Tag Archives: mint

Peppermint Mocha Crinkle Cookies

15 Dec

A couple of weeks ago, my brother very helpfully (and forcefully) pointed out that there seems to be a tragic lack of cookie recipes on this site.  Among all the cakes and tarts and pies aplenty, thus far I’ve logged a sad total of a mere two cookie recipes.  How is this even possible?  Cookies are divine.  I love cookies.  Everyone loves cookies.  But is it somehow even imaginable that, of all the baked goods available to my baking whims, maybe cookies reside at the bottom of my list of preferred baked goods?

No.  Not true.  As proven by my excitement over the discovery of the magic that is the cookie exchange, I think it’s fair to say that cookies and I, we get along just fine.  Thus, choosing to classify the sore absence of cookies on Savory Salty Sweet as a mere oversight, and certainly not a deliberate snub, it’s high time I remedied the problem.

I love a good chocolate crinkle cookie, which is oftentimes a shame, as it seems as though I’ve eaten a lot of really bad chocolate crinkle cookies.  Cookies with tooth-aching sweetness, no chocolate punch, or a decidedly sandy texture are not fine representations of a chocolate crinkle cookie (or any other cookie, for that matter), but that’s frequently what one gets when trying to indulge in such.  Determined to alter the trajectory of what seems to be the downward spiral of a cookie that used to be—and should be—held in such fine regard, I set to work trying to make a chocolate crinkle cookie that would have all the elements I loved most about the cookie: deep chocolate flavor, perfectly moist texture, and a satisfying sweetness that never fell to the side of cloying.

The good news is, I made some very fine cookies.  The bad news is, I don’t know if anyone who was looking for a traditional chocolate crinkle cookie would eat one of these and declare it the final destination of their search.  Believe me, these cookies are fantastic—rich, moist, and completely satisfying—but they are a long way away from what I started out intending to make.  First of all, when I was deciding how much to punch up the chocolate flavor in this cookie, I very suddenly figured that if I was going to add a bit of espresso powder to the dough to make the chocolate shine, maybe I’d actually just add a whole bunch of espresso powder.  Why?  Why not?  And while I was at it, why not add a bit of peppermint extract to the mix, for no other reason than, hey, here’s a bottle of peppermint extract sitting right next to the bottle of espresso powder, why not throw in some of that as well?

Though I generally would not condone this haphazard method of recipe creation (imagine what might have happened if there was a bottle of zucchini relish or hot mustard next to the espresso powder), in some cases, when you decide to improvise, things turn out in your favor.  And, incidentally, the favor of those around you who happen to enjoy eating cookies as much as you like making them.  Deemed supremely acceptable by the original requester of cookies, these cookies made for some mighty delicious treats, suitable for anyone and everyone you know who adores cookies with a perfectly soft and chewy bite, intense chocolate flavor, and a hint of peppermint.  You know: all humans.

Peppermint Mocha Crinkle Cookies

The peppermint flavor in these cookies is meant to serve as one of many elements going on in terms of flavor.  Because of that, the amount of peppermint extract I list here will produce a cookie with a nice mint tone, but not a brisk slap of mint.  If you want to make a cookie that is more mint-forward, increase the amount of mint extract to a full teaspoon.

Note: This cookie dough will need to be chilled for at least four hours, so plan ahead accordingly.  Be even more ahead of the game by chilling this dough overnight and then baking the cookies at your leisure when you wish to eat them.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder

¾ cup white sugar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon espresso powder

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon peppermint extract

¼ cup powdered sugar (for rolling the cookies)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside.  In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the cocoa powder, sugars, oil, and espresso powder until combined.  One at a time, beat in the eggs, thoroughly mixing in between each one.  Stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.  Add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture, stirring to thoroughly combine.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the powdered sugar onto a small plate or into a shallow bowl.  Using a tablespoon measure or a cookie scoop, form 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball by rolling it in between your palms.  Dip half of the dough ball into the powdered sugar, then place the ball onto the prepared cookie sheet, powdered sugar-side up.  Place the dough balls at least 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.  When you have filled a cookie sheet, very lightly and gently press down on each ball, ever-so-slightly flattening the ball just a tad.

Bake the cookies on the center rack of the oven for 8-9 minutes, until the cookies begin to crack on top, and the visible insides of the cookies still appear to be quite wet.  Do not overbake the cookies, as they will become very dry.  Remove cookies from baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.

Makes roughly 6 dozen cookies.

A Trio of Flavored Butters

14 Apr

What I am about to say may get me kicked out of every food-appreciation club in America, but here goes: I am not an enormous fan of butter.

Now, it’s really as cut and dry as that.  I do, of course, enjoy the way butter adds an unmistakable flavor to a recipe, and, obviously, you can’t bake (and enthusiastically devour) as many things as I do without a fine appreciation of butter, but the habit of positively slathering a biscuit, pancake, or slice of bread with enough butter to create the look of a frosted cake is not really my idea of maximum deliciousness.  While not in any way anti-butter, I so have fairly set standards for where my enjoyment of butter starts and stops.  A light slip of butter atop a slice of warm bread?  Yes.  A biscuit soaked through with a prodigious slick of dripping butterfat?  No.

I am sure this proves some sort of fault with my tasting capabilities, and it no doubt points to some sort of loss of my ability to enjoy the most basic things about simple food and plain ingredients, but I am fine with that.  Why?  Because that possible weakness in my taste preferences leads me to do the type thing that I did yesterday afternoon, which was spend a very pleasant half an hour coming up with creative ways to flavor butter.  Just like that, my loss has become your gain.

The idea here is to use each butter sparingly.  The subtle briskness of the mint, the fresh shot of citrus, the layered combination of the lemon and basil—these are all meant to coax your butter into something a bit more satisfying to the palette than what ordinary butter provides.  If you are not sure that anything in the world can ever top the simple pleasure of plain old butter, I certainly don’t disparage that opinion.  What I do suggest, however, is that you take a few minutes to at least make and try these wonderful flavored butters, as it might just change your opinion about what butter can do.

 

It certainly altered my opinion of the joys of butter, a turn of events that has, not surprisingly, managed to almost work against me.  Whereas I used to eschew butter on my bread 90% of the time (with the exception of fresh, hot bread newly released from the oven), I now find myself looking for reasons to spread these lovely flavored butters on everything I can.  If, previously, my loss was transformed into another’s gain, it seems as though my weakness has now become, well, my weakness.

It would be a crime to relegate these butters as being toppings for just baked goods.  I have visions of any of these butters making for an absolutely dreamy combination when lightly dolloped on poached fish, steamed new potatoes, or roasted asparagus.  I plan to get right on those experiments, and I encourage you all to get in on it as well and let me know how it turns out.

Orange Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

2 heaping tablespoons finely grated or chopped orange zest

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

pinch sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Mint Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

3 heaping tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

small squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Citrus Basil Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, softened, room temperature butter

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon finely grated or chopped lemon zest

small squeeze of lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Thoroughly combine by beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.  If you want your butter to have a lighter consistency, whip butter combination with an electric mixer until fluffy.

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