Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peppermint vs. Ginger...What's your preference?

Okay I admit, I had a cookie Sunday...What is a cookie Sunday?  It is a one where you don't really care to get out of bed, but eventually you drag yourself out.  Then you don't change out of your pjs, instead you put on a movie (it may have been Water for Elephants) and make two different kinds of cookie doughs.  Then while they are hanging out and firming up in the refrigerator, maybe you fold your clothes from the laundry you did yesterday, when you actually felt like being productive.  Maybe you have 2 or 3 cups of coffee and take a minute just to relax...I mean it is Sunday after all.  Then you decide its time to start making these cookies, so you hop in and get your hands dirty, you make a mess...there might be flour everywhere that you will have to clean up later, but these cookies are worth it.  So when you are done cleaning up, you go clean your are still in your pjs.  Then you get a bit dressed up and head out to meet your friends to see the Nut Cracker.  You might even stuff some of these cookies in your purse...shhh don't tell.

The cookies..soft ginger snap cookies taste like ginger snaps without being so hard on your teeth.  They came out soft in the center and crispy around the outside, with the raw sugar adding a bit of crunch.  These are my go to cookies this time of year.  This is seriously probably the 5th year in a row making these around Christmas time.

Then there are the super chocolate, chocolate-chocolate chip peppermint Joe Joe stuffed cookies.  This is another cookie-in-a-cookie.  (Don't forget about the Pumpkin Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies)  Some how with these the peppermint Joe Joe slightly infuses the chocolate-chocolate chip cookie with its peppermint flavor.  Eat these fresh out of the oven with the chocolate chips still melted with a tall glass of milk, then maybe bring the leftovers to friends or into your office for a Monday treat.  Either way, both of these cookies are a delicious holiday cookie for the season.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!     

Prepare cookie dough and then refrigerate.  Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop to grab dough create 1 1/2 inch balls of using your hands.  Cover top half in raw sugar.

Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Step 1: Cut peppermint Joe Joes in half.
Step 2 & 3: Place one scoop of dough in floured palm. Then place one half of a Joe Joe in center of dough and press down.

Step 4:  Place one more scoop of dough on top of Joe Joe and form dough around the Joe Joe until it is complete covered in dough.

Ta da! ( hands look HUGE in these pictures...)

The peppermint Joe Joe kind of melts into the cookie as the dough is baking around it.  The peppermint even slightly infuses into the surrounding dough as the cookie is baking.  Soo good fresh out of the oven when the chocolate chips are still melted!

Soft Ginger Snap Cookies: (recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)
*makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter melted or 3/4 cup Earth Balance for
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raw sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well combined.

2.  Whisk in the egg and molasses until well incorporated.

3.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

4.  Whisk the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients just until combined.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6.  Using a tablespoon or 1 inch cookie scoop, create 1 1/2 inch dough balls, roll in raw sugar and place on cookie sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

7.  Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until crispy just around the edges.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes then remove to cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Chocolate-chocolate Chip Peppermint Joe Joe stuffed Cookies: (cookie recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
*makes approximately 18-20 cookies
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup good unsweetened cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1-12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 box peppermint Joe Joes (you will only need about 10 cookies cut in half)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until well combined.

2.  Whisk in vanilla extract and eggs until well combined; set aside.

3.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt.

4.  Whisk dry ingredients in to the wet ingredient just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm.

5.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6.  Cut 10 peppermint Joe Joes in half.  Then using a 1 inch cookie scoop, scoop one scoop of cookie dough into floured palm.  Press half of a peppermint Joe Joe into the center of the dough.  Place one scoop of cookie dough on top of Joe Joe and form around it, sealing the Joe Joe with the two scoops of dough.  Repeat the process, placing cookies at least 2 inches apart on the cookies sheet.  These will spread during baking. 

7.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, cookies may seem under done.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.  While cookie batches are baking, place cookie dough back in the refrigerate so that it does not soften.  Enjoy!

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