I know what you're thinking. It’s January, so it’s time to be resolute once again about diet and exercise. Ordinarily, I'm right there with you. After all, I have a CSA-centric blog -- I really like my vegetables. But events over the past couple of weeks have reminded me of life’s uncertainties, and I’m not ready yet for seasonal austerity. I’m having dessert first.
So here’s to a new year, one that I hope will feature good health and a dose of sweetness for my friends and family.
(From the December 2011 issue of Everyday Food. Makes about 4 dozen delectable cookies.)
For the cookie dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1.5 cups sugar, divided use
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
5 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks set in the upper and lower thirds. Have on hand two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat the remaining 1 cup of sugar and the 1 cup of butter in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, using the mixer on low (if yours can handle a stiff dough) or by hand (which is the way I had to do it).
Scoop out cookie dough (in rounded 1/2 tablespoons, approximately) and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the reserved sugar to coat and place the balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
Bake 5 minutes. Remove the sheets from the oven and use the back of a small melon baller or a round measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching their positions on the racks, and bake the cookies until just set but still moist-looking, about 4 more minutes. Put the baking sheets on wire racks and let the cookies cool in place.
As the cookies cool, prepare the filling. Place the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter in a bowl and microwave in 10-second increments until melted, stirring to combine. Stir in the peppermint extract. Let the filling mixture cool until it is thick enough to pipe, about 5 minutes. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or to a large zip-top plastic bag (to which you snip a 1/4-inch hole in one corner). Pipe the filling into each cookie.
Store the cookies in an airtight container, up to 1 week (if you can keep them around that long).