Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BON APPETIT’S CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK COOKIES

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The photos of this cookie in the December 2009 issue of Bon Appetit screamed out at me. Not only did the cookie look appetizing and delectable, but also the recipe sounded easy and delicious. And I already had a package of candy canes in my cupboard and all the other ingredients to make these. For the dark chocolate, I used a 3.5 oz. bar of Lindt Excellence Intense Dark 70% cacao plus 2.5 oz. of Nestle Chocolatier 53% cacao dark chocolate chips. I also had a bar of Ghiradelli white chocolate, and I used that, even though it wasn’t on Bon Appetit’s recommended list. My kitchen scale came in handy, ensuring I got the exact amount I needed of each ingredient.

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I heartily recommend this cookie. It lived up to every one of my expectations. The tender and flavorful thin shortbread crust combines perfectly with dark chocolate, chopped peppermint candy canes, and white chocolate. The sweet complex flavors and textures of this cookie invite you to taste and then devour it. One caveat: You must not mind the little pieces of chopped candy cane. They bothered my hubby, but I adored them. I have a feeling my hubby will be in the minority on this one, because IMHO, this is one fantastic holiday recipe to keep, cherish and make again and again.

Bon Appetit’s Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
Source: Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2009 issue
Rating: 10 out of 10 PRINTABLE RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes (about 3 oz.)
2 oz. high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan* with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of 9”-wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer**, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

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Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes***. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.

Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering (not boiling) water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes****.

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Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in refrigerator in airtight containers between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. ) Yield will depend on how the cookies are cut.
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VARIATION: Sprinkle the melted dark chocolate with chopped peanut brittle or peanut butter cups instead of the peppermint candies.

NOTES: *I used a brownie pan.
**I used my heavy-duty Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which I believe overbeat the dough. It puffed up and wrinkled in the pan, then deflated; but the shortbread was still fabulous. Next time, I will beat the mixture less and use 325F as my oven temperature.
***My cookie was done in 20 minutes, leading me to believe the oven temperature was too high. My pan was dark and coated and I think 325F would have worked better.
****After one hour, chocolate was still soft. I had to put the cookie in the fridge to get it to set.

23 comments:

Linda said...

Looks like a really pretty festive bar cookie... perfect for the holidays!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a great success with the chocolate bark Judy. I've wanted to make chocolate bark, but have always been a little shy about working with the chocolate.

For fun one year my husband and I worked at a Williams Sonoma store and my job was greeter - and handing out their chocolate bark samples. The tray they used was heavy, white pottery and after four hours it felt like it weighted 100 pounds. My arms were aching.

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I'm jotting it down in case I feel like being brave and giving the chocolate a try.
Sam

Lea Ann said...

Beautiful

Judy said...

Sam,This is about as easy as it gets. The dark chocolate just melts on top of the cookie base -- no seizing there. The white chocolate will not be a problem so long as you ensure that the water underneath does not come to a boil and that it does not touch the bottom of the bowl that's holding the chocolate. This means that you must have a bowl with a lip that will hang over the pot. Just let it sit in the bowl over the simmering water for about 5-10 minutes, then give it a stir with a fork to see if it's melted. Drizzle it over the cookie -- some of it willl clump, no worry, just keep drizzling.

Cathy said...

I love peppermint bark. I saw this cookie in the magazine and have been waffling on whether to make it - you've made up my mind.

Barbara said...

Recently I made Ina Garten's recipe for chocolate bark and it was OK but did not hold up well- the white chocolate didn't set up nicely- Florida is a difficult climate for things like this. I'm going to try your recipe because it's not really a bark-you have a cookie base. Might be more successful.

April said...

These look so pretty!!! going on the list!! Thanks!

George Gaston said...

Judy, these look incredible. Shortbread, dark chocolate and peppermint ~ all in one delicious bite. How great is that! Thanks

melissa said...

ooooo! I love love mint and chocolate today. I will have to try this recipe some time. thanks so much for sharing.

Judy said...

Barbara, You may have to put the finished cookie in the fridge, like I did, to get the chocolates to set up. After the chocolates hardened, I cut the cookie into pieces and froze them. I've taken a few out and thawed them, and the chocolate is still nicely hardened. Every time I eat one, it reaffirms my rating. The flavors are just outstanding.

teresa said...

these look SO yummy! i already love peppermint bark, i bet it's dynamite on a cookie!

lisa said...

These cookies look incredible! They look like toffee, but I love the cookie base.

Valerina said...

Just look at that buttery base! May I please have one? :)

Ingrid said...

They look good but I think I'd like that PB chip version you mentioned even better!
~ingrid

Tiffanee said...

Oh my!! These look so delicious. I am going to try them for sure. Thanks!!

Kerstin said...

These look like a huge crowd pleaser! I'll have to make them for one of our holiday parties!

A Year on the Grill said...

hey Judy... Thanks for stopping by my site... I just found you, and this is INCREDIBLE!!!

What a great recipe, and love the looks of this!!!

Denise said...

WOW! I think I gained 5 lbs just looking at the picture!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Chocolate peppermint bark is something that I look forward to all year long. This looks delicious!

Peppermint Brittle said...

Hello t Judy's Kitchen,
Another wonderful peppermint desert for the Christmas holidays. I just posted my grandmothers Peppermint Brittle Recipe to share with the masses during the holiday.
This one looks so yummy thoug, I think I'll have to give it a go.

Judy said...

Hi Peppermint, and welcome to my blog. I'll try to stop over and get a look at your grandmother's peppermint brittle. Sounds really good.

Anonymous said...

Made these today - lovely flavor combination. Browned too quickly at 350 in my convection over, will follow Judy's comment and try 325 degrees, I hope to firm up and dry a little the very buttery crust (which was a little too much on the moist side for true shortbread in my opinion). My husband loved the peppermint pieces.

Judy said...

Hi Anonymous, Your hubby is the first man I've heard of who liked the peppermint pieces. I couldn't get any of the men I know to even try it because they all hate the peppermint-chocolate combo. Which is why I didn't make these this year, though I wanted to.