Chocolate Candy Cane Buttons

Every year about this time, the family gets together for our big holiday cookie party.  We've been doing this for several years now and it's become one of our favorite holiday traditions.  Between my two daughters, my Mom and my daughter-in-law we have some excellent bakers in this family so the cookies are always fun and super delicious.  Everyone brings their recipes and cookie ingredients and we spend the day baking, decorating and of course, eating.   My daughter always makes sugar cookies for the kids to decorate and my Dad can always be found at the kids table "decorating" cookies, but mostly snacking on frosting and such.  At the end, the cookies are all spread out on the counter and we fill our tins with as much as they can hold and we leave with more cookies than we should even contemplate eating and so the holiday season begins.

For the month before the party, I start collecting potential candidate recipes for my cookie submission, and the minute I saw this one from Tasting Table, the search was over.  It’s just about everything I dream of in a holiday cookie…festive, pretty, and oh so delicious. 

As cookies go, this one may be just a bit more work than the usual mix, mix, scoop and bake kind, but none of the steps are hard, and I thought they were sort of fun to put together.  And besides, I'm just saying that no amount of work will be regretted when you take that first bite.  Lordy.

We start by making these incredible chocolate mint cookies.  The cookie dough resembles a genache, so you know they’re gonna be good.  And are they ever.  They're one of the best chocolate cookies I've had the pleasure of eating, and you could make them just to eat naked.  I mean the cookies, although whatever, you know?  Anyway, we're not going to stop there.  We're going to take those incredible cookies and get them all dressed up for the holidays...

by mixing up a little powdered sugar and cream for some icing and then crushing some candy canes in the food processor to finish them with a beautiful dusting that makes them look and taste like Christmas itself. 

If you’re looking for a cookie to get you into the holiday spirit, it is my considered opinion that this one would be it.  It would also make a lovely cookie gift, a wonderful treat to share with the office, or possibly a nice little offering to go with Santa’s glass of milk this year.  Here’s the recipe…

Chocolate Candy Cane Buttons

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe Courtesy The Tasting Table

I didn't change one little thing to this recipe, except to make them just a bit smaller than called for.  I wanted a smaller, more button-like cookie so used 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough for each instead of the 2 tablespoons.  A minor change, but if you make them smaller, be sure to reduce the cooking time a bit.

Yield:  3 dozen 

Cook Time: 50 minutes (plus 1 hour chilling and 20 minutes for icing to set) 

INGREDIENTS

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or semisweet chocolate chips)
1¼ cups light brown sugar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons dark molasses
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
20 mini candy canes
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, divided
¼ cup heavy cream 

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a large bowl, add the butter, chocolate and brown sugar. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and place the bowl on top of the saucepan (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water).  Stir the mixture often until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.  (I used a double boiler for this step and then transferred the chocolate mixture to a clean bowl before refrigerating.  This helped expedite the cooling process.) 

2.  Remove the bowl with the chocolate-butter mixture from the saucepan. 

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until well combined. 

4.  Into the chocolate-sugar mixture whisk in the eggs, followed by the molasses and peppermint extract. Add the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until chilled and malleable, 1 to 2 hours. 

5.  Preheat the oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Shape the dough into small balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough per ball (about the size of a Ping-Pong ball).  Place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are set around the edges and still soft in the center, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough. 

6.  Into the bowl of a food processor, add the candy canes and pulse 3 to 4 times for a coarse grind (it took me several more pulses than 3 or 4).  You can also place the candy canes in a zipper-lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or using the bottom of a heavy pan or pot). Scrape the candy canes into a medium bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon of confectioners' sugar (to help keep the candy canes from clumping). 

7.  Add the remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar to a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and sift the sugar into the bowl.  Whisk in the heavy cream until the mixture is completely smooth.  Once the cookies are cooled, spread a generous spoonful of icing over the top of the cookie, letting the excess drip off the sides.  Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the crushed candy canes.

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