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Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

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I know this is probably the millionth peppermint recipe you’ve seen this week, but these cookies are so good!

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The inspiration for this recipe came from Brittany at Real Sustenance. She creates awesome recipes that are allergen free (check out her blog – it’s a great resource)! The particular peppermint bark cookie I spotted on her site is gluten, dairy, soy, and egg free, and because of that there were a few extra steps and ingredients that I wasn’t used to in baking.

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I’m all for cooking and baking to meet your specific needs so I decided to create an only GF peppermint bark cookie. I took the idea and ran with it, and many, many batches later ended up with these cookies. These peppermint cookies been a big hit with everyone, not just people who eat gluten free. They’re the closest to a gluten free thin mint that I have tasted, so that’s a winner for me! Everyone who eats them loves them, including people who don’t usually like mint!

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Since these cookies disappear quickly I’ve tried to steamline the recipe to make it quick and simple. One of the ways I do that is by using melted chocolate chips for the coating. I know peppermint bark usually uses white chocolate but I just hate working with that stuff! It always seems so much harder to melt than regular chocolate. Since these cookies are a frequent baked good in my house and I always have chocolate chips on hand that’s what I use. These are delicious with white or dark chocolate too, and would look great with a red or green coating, too!

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c almond meal (I make this by grinding up almonds in my food processor)
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c water
  • melted chocolate chips (about 1 bag)
  • 6 peppermint hard candies, crushed
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Roll the dough (starting with about half of it)  between two pieces of wax or parchment paper, to 1/8″ thick. Cut out cookies using a small circle cookie cutter. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. The cookies will not expand at all during baking so you can put them very close together on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet. They will firm up as they cool.
  6. Put the chocolate chips in a deep bowl and microwave for 30 second increments until melted.
  7. To coat cookies, get out a fork and a knife. Gently press a cookie down into the melted chocolate, then flip it over with the fork and knife. With the fork in your left hand, slide it underneath the cookie and lift out of the chocolate. Use the knife to scrape excess chocolate from the top of the cookie and then the bottom on the cookie. Place the cookie gently on the cookie sheet, using the knife to guide it off of the fork.
  8. Top with a pinch of the crushed peppermint candy.
  9. Repeat until all cookies have been coated, then place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to let chocolate harder.
  10. Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Mint Chocolate Chip Meringues

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These irresistible mint chocolate chip cookies are light and fluffy. Their green color is perfect for Christmas, too!

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My Mom, sister, and I used to make these cookies every Christmas season. We would whip them up late one night, just before bed, since they sit in the oven overnight to bake. I was always so excited to wake up in the morning and try one of the freshly baked cookies! We made these meringues at other times of the year, too, and changed the color to match the holiday.

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After years of making these cookies – and as a child, at that – I was very frustrated when my first four (yes, four) attempts at making these cookies as an adult failed. Not only did I waste ingredients (I hate waste!) but I knew that I could make these cookies and that the recipe worked. All of our modifications were written right on the original copy of that recipe in my own 8 year old handwriting! Well, four attempts and no cookies later I gave up, figuring my failure was probably due to the humidity.

Fast forward a few weeks. I made a huge pot of Avgolemono Soup and had 5 leftover egg whites. Rather than waste the egg white I decided to give the meringues one more try. I took every humidity precaution possible and when I saw the meringue form perfectly I knew the cookies would be a success! I happily ate one for breakfast the next morning.

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Here are some tricks I learned about successfully making a meringue:

  1. Use room temperature egg whites. I let the egg whites sit out on the kitchen counter for about 12 hours before using them, which was more than enough time for them to get to room temperature.
  2. Chill the mixing bowl and beaters. Put the mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator at least half an hour before you start baking.
  3. Use a low speed and be patient! Don’t try to rush the meringue by jacking up the beater speed too high or by dumping in a bunch of sugar at once. Just go slowly.
  4. When beating the egg whites you want stiff peaks to form. Egg whites will first get foamy, and then softer peaks will form. You will know you have achieved stiff peaks when the meringue stands up straight when the beaters are lifter out of the bowl (only test this when the beaters are turned off). If the tips of the meringue fall to the side you are still at the softer peaks – be patient and keep beating until you see stiff peaks!

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When you are familiar with what meringue looks like making these cookies is a breeze! These are great to bake with kids or a friend – anyone you can share the beating with (you arm will get tired if you do it on your own). The overnight baking is a fun feature of these cookies, too. You’ll love waking up in the morning to freshly baked mint cookies!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Meringues

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp mint extract
  • 8 drops green food coloring
  • 1 c mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and cream of tartar at a medium low speed until stiff peaks form.
  3. Still beating at the same speed, add the sugar slowly mixing in just 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. When all the sugar has been added, beat in the mint extract and green food coloring.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Drop tablespoons of the meringue onto the baking sheets, about and inch or two apart.
  7. Turn the oven off, and place the cookie sheets in the oven. Leave the cookies in the oven overnight.
  8. Store cookies in a dry place.
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