Monday, February 2, 2015

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Personal note first:

Our Christmas was lovely and we've been particularly blessed with good health this winter - for which I am exceedingly grateful.  I don't know how many of our friends have suffered through the flu. We do not get flu shots...but we do take lots of Vitamin D and C, try to eat healthy, get plenty of rest, and take probiotics.

My newest health kick is water kefir. I bought some grains from someone at our Azure Standard drop-off and have been brewing it ever since. We flavor it with fruit juice and call it homemade soda. :) The kids and I drink some every day and I'm convinced it's helping us stay healthy. What an inexpensive way to get probiotics!

Next step is milk kefir. I'm a little hesitant about it, since I've heard it's runnier and more tart than plain yogurt, which none of us like to begin with....but I guess you can make smoothies and not notice the taste too much. I'm still deliberating on that one.

So I'm a little late in posting....but I made these scrumptious cookies for an exchange before Christmas and just fell in love with them.

Featuring a soft and chewy texture, a slight coffee flavor accentuating the chocolate, and a sweet peppermint kick in each bite, this is a fabulous recipe for Christmas, Valentine's, or anytime you're craving a sweet treat.

Too bad they don't have probiotics too.....or I'd make them a lot more often! :)

Peppermint Mocha Cookies 
from Rebekah's Family, Food, and Fun
Yield: about 30 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups peppermint baking chips, plus more for garnish if desired
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon sheets

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and egg yolk, and then the vanilla and peppermint extracts.

In a separate medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee granules, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together. The coffee may not go through the sifter - if so, just dump in with the flour.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Mix in the peppermint baking chips and chocolate chunks.

Using a medium cookie scoop, portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Press a few peppermint baking chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips on top of each cookie ball for a garnish if desired.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are set.
The centers may look underdone - but don't overbake! Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for a few minutes, then remove the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. These cookies will stay chewy for at least 3 days after baking.

Source: adapted slightly from Tracey's Culinary Adventures 

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