Hot Cocoa Christmas Cookies

IMG_20181219_123956 (1).jpgThese will be your new favorites. I have tried a lot of new Christmas cookie recipes over the past two years and I was already starting from a very solid foundation (the Devine family takes Christmas cookies very seriously- there is even a recipe book (limited edition print)). And while I love trying new recipes, nothing ever seemed to top our family favs. Until these. They are everything I never knew I needed and I can say with almost 100% certainty that they are the best thing I have ever made.

The cookies are fudgey and the tops look almost like the top of a macaron and the frosting is sweet with a blast of mint at the end of the bite. I can’t say enough good things about them and they aren’t tricky at all to make!

Makes about 20 sandwich cookies.

HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large candy canes, crushed

PEPPERMINT WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz of white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of finely crushed peppermint candies (I put mine in the food processor so they were super fine)
  • 1 tablespoon milk

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat butter over very low heat. Add chocolate, and melt together, stirring frequently to prevent chocolate from scorching. Cook until mixture is warm to the touch but not hot. Add in cocoa, and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar on high speed until very light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  4. With mixer on low speed, add oil and vanilla, beating until just combined. Add warm chocolate mixture, beating until combined.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, beating until combined. Using a spatula, finish stirring batter. Let stand until batter firms to the consistency of a thick brownie batter, about 5 min. Drop batter by heaping 2 tablespoonfuls at least 2 inches apart onto prepared pan.
  6. Bake one batch at  time, until puffed and cracked an edges are set, 8 to 12 minutes (mine took 9 1/2 min).
  7. While the cookies are baking, whip up your frosting! All ingredients can go straight into the bowl of your stand mixer with whisk attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy on low speed for about 2 minutes.
  8. Group cookies in pairs of almost equal sizes (if you’re like me your cookies won’t all be the same exact size!) and spoon frosting onto flat side of one of the pairs. Gently press together and then roll the edges in crushed candy canes.

These are best right out of the oven or still warm, but I froze mine and defrosted a few at a time throughout the holiday season and they still tasted amazing.

YOU ARE WELCOME. Happy Holidays all!

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Adapted from Sarah Kieffer’s recipe in Bake from Scratch Magazine – I substituted my own frosting recipe instead of the suggested mint meringue filling.

 

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April 28 – “We’re out to Discover!!” -Scuttle, The Little Mermaid

Our rafting adventure

This morning we woke up and got on a bus to a harbor a little south of the resort for an excursion. LivingSocial lined up a bunch – hiking, zip lining, and snorkeling.  We chose snorkeling, and getting to the cove was an adventure in itself. There were 18 people on our raft (military style – we felt like we were storming the beaches of Normandy) with twin 150 horsepower engines. We went fast. And it was AWESOME. Talk about wind in your face! It took me 10 minutes to brush through my hair after…

The cove we were headed to was about a 45 minute ride away, and along the way we stopped to see dolphins (!) and different parts of the Hawaiian Northwest coast, which is just beautiful.  The dark lava rocks drop off into the water and with water erosion, coves and caves are formed. In the picture above, we were headed straight for the rocks, at very high speeds until we were close enough to see the water receding, then again moving in, and when a large enough swell hits the rocks, it shoots out of the rock about 40 feet high. A blow hole just like in Fools Gold! So cool!

Snorkeling was such a unique experience.  I didn’t think I would like it because you have to focus on breathing out of your mouth, but after 10 minutes, your body adjusts and it feels natural. I kicked my flippers over the side of the raft, pressed my mask to my face, held my breath and jumped into the clear blue water. Once I got my snorkel all set up I saw tons of fish and coral just feet beneath me.  Really, an extraordinary sight. The cove we were snorkeling in was stunning  – we were surrounded by a lush and green peninsula and then huge vertical cliffs.

I would like to be able to say nothing negative about the trip, but unfortunately I almost fed the fish several times. The ocean was very active and the swells were really getting to me on our trip home.  Luckily, I held it back but with my sunburn and green queasy face, you might have mistaken me for a Hawaiian take on Christmas. I recovered the second I stepped up onto the dock and spent the rest of the day finishing Hunger Games book 2.

-V on vacation

December 26 – Cannot resist this face

Luna Bear!

 

The reason she held so still for this photo is because Rachel was holding food next to my camera.  Typical.

December 26 is a lazy day for the Devines. We finished watching It’s a Wonderful Life and played the game of Things which was frustrating but worth it because I gave mom a laughing attack that lasted over five minutes.  Tomorrow it’s back to work with some shopping mixed in!

-V

December 25 – Merry Christmas

Santa Came!!

Merry Christmas everyone! We had a great Christmas day, exchanging gifts and snacking on cookies.  Santa brought me an espresso machine and the laptop I’m currently blogging on – THANK YOU!  Dad cooked us a prime rib roast with twice baked potato casserole… yum! We ventured out to see the family for dessert and are now snuggled on the couch in our pjs.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,

V