Peppermint shows up in lots of holiday treats, and baked goods are no exception. The bright, cool flavor of peppermint seems to fit the season – especially when it is combined with chocolate in a peppermint mocha or chocolate and peppermint layer cake. The combination is now so common that adding peppermint to any chocolate goodie is going to transform it from an everyday treat to one that seems just right for the holiday season. These Peppermint Cacao Nib Chocolate Chip Cookies are a simple twist on a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, yet they instantly make you think of chilly nights, warm blankets and holiday lights.
The buttery cookies use brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla extract, just like many chocolate chip cookie recipes. They also include crushed peppermint candies and that changes the whole look and flavor of the cookies. You can crush up your own candy canes or buy pre-crushed peppermint candy (available at many baking/craft stores). The crushed peppermints melt during baking and help the cookies become thinner and chewier. They also add great pops of red and white color to the cookies, giving them a very festive appearance.
The peppermint comes through without being overly minty, so it balances well with the chocolate chips in the cookies. The dough also includes cacao nibs. The nibs add a bittersweet chocolate note and a nutty crunch, which adds a great texture to the cookies and keeps them from being overly sweet. Use semisweet or dark chocolate chips for best results here.
The thin, chewy cookies are addictive – and they’re so pretty that they’ll definitely be the first cookie on the table to catch your eye. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days after baking, so this big batch will last you through a few nights of holiday entertaining. If you want to dress them up even more, they can be used to make holiday ice cream sandwiches with peppermint or chocolate ice cream.
Peppermint Cacao Nib Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
3 tbsp crushed peppermint candy cane bits
2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, followed by the chocolate chips, peppermint candy bits and cacao nibs. The chocolate chips and other ingredients should be evenly distributed in the cookie dough.
Shape cookie dough in to 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden on the edges and just set in the center.
Makes about 4 dozen.