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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mint Chocolate Delights

Last night I made some cookies using the recipe from the back of the Nestlé's Toll House Winter Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels bag.  They were easy to make and are quite delicious!  I baked off a dozen and froze scoops of dough with the remaining dough to bake off next week so they will be fresh and wonderful.

Mint Chocolate Delights
Original Recipe from Nestlé's Toll House
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Baking Cocoa (I used Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10 oz.) Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate
    & Mint Morsels (may substitute Ande's Crème de Menthe
    baking chips in the non-holiday season)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in 4 cup measuring cup or small mixing bowl and gently whisk until evenly blended.  Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.  Beat until creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed.  Scrape bowl as needed.
Remove paddle attachment and mix in morsels or baking chips with a very sturdy spoon.
Drop by well-rounded tablespoon (I used a medium size cookie scoop) onto ungreased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat (that's what I used).
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.  My cookies were slightly larger from using the medium cookie scoop and took 14 to 15 minutes.  You can make them mini cookies using a smaller scoop and bake for 9 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven when puffed and set, and leave on baking sheet on top of cooling rack for 5 minutes (or they will fall apart if you try to transfer too soon).  Remove to wire rack to cool completely before handling.
With the medium scoop, this recipe made 36 cookies.
The bottom of the cookie is where you find the
visible chips :-)  The top of the cookie is puffed
and tends to hide the morsels!
This morning I was trying to avoid eating the remaining cookies and further exacerbating my butt's holiday growth spurt.  Sometimes if I focus on dressing up the cookies, I don't feel inclined to eat them.  I'll wait for my husband to come home and admire them.  :-)

So, I had some candy melts and molds sitting out on the table, and I knew I would be using them at some point in my holiday baking.  I grabbed the never-before-tried Candy Cane melts from Wilton, along with a bag of red candy melts (also Wilton).  I got both at Michael's but you could likely find them at Wal-Mart just as easily.

For this little project, I needed:
Candy Melts
A microwave safe glass
Two disposable piping bags, scissors
A couple of twist ties
Paper towels
A toothpick or two
A small offset spatula.
Christmas sprinkles or molded chocolate shapes 

Simple clear plastic molds - I think I got these on Amazon
several years ago.  I'm sure they are available at Hobby Lobby
or Michael's as well.

You don't have to have the candy molds - I already had these on hand.  I rarely use them but, I had them out so I shrugged and decided to go for it!  I had some Wilton Snowflake Sprinkles, so I made a few cookies with those so you can see they look really cute too!

This is easy and really dresses up the basic little drop cookie!

First, if you are molding the peppermint chocolate, set that up. 
Place 1/2 the mint chocolate discs in a disposable piping bag, place it tip side down in a microwave-safe glass, and put it in the microwave following the packaging instructions.  Melt until they are quite smooth and you feel no lumps when you massage the bag. (you can use the same bag again to make more molds with the same kind of chocolate)
Remove from microwave, squeeze the chocolate down into the tip of the bag and put a twist tie slightly above the fill line of the chocolate.
Snip the bottom of the bag (less is better until you judge the flow!) and fill you molds.
Take the offset spatula and scrape the side across the back of the mold ensuring complete coverage.  Re-distribute as needed and scrape until you have a smooth back on the candy and the edges are as clean as you can get them (don't stress on that, you can clean them up after they harden).  Wipe the edge of the spatula on clean paper towels in between swipes once you get the candy evenly distributed among the molds.

When filled and smooth, place in freezer while you prepare the "striping" chocolate.  Clean the offset spatula to use again.
If you have extra melted chocolate, push the chocolate out of the tip of the bag and twist it off with a small rubber band or a twist tie.  You can rewarm in the same bag (without the twist tie of course).  Just double the tip part over and return to glass for reheating.  After warmed/reheated, replace twist tie on the top, lay glass on it's side, and carefully turn the bag tip part up so it doesn't go out onto your floor or counter!

Place the red  (or whatever color you like) discs in the second piping bag (I used about 1/4 bag for 10 cookies) and repeat the process for melting until smooth and get the twist tie on.  Wrap the bag in a cloth to keep it warm and quickly get the molded chocolate from the freezer. 

Run the edge of the offset spatula firmly over the back of the mold to get as much of the stray, now hardened, chocolate released as possible.  I found this more challenging for the little snowflakes than the big shapes.  Pop the molded chocolate out (you may have to bang the mold on the counter) and release onto a paper towel.  Clean up the edge of the chocolate by scraping your spatula edge along the edge of the chocolate...gently.  It comes right off without much effort on the larger pieces.  I gave up on the little pieces and so they have a small edge.
These are very tasty and would be great by themselves as a
Christmas candy treat!

If you aren't molding chocolate, grab some sprinkles (I used the white snowflakes from the bottle) and have them ready to go.

Re-knead the melted red chocolate bag to ensure it is still warm and loose, and snip the tip of the bag. Squeezing from the top, make a back and forth pattern across the chocolate mint cookie (cookies must be totally cooled - best to decorate these the day after baking or at least a few hours later).  Quickly decorate with chocolate shapes or with sprinkles - push into chocolate pattern on cookie to hold them in place.  If you use a big piece of molded chocolate, squeeze some excess chocolate on the cookie to act as glue.

They set up rapidly and are ready to eat within a brief period of time - maybe 15 minutes or so.
It's homemade, it's easy, and perfect for a beginner if you just use the sprinkle snowflakes.  Your family will think you are so talented!  I just tried one and they taste fabulous to boot!

Cute little dish from Ship Shape on South Padre Island!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


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