Archive for: peppermint
Peppermint is often paired with dark chocolate, but it can be an excellent match for white chocolate, too. White chocolate is creamy and sweet, and can serve as a very nice counterpoint to strong, bright peppermint. This is exactly how these flavors come together in these White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Blondies. The easy to make bar cookies are buttery, chewy and tender, with a creamy sweetness from white chocolate and a bright flavor of peppermint that pops without overwhelming the other flavors in the bar.
I made the bars with chopped up peppermint bark, Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (full review coming soon) specifically. Many types of peppermint bark, including the Andes chips that I used, include a bit of chopped up peppermint that gives them a bit of a crunchy texture. This alone will add a subtle hint of crunch to the blondies that give them a little texture, however it’s a much more subtle crunch in a blondie than it is when eaten plain, so I opted to add some sliced almonds to the bars to give them a little more texture. The thin almond slices add crunch and a hint of almond flavor without taking away from the mint or chocolate.
Any peppermint bark – so long as it has white chocolate and a generous amount of peppermint – can work in this recipe, so you can use what you have on hand or any brand that you pick up in the store. If you don’t have peppermint bark, however, you can easily substitute it by combining a few tablespoons of crushed peppermint or candy canes with a cup of white chocolate chips.
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.
It is great to have an ice cream maker at home if you’re a big ice cream lover. Homemade ice cream, straight out of the machine, is something that is hard to beat with storebought products. It’s also fun because it is so easy to customize the ice cream with your favorite mix-ins, whether you like to add crushed up Oreo cookies or a swirl of caramel sauce. There are some ice cream recipes out there that you can make without an ice cream maker and still get outstanding results. One recipe that comes to mind uses sweetened condensed milk as a base and has whipped heavy cream folded into it, which adds the air that is normally incorporated into ice cream by an ice cream mixer. It’s easy to make, works out extremely well and, of course, uses no special equipment of any kind.
No-Churn Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream is this type of recipe. It starts out with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, chocolate sauce, vanilla and peppermint extracts. Heavy cream is beaten to soft peaks and folded into the base. The resulting ice cream has an almost mousse-like consistency that just melts when it hits your tongue. It has a light chocolate flavor with just enough mint added to it. It is light and creamy, and it is never too hard to scoop straight out of the freezer. I have used homemade chocolate sauce when making this ice cream, but it is honestly just as good with a good quality chocolate or chocolate fudge sauce to use as flavoring (because you know you have some for homemade sundaes).
I typically fold small chocolate chips or coarsely chopped dark chocolate into this ice cream before freezing it. If you have mint chocolate baking pieces, which are sometimes available in grocery stores, or chopped mint chocolate bars, they will work even better and get a little more mint into your finished product.
Mint and chocolate is a winning combination, but mint can be a tricky ingredient to work with. This is because it has such a strong flavor that it can easily overwhelm the other elements in a recipe. One solution is to cut back slightly on the mint and to pair it with other strong flavors – like dark chocolate or cocoa – so that you get a balanced result where you can taste both the mint and the other elements of your recipe. These Mint Chocolate Brownie Cookies with Walnuts are just the thing if you want a hint of mint in with your chocolate.
The way I get that hint-of-mint flavor into these cookies is that I add chopped up mint chocolate, meaning chocolate bars that are flavored with mint. Good examples of this are Andes Mints (which are also sold as baking chips), the Lindt Excellence Intense Mint Bar (yum!), and Ghirardelli MMint Bliss, as well as other chocolates that are flavored with mint. Using these chocolate bars ensures that I get even more chocolate flavor into the cookies and just the right amount of mint, without overwhelming the rest of a recipe. It’s easy to go overboard with peppermint extracts can do if you’re not careful, but using just a 1/4 teaspoon and dark chocolate chips will make a good substitute if you can’t find a mint chocolate bar to chip up and add to your cookies.
The cookies are fudgy and brownie-like (and can be even more brownie-like if you underbake them by a minute), with a tender center and a slight chew to them. They get most of their richness from unsweetened cocoa powder, which gives them an intense, dark chocolate flavor that makes them feel very indulgent. The hint of mint in the cookies lightens up that chocolate taste a little bit, and the additions of walnuts add just enough texture and crunch. These cookies have been a hit every time I’ve served them: just a bit different from your usual chocolate cookie but with a satisfying chocolate punch.
Chocolate and mint is a good combination, with the dark notes of the cocoa balanced out with the bright flavor of the mint. I didn’t realize what a good combination brownies and mint were until I made Peppermint Cookies n’ Cream Brownies, a brownie recipe that incorporates peppermint Oreo-type cookies, and realized that it is possible to pack a lot of both chocolate and peppermint flavor into a recipe without one overpowering the other. I made these Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies using the Tollhouse Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels. These chocolate chips are a seasonal release from Nestle made with dark chocolate chips and bright green mint chocolate chips. They’re a great mix of chips and can be used in all kinds of baked goods, but really shine in brownies like these.
The brownie base is fudgy, with a great dark chocolate flavor from unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. It’s not too sweet, and it is the perfect background for the mint chips to pop out on. The great thing about mint chocolate chips, as opposed to peppermint extract, is that they contain the mint flavor to little pockets and, while you will get some mint in just about every bite, it won’t take over the dessert.
Since the chocolate chips are a seasonal item, you might want to look at your local market (I found mine at Target) and pick up a bag for a rainy day. Fortunately, even if you can’t find them, it is possible to find other mint chocolate chips (Guittard makes them) and blend them with semisweet or dark chocolate chips to make your own mix. You can also simply chop up some other mint-flavored chocolate candies, like York Peppermint Patties or Andes mints and mix them with chocolate chips for your own blend of chocolates that will still give you a great result with this recipe. +Continue Reading