Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

 
I’m going to
make everything around me
beautiful—
that will be
my life.
— Elsie de Wolfe
 

Every single week when I bake something new, I hate it.

Okay, ‘hate’ may be a strong word to use. Let me explain it this way: I am never fully satisfied with anything I create.

Either the texture is wrong, the flavors don’t work well together, too much salt, or the aesthetic is wrong. Usually it’s the latter. I want the things I make to look beautiful. So beautiful that it makes other people want to recreate it. And share it.

The pressure of making everything I create beautiful often times ends up being a hindrance. I psych myself out and that’s when I stumble.

My inner monologue usually sounds something like this:

“Okay. How should I decorate these cookies? I’ll drizzle the chocolate on. No no no. Dip them in the chocolate… will the dip look sloppy or lazy? No. Oh wait… yes the dip looks sloppy. Okay okay, I can fix them. Cover them in sprinkles. *Sighs* The sprinkles don’t match the aesthetic I’m going for. Great. One batch of cookies ruined. Time to start over.”

I don’t know why I do this to myself, nor do I know where it stems from. All I know is that I want everything I create to be beautiful.

I still haven’t made a truly beautiful thing, but it is my life journey to accomplish that. So here’s to creating beauty.

This week on the blog I am sharing this recipe for these absolutely delicious Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. They are a simple chocolate shortbread cookie with pure peppermint extract to make them taste as good as a classic “Thin Mint”. To be honest, these are better than Thin Mints!

Shortbread cookies are basically just sugar, butter, and flour. They are buttery and perfectly sweet. The dutch processed cocoa powder adds a depth of chocolatey flavor that pairs perfectly with the peppermint extract and the dark chocolate chips are just extra deliciousness.

As for decorating these beauts, I just melted some chocolate and used a spoon to drizzle it across the cookies. I like the simple dark chocolate on dark chocolate look for these cookies but you certainly could decorate these however you would like. Crushed peppermint candies would look fantastic! I shared these cookies with my coworkers and they were a big hit. Bring these to your next work or family holiday party and you will be the “cookie master” for years to come!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe. It’s one of my new go-to Christmas cookie recipes now and I am so excited to share it with you. I hope you have a wonderful week and good luck with all of your holiday baking!

Xx


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

  • ⅔ Cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, plus more for sprinkling

  • 24 Tablespoons Butter, softened

  • 1 ⅓ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed

  • ½ Cup White Sugar

  • 4 Teaspoons Pure Peppermint Extract

  • 2 (10 oz) Bags Dark Chocolate Chips (at least 60%)

  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt and whisk until fully combined. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, a full five minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the peppermint extract and mix again until combined.

  3. Stop the mixer and add in the dry ingredients and roughly mix everything together with a rubber spatula so you don’t have flour flying all over your kitchen. Place the bowl back on the stand mixer and mix on the lowest speed just until the dough starts to come together. Add in one bag (10 oz) of dark chocolate chips and mix on low until evenly combined.

  4. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface that is dusted with flour and knead a few times to bring it together. Split the dough in half and form each half into a flat disc about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

  5. After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  6. Generously flour your work surface and place one of the dough ‘discs’ in the center, flour the top of the dough as well as your rolling pin. Roll the dough out so it is about ¼ inch thick. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible. You can gather and re-roll the dough once more (don’t do it more than once) and cut out more cookies. Repeat the second ‘disc’ of dough. Place the cookies onto the baking sheets spacing them out about 1 inch apart.

  7. Bake the cookies for 14-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  8. In a heat proof bowl, add about half (5 oz) of the bag of dark chocolate chips and the 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, mixing well in between each, until the chocolate is silky smooth.

  9. Using a spoon, scoop up a small portion of chocolate and drizzle each cookie generously with it, using as much or as little as you prefer. Top with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Enjoy!

These cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temp for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 5. Also, you can tightly wrap the dough and freeze it for up to 6 months.

Pink Peppercorn and Strawberry Linzer Cookies

 
I wish you a kinder sea.
— Emily Dickinson
 

Welcome back to A Common Kitchen this week everyone! The last few weeks have been craaaaaazy for me. I work in the health insurance industry and it’s currently open enrollment so I have been working a ton. So whenever I have a stressful week, I go into my kitchen on one of my days off and bake something sweet.

This week, I tried recreating a classic recipe but adding something unique to it. The result? These Pink Peppercorn and Strawberry Linzer Cookies.

I originally found these Pink Peppercorns on sale for $1 at my local grocery store. I was intrigued by these little pink gems. I did some research and found out that pink peppercorns aren’t actually peppercorns, but a berry. They have a fruity, citrusy, and peppery bite to them that made me immediately think to use them in a cookie.

I used one of my go to classic recipe bases for shortbread cookies. I used this base in my recipe for my One-Bowl Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and my Triple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. I love this base recipe because you can add all sorts of mix-ins to create different flavor combinations. It’s just a simple recipe containing butter, sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder. That’s it! It’s a no fuss recipe that I always go back to.

As for the strawberry preserves, I always use Bonne Maman. This isn’t sponsored or anything like that, I just have been buying their jams, jellies, and preserves because they are the best. I used their Strawberry Preserves for this recipe but if you can’t find Bonne Maman you can use any other good quality strawberry preserves.

These cookies turned out beautifully and I love the classic Linzer cookie look. I shared them with quite a few family members and they all really liked them and thought the pink peppercorns were an interesting addition that paired perfectly with the strawberry preserves. Jake wasn’t too fond of the more peppery bites but overall he liked them! You certainly can add more or less pepper depending on your personal preferences.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe and if you try this recipe, or any other recipe from A Common Kitchen please share your photos with me. I would love to hear from you! Happy baking everyone!

Xx


Pink Peppercorn and Strawberry Linzer Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 12 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature

  • ⅔ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed 

  • ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar

  • ½ Teaspoons Kosher Salt

  • 1 ¼ Cups All Purpose Flour 

  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

  • 1 Teaspoon Pink Peppercorns

  • ½ Cup Strawberry Preserves (you might use slightly less than ½ cup)

  • Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and kosher salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. 

  2. Add in the flour and baking soda and mix on medium speed until fully combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds. 

  3. Add in the pink peppercorns and mix on the lowest speed just until combined. 

  4. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dump the dough on top of it. Gather the dough and form a ball. Knead the dough for 15-20 seconds or just until it comes together. Form the dough into a disc that is about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

  5. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  6. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough until it is ½ inch thick. Using a 2.5” round scalloped cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Gather the dough into a ball and re-roll it and cut out more cookies. On half of the cookies, use a ½” round cookie cutter to cut out the center of the cookies.

  7. Place the cookies on the baking sheets and chill in the fridge for five minutes. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake 14-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

  9. Place all of the cookies with the hole cut-outs in the centers on one cooling rack and dust liberally with powdered sugar. Set aside.

  10. On the other half of the cookies (without the cut-outs) spread and even layer of strawberry preserves— about 1 teaspoon per cookie. Top the bottom cookies with the powdered sugared cookies.

    — These cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to a week.

Brown Butter "Pumpkin" Chocolate Chip Cookies

 
Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.
— Leo Tolstoy
 
 

Welcome back to A Common Kitchen this week everyone! You may have noticed that I was absent last week from posting my regular recipe. I was busy studying for a state licensing exam for my new job. I took the test earlier this week and… I passed! And like this blog, it was a lot of work but worth it.

Now, with a whole month of craziness behind me, I am very excited to get back in the kitchen and bake some fall recipes! This week on the blog I am sharing my recipe for Brown Butter “Pumpkin” Chocolate Chip Cookies. You may be wondering, why the quotation marks around the pumpkin? The secret is… there is no pumpkin in these cookies!

I will let you in on a little secret: I hate pumpkin. I really have never liked anything pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin scented candles and lotions, and most of all, pumpkin spice lattes. There is, however, ONE pumpkin dessert that I surprisingly have always enjoyed and that is a good Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Last year I baked a few desserts for Thanksgiving Day dinner and I wanted to try a Pumpkin Pie because I know that most people like it. However, I just couldn’t force myself to open a can of pre-made pumpkin purée. I did a little research and found an amazing recipe for a Butternut Squash “Pumpkin” Pie recipe from Serious Eats. The recipe uses homemade butternut squash purée and I was blown away! I actually liked a “pumpkin” pie for once! It made me rethink all of those recipes throughout the years that I thought I didn’t like. I realized that it was just the horrible canned pumpkin purée that I didn’t like.

So when I got the idea to do a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, I had to try them with homemade butternut squash purée. And the result, the most delicious, moist, and perfectly spiced “pumpkin” chocolate chips cookies I have ever had! There are a few key ingredients that makes these cookies as amazing as they are.

The first ingredient is of course the Homemade Butternut Squash Purée. It is extremely easy to make and is well worth it. All you do is cut a butternut squash in half and roast it until it’s very soft. You then scoop the insides into a food processor and pulse until silky smooth. And that’s it, Homemade Butternut Squash Purée! This recipe is unique because it uses the butternut squash purée in place of the eggs that you would usually use as a binder in a cookie recipe. I actually got this idea last year when I was trying to experiment with vegan baked goods to give away as Christmas gifts to some family members. I was trying to find egg substitutes and found that you can use certain puréed or mashed-up fruits and vegetables and butternut squash was one of them. I then looked up the approximate number of tablespoons that make up one egg which happens to be three tablespoons. I then just used the equal amounts of butternut squash to replace the eggs. And to my surprise, the substitute actually worked! It did not alter the texture or any other aspect of the cookies.

The next ingredient is browned butter. I use browned butter in a lot of my recipes. It adds nutty/toasty notes to the butter that gives it a more complex flavor than regular butter. I also keep the browned butter melted when I add it to the cookie dough which results in a soft chewy texture that is perfect for these cookies.

The final ingredient(s) that make this recipe amazing is the blend of spices that I developed. I use a simple mix of ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ground cloves. The spices are subtle but pair perfectly with the butternut squash and browned butter. I don’t like heavily spiced desserts and I think I found the perfect balance of spice for this recipe.

These Brown Butter “Pumpkin” Chocolate Chip Cookies are truly my favorite version of these cookies I have ever had. Jake and I ate the the entire first batch of these and all within two days! They are perfectly moist, chewy, and full of delicious homemade butternut squash purée. These cookies are sure to please anyone you make them for— even if they’re just for yourself ;).

If you try this recipe be sure to take photos and share them with me over on Instagram @acommonkitchen. Have a great week everyone!



Brown Butter "Pumpkin" Chocolate Chip Cookies


Makes about 24 Cookies

Ingredients:

For the Cookies

  • 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, tightly packed

  • ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar

  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 6 Tablespoons Butternut Squash Purée (recipe to follow)

  • 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

  • ¼ Baking Soda

  • ¼ Baking Powder

  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cardamom

  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

  • ¾ Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks

For the Butternut Squash Purée

  • 1 Butternut Squash

Directions:

Make the Butternut Squash Purée

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºf. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

  2. Wash and dry the butternut squash. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out with a spoon and discard. Using a fork, poke a few holes all around the cut surface of the squash.

  3. Place the squash cut-sides down on the baking sheet. Bake the squash for 1 hour. One the squash is done baking, let it cool down until it is cool enough for you to work with it.

  4. One the squash is cool enough, scoop out the insides and place in a food processor. Pulse the squash until it it is silky smooth and no lumps remain. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The Butternut Squash Purée should keep in the fridge for up to a week or you can put it in ziplock bag with all the air pushed out and it should keep for a few months.

For the Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a small saucepan, add the butter and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the butter, swirling around the butter occasionally, until it begins to brown and smells nutty, about five minutes.

  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the melted browned butter, brown sugar, white granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and butternut squash purée until fully combined. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves until evenly combined.

  5. Add the wet ingredients straight into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatular just until combined— do not over mix or else the cookies will become tough.

  6. Add in the chocolate chunks and mix just until evenly distributed.

  7. Using your hands, take a small amount of dough (about 2 tablespoons) and roll in to a loose ball and place onto the baking sheet, spacing the balls of dough about 2 inches apart as the cookies will spread as they bake. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.

  8. Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until the cookies are just slightly brown around the edges. The cookies will be very puffy and might look a little under-baked, but don’t worry! They are fully baked. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

  9. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature for 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to a week.