Tag Archives: peppermint

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Chocolate Peppermint Squares


Christmas is nineteen days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

Nothing says Christmas like chocolate and peppermint. Think of these as the Christmas version of the Girl Scout’s thin mint cookies. This recipe from King Arthur Flour brings the best of these flavors together. First you have a fudgey brownie layer with just a hit of mint then it is topped by a more intense mint frosting before receiving a final splash of dark chocolate. And for good measure you top it all with crushed candy canes. These cookies both look and taste festive.


For the brownie layer:

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the frosting layer:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons milk

For the glaze:
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

To garnish:
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • To make the dough, melt together the chocolate and the butter in a double boiler.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, salt and eggs.
  • Add the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine, then the flour, nuts and peppermint, mixing till well-blended.
  • Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 9-inch pan.
  • Bake the brownies for 25 minutes.
  • Remove them from the oven, and cool to room temperature.
  • To make the frosting, in a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butte peppermint and milk.
  • Spread the frosting over the cooled squares in a thin layer.
  • To make the glaze, melt together the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave.
  • Drizzle the mixture over the frosted squares, and sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy.
  • Refrigerate the squares till they’re well-chilled. To serve, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Yield: About 36 small squares.


Chocolate-Peppermint Fudge

photo 2-75

Fudge is the ultimate holiday treat.  Whether served as part of a dessert table or given as a hostess gift who doesn’t love fudge?  And best of all, fudge is surprisingly easy to make and since a little goes a long way, you get a lot of bang for your efforts.

Good fudge has only a few simple ingredients and because of this, I like to use the best quality cream and chocolate I can find. This is also why up until this point I had made fudge while in Albania since fresh heavy cream is all but impossible to locate.  But when I recently came into possession of one precious quart of heavy cream, I just knew I had to make fudge.

This recipe is courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine.  Their rich chocolate version is good as it is but to make my fudge a bit more festive I’ve given my confection a peppermint twist. If you want the original simply omit the peppermint extract and the crushed candy canes.  Or make both versions.  It is that good.


3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, plus  more at room temperature for buttering the thermometer and pan

3 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 teaspoon table salt

2 large peppermint candy canes, crushed

  • Lightly butter the surface of a candy thermometer and set aside.
  • Put the sugar, cream, chocolate, corn syrup, peppermint extract and salt in a large, heavy saucepan and stir with a spoon until the ingredients are moistened and combined.
  • Stirring gently and constantly, bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, 7 to 12 minutes.  Cover the saucepan and let the steam clean the sides of the pan for 2 minutes.
  • Clip the candy thermometer to the pot, being careful not to let the tip of the thermometer touch the bottom of the pot, or you might get a false reading.  Let the mixture boil without stirring until it reaches 236 to 238 degrees, 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the butter but do not stir the mixture.  Set the pan on a rack in the coolest part of your kitchen.  Do not disturb the pan in any way until the mixture has cooled to 110 degrees.  Depending upon the temperature of your kitchen this should take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhand on two opposite sides of the pan.  Butter the foil.
  • Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the crushed candy canes then set aside.
  • Remove the candy thermometer from the fudge mixture.  Using a hand mixer, beat on high speed until it is a few shades lighter in color and thickens enough that the beaters form trails that briefly expose the bottom of the pan as they pass through, 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Pour the thickened mixture into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to help nudge it out of the pot, scraping the bottom but not the sides of the pot.
  • Smooth the top of the fudge with the rubber spatula then set the pan on a rack and allow the fudge to cool completely, about 2 hours.
  • Turn the fudge out of the pan onto a clean cutting board and peel off the foil.  Turn the slab of fudge right side up and cut it into 25 equal pieces.

The fudge will keep for up to 10 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yields:  25 servings

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