Despite its freshness, there's something about peppermint that feels Christmassy. When paired with chocolate, it's soothing, comforting and deliciously festive. Pinterest is peppered with peppermint cookies and I couldn't resist whipping up my own batch. These are fancier than your regular cookies and all the dipping in various toppings can get a bit messy, but if you can't pull out all the stops at Christmas, when can you?
Luckily for me, Christmas came early in the form of this Kenwood kMix mixer, which was kindly gifted to me by Argos. Whilst I may dream about a KitchenAid underneath the Christmas tree, I realise that Santa doesn't have that of money - at least not for now. Argos has a great range of different mixers which are a bit more purse friendly. It's certainly a revelation for this girl, who's used to mixing with a good old fashioned wooden spoon - a mixer sure takes a lot of the work out of it! This is a fairly hefty mixer, and it's a little heavy to hold for a long time but it also has an excellent base which means you can stand it on the side of the bowl for when you're adding ingredients or testing the mixture - which is an excellent feature, because ones I have used in the past have been balancing acts to avoid splashing sticky dough all over the kitchen. It also comes with detailed instructions for what setting to use depending on what you're making, and it all packs into a handy compact base. Neat, huh?
For simple things like cookies and brownies, a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease will do. In fact, I think I might personally prefer it - as you can feel more easily if the mixture is the right consistency and there's less danger of over mixing (vital for a fudgy brownie). But for anything more labour intensive, like a cheesecake or meringue, a mixer is a must. Have you ever tried whipping cream into stiff peaks by hand? It's no fun, let me tell you. What takes 15 minutes of hard labour by hand takes just a couple of easy minutes with a mixer like this beauty. Plus, it's really pretty, right?
On a separate note, I really struggled to find candy canes to make these cookies with. I thought they were Christmas staples but I searched high and low in the supermarkets to find them with no luck. Eventually, with Wendy's help, I tracked some down in a 99p shop. So just a warning that it may be harder than you think!
To make 18 medium-sized cookies, you'll need:
- 110g unsalted butter, softened (just leave it out of the fridge for a few hours before you start baking)
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
- 175g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g white chocolate chips
- 200g white chocolate
- 6 candy canes, crushed (I used the end of a rolling pin and crushed them whilst they were still in their wrapping but go wild with it, there's no wrong way!)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
1. Cream the butter and sugar together (if using a mixer, set it on a fairly low setting).
2. Add the egg and peppermint extract and continue mixing until fully combined. The mixture might look a little odd at this point, but stick with it!
3. Stir in the dry ingredients until they form a cookie dough. Fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Using your hands, make 18 medium-sized balls of dough from the mixture. Place on the prepared baking trays and squish just a little bit so the tops are flat. They'll spread a little whilst cooking, so give them room to breathe.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies should still be fairly soft when you take them out of the oven, as they will continue to cook and firm up after they've been taken out. Leave to cool on a wire rack for half an hour.
6. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Dip the cookies half into the melted chocolate, sprinkle some crushed candy cane and set on some baking paper or a wire rack to dry. Be prepared to get a little messy - it's worth it!
Disclaimer: This post is in association with Argos.