Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

Today we are celebrating Christmas in July with Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies. I always pick up a few bags of Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Chunks during the holiday season and I always end up with one stray bag that I don’t use. I am sad to say that sometimes it ends up getting tossed in the trash because I don’t use it before the expiration date, but, this year I made it a point to use it and to try out the recipe on the back of the package… their Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies.

Before we get to the cookies though a little history on where Christmas in July came from.  You might quickly just think that it’s the halfway point to Christmas, but, it’s not, that would be back in June.

According to legend, Christmas in July dates back to 1933 at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. They decided to dedicate two days (July 24th & 25th) to the holiday with fake snow, a tree, gift exchange and of course Santa. In the 1940’s there was the movie “Christmas In July”. The plot, a man’s coworkers prank him into thinking he won a $25,000 cash prize. He ends up going on a shopping spree and finally proposes to his girlfriend. By the 1950’s retailers got in on the action. I wonder if this was the catalyst to many people starting (and some completing) their Christmas shopping during the summer months. Nowadays Amazon Prime has their Prime Day in July, unfortunately due to Covid-19 this year it will be held in the Fall. Speaking of shopping this year, I was watching the news last week and there was a segment on the best things to buy during the month of July and at the end of it the two reporters began to discuss when a good time to start Christmas shopping is and they agreed that now might be the best time since there’s no way of knowing what the situation will be come the Fall/Winter. There is that possibility that stores will be closed again, and shipping times may be delayed again.

Even television has gotten in on the action. Hallmark channel takes full advantage and airs their original Christmas movies across their networks, and it coincides with the release of their Keepsake Ornaments in their stores. I won’t lie, I have been enjoying my fair share of Christmas movies these past few weeks.

I always have the great idea to make my Christmas cards during the month of July as a way of celebrating and to have one thing off my list come the holidays. But it never happens. I came close this year. I had a design all picked out and I started working on them, but quickly decided I didn’t like them. So, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe I can get another design narrowed down by the end of the month. I got an email the other day with the top 10 reasons as to why you should start preparing for Christmas now and it makes total sense. Especially if you make handmade items and you do a lot of baking.

And now, back to the cookies. One thing I like about this recipe is that it’s only for 2 dozen cookies. Sometimes you need 3 or 4 dozen cookies and other times, you just don’t. Granted, these wouldn’t be great for a cookie swap, but they are the perfect amount for a get together with friends or to snack on while you are decorating your home for the holidays. And they are the perfect combination of peppermint and chocolate, without the peppermint being to overpowering even with those huge chunks!

Merry Christmas in July!

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: 24 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 10oz. bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Chunks

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined. Fold in the flour mixture and stir in the peppermint chunks.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes, do not overbake. The cookies should be soft and fudgy. Let them cook on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

I hope you have enjoyed my Cookie Palooza and that one of these cookie recipes will be one that you try or has inspired you to create something totally your own. On this final day of Cookie Palooza I bring you a cookie with a flavor of the season, peppermint. A Chocolate-Mint Thumbprint to be precise. And don’t worry, the peppermint flavor isn’t overpowering as some peppermint-flavored things are.

After sifting flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl, I creamed butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl and then added in vanilla extract and salt. Once the butter mixture was well blended I added in the flour mixture and continued mixing using my handheld mixer on low speed until the dough formed. I chilled the dough for about 40 minutes until it was firm enough to roll into balls, but, not so cold that I would have to “defrost” it once out of the fridge.

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I rolled teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Next, I pressed straight down the middle of each ball with a floured finger – you could also use the end of a wooden spoon – almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. After baking the cookies in a 350 F preheated oven for about 8 minutes, I redefined the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. I let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet so they could set and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Once the cookies were completely cooled I made the filling. I created my own double-boiler by bringing a pot of water to a simmer and then placed semisweet chocolate chips and unsalted butter in a heat proof bowl and set it over the simmering water. I began stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula and after a few minutes, before the mixture was completed melted, I removed it from the simmering water and continued stirring the mixture until it melted and then stirred in peppermint mixture. I let the mixture cool for about a half hour – until it was warm and slightly thickened…

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And then transferred it to a decorator bottle. You could also transfer the chocolate to a decorator bag with a small tip attached or a resealable bag with a small portion of the corned snipped off. I then piped the chocolate into the wells of the cookies.

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I’ll be the first to admit that my thumbprints came out a bit wonky looking, but, that didn’t detract from how yummy they were with just the right balance of chocolate and peppermint.

 

Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder

3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Mint-Filling:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt, continue beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until the dough is firm enough to roll into balls, about 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place them on the parchment paper about 2-inches apart. With a lightly floured thumb or fingertip (or the end of thick-handled wooden spoon), press straight down into the middle of each ball, almost to the cookie sheet, to make a deep well.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the wells using the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Filling:

Put the chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture is slightly warmer than room temperature and it has begun to thicken. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or into a resealable bag with a corner snipped off and pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Let the filling set completely before storing.

Recipe from Fine Cooking