Part cookie, part fudge, Chocolate Candy Cane Gooey Butter Cookies are a rich and decadent way to celebrate the holidays.
Ready in 1 hour
Today is the start of something epic, my friends. And I don’t use that word with wild abandon like the rest of the internet does. When I say epic, I mean it.
Today I’m sharing with you the first of twelve (count ’em, 12!) Christmas cookie recipes I have for you. That’s right, over the next 12 days, I’m going to be sharing with you a new Christmas cookie recipe each day. I’ve been working so hard developing and testing cookie recipes over the past few months, and I am so excited to show them all to you. It is a really incredible bunch of treats! I am really proud of this group of recipes. I know it strays a little bit from my typical schtick of healthy balance to bombard you with a dozen cookie recipes in a row, but I’m too excited about all of these delicious, sugary treats to hold back. And I promise I’ll share a salad recipe or two in January.
Why am I overloading you with Christmas cookies? Well, it’s simple really. Holiday baking is such a special thing for me. Every year, I work hard to create nice tins and baskets of holiday goodies for my friends and family. We don’t have the kind of cash it takes to hand out hefty gift cards or expensive booze to our mail carrier or dog sitter, but what I can do is give them some tasty holiday treats to thank them for all they do for us throughout the year!
I know it’s nothing novel to pack together tins of Christmas cookies for your loved ones, but I still think it’s a nice sentiment.
I’m kicking off this cookie parade with one heck of a bang. If you’ve never made gooey butter cookies before, they’re exactly what they sound like – ooey, gooey, rich, and buttery. They’re kinda like a cross between a chewy cookie and fudge. Or imagine your favorite flourless chocolate cake in cookie form. These are definitely not cookies for people who like crunchy, crispy cookies (do those people exist?). I think the original version of this recipe comes from butter-queen Paula Deen, and has been adapted about a million different ways. But almost all of those adaptations use boxed cake mix.
Even though I’m overwhelming you with desserts for the next two weeks, I still have to stay true to my homemade roots, so I decided to make up my own version of butter cookies without the cake mix. It isn’t quite as quick as dumping a cake mix in the mixer, but it is just as ooey and gooey as the original. And chances are, you have all the ingredients you need in your pantry to make these right now.
If you’re looking to keep these cookies free of artificial colors and flavorings, I recommend looking for organic candy canes at your local supermarket. I was able to find some last year at my regular grocery store, and I know they carry them at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in our area. Unfortunately, since they don’t use synthetic red dye for the stripes, they aren’t quite as bright and vibrant as your regular candy canes, but they are still delicious and very cute!
Make sure to come back tomorrow for the next cookie in the series. Two words. Chewy. Gingerbread.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 6 candy canes, crushed, divided
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter, scraping the sides as necessary. Add in the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and peppermint extract.
- Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, making sure to mix thoroughly after each addition. Fold in ½ cup of the crushed candy canes. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Once dough is chilled, form into one-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, about two-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to crack and crinkle on top. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then press ¼ teaspoon of crushed candy canes on the top of each warm cookie. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.