I have a mint addiction.
Or, to be absolutely clear, I have a chocolate and mint addiction, which I developed after a youthful love affair with Junior Mints. But chocolate and mint is such a special combination that I like to save it for really special times of year: Girl Scout Cookie Season and Christmas. So this Christmas Eve it only seemed appropriate that I should try my hand at a chocolate-mint dessert, given that I wanted to make something for the various Christmas parties we were attending.
I decided to recreate one of the most perfect expressions of the chocolate-mint combo: the mint Oreo. I chose this Epicurious double-chocolate sandwich cookie recipe and added a hint of mint to the white-chocolate filling. The key, I found, was to add enough mint so that it perfumed the filling, but didn’t overwhelm the white chocolate.
The recipe is a little time consuming,but none of it is especially difficult. I decided to follow my own advice and use properly softened butter that I didn’t heat in the microwave. I also creamed the butter and sugar together for a full six minutes. At the end of the creaming stage it was entirely different than what I was used to; the mixture was extremely pale and extremely fluffy, as though it was filled with a spunky soul all its own.
I also took the recipe’s advice and froze the cookies before I baked them, which helped them keep their shape. You’ll see in the “comments” section of the recipe that many people found the dough difficult to work with, but I didn’t think it was all that bad. I let the dough sit out at room temperature for ten minutes before rolling it out, which helped quite a bit. The dough did have a tendency to crack when I first rolled it out, but I patched the cracks together with my fingers. And if the cracks wouldn’t disappear, I simply cut out my cookies around them, with no harm done.
The only problem I had is that the cookies puffed up quite a bit as they baked. I’m not sure if this meant I mishandled the dough, but when I make these again I’m going to score the dough lightly with the tines of a fork and see if that helps.
Appearances aside, these cookies were just lovely. I like to think of them as mint Oreos that died and went to heaven.
Chocolate-Mint Sandwich Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (Note: I used regular cocoa powder because the store was out of dutch-processed, and it turned out fine)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
White Chocolate-Mint Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 pound fine-quality white chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch square, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Make ganache while dough chills:
Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then stir into melted chocolate. Stir in butter, vanilla and peppermint extract until smooth. Cover surface with parchment paper and chill, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 30 minutes.
Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets.
Roll out 1 piece of dough between sheets of parchment paper into a 14- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick). Slide dough in parchment onto a tray and freeze until dough is firm, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Cut out as many rounds as possible from first chilled square with cutter, reserving and chilling scraps, then quickly transfer cookies to a buttered baking sheet, arranging them 1/2 inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft, return to freezer until firm.)
Bake cookies until baked through and slightly puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on sheet on rack 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool).
Make more cookies with remaining dough and scraps (reroll only once).
Assemble sandwich cookies:
Beat ganache with an electric mixer at high speed just until light and fluffy. Transfer to a sealable plastic bag (snip off 1/8 to 1/4 inch from 1 corner with scissors). Pipe ganache onto flat sides of plain cookies, then top with sugared cookies to make sandwiches. Chill, layered between sheets of parchment, in an airtight container until filling is set, at least 1 hour.