In the very early days of this blog, I buried one of my favorite cookie recipes deep in a post on Chili Cashew Chicken. Now, to be fair, that chicken is really quite good, but these cookies are the recipe that I find myself most often searching for on the blog. They are a soft, brownie-like chocolate cookie that only becomes more irresistible when rolled into bite-sized proportions.
As I was thinking about Christmas cookies, along with, it seems, half of the planet this week, these cookies were the first thing that came to mind. The discovery of candy canes at the grocery store this week (holy goodness gracious have I been looking everywhere for them) prompted me to give these beloved cookies a Christmas make-over.
They are still just about the simplest cookies around, and perhaps one of the most lovable things about them is how well they freeze. If ever there was a secret weapon for holiday entertaining/party-going/cookie-swapping, it’s frozen cookie dough.
Roll the dough, dip it in sugar, freeze on a cookie sheet, and transfer to a bag. Even the easy peppermint glaze and crushed candy canes can be made in advance (refrigerate the glaze; freeze the crushed candy canes).
While the chocolate cookies are fantastic on their own, they were made to be bedazzled with candy cane crumbles.
With Christmas cookie season in full swing, here are a few other beauties that I would love to get at a cookie swap this year!
Claire’s Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles (mmm, spice and chocolate are so good together)
Sally’s Soft Gingersnaps with Butterscotch Chips (love that butterscotch chip pillow on top)
Ashley’s Brown Butter Ginger Cookies with Honey Mascarpone Cream (sandwich cookies with brown butter and ginger = holiday perfection)
Joy’s Red Velvet Black and White Cookies (Joy took these to Ina Garten’s house, so you know they’re good)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar (plus an extra 1 cup sugar for rolling cookies)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 4 Tbs. hot water
- ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
- 5 candy canes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl and stir until evenly combined.
- Beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs and gently mix for another minute. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour 1 cup sugar into a flat-bottomed bowl or plate. Roll small balls of cookie dough (a teaspoon is about how much you'll want to use for each) between your palms and then roll each ball in sugar to fully coat. Place rolled dough balls on a cookie sheet, leaving a couple inches of space between them. (If the dough is too soft to easily roll, put it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to help it firm up.)
- Bake just until cookies have spread out slightly but are still moist, 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack. (Cookies will be fragile when they come out of the oven but will remain tender after completely cooled.)
- To make the peppermint glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, hot water, and peppermint extract in a small bowl until smooth and pourable (add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, if necessary to reach a pourable consistency). Put the candy canes in a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin until crushed into small pieces.
- When the cookies have cooled, drizzle the tops with peppermint glaze and immediately sprinkle each cookie with crushed candy canes.
These cookies freeze very well. Roll the dough in sugar, place them on a small cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer until frozen all the way through. Transfer the frozen dough balls to a large ziploc bag and store in the freezer until you're ready to bake them.
Recipe adapted from "Grammy's Chocolate Cookies", published in Martha Stewart Living, February 2000