Friday, January 25, 2008

Redemption Cookies

There's something in my kitchen. I can't locate the source or pinpoint what it is. It's not a bad smell or anything like that, just an amorphous, hovering cloud that dooms my baking projects. I'll wake up in the morning full of enthusiasm for a baking idea and then when I try it, I am stymied and frustrated.

In the past month I've made a disastrous pie, cookies that shattered into crumbs when I tried to remove them from the baking sheet, and another brilliant idea for cookies had to be scraped off the baking sheets in curling rinds of sad, misshapen failures.

The last cookie was an idea I'd had simmering since Christmas. I had picked up a package of Hershey's candy cane flavored kisses at the store. I dreamt up a riff on my favorite, the peanut butter kiss cookies - chocolate cookie base, rolled in crushed candy canes, and topped with a candy cane kiss. How perfect! In theory. What I didn't know was that in practice, crushed candy canes, when you bake them, become sugar shellac. And the dough that I'd made for the cookie base flattened out into a limp pancake. I'd plopped the kisses onto them when I took them out of the oven, then when I attempted to remove them to the cooling rack, they rolled up into sticky, cookie tacos and the melting kisses slid off and through the cooling rack. That was a language enrichment moment.

Amazingly, I'd been wise enough to make up just one sheet of cookies as a trial run. Normally, me being all for efficiency, I would have done up three baking sheets and then would have had three times the headache, three glasses of wine, and then probably thrown the cookie sheets off the back deck, sticky cookies still attached. Would that make me three sheets to the wind?

When my first batch failed so miserably, I was angry. I said, "Enough is enough! I'm not letting this go down in the books as another failure! I will redeem this batch of pathetic cookies!" So I doctored up the dough with extra flour to give it some body, added mint chips that I'd had sitting in my cupboard for a while, and voila (French for This had better not fail!), a new family favorite. I liked them warm when the chips were sort of oozy and melty. My husband likes them cool when the chips have more of a snap to them but the cookie is still soft. Chocolate and mint are always delicious together, and I love them even more because I didn't have to scrape them all into the garbage.

Notafailure Mint Chip Chocolate Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (or so) Mint Baking Chips*

1 - Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.

2- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy.

3- Combine the flour, cocoa, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in the mint chips.

4 - Drop the cookie dough by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

5 - Bake 8 to 10 minutes, just until the tops set. Don't overbake, as this will make your cookies hard and dry. Remove the sheet from the oven, allow the cookies to rest on the sheets for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

* If you don't have access to Mint Baking Chips, play around with your favorite flavors and add-ins. You can add some peppermint extract to the dough and use chocolate chips. Butter brickle bits, peanut butter chips, or even chopped up candy cane Kisses that you happen to have lying around would all be good. Just stay away from crushed candy canes.


Chelsea said...

I have some mini peppermint patty baking thingies that would be excellent for this. I may be baking this weekend! Wait...of course I will be baking this weekend.

Deborah said...

I have had many a time in the kitchen where just about everything seemed to go wrong...

I have seen these chips in the store but have never tried them. They sound delicious!

Nicole Brady said...

A friend of mine created a similar cookie using the mint chips and a cake mix as a shortcut. I don't recall what else was in it, but it was heavenly.

This recipe, sans cake mix, seems like it will be just as easy but I'll be more in control of the ingredients! Looking forward to testing it out!

LyB said...

Pretty much all of this post made me laugh out loud, only because I could see myself and the many failures I've had in the kitchen, but the "cookie tacos" that was just too much! And your mint cookies look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Knowing you can screw it all up just endears you more and more! I have many stories that are similar, except I would have tossed the whole lot in a fit of kitchen Tourette's.
Good save on your part.

Cheryl said...

Good for you for keeping at this cookie. Came out great. I have never tried mint chips, must do so.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Such an incredible save and after such a language enrichment moment. :)) that is the best. But it's only slightly ahead of wondering if:
Would that make me three sheets to the wind?

Aimée said...

I LOVE mint and chocolate together...but have never seen these amazing chips in Canada. Can I order some? :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Chocolate and mint has always been a favorite of my husband's. I have got to find these pretty green chips now to surprise him with a yummy treat like your cookies!

Anonymous said...

How fun are these?! I've never seen mint chips before. Time to do a google search. Thank you for sharing!

The Downtown Boutique said...

Mmmmm...these look heavenly! How I love mint chocolate in just about any form. Now I want to try these!


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

wow, the green mint chips make those Notafailure cookies look so festive!! trust me, Lynn, I've had PLENTY of baking failures/frustrations (and I've only been baking since June 2007!); and as a perfectionist, I tend to get very upset when batches of goodies don't turn out, well, perfectly. I understand how your baking-mood could shift from enthusiastic to frustrated; but hey, these cookies definitely are a redemption! :0)

test it comm said...

I have had some problem baking cookies as well. My first few batches did not turn out so well. I really like the sound of the chocolate mint chip cookies! I have never seen mint chips in stores. I will be keeping an eye out for them.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I will not be defeated! Good job.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Chelsea - ooh, peppermint patties? That sounds delicious!

Deborah - Good to know I'm not the only one.

Nicole - I tried making cookies from cake mix once. It seemed like they had a lot of oil. I like knowing what all is going into a recipe, too.

LyB - Cookie tacos could be a new dessert the next time I make enchiladas. :-)

Melinda - Oh, you crack me up. Kitchen Tourette's - I love it!

Cheryl - Thanks!

My Kitchen In Half Cups - I wondered who would get that one. ;-)

Aimee - I'm sure we could work something out.

Susan - the chips are made by Guittard, a San Francisco based company. I would think you could find them in San Diego.

Erin - You're welcome and happy hunting!

Angie - Mint + chocolate= happiness!

VeggieGirl - Thanks, dear. You are so sweet.

Kevin - You might check out here, where I posted tips for beginners on cookie baking.

Sandi - Thanks!

Gigi said...

Chocolate and mint is such a great combination. I have a bag of the mint chips you used and have been wondering what to make with them. Your recipe sounds like the perfect answer.

Peabody said...

I'm happy that your cloud of baking flops has lifted. These look fabulous and I am now on the look out for those mint chips.

kickpleat said...

whoa, i've never seen green mint chips before! those look amazing!

eatme_delicious said...

Aw well I'm happy to hear that in the end you were able to salvage the dough and make something yummy! I know what you mean about having baking disaster after baking disaster. I was really aggravated with pie crusts just a short while ago.

Homemade Heaven said...

Those look lovely, but I am going to have to look where I can find a mint chip substitute - those are definately not available in darkest Africa - nothing even close.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen peppermint chips but they sound lovely! They also look fab against the dark chocolaty cookie! yum.

Anonymous said...

these are AMAZING. Instead of just mint chips, I used a dark chocolate/mint chip mix. Incredible. I've had SO many compliments about these cookies (even a week later people are finishing their last cookies & coming back raving about how great they still are).