Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

Sometimes, when the weather is lousy, you just need something to bring a cozy, warm, comfortable feeling into your home. For me, an easy way to create that feeling is through baking - especially after Lucy has gone to bed and the house is still. I find so much joy in putting on an apron, turning on some music and getting my hands dirty - not to mention the smells that fill the house.

Yesterday, about midday, I got the urge to bake some Christmas cookies and drink hot chocolate. It's far too soon to make the cutout cookies I really wanted to make, so I thought about what I had in our cupboards; the peppermint jack straws that have been sitting on a shelf immediately came to mind. They are a peppermint candy cane-type of hollow straw filled with chocolate. I got them in my stocking from my in-laws for Christmas last year, and while we've used them occasionally to stir into hot chocolate, I knew I could give them an even better purpose. 

Using a chocolate chip recipe that I halved, I substituted chopped peppermint chocolate straws for the chocolate chips. They turned out so much better than I had even hoped for - the candy cane shell gave the cookies a nice little bit of crunch. Eric and I each enjoyed one with a mug of hot chocolate, which made for the perfect combination. If you want a cookie that tastes like Christmas, this is it.

Peppermint Chocolate Cookies
Recipe adapted from this one at Allrecipes
Yields 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped chocolate-filled peppermint straws
(substitute with 3/4 cup chopped peppermint candy canes and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, candy canes and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.


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