I´m finally joining the Chocolate Party this month. The secret ingredient is mint, not hard to guess; it´s a combination I find incredibly flavorful and versatile. Not to mention its undeniable holiday spirit. This little blog had already gotten into the minty spirit with these chocolate mint cookies and white chocolate tea cake. Both amazing, amazing, amazing.
At the time I made the above mentioned cookies, which have dark chocolate in them, I had started with a different idea. The one that I finally pulled off today. A basic chocolate chip cookie with almonds, mint and white chocolate chunks. At that time all I baked was a very greasy cookie, that spread horribly and had you screaming `where´s the mint?´.
So my head was made up about this month´s recipe. It had to be a great version of the original one. As I find myself doing a lot lately, I went to the sources and began with the traditional chocolate chip cookie.
When you start with a good recipe it´s not hard to come up with a great variation. One that will appeal to everyone and will make great holiday gifts. So a lucky friend is getting cookies from me. Something I intend to make every year, you know homemade gifts, but hasn´t happened for a long time.
I´m not a cookie person as I told you in this post. But there are details I think make a good cookie even better. Chocolate chunks instead of chips for starters. I don´t think it even deserves a debate. Chunks trump chips every time.
Then we have to consider the nuts. As much as I like walnuts coarsely chopped, I like almonds to be left whole. And toasted. It´s a whole different flavor with toasted nuts, no matter which ones you use. So the second point is made.
Third, the mint flavor. I really, really, really wanted to use only fresh mint, but it didn´t come through. I had a feeling it would when I remembered that this cake had no mint flavor going into the oven, but in these cookies it didn´t happen. So I had to add mint extract. A tiny bit, but absolutely necessary.
So, all of that said, and at the risk of sounding a bit bitchy, since I hardly ever eat cookies, so what do I know right? The details make a cookie. But then again, the details make any baked thing go from good to great.
If you want to join us for a Chocolate Party every month, go to Roxana´s blog and learn more about it. She has some hard to resist baked goodies.
WHITE CHOCO MINT ALMOND COOKIES
adapted from this Betty Crocker Cookbook
These cookies don´t spread much. The yield given is for medium cookies.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, at room tº
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, packed
¾ cup (150g) sugar
½ cup (100g) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup almond meal (or finely ground almonds)
2 ¼ cups (315g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mint extract
1 cup white chocolate chunks
1 cup whole almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350º. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or silpat.
In a large bowl mix butter with fresh mint. Add both sugars and mix well. Add almond meal and egg. Mix well.
Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until it´s thoroughly combined. Add almonds, mint extract and chocolate chunks. Mix well.
Drop rounded tablespoons onto baking tray and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.