There is an untold truth when it comes to holiday cookies: The cuter they are, the worse they typically taste. So our Test Kitchen goal was to create a dashing cookie we'd want to eat. These chocolate candy cane buttons have a minty brownielike base and a simple confectioners' sugar-heavy cream icing. You can leave the cookies unadorned because the simple cookie-to-icing color contrast is plenty appealing. But a garnish of smashed candy canes is mighty festive as well. For even more ways to use candy canes, click here to view a video from Tasting Table and our television partner, Plum TV.
Chocolate Candy Cane Buttons
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 3 dozen
Cook Time: 50 minutes (plus 1 hour chilling and 20 minutes for icing to set)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1⅓ cups (8 ounces) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi–Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1¼ cups light brown sugar
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons dark molasses
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
20 mini candy canes
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar, divided
¼ cup heavy cream
1. In a large bowl, add the butter, chocolate and brown sugar. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and place the bowl on top of the saucepan (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir the mixture often until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl with the chocolate-butter mixture from the saucepan.*
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until well combined.
3. Into the chocolate-sugar mixture whisk in the eggs, followed by the molasses and peppermint extract. Add the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir to combine. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until chilled and malleable, 1 to 2 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Shape the dough into small balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough per ball (about the size of a Ping-Pong ball). Place them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are set around the edges and still soft in the center, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.
5. Into the bowl of a food processor, add the candy canes and pulse 3 to 4 times for a coarse grind (you can also place the candy canes in a zipper-lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or using the bottom of a heavy pan or pot). Scrape the candy canes into a medium bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon of confectioners' sugar (to help keep the candy canes from clumping).
6. Add the remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar to a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and sift the sugar into the bowl. Whisk in the heavy cream until the mixture is completely smooth. Once the cookies are cooled, spread a generous spoonful of icing over the top of the cookie, letting the excess drip off the sides. Sprinkle with the candy canes and set aside for the icing to set up, about 20 minutes, before serving. (The cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking; the iced cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)
*For alternative melting instructions: Microwave semi-sweet morsels, butter and brown sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
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