Pumpkin is nice and gingerbread is lovely, but of all the seasonal flavors available at this time of year, it’s peppermint that really gets me in the holiday spirit. There’s something so festive and right about the cool burst of spicy peppermint, especially when it’s paired with chocolate.
I’ve been meaning to make these Peppermint Sandwich Cookies with Candy Cane Bits (or Homemade Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s) ever since last year’s Eat My Blog charity bake sale. Valentina of Eastside Food Bites baked these for the event and I was fortunate enough to snag one before the hoards descended upon the spread. I dug into the cookie the following day and fell head over heels in an instant.
The star of the cookie is the pretty pink filling, with its clean peppermint flavor and crunchy bits of candy cane. The thin chocolate sables clasping onto the cream are crisp, buttery, and a touch salty, rounding out the sweetness just right.
Even though it’s sunny and snow-less here in Los Angeles, these cookies take me to a winter wonderland. Happy holidays!
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 15 individually wrapped peppermint candies
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 15 tablespoons (7 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the finely chopped white chocolate in a large bowl along with the peppermint extract. Make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted. Let stand at room temperature.
While the filling cools down, chop the peppermint candies in a food processor until no large chunks remain. Add the candy to the filling along with the food coloring once it is completely cool.
The filling needs to be thicker to assemble the cookies. Either let it sit overnight at room temperature or place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. If the filling hardens too much, it can be rewarmed in the microwave for a few seconds.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix on low speed. With the mixer running, add the butter a few pieces at a time. The mixture will have a sandy texture at first and then will begin to form pebble-size pieces. As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the mixer. Make sure all the butter is well incorporated. If there are large butter pockets, mix for a few seconds more.
Form the dough into a large ball and slice in half.
One at a time, roll each piece of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter. [My rounds were 2 3/4 inches in diameter.] Place the rounds 1/2 to 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Collect the scraps and repeat the procedure.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Place the cookies upside down on a work surface. Whip the filling lightly with a whisk to loosen it. Make sure not to over-whip or the filling may begin to separate.
Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip or to a makeshift pastry bag (i.e. Ziploc bag).
Pipe two teaspoons of filling in the center of each upside down cookie.
Gently, using your fingers, press the cookies together until the filling comes just to the edges. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Makes 18 to 20 cookies.
More cookie recipes from Gastronomy:
- America’s Test Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Basil Cookies
- Bouchon Bakery’s Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
- Chewy Chai Meringue Cookies
- Coconut Macaroons
- Emeril Lagasse’s Snickerdoodles
- Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies
- Orange Spice Cookies
- The “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Wes’ Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
- World Peace Cookies / Korova Cookies