Last night our neighborhood book group, the Rev Road Readers, met for our first Christmas Cookie Exchange. Sue, our hostess, has a lovely home that was all decked out for the holidays; it was a great combination of looking like a magazine spread yet being “homey” and welcoming at the same time. Maybe I’ll be able to pull that off when we no longer have the pitter-patter of little feet running around! We didn’t discuss a book last night, but got together to celebrate the season with champagne punch and delicious homemade cheesecake.
Our last book, Revolutionary Road, will be opening as a movie soon, and we’ve all found that people are paying more attention to our street name lately; we’re getting comments like “Is it just like in the book?” and “Is it as bad as Yates writes makes it seem?” Our Revolutionary Road is named for the American Revolution, not for the street in the Connecticut suburb of Yates’ novel.
Have you ever done a cookie exchange? Here’s how they work – we each brought 3 dozen cookies nicely arranged on the dining room table. After the socializing, punch and cheesecake, we each took as many cookies from the various trays as we had brought. I came home with samples of a dozen different cookies; the kids are looking forward to dessert tonight! Some of us brought the recipes to share, too.
I made Peppermint Bonbon Cookies, which are delicious (crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, chocolate and peppermint … it’s all good!), but a bit time-consuming. Read the recipe through – you have to melt a few ingredients, wait 30 minutes for it to cool, add some more to the mix, then chill for two hours before you can form the cookies and bake them. Not something to make at the last minute, but worth the effort. The recipe yields 2 1/2 dozen, but I squeezed 3 dozen out; it’s modified from Oxmoor House; I omitted the optional step of the glaze and melted chocolate:
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely crushed hard peppermint candies
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
- Additional coarsely crushed hard peppermint candies, divided
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (optional)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons milk (optional)
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted (optional)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan; cook over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup crushed peppermint and 6 Tbsp. sugar. Let cool 30 minutes.
Add eggs to melted chocolate, 1 at a time, stirring well. Stir in extracts.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to chocolate mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in chocolate morsels. Cover and chill dough 2 hours or until firm enough to shape.
Shape dough into 1 1/2″ balls; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and cracked on top. Sprinkle coarsely crushed peppermints onto cookies; press candy lightly into cookies. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Whisk together powdered sugar and milk; drizzle over cooled cookies, if desired. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired. Sprinkle cookies again with chopped peppermint, if desired. Let cookies stand until glaze and chocolate are firm.
For fans of cooking shows, this link will show you a how-to video.