These Cookies Will Beat Out Any Store-Bought Variety

Photo: Courtesy of Joy The Baker.
It’s December. Let’s milk this chocolate and peppermint thing while we have the chance.
You might remember these cookies. I made them before with an espresso filling. Delicious.
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This time around I opted for a lightly pepperminted white chocolate filling. Combined with the salty, crunchy, chocolate cookie, they are simply divine.
Here are a few tips when making these cookies:
-Don’t make the dough until you’re ready to use it. It does not need to be refrigerated. It goes straight from the mixing bowl to the counter to roll out.
-Make sure the butter is at room temperature, and cut it into small chunks to mix it easily into the dry ingredients; otherwise, the cookies won’t bake up right. Weird, but true.
-When making the filling, chop the chocolate as fine as you can. Even if you’re lazy like me...keep chopping. This will insure that all of the chocolate melts when the hot cream is poured over it.
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-To fill the cookies you can use either a pastry bag or a half teaspoon. Both work!
Homemade Peppermint Sandwich Cookies (adapted from The Essence of Chocolate)
Makes about 3 dozen cookies (though my batch came closer to two dozen for some reason)
Ingredients
For the Filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract (depending on how strong you want it)
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For the Cookies
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
15 tbsp unsalted butter, but into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature (this is important)
Instructions
For the Filling
1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the finely chopped white chocolate and peppermint extract. Make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream. Let stand for 1 minute (this is important), then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted.
2. Transfer the filling to a small bowl and let stand until room temperature. You’ll need the filling thicker to assemble the cookies, so cover the filling and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or an hour, until a thick consistency is reached. If the filling hardens too much, it can be rewarmed in the microwave for a few seconds. It’s best if left at room temperature until the proper consistency is achieved. This meant leaving it out overnight for me.
For the Cookies
3. Position the racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. 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 peddle-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.
5. Form and roll the dough straight from the mixer. The dough becomes hard to work with if chilled.
6. Transfer the dough to a board and use the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper to shape the dough into a block about 5 by 7 inches. Cut the block into two pieces.
7. One at a time, roll each block of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into 2 inch rounds. Place 1/2 to 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You can form and roll the dough scraps once after the first roll.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking. Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 2 to 5 minutes. They’ll be too soft to move straight from the oven. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
To Assemble The Cookies
Place half of the cookies upside down on a work surface. Whip the filling lightly with a whisk to loosen it. It will lighten in color and fluff up. Don’t over-whip, or the filling may begin to separate.
Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. You can just scoop the filling out by the half teaspoonful. Pipe or dollop one teaspoon 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.