This is one of my husband’s favorite Christmas cookies.
It kind of surprises me because he’s usually all about anything with chocolate or peanut butter in it. While he likes mint, he doesn’t usually choose it if he has any other choice. But here we are, years later and every year, regardless of whatever other cookies I bake for the season, I have to make sure I make these Minty Cocoa Fudge Sandwich Cookies for him.
The good news is that he always steps in to help me with this recipe. When it’s time to scoop the dough and roll them into balls, he’s Johnny on the spot, scooping the dough into equal portions while I quickly roll them up and place them on the cookie sheet. I don’t generally gravitate towards making sandwich cookies because I hate that you end up with half of what you baked. So, you roll 80 perfect little balls of dough and poof! Now they are 40 sandwiches. Don’t get me wrong. It’s all worth it, but when I’m cranking out hundreds and hundreds of cookies in December each year, I’d like my 80 to stay 80 which means I then need to double the recipe so that I end up with the 80 that I think I deserve. (And let’s not even talk about the 160…)
That’s why he helps me. If I can get the recipe done in half the time, then I think he believes my perception will change on the whole effort reward issue with sandwich cookies. It’s just a math thing. I don’t want to divide my yield by 2. One of these days I’ll get over it because I really like sandwich cookies and it’s nice to put something a little bit different on a cookie tray.
The cookie itself is a tender chocolate dough. Not crispy, but tender and soft. After you roll the balls, you press them flat with the bottom of a sugar coated glass, then bake. A couple of years ago, I realized that I had a glass with a design on the bottom. Now I only use that glass and it makes for a very pretty cookie!
The filling is minty and fudgy. A generous dollop goes on each half and then with a swirling pressing motion, the filling makes its way to the outer edges and you end up with a delicious, soft, chocolaty cookie filled with a fudgy, creamy, minty center.
They are a favorite of more than just my husband’s. I have a few friends that would not be happy if these didn’t show up on the tray each year. For me, they’ve simply become a new tradition. I have my own favorite minty cookie that I’ll be posting next week, so I generally offer to split one of these in half with my husband, opting to spend my “whole” on another minty favorite.
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or other oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
For the filling:
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 10 ounce package mint flavor semi sweet chocolate pieces (see note)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.
Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and the oil. Beat until well mixed.
Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Add flour mixture. Beat until combined.
Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is firm enough to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Place sugar in a small bowl and dip the bottom of a glass into the sugar, then flatten each cookie, dipping the glass in sugar each time.
Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or just until firm.
Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
For filling: In a small sauce pan, combine sweetened condensed milk, mint chocolate pieces and unsweetened chocolate.
Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to an hour or until mostly cool but still soft enough to spread. I err on the side of less cool so that it's easy to fill the cookies.
While the filling is cooling, match up tops and bottoms for each sandwich.
Spoon a generous teaspoon (I used almost 2 teaspoons) of filling onto the center of the flat side of one half of the sandwich. Place the top on, flat side down.
Fully support the bottom cookie flat on your fingers from one hand while you use your fingers (flat) from the other hand to gently swirl the top in small circles, gently pressing down until filling reaches the edges evenly. Using your fingers, and not your palm, will give you more control over the process. If you don't support the cookie from below, it may crack on you.
* If you can't find mint chocolate pieces, use Andes mint chips or use 10 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips and add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract once your chocolate mixture has melted and been removed from the heat. Make sure it's peppermint and not just mint. I used the regular semi sweet chips and added the peppermint.
*To make things easier, I match up all the cookie tops and bottoms, then scoop out all of the filling onto all of the bottom halves, then do all of the pressing. I think it's faster than stopping and starting after each cookie and you can insure you use up all of your filling this way.
* Store at room temperature in an airtight container, separating each layer of cookies with wax paper for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie magazine, 2008