Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Hello my dears. It’s nearly Christmas and I’m bringing you another cookie recipe for the holiday. This is the most festive of the bunch for sure. While there were a few more in my agenda, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and unable to make all I set out to. These cookies should totally make up for that though.

candy cane massacre

One of the most fun parts of making these is decorating with crushed candy canes. Not only do you get to take your holiday frustration out on some candy canes in pulverizing them (I used a hammer), but they make the cookies look like pink shiny snowy Christmas cookies. I love it.

The cookies are crunchy and rich. The peppermint is refreshing especially paired with the sweet chocolate. The original recipe used white chocolate but I much prefer dark chocolate, so I went with that.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart, found here

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp warm water + 1 tsp egg replacer whipped together until frothy
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 4 crushed candy canes or 15 or so peppermint candies
  • 1 lb chopped dark chocolate

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda & powder and salt, then set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together the Earth Balance and sugar. Gradually add the water and egg replace mixture and continue to beat until well combined. Add in peppermint extract and continue to beat. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until the dough just comes together. Shape into two disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least and hour.

Preheat oven to 325° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into until it is 1/8 inch thick. Use a 2″ cookie cutter to cut cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Cool in the freezer for 15 minutes and then bake until crispy, about 12 minutes. Move parchment with cookies on it to a cooling rack and let cool.

Using a double boiler or a bowl set on top of a pot of water, melt your chocolate. Once it is smooth, let sit on stove so that it cools enough to not burn you, but remains soft. Sift your crushed candy canes into a fine powder and separate chunks. Set aside both to decorate. If it is particularly humid, you may have to sift the powdered peppermints again.

Dip the tops of each cookie in your melted chocolate making sure the entire top is covered, but tapping off any excess. I found this was easiest to do with my fingers, but be careful if your chocolate is still hot. It cold easily be done with a fork or tongs (chopsticks?). Sprinkle the crushed peppermint chunks on half and the peppermint powder on the other. Let set in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Best eaten within the next day.

For more holiday cookie ideas, check out the recipes for these Molasses Sandwich Cookies.

Or try your hand at these Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies.

There are these delicious Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.

Adorable, sweet Lemon Icebox Cookies.

Or the awesome Espresso Bean Shortbreads.

Happy Baking!

Molasses sandwich cookies

Let me just start off by saying these cookies are like crack. You have one, and even though they’re so sugary sweet you instantly want another. They’re just insanely delicious. If you want to impress your friends and family with some really easy to make, but seemingly fancy cookies, make these.

molasses sandwich cookies

They’re chewy and crispy all at once, with a lovely holiday flavor. They would be perfect as dessert but also with a cup of coffee. They’re just so darn good though, you could really eat them anytime, and trust me, you’ll want to.

I had a bit of trouble with my first batch because I misread the recipe entirely. On my second go around, they came out as beautiful as they tasted, no crumbly edges.

molasses sandwich cookies

Molasses Sandwich Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart, found here

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/8 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl; flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, cream together the Earth Balance and sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in the molasses until combined. Add the flour and mix until it forms a dough and then add in the water.

Using a tablespoon, scoop balls of dough onto your prepared baking sheet, giving each about an inch and a half between cookies. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the center is firm.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to let cool completely. Prepare the filling.

Molasses filling

  • 12 Tbsp Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat together the Earth Balance and molasses till smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until slightly fluffy. If you desire a firmer filling, add more powdered sugar.

Using a knife, a spoon, or a pastry bag, spread a bit of the filling on the bottoms of half of your cookies. Press another cookie onto the filling to make each sandwich.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

I think oatmeal cookies get a bad wrap. Especially the vegan variety. Granted there are some pretty bad oatmeal cookies out there, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact one of my favorite cookies of all time was the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies my aunt used to make. I have yet to perfect a vegan version of those though. They were unbelievably good. It just goes to show you, it’s not just the recipe, but the technique.

oatmeal cranberry cookies

I was particularly drawn to this recipe because it replaced those pesky raisins with cranberries, which is obviously WAY better, not to mention much more holiday appropriate. They’re soft in the center and just ever so slightly cakey. Not to mention insanely yummy. I think you should just make them and let the cookies speak for themselves.

oatmeal cranberry cookies

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart, found here

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda. Beat together the Earth Balance and sugars in an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy. Lower the speed on your mixer and slowly add the liquid ingredients, continuing to beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until a dough forms. Take the bowl out of the mixer and then stir in the cranberries and oatmeal by hand. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands, shape 2 tablespoons of the dough into disks and place an inch apart on your baking sheets.

Bake for 16 – 18 minutes, rotating half way through. They should be browned on the edges but still soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Next on our cookie agenda are these lovely lemon ice box cookies. These tiny little cookies are the perfect bite-sized snack or after dinner treat. They would be great gathered in a pretty bag and given as a gift. They’re sweet and crunchy with just the right amount of lemon.

lemon icebox cookies

You start with the lemon zest. There is something that always excites me about putting lemon zest in a recipe. Perhaps it’s because I know it’s going to be delicious. I can’t wait till we have a home where I can have a lemon tree. I hate buying lemons, as I never seem to use them quickly enough, so I often don’t buy them and then I don’t have them when I need them…but I digress.

lemon icebox cookies

For this recipe we’re going to use a food processor. Make sure you have a big enough bowl (a mini food processor won’t do) or you’re better off just working by hand with a dough mixer. It is rather pleasing to watch your flour and Earth Balance mixture turn to dough, just like that, but don’t get carried away and over mix. Remember to pulse!

This makes a fairly large batch, probably double what I was expecting, but the tiny cookies will most likely “magically” disappear once made. Plus you can keep the dough frozen for a few weeks and bake a few whenever you like.

lemon icebox cookies

Now I have a little confession with this recipe. As I mentioned before, one of the most difficult parts of taking a standard cookie recipe and making it vegan is replacing the eggs. Eggs play many different rolls in baked goods and different substitutes serve different purposes. Since this recipe used only egg yolks, I wanted to add a little bit of moisture back into the cookies. The obvious answer here is water. So I plopped in 3 tablespoons of water, before I had mixed the dough, and right before I remembered that there were only egg yolks, not full eggs (think less volume). Immediately the dough was overly wet and impossible to handle. I had to add back about a 1/4 cup of flour to bring it to a better consistency.

That being said, you might be fine just leaving out the water all together and only using 2 cups of flour, but I’ll give you the recipe as I made it since I’m sure it still comes out tasting fantastic.

Lemon Icebox Cookies

from Martha Stewart, originally found here

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp lemon zest (about 4 small lemons)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling

Put the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in your food processor and pulse until combined. The lemon zest will basically disappear.

Add the Earth Balance into the bowl and pulse until it combined into a granulated mixture. Add water and lemon juice until a dough is formed.

Separate the dough into 3 sections and shape into 1 – 2 inch rolls. Wrap in plastic and freeze for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 300º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On another piece of parchment, sprinkle the remaining sugar and roll your logs to coat the outside. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds and lay about an inch apart on your baking sheets. Cook for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets half way through. Let cookies cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

Espresso-Bean Shortbread

Dear readers, in the next few weeks, Cute and Delicious will be filled with cookies. You don’t mind, right? I was searching for inspiration for some holiday cookies and kept coming back to a bunch of Martha Stewart recipes. I felt it was most necessary that these be veganized, so I’ll be doing just that, and sharing my experience and recipes with all of you.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

I started with a very simple and appealing recipe for Espresso-Bean Shortbreads. This appeared to be not only one of the most enticing flavors, but also the easiest to make a vegan version. The only non-vegan ingredient is butter, which I personally don’t even think about for a second, as Earth Balance is such a superb replacement. It’s really a no-brainer. With cookies, it starts getting tricky with replacing eggs.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

Now there are a few things you need to know about Martha Stewart cookies.

  1. They use a lot of butter. This recipe uses 1 1/2 cups. Mostly they average about one cup. Consider yourself warned. Like I said, Earth Balance works great as a substitute.
  2. They involve a bit of advanced preparation. There is nearly always a fair amount of chilling time, so make sure you read through each recipe in advance. Don’t think you’ll just be popping these out of the oven in 1/2 an hour.

Espresso Bean Shortbread

The little espresso guys are easy to make and easier to eat. They’re dense, slightly crunchy and not too sweet. Moreover, they definitely pack a caffeine kick. Not cookies you want to eat right before bed time, trust me. I didn’t have a single complaint with the recipe, except that it took quite awhile with multiple chilling and freezing periods. I would recommend making them sort of flat, and not to make sure they are cooked all the way through.

So here are the humble but delicious beginnings of my cookie marathon. I personally think cookies make a great gift, and the ones here are sure to impress, but also travel well. Even though I’ve just begun, I can already see how easy it will be to get lost in a black hole of holiday cookies…but off we go anyway.

Espresso-Bean Shortbread

from Martha Stewart, originally found here

  • 1 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 Tbsp finely ground espresso beans
  • 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Cream together Earth Balance and sugar in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat until slightly fluffy.

Combine the espresso powder and warm water in a small bowl and stir until combined. Beat the espresso mixture and beans into the EB and sugar.

Whisk together flour and salt and gradually add to butter mixture, beating until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, and your hands, create small ovals bean shaped cookies. Place each cookie on the baking sheet 1 – 2 inches apart. To create the split in the coffee bean press a chopstick over the top of each cookie. Place each tray in the freezer to firm for 10 – 20 minutes

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes rotating sheets half way through. The bottoms should be browned, with the tops, just barely browning when you remove them.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before eating.