Thursday, December 22, 2011

A quintessential holiday treat: Peppermint Bark Cookies

Have you ever seen a cookie look more holiday?
It's like instant merry and bright.

And the cookies themselves are delicious.  I know that there is a lot of peppermint bark running around out there right now, but it often is so sweet and over the top that I steer clear.  But, not to worry with these!

The peppermint bark itself isn't very sweet, especially if you use excellent dark chocolate.  And whatever sweetness there is is cut by the shortbread cookie bottom.  Just delightful!

They are also a ball to make: sure to put you in a jolly frame of mind.

You start by  making a shortbread bottom.  Don't worry if you don't have a 13x9 metal pan, I just did it on a normal jelly roll pan and shaped it to round about 13x9.  You can cut the edges if they burn.  Then, right after the shortbread is done baking, you sprinkle dark chocolate over it.

Let that melt and spread it.

Then sprinkle candy cane bits all over it.

Then drizzle it with white chocolate.

Just look at it!

Chill it a bit, then cut.


And with these, the Bicoastal Chefs wish you a happy holiday, to you and yours!

Peppermint Bark Cookies (from epicurious)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candies, chopped (about 3 ounces)
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 13x9x2 metal baking pan with nonstick spray.*  Line bottom of pan with 9-inch wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan.

Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl.  Using electric  mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Then beat in the sugar.  Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.  Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk.  Gradually add flour beating on low speed just to blend.

Drop dough by tablespoons full onto prepare baking pan, spacing evenly.  Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan.  Pierce dough all over with a fork.

Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes [for me, it was more like 18-20].  Place pan on rack, immediately sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand until chocolate softens about 3 minutes.  Using small offset spatula, spread chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer.  Immediately sprinkle peppermint candy over.  

Stir white chocolate in medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove from over water.  Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies.**  Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Using paper overhand as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface.  Using large knife, cut into irregular pieces.  

Can be made 1 week ahead.  Store in refrigerator, layering with waxed paper or parchment.

Makes: about 36

*I used a larger jelly roll pan and just shaped the dough to 13x9 on it.  Then, when the edges burnt a bit, I cut those off.
**Avoid globs of white chocolate, they are way to sweet. 

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