Holiday ice cream needs a side of cookies
PEPPERMINT BARK COOKIES from Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook by Courtney Cowan (September 2020/ Rizzoli)
When developing Milk Jar’s seasonal flavor for December, I knew it had to be my favorite holiday confection in cookie form. The way the cool peppermint dough hugs the gooey chocolate while the candy cane bits melt into a chewy surprise is like waking up on Christmas morning to a blanket of snow outside. Magical. If you can’t purchase crushed candy cane, you can crush mini candy canes using a food processor.
Makes 18 to 20 three-inch cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
11 tablespoons (or 2/3 cup)
unsalted butter, cold and cubed
11 tablespoons (or 2/3 cup) vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs, cold
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract
¾ cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
¾ cup (6 ounces) crushed candy cane
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening,
sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat on medium low speed until mixed with just small chunks of butter remaining, approximately 30 seconds. Every time you mix ingredients, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are included in the mix—every bit matters! Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated and no flour is visible, about 30 seconds. Add half of the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated and all butter chunks are gone, approximately 20 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is not sticky to the touch, about 20 seconds. Be careful not to overmix—that’s how you get flat cookies. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and candy cane.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough 1/3 cup at a time and firmly roll into round balls approximately 1½ inches in diameter. Place 6 cookies on each prepared baking sheet, spacing them out well. Bake on the middle and lower racks of the oven until the tops are a light golden brown and you notice hairline cracks forming on the sides, 12 to 14 minutes, spinning each pan 180 degrees and swapping their positions halfway through.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer them to a wire rack or parchment paper on the counter to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool before repeating with the remaining cookies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.
* NOTE: If you’re living a life free from gluten, this is an easy recipe to make gluten free! Simply substitute the all-purpose flour with 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of gluten-free baking flour (I prefer Cup4Cup brand) and reduce the chocolate chips to 1¾ cups. One trick to get the gluten-free version to bake perfectly is to mix the dough about 20 seconds longer when you add in the last of the flour mixture
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook' by Courtney Cowan, September 2020/ Rizzoli / Photo © Ashley Maxwell)