’ve ever made, and the final toppings are what make these so festive for the holidays. Dip them into a (2-ingredient) ganache, then sprinkle crushed peppermint over for a decorating trick that’s easy enough for even the littlest helpers to master. And looks pretty darn professional, if I do say so myself. I’m planning to gift boxes of these to neighbors and teachers, not to mention let them be my “signature” cookie for the annual cookie swap (did I mention that I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR?).

For today’s post with our friends at McCormick, I created two holiday recipes using their Pure Peppermint Extract, which I use throughout the year, adding a minty kick to smoothies, cocktails, and desserts. Since I’m such a fan of peppermint EVERYTHING, I did a rendition of “Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Naughty (find out why) and Nice (these). Scroll on for the recipe…

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Serves 14 - 16 cookies

ingredients


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 tablespoon crushed peppermints

for ganache and topping
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy pieces

instructions


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add sugar and extracts, and continue beating for 2 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, then add the cocoa and salt. Beat just until combined, then stop the mixer to scrape down the sides. Add crushed peppermint, then turn mixer back on low for a few seconds just until combined.
  3. On a sheet of wax paper, pat and form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour (if you need to speed up the process, you can chill in the freezer for 30 minutes).
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Remove the wax paper from the dough and slice the log into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lay cookies on lined baking sheets. Bake until firm, about 18 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

for the ganache:

  1. Add 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips to a small saucepan. Melt the chocolate chips on low heat. Slowly add 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and stir for a few minutes until the chocolate and cream have combined into a silky consistency. Add peppermint extract. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Dip a little over half of each cookie into the chocolate ganache and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
  3. Sprinkle the chocolate portion of each cookie with the crushed peppermint, let dry, then eat up!
2 comments
  1. 1
    Linda M Dyer | December 3, 2018 at 8:41 am

    These cookies look divine. Chocolate and peppermint are the perfect holiday flavors. The recipe calls for peppermint candies and crushed peppermint candies. Same thing?

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | December 4, 2018 at 6:57 am

      Yep, any type of crushed peppermints or candy canes will work great here for sprinkling!

      Reply
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photographer

Hannah Haston