Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

I hope you all had a lovely New Year’s Eve and start to 2011. I made these cookies to take to a party celebrating Erin’s engagement! Little did she know that it was going to happen until that night. On New Year’s Day, Joe and I had signed up to run the Resolution Run 5K. I needed a race to keep me motivated, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t PR with the staying up late and the drinking more than usual. Add to that drizzle and hills and headwind, and it wasn’t my fastest race, though I’m still pretty happy with how I did. Official chip time: 29:40. My dad ran too, and my mom volunteered. That’s the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the background!


Some of my friends joke about how crazy my family is since we’re always running on holidays when other people are sleeping in or eating big breakfasts or watching parades, but that’s just how we roll! I spent the rest of the day writing my sermon for my ordination exams. Yep, I’m heading back to Texas for the week to take my ordination exams, visit my niece, and attend my friend’s ordination to the priesthood. I’m kind of nervous and scared but also excited because I’ll get to really see how much I’ve learned over the past two and a half years in divinity school.


I’ve been travelling a lot, and once I’m back from this trip, I’m looking forward to being home for a while. I miss hanging with my husband and cats, and I know once I get back that the craziness of my last semester of graduate school is going to start up again. Where did my Christmas break go? I promise once I return that I’ll get back to making real food again and not just desserts!

At least I got some fun baking in. These were the perfect New Year’s treat. The buttery shortbread topped with the peppermint bark was really delicious. I had some problems cutting them, which I think had to do with them being too cold since I chilled it overnight. At room temperature (after chilling to set the chocolate), they’re much softer and easier to cut. This wasn’t too peppermint-y for me, and I actually liked the addition of the peppermints. They look so festive too!


Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
source: Epicurious as seen on Bakin’ and Eggs

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with a long strip of 9-inch-wide parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both short sides of pan.

Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake cookie base until light golden brown, slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on wire rack and immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using a small offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie in a thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.

Stir white chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from water and use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Grab the paper overhang and lift from pan. Transfer to work surface and using a large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces.