What is it about the month of December that makes me crave the combination of deep chocolate and creamy peppermint? During any other month in the year, a dessert boasting these flavors would not tempt me in the least.
But, with the first whiff of woodsy pine trees and the first glimmer of twinkle lights I instantaneously want the chill of peppermint on my tongue.
A mere one day after Christmas, when the presents have been unwrapped and the tree is looking somehow barren, peppermint does not cross my mind. So with only a span of 25 days each year, I think it is important to feed this craving.
Most people would be satisfied with a steaming cup of peppermint hot chocolate, but I tire of the sweet flavors less than halfway through. Instead, I turn to desserts to serve as a vessel for this chocolate-peppermint combination.
Chocolate whoopie pies were an obvious choice for me - as a child of parents from Maine, the plush chocolate dessert is in my blood. But to make it extra special for Christmas, I sweetened the filling with butter and confectioners’ sugar, as well as a healthy dose of peppermint extract.
With a quick roll in crushed peppermint candies, these sweet desserts are ready for any party or just a quiet evening with family.
Chocolate Peppermint Cream Whoopie Pies
whoopie pie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 'Cookies'
peppermint cream filling from Dolcetto Confections | Allison M. Veinote
makes about 27 filled whoopie pies
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Crushed peppermint candies, for decoration
Make the whoopie pies: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or SilPats. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and table salt. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture until combined.
Drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until set and center of whoopie pie springs back when pressed, about 8 minutes. Transfer whoopie pies to wire rack and cool completely.
Make the peppermint filling: With an electric mixer, cream butter and shortening until smooth and well combined. On low speed, gradually add sifted confectioners' sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add peppermint extract and beat to combine. Add more peppermint extract, if desired. Set aside at room temperature until ready to assemble.
Assemble and serve: With piping bag or offset spatula, place a generous amount of peppermint cream filling on flat side of 1 whoopie pie. Gently sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Roll edges of filled whoopie pies in crushed peppermint candy and serve.