Hello! Hi! Howdy! I’ve been away a solid month and I have missed you all. Here’s a little project I was working on in my absence: Our little sugarbaby is 4 weeks old today! He’s sweet-natured, loves to eat (just like his parents!), and is, in our entirely biased opinions, completely adorable. He’s also more than a little time consuming, so I’ve had a hard time doing anything other than taking care of him and trying to catch the occasional nap for the past 4 weeks. I thought I would be clever and do some pre-baking and photographing before his arrival. “It will be difficult to find time to cook with a newborn around,” I thought, “but surely I’ll be able to find the time to write blog posts. How hard could that be?” <<Insert the sound of frantic, slightly hysterical laughter here>> So, yes. Turns out I’ve been feasting on those particular words for a month now. But we’re starting to get into a bit of a routine, and I am excited to dip my toes back into blogging and finally share some of the goodies I made P.B. (Pre-Baby), like these Junior Mint Cookies. I’m short on cohesive thoughts and high on sleep deprivation, so I hope you’ll forgive me for my lack of a clever introduction about these cookies. We’ll stick to just the facts, ma’am: these are soft, rich chocolate cookies rolled around a Junior Mint candy. Once they’ve baked, the mint inside is melted and delightfully gooey. They’re best warm out of the oven (so the cookies are soft and a bit gooey too, and everything blends together in a wonderful chocolate-mint mess) but they’re also pretty amazing at room temperature. And actually, I still have a stash of these in my freezer, and I have been enjoying them frozen as a little treat when things get overwhelming and it seems like the only solution is chocolate, and lots of it. If Junior Mints aren’t your thing, try replacing them with another similar-sized candy, like Rolos, or miniature Snickers or Milky Way bars.
Junior Mint Cookies
yield: about 2 dozen cookies
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP good-quality unsweetened cocoa
4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp mint extract (optional, to boost mint flavor)
About 24 Junior Mint candies
3/4 cup white chocolate chips or white candy coating, to drizzle (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Set aside for a moment.
Combine the butter and two types of sugar in the large bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add the room temperature egg, the vanilla extract, and the mint extract (if using) and beat them until the egg is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is almost completely blended in. Stop the mixer and finish mixing in the flour by hand, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl in the process.
Use a cookie scoop or large tablespoon to form a 1-inch ball of cookie dough. Press a Junior Mint candy in the center of the dough, and roll it between your hands to get the cookie completely round. Place the cookie on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment-covered sheets.
Once all of the cookies are formed, bake them in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until they have spread, are puffed, and are set around the edges, the raw sheen is off the dough, but are still quite soft in the center. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you want to drizzle them with melted white chocolate or candy coating, wait until the cookies are completely cool, then melt the coating in the microwave. Spoon it into a small zip-top plastic bag, and cut a small hole in the corner. Lightly drizzle the coating over the cookies, then let it set at room temperature before moving or stacking them.