Peppermint Mocha Thumbprints

What do you get when you combine food bloggers, cookies, and a good cause? The 3rd Annual Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen!

For the past few years, food bloggers all over the world have signed up to bake cookies to send Secret Santa style to other bloggers, and in return, receive packages of delicious cookies baked just for them. And they do it not only for the cookies, but to help raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. This was my second time participating, and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

Chocolate and peppermint are the perfect pair in these fun, festive thumbprints. A chocolate cookie with an espresso kick, a creamy peppermint chocolate filling, topped with a sprinkle of peppermint bark-- I knew these would be the perfect cookies to send to my swap matches.

I packaged up my cookies and sent them on their way to Emily of Epicurious Em, Molly of My Name is Yeh, and Jennifer of Break or Bake!

And the cookies that showed up in my mailbox? FANTASTIC! There were three very different flavors that I devoured with reckless abandon. Not even a single bit of sharing happened with these. None. I ate every last crumb.

There were some delicious Peppermint Mocha Cookies from Erica at Erica's Sweet Tooth which I polished off in a matter of days.

Some amazing, spicy Mexican Chocolate Crackle Cookies from Kathy at Cooking on the Side (left) which I was in too much of a hurry to devour to take more a picture of the box.
And the most surprising-- White Chocolate Chip Zucchini Oat Cookies from Ali at Inspiralized (right). Yeah, you read that right. Zucchini. There were vegetables in my cookies. And I practically licked the tray.Who would've thought? Thanks so much ladies! I loved, loved, loved them all! 

We're up to #7. Stay tuned for the last 5 cookies and be sure to check out any you missed along the way!

Peppermint Mocha Thumbprints
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces good quality chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup of crushed peppermint bark or crushed candy canes

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. (Or, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.) Let cool slightly.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla extract, and chocolate, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
5. Place about 1/3 of a cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, roll dough into 1-inch balls, and then roll in sugar to coat. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to make an indentation. (I used a measuring spoon instead.) Chill dough in refrigerator on baking sheets for about 20 minutes.
6. While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350F. Once chilled, bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press centers down again. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (If centers have puffed up again, press down one more time.)
7. While cookies are cooling, make ganache filling: Place chopped chocolate into a medium bowl; set aside.
8. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat cream and butter, swirling the pan until the butter is melted. Add salt and swirl to combine. Heat until cream mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chopped chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes to melt chocolate, then whisk until smooth and glossy. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts and whisk to combine. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
9. Pour melted chocolate into a plastic squeeze bottle or a medium pastry bag with the corner tip cut off. Pipe chocolate into the indentation of each cooled cookie. Allow to set for a few minutes before sprinkling peppermint bark or candy canes over the chocolate. Allow chocolate to set completely, about an hour, before serving.
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