You Mocha My Dreams Come True!

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. Eight years of ups and downs, but when you know you have the right person in your corner, you know you can take on all the “downs” along with the “ups.” Eight years down, a lifetime to go!

When we first got married, though the Mr is an accomplished cook in his own right (and just about as omnivorous as one can get), there were a few things he still wouldn’t eat/didn’t like. One of the things he didn’t particularly care for is peppermint mochas. He likes peppermint and he likes chocolate and he likes espresso, but not a huge fan of them together. Until now…

I recently discovered these amazing Rex Espresso Baking Chips at my local Walmart. Ssssh! Don’t judge me! There are some things at Walmart you can’t get anywhere else (these baking chips included). I swear this post is in no way sponsored, I’ve just gone absolutely bananas about these baking chips. You’ve heard me tell how when I see ingredients, I see what they can become. This was one of those moments. (By the by, Nestlé also makes a variety of espresso baking morsels, but I have not tried those yet.)

I generally keep a few different kinds of baking chips on hand for spontaneous baking moments, so while I was in the baking section on a whim and I saw these, I was intrigued for sure. However, this was more than just a random moment. I recently happened to grab some seasonally perfect Ghirardelli Peppermint Baking Chunks. I’d planned to make some type of chocolate-peppermint cookie treat, but I had an inkling the espresso baking chips would take my plan to a whole different stratosphere… even for me!

My new idea somehow morphed into a play on one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks, the classic Peppermint Mocha. Growing up, one of the ways I enjoyed cocoa was swirling the long ends of candy canes in some Dark Chocolate Swiss Miss. So it’s no wonder that when I grew up, Starbucks’ Peppermint Mochas became my go-to Winter drink… Now if I could just manage to replicate their Chestnut Praline latte, I’d be set for life!

These cookies are just-the-right-amount of chocolaty and chewy with snappy flickers of peppermint punctuated throughout to break up the richness. The subtle smokey espresso flavor emphasizes the semi-sweet chocolate better than using semi-sweet chips on their own. Don’t be afraid of the salt in this recipe. The salted butter and the 1/4tsp called for serve to relieve the taste buds of the onslaught of the adumbral sugar and cool peppermint. It all comes together very harmoniously in the end.

Peppermint Mocha Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:
1 (12oz) bag Rex Espresso Baking Chips
1-1/4c AP flour
1/2tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1 stick salted Kerrygold Irish butter, softened
1c light brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1 (10oz) bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Chunks

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (I like to use Reynold’s because it comes with grids and I can measure & cut to size!) or spray trays with Baker’s Joy. In a double boiler on the stove, melt 1c of espresso baking chips and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light & fluffy (about 5min). With the mixer running, add eggs (one at a time) & vanilla and beat until just combined. (If using a stand mixer you’ll use the whisk attachment up until this point, but then switch it out for the paddle for the remainder.) Gently add in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the remaining espresso baking chips and the peppermint chunks. Drop balls of dough about 2in apart on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 9-11min. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans for about 5min before removing to a wire rack (or a plate if you don’t have one!) to cool thoroughly. However, if you’re like us, enjoy a few with ice cold glasses of milk while they’re still warm from the oven!

What is one of your favorite fall/winter drinks you’d like to see in cookie form?

Currently Reading: Food Network Magazine, Vol 10 No10, Dec 2017

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