Recipe 20: Chocolate Candy Cane Cookie Bark

After starting off as a pastry chef and working for a number of years around nothing but sweet pastries, cakes and cookies I now rarely indulge unless they are nothing short of spectacular. This recipe is one of those sweet decadent goodies that I will actually indulge in.  Mind you, I don’t over do it and often just a small chunk is enough to satisfy the craving.  This cookie is easy to make but, looks like you spent hours baking.  Leave a few out for Ol’ St. Nick with a tall glass of milk or a cup of tea and you can be sure he’ll be back for more next year.

Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th  century Persia, shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. They spread to Europe during the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society, throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors. The name derives from the Dutch word koekje or (informal) koekie which means little cake, and arrived into the English language through the Dutch in North America.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 – 15 minutes
Total Time: 45  minutes

Ingredients

Cookie Base:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Topping:
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 crushed candy canes

Directions

Place broken candy cane pieces into freezer bag or paper bag and crush with rolling pin. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare 2 large cookie sheets by lightly greasing. In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda and salt together. Sift cocoa powder onto the flour mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, mix melted butter, brown sugar, water and vanilla until smooth. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture, mixing just until flour is incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Split dough in half and dump onto cookie sheet. Press, spread and flatten dough with hands until it forms into a rough rectangle making sure to leave a 3 inch border free of cookie dough (dough spreads during baking). Repeat with remaining dough on second cookie sheet. Bake one sheet at a time  fro approx. 12 to 15 minutes or until dough looks dull and feels firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle 3/4 cup of chocolate chips over the cookie slab. Let chips soften about 5 minutes then spread with a spatula over cookie slab. While chocolate is still warm sprinkle crushed candy cane over top. Let cookie slab cool and place into refrigerator. Once cool remove and break cookie slab into  approx. 3 to 4 inch long irregular pieces. Cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

FOOTNOTE:  These cookies should come with a caution so here it is: You WILL become a slave to the cookie.

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