When it comes to holiday get-togethers, chocolate never seems to disappoint. My kids love these cookies, but they always disagree about how to top them. While my daughter likes dark chocolate, my son prefers white. To keep them both happy I always end up making both types of ganache. They can then frost their own and top them with their favorite decorations. I like to keep these cookies small so that people can sample each. The dough keeps in the fridge until needed and once baked and frosted, the cookies taste great for a few days. I’ve also included an emergency frosting recipe, when I don’t have time to wait for ganache to cool. - monkeymom —monkeymom
Test Kitchen Notes
I'd been dreaming of chocolate cookies and then monkeymom's recipe strolled in. The recipe was a snap to put together. While forming the dough logs, I had to barricade myself and the cookie dough to stop a passionate 7-year-old girl from eating it all up. I caved in and we munched together. I love the fact that you can vary the texture of the cookie by slicing it into thin rounds, for a crisp cookie or thick rounds for chewy centres. I think it is also the perfect template for trying out various flavor combinations -- orange and cardamom, slices of fresh hazelnut and cinnamon, even chocolate bits would be great. Thank you, monkeymom. —Kitchen Butterfly
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg yolk
dark or white chocoloate ganache (recipe below)
crushed candy canes and/or festive sprinkles
Dark or White chocolate ganache
8 oz white chocolate or dark chocolate either in chip form or finely chopped
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla seeds, and salt on low speed in a mixer. Add butter a little at a time, taking care to stop the mixer with each addition to avoid a mess. The mixture will look very sandy. Once all the butter has been added, add the egg yolk and continue to mix until ingredients are evenly distributed and contents is a consistent, sandy texture. It will come together but not completely.
Cover plastic wrap onto a work surface and dump dough mixture onto it. Form dough into three logs about 1 ½ in wide and 10 inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled—20 minutes minimum.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap log and cut slices a little less than 1/4 inch (you can expect 4 cookies/inch). Place on cookie sheet lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and let cool.
Frost cooled cookies with thickened ganache frosting and top with decorations. Let ganache harden.
Emergency topping: Another way I have frosted these is to place 4 bittersweet chocolate chips on top of each cookie when they come out of the oven. Put back into oven for 1 minute, then remove. Using the back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate over each cookie, then sprinkle with peppermint shards. Remove to wire rack and let cool. Use only bittersweet chocolate chips for this.
Dark or White chocolate ganache
Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan until bubbly. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is uniform. Let cool, stirring periodically until thickened and spreadable. (If you choose white chocolate, the ganache may appear on the thin side at first, but will harden with time. Alternatively, you can start off with ¼ cup cream, adding more after the initial combination.) Don't refrigerate or it may seize.
Note: you can add a couple of drops of peppermint extract to the ganache to up the minty-ness if you are using crushed candy canes.
My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.