A four leaf clover is good luck any day of the year, but a few clovers are an especially nice way of finishing off these St Patrick’s Day themed Shamrock Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. The cookies are tender, chocolate wafers that are topped with minty green shamrocks. They’re easy to make, flavorful and definitely look festive enough for any St Patrick’s Day celebration.
The cookies are tender and slightly soft, with a nice cocoa flavor. They’re slice-and-bake cookies, which means that the dough is rolled into a log and chilled, then sliced into rounds before baking. This approach is faster than using cookie cutters and gives the cookies a nice uniform size and shape. The cookies aren’t too sweet, so they do very well with that little bit of extra sweetness that the icing gives them to round out their flavor.
Peppermint can be a difficult flavor to work with because it is so strong. It goes well with chocolate, but it is easy for the mint to overwhelm the other flavors in a dessert if you’re not careful – and adding too little will leave you with something that lacks that peppermint punch. For these cookies, I left the peppermint out of the cookies entirely and concentrated it in the frosting. Those little green shamrocks are packed with mint flavor, adding a refreshing quality to the cookie as well as a little extra sweetness. It’s a good balance and definitely a nice way of introducing the peppermint here without it taking over the whole cookie.
You can pipe your shamrocks on using a small round piping tip, or just scrape your frosting into a ziploc bag and snip off the corner. I free-handed my clovers (three or four large dots and a line for the stem) and you don’t need to be a master piper to make it work. Be sure to let the icing dry for a couple of hours before storing the cookies, and store them in a single layer to ensure that the shamrocks don’t get smudged before you have a chance to eat them.
Shamrock Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 tbsp water
green food coloring
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Transfer dough to a large sheet of wax or parchment paper and shape into a log 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice chilled cookie dough log into rounds no more than 1/4-inch thick. Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set around the edges.
Allow to cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting: Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl, adding enough green food coloring to make the frosting a bright, dark green (you will need a smaller amount if you have a strong, gel food coloring). Add an additional tablespoon of water as needed to thin icing if it becomes too thick. Icing should be thick enough to hold its shape when piped.
Transfer icing to a small ziploc bag and snip off one corner. Pipe shamrocks onto cooled cookies.
Makes about 3 dozen.