This year, I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2011 (typed in my best Madison Square Garden announcer voice), hosted by Julie at The Little Kitchen and Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil. (Check out their blogS - love it!) The idea was like any other cookie swap, that we would each bake a dozen cookies to send to 3 other bloggers and would receive 3 different kinds in return. Except better, because these cookies come in the mail. Finally, after weeks of online Christmas shopping, there's a package that comes for me! Very exciting.
I decided to put a new twist on an old favorite cookie of my husband's, the peanut butter blossom. For those of you not in the know, this is a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey's kiss stuck in the top. Delicious. Wonderful. Traditional.
(Funny story: the first time I made those for Bob, years ago, I forgot the baking soda, so they turned out to be peanut butter pancakes with a Hershey's kiss stuck in the top. He married me anyway.)
I accidentally found myself at Wegman's a few weeks ago (trust me, as much as I love it, the crowds keep me from going on purpose) and in the holiday aisle I stumbled upon peppermint kisses from Hershey's. I'd seen recipes floating around for blossom cookies using them, and that gave me the idea for my version: a chocolate cookie base with the peppermint kiss. (OK, I may also have been inspired by the chocolate peppermint milkshake I accidentally scarfed down on my way to the store...)
Halfway through the making of said cookies, I also decided to experiment rolling them in powdered sugar before baking them - the result was not much different from the plain ones, so I did half that way and half naked. Feel free to do it that way - or not. Also, since my cookies needed to survive in the mail, I stuck my kisses in the just-baked bases right away, instead of waiting a few minutes to cool, so that the candies melted down inside and didn't run the risk of breaking off during shipping. I that it made them cuter, but again, feel free to do whatever you like.
This, though, is the cutest red and white striped thing in my house:
Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
(adapted from Hershey's)
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
powdered sugar (optional)
powdered sugar (optional)
24-36 unwrapped Hershey's peppermint kisses
Time and temperature: 350 for 10 minutes
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, coca, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Roll a generous 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll the ball in the powdered sugar. Bake for 10 minutes in a parchment lined cookie sheet, until the cookies are set. Remove from the oven. Press a peppermint kiss in the center of each cookie, immediately for melted candies or after 3-4 minutes for the candies to retain their shape. Store in an air tight container.