COOKING ADVENTURE # 82: White Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Let’s admit it. In winter, especially one as bitterly cold as the one we’ve experienced in Maine, we instinctually gravitate toward foods that make us feel comfortable, warm, and wonderful. This tends to be things like tea, hot chocolate, cake, lasagna, and, of course, cookies. I found myself with a particular hankering for something different than the average chocolate chip or peanut butter styles. I had a bag of white chocolate chips just sitting on my shelf and an almost forgotten bottle of peppermint extract sitting high upon my spice shelf. I knew such combinations were bound to produce beautiful results. That is…until I looked at my brown sugar and discovered it wasn’t about to make anything easy for me.
I’d been looking forward to making this recipe ever since I stumbled across a recipe for the world’s best white chocolate chip cookie. Let me tell you that this recipe doesn’t disappoint. It is literally THE BEST that I’ve ever tasted. Credit goes to this wonderful woman over at Cookies and Cups. I’m also glad that I had enough foresight to check the recipe a couple days ahead of when I’d intended to originally make it. The recipe says that the dough is better when refrigerated for up to 36 hours! So, with only a half an hour to spare before I had to run out to my parent’s place on Monday evening, I gathered my ingredients and set to work.
That being said, ingredients for these miracle cookies are pretty straight forward. I ended up halving the recipe because I only have one cookie sheet and not enough ingredients for the full amount listed in the recipe. I took a stick of butter or 1/2 cup of butter and melted it in the microwave in a bowl. Then, I measured out a 1/4 cup of white sugar into my glass mixing bowl. When I went to add my 1/2 cup of brown sugar, I was faced with a problem. Because I’d been lazy the last time I’d used brown sugar, I hadn’t resealed it properly, allowing it to recrystalize. This left me with a solid chunk of brown sugar that needed to be broken apart with a chisel and hammer. Fresh without I’m afraid. I somehow managed to break off pieces and haphazardly measure out the right amount to add to the bowl. Then I poured in the melted butter and started stirring.
If you missed the sneak peek video that I posted earlier this week, this is basically how it went. I sat in front of my computer, stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring. And as I continued to try and mix everything together, I only noticed that the little chunks of brown sugar would continue to “boulder up” and collide with other brown sugar boulders, creating massive diabolical brown sugar asteroids. I did eventually begin to get flustered and started stabbing at these with a fork. There may have been some swearing. And I actually equated myself to a troll trying to mine something. Basically, things escalated.
By the time I was done mixing, I’d given up on trying to fully combine the brown sugar and was just ready to move on. I cracked an egg and added that to the mix (the original recipe says to use 3…can’t really mix 1 1/2 eggs in, can you?), a tsp. of vanilla, and a tbsp. of peppermint extract. It’s been a long time since I’ve used the peppermint extract. The last time was for a coffee drink I was making eons ago. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that a little goes a LONG way. With the entire kitchen now smelling like candy canes, I took up my fork and began mixing all of the batter together again in the bowl.
It’s at this point that I got distracted. I don’t know by what. What I do know is that it impeded me from realizing that I was about to screw up the rest of the measurements in the recipe. It finally came for the important dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour). Somehow, it totally didn’t occur to me to change the measurements on the first three, so I put the whole amount from the original recipe. Thankfully, sense returned to me for the flour and I only added 1 and 1/4 cups. Then, once again with the stirring. And after all of this, the brown sugar still littered the batter, having never softened, never breaking up. Grrr… The final step was to add the white chocolate chips (of which I added way too many), and then stick the bowl in the refrigerator to solidify for a day…or two.
Wednesday night when friends came over following a book-signing, I was determined that we would have cookies and tea. But when I removed the batter from the fridge, I discovered that it had formed a brown sugar boulder consistency…hard as a rock. Doesn’t help that the temperature outside has been ranging between 10 and 0 degrees every night and my fridge freaks out during these times, making things inside colder than they need to be. Don’t ask me, the thing has a mind of its own. It’s from the 60’s. And it still works…somehow.
Long after they’d left, I was finally able to get my fingers into the dough in order to shape it into little balls and placed them all on the baking sheet. Having pre-heated the oven to 375, I slid the cookies inside and let them bake for 6 to 8 minutes as the directions told me to do. The time passed quickly and I checked on them. Not done yet. Not even close. Granted 6 to 8 minutes seems pretty fast for me even if my cookies were a tad thicker than the original recipe. I left them in for another five minutes and removed them then. The wonderful golden color beamed up at me and the scent of chocolate and peppermint was like a song reaching out to me. I couldn’t help but take a taste and was immediately in comfort food heaven. I can’t wait to try this one again with the correct measurements of baking soda and powder. I’d also like to try this with different extract flavors, like orange or raspberry. They could make for some delicious winter treats!
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be doing a double dose! Yes…that means two! First up is more of a cooking “frolic” where I’ll make a Honey Mango Citrus Smoothie! Then, I’ll ramp it up for dinner by making a Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast! Or at least attempting to… Stay tuned!