Come Christmastime, nothing tops chocolate + peppermint! AND this year’s cookie platter is not complete without these tender chocolate numbers, filled with an easy peppermint ganache.
My Christmas Eve cookie platter is a point of pride, and a special indulgence my family and I look forward to every year! At least 4 kinds of cookies are represented: Gingerbread stars in one form or another, I’ve just gotta have one with hazelnuts, I rotate in other traditional favorites, PLUS the presence of a chocolate peppermint cookie is non-negotiable (like these irresistible crinkles).
This year’s chocolate peppermint cookie comes in the form of thumbprints… the perfect little vessel to tuck creamy, chocolate ganache. With a healthy dose of peppermint extract, each bite keeps you begging for more. And they couldn’t be more adorable.
If you’ve never made ganache before, don’t sweat it. Despite it’s fancy-sounding French name (pronounced guh-nosh), ganache is incredibly easy to make. Simply bring heavy cream just to a simmer on the stove, turn off the heat and pour in chopped chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips. Wait a few minutes while the gentle heat melts the chocolate, then whisk to a thick and creamy deliciousness. Add a spike of peppermint extract, and you could eat it with a spoon!
The cookie dough is also a cinch to make, which makes these little nuggets even more lovable. No chilling or rolling pin is required, the dough comes together quickly, and you’re able to roll them into balls and bake straight away.
Halfway through baking take them out and use a metal teaspoon or melon baller to make the indent (using a utensil makes for more uniform indents than an actual thumb, plus there’s no chance of burning yourself!), then return to the oven for a few minutes more. Err on the side of underbaking – you want them to be soft and moist, not dry and brittle.
Once they’ve cooled, spoon about a teaspoon of ganache into the middle, sprinkle with crushed candy canes and voila! They last for about a week at room temperature, meaning you can make them ahead for your holiday celebration.
And while we’re on the topic of cookies, be sure to check out my cookbook, which has an incredible white chocolate macadamia nut cookie spiked with lime zest… another great option for a knock-out cookie platter!
Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, divided use
- ½ cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
For the ganache filling:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
Optional crushed candy canes for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. Use a whisk to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Combine the butter, ½ cup (100 grams) of the granulated sugar, and the brown sugar in a stand mixer. Beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the vanilla and peppermint extract, and mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then mix again. Add the flour and beat until just combined.
- Pour the remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl. Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch balls (using a cookie scoop makes this easier), then roll them in the sugar and place on the baking sheets 1-inch apart. Bake the cookies for 4 minutes, then remove from the oven to a rack or heat-proof surface. Use a metal teaspoon to press an indent into each of the cookies (or a melon baller), then return to the oven for 4-5 more minutes. Remove, and if the indent has puffed up, gently press down again with the teaspoon. Repeat with any remaining dough.
- For the ganache filling, bring the cream just to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat, then add the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the peppermint extract. Let cool slightly.
- Use a spoon to fill each cookie with the ganache, then sprinkle with the crushed candy canes, if using.
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