Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites
1. Holiday cookie exchanges.
2. Cookies for Santa.
The first thought is somewhat random and weird, since I have never actually been to a holiday cookie exchange. In fact, I don’t even think I know anyone that has attended such an event. (I belong to more of a “booze exchange” social group.) However, I have read about cookie exchanges in books and on the interwebs, and I am very much intrigued by them. The idea of people getting together to eat cookies and compliment each other on their domestic skills sounds quite festive and romantic. I think I would really kill it at one, so if you are in the New York City area and are looking for an extra exchanger, please let me know.
Moving on to thought number two. As a kid, putting out cookies for Santa was one of my favorite parts of Christmas. My mom didn’t really bake, but we did sometimes burn make Pillsbury sugar cookies on Christmas Eve, which was always entertaining. We’d pile them (or Oreos, if we were feeling lazy) on a plate and put them on the coffee table in the living room alongside a big glass of milk, ostensibly to be crushed by Santa himself. For whatever reason, I found this to be a ridiculously exciting task.
Sadly, I stopped believing in Santa when I was 6. I think that’s on the younger side, as I have definitely encountered believers in the 8-10 year-old range, which is both hilarious and awesome. Those kids’ parents were clearly some serious tricksters. Don’t get me wrong, my mom and dad were excellent Santas, but I have always been a realist, and by the time I got to first grade, I found the whole flying sleigh and “fat man in a chimney” thing to be suspicious at best.
When I asked my mother to confirm or deny the existence of Santa on Christmas Eve 1993, she said something along the lines of, “It’s not important whether or not he ‘exists.’ It’s more important to believe in the Christmas spirit!” I cried. I’m pretty sure my sister did too. She was 9.
Perhaps the most comical part of the Santa disillusionment was the realization that my parents were eating/throwing out Santa’s cookies and milk every Christmas. Looking back, there were more than a few occasions where they forgot to get rid of the cookies before Christmas morning. Needless to say, this raised some kiddie eyebrows, but they always came up with a plausible excuse, such as, “Santa’s doctor told him he had to go on a diet this year.” Nice save, guys.
In retrospect, I don’t understand why my parents didn’t pick more delicious treats for “Santa.” With options like burnt sugar cookies and stale Oreos, it’s no wonder they jeopardized their children’s belief in Mr. Claus so many times. All I can say is that when I have kids (in like 30 years), I am going to put out awesome snacks, so that I have something to look forward to while I’m up all night doing my Santa duties. I imagine Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites would be pretty thrilling.
These blondies are insane. First of all, a good blondie is a thing of beauty, and the blondie base for this recipe is my favorite. They’re moist, slightly dense, and somehow the chocolate chips always stay a little bit melty (I know that’s not a word, but you get the picture). In addition to chocolate chips, I added some crushed candy canes into the blondies themselves, and then I drizzled them with dark chocolate, white chocolate, and added some more crushed candy canes for good measure. When the chocolate hardens, you’re left with a peppermint bark topping, which gives the blondies an unbelievably delicious peppermint-chocolate crunch.
They are glorious.,,
In addition to being an excellent offering for Santa, Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites are guaranteed to make you the most popular person at all of your holiday festivities. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger crowd, and despite the blondies’ fancy appearance, they are remarkably simple to make. I’m talking less than 30 minutes of hands-on time, people. You can do this.
These blondie bites also make an excellent host/hostess present (never show up empty-handed!), and I’m sure people would be thrilled to receive them as a holiday gift. (Personally, I do not give food presents because I prefer to receive non-food presents, but luckily, not everyone shares my sentiments.) Plus, friends and family will think you’re incredibly thoughtful and domestic, which is always a thrill.
Happy Holidays, friends! Get baking.
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites: (Makes 20 Bites)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardelli)
6 crushed candy canes, divided
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
8 ounces white chocolate, melted
Preparing your Peppermint Chocolate Chip Blondie Bites:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a mini muffin tin. (If your muffin tin is non-stick, you can obviously skip the greasing/flouring.)
-Start by crushing your candy canes. Place the candy canes in a Ziploc bag and then crush them using a rolling pin, mallet, or whatever heavy object you have on hand (a book works nicely in a pinch). Set aside until ready to use.
-Moving on to the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until it is light and fluffy. This should take about 3 minutes on high speed. If you don’t have an electric mixer, don’t panic, neither do I. You can use an electric hand mixer. (It is also possible to cream the butter and sugar by hand, but it will be a rather taxing arm workout. Forewarned is forearmed.)
-Allow your blondies to cool completely in the pan. I know it will be tempting to try to remove your blondies earlier, but resist the urge. They will fall apart if they are not completely cool. Trust me, I learned the hard way.
-When your blondies are cool, carefully remove them from the mini muffin tin and place them on a rack over parchment.
-Now it’s time to decorate. Start by melting your dark chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler, but I just microwave mine on low power for about 2-2½ minutes in a measuring cup with a lip, which makes for easy drizzling.
-Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds. Be VERY careful and make sure to keep an eye on it, as white chocolate melts faster than dark and it has a tendency to burn. You can remove it from the microwave before it’s fully melted and keep stirring it, as the residual heat should be enough to finish it off.
-Use a spoon to add a small dollop of white chocolate to each blondie (it’s too thick to drizzle like the dark chocolate) and gently swirl it with the dark chocolate. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
*Blondie base recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Foolproof.
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