I’m gonna admit something that could get me into lots of trouble–the holiday season can stress me out. I feel like I’m being pulled in 10 million directions, and as my kids have gotten older, it’s only gotten worse; believe it or not, the kindergarten kids, which include my daughter, will be going to see The Polar Express (hello, creepiest movie EVER) in the movie theater followed by lunch at Outback. 100 5-year-olds. At Outback. The idea of it makes me want a tranquilizer. My son’s Christmas field trip is probably even more elaborate, but at least it’s educational. Throw in dance recitals, church parties, work parties, friend parties, birthday parties, shopping, wrapping, gifting, an elf named Ralphie with a penchant for mischief, and trying to teach my kids what we believe to be the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of it all and my head hurts.

But in the midst of it all, I love to bake. And not baking neighbor goodies (actually, if you really wanna know the truth, our friends and neighbors don’t get baked goodies, they get laundry detergent), but fun baking. Therapy baking. There’s something magical about the weather being yucky and cranking up the Christmas music and the smell of chocolate and peppermint and almond.

McCormick was kind enough to send us some goodies to help us out with our holiday baking. And today, we’re teaming up with one of our very favorite blogging friends, Barbara from Barbara Bakes. She’s posting one of our recipes today (head over there to see which one!) and we’re posting one of hers. And it’s so good.

I have another confession (I’m full of dirty secrets today). First, you know how all the cool kids like bittersweet chocolate? I like sweet chocolate. I do. I think European milk chocolate is heaven on Earth. I like semi-sweet chocolate, but really, truly, when I’m standing in the kitchen all alone and there’s an open bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and an open bag of milk chocolate chips, I’ll grab a handful of the milk chocolate chips.

The original version of this recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I used semi-sweet and it was perfect (for me; I do think milk chocolate would be too much here). I also more peppermint because when it comes to chocolate and peppermint, I have pretty much no restraint or sense of propriety.

You’ll need all-purpose flour, salt (omit if you use salted butter), baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, butter, eggs (you’ll only need 3…the OCD-ness in me had to fill up the egg holder), and bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used Ghirradelli semisweet chocolate chips).

You’ll also need vanilla and peppermint extracts.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with spray with cooking spray.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and the beater. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until blended after each addition, about 30 seconds, and adding the vanilla and peppermint extract along with the last egg. Continue mixing on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and mix until just blended, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute.

Using a mini ice cream scoop or spoon,

drop a tablespoon of dough into each cup of prepared mini muffin tins.

Fill the muffin cups only about 2/3 full. Clearly, you can see that I’m a jerkface and went rogue and filled them more than 2/3 full. They would have been easier to remove from the pan if I had followed the directions, but it also wasn’t catastrophic.

Bake, one tin at a time, until the cookies are puffed and the tops are cracked, 11 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to overbake or they’ll be dry and crumbly. When the cookies are just out of the oven, use the end of a thick-handled wooden spoon to make a small, deep well in the center of each cookie. Let the cookies sit on the muffin tin for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. (At this point, you can fill the cookies immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month before filling.)

Now, this is just where I went off the grid. Stopped following directions. It’s a disease. To make the filling, combine the ganache ingredients in a small bowl and melt in 30 second increments, stirring well each time, until the chocolate is melted and can be completely incorporated into the cream. Allow to stand for a few minutes to thicken. Transfer to a heavy-duty Ziploc bag or a cake decorating bag. Snip off a small corner and carefully fill the wells in the cookies.

Allow to stand for at least an hour to allow the filling to firm up a little. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


We partnered with McCormick for this post, but any opinions are completely our own.


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