These hot chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies are super chocolately and such a delicious holiday treat! These are a soft chocolate cookie filled with a gooey chocolate ganache and topped with bits of peppermint crushed candy cane.
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These cookies remind me of peppermint hot cocoa, and feel really decadent. They have a great sweet crunch on the outside but are soft when you bite into them.
The real star of this cookie is the smooth gooey ganache in the center of the cookie.
I used to think ganache was something really serious bakers made and was always really impressed. But making this ganache in the microwave for the fudgy center of the cookies is really easy. It’s mostly blending with a whisk.
I prefer to use a better quality chocolate chip (Ghirardelli chocolate chips are one of my favorites.) With this cookie especially you will notice the difference in how your cookies taste if you use a waxy chocolate.
Ingredients For Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
- Unsalted butter- using unsalted butter in baking let’s you control the salt in your cookies so they don’t taste too salty.
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla– real vanilla comes through with these cookies, try to avoid imitation.
- Peppermint extract– a little goes a long way with peppermint extract!
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Salt- a little salt brings out the chocolate flavor, but skip this if you have salted butter.
For The Chocolate Ganache
- Heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate chips– use a good quality chocolate, chopped chocolate also works
- Candy canes- or any peppermint hard candy broken into bits
How To Make Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies- Tips and Tricks
- Mix the dough– Cream together the softened butter and sugar (this creates a better cookie texture!) then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to your wet ingredients to make the chocolate peppermint cookie dough.
- Roll the outside in sugar– Roll the outside of the cookies in sugar. Chill the dough for 30 minutes which helps keep the cookies from spreading too fast. Mix the chocolate ganache filling while the dough is chilling. The chocolate a little more time to firm up before adding it to the cookies.
- Bake the cookies– Press the back of a teaspoon into the cookie dough. then bake the cookies. Press the teaspoon again into the dough when they are hot from the oven to give yourself plenty of room for that yummy ganache filling!
- Fill the cookies– Let the cookies cool completely before filling the cookies. (Putting ganache on top of warm cookies will cause it to leak and run, be patient!) Top each cookie with a spoonful of ganache and a sprinkle of peppermint. Don’t forget to snag a cookie and taste the gooey peppermint chocolate yourself, yum!
How Do I Store These Chocolate Peppermint Cookies?
The ganache does need some time to set up before you store these cookies, it was about 2 hours after filling the cookies before the chocolate center had set enough to stack the cookies. Once the ganache sets you can stack these cookies in an airtight container (like tupperwear.)
I also found that staggering the cookies as you place them in the container can help the cookies keep from squishing each other in case the ganache isn’t fully set in the middle of your cookies.
What kind of peppermint is best on top of these cookies?
I’ve mentioned using candy canes in this recipe for the peppermint sprinkles on top of the cookies. But don’t let that limit you, any kind of hard peppermint candy can be broken up and used as sprinkles.
You can process the candy into pieces in a food processor to grind it up into sprinkles. You can also place the candy in a heavy ziploc style bag and crush the candy with a rolling pin or heavy can.
Be careful with really old peppermint candies. ( I tried using some peppermints I had stashed away.) Sometimes the candy starts to break down, which can cause the peppermint to be too sticky.
My Ganache Turned Out Grainy, What Can I Do?
If you haven’t yet filled all of the cookies, you can fix the ganache! Sometimes the ganache will not quite melt the chocolate enough when you add the cream. Or if the temperature of your cream was too hot it can also cause the ganache to split which can cause a grainy or even oily texture.
What I do if a ganache that has split is to heat up just a few more tablespoons of cream in the microwave. Use a whisk to stir the ganache, add the warm cream just a tablespoon at a time while whisking. This can help to bring the ganache back together and smooth everything out.
Add only a little bit of cream at a time though. If you add too much cream you may make your ganache too thin. This can be fixed if the mixture is warm but adding another small handful of chocolate and continuing to whisk until everything is smooth.
When you finish whisking you want your chocolate and cream to be equal or almost parts in the mixture. So if you ended up adding a quarter cup extra cream you may need to melt in a few more chocolate bits. This helps the ganache to be firm enough inside the cookie, a pourable style ganache will be too liquidy.
Can I freeze these cookies?
I have not tried freezing these cookies before. The dough is similar to other cookies I have frozen, however the ganache is the biggest concern.
If I was freezing these cookies I would either freeze the cookies as dough or bake the cookies and fill them with ganache after defrosting. The ganache will split if you try to freeze it and then defrost it. Freezing will make the chocolate texture either grainy or oily and cause the ganache to split. Check out here for more tips on how to fix a grainy ganache,
Love Chocolate? Try these recipes too!
- Super Easy White Chocolate Peppermint Bark– This white chocolate peppermint bark only needs a few ingredients!
- Chocolate Whoopie Pies– These are like a giant soft Oreo cookie, and will make you shout Whoopie!
- Christmas Hot Chocolate Bombs– Get ready for an explosion of marshmallows in your cup
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks– These cookie sticks are perfect for sharing too
- Whipped Hot Chocolate– I bet you haven’t tried hot chocolate THIS way! So good!
Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
For The Cookies
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup white sugar divided
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cups cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For The Chocolate Ganache
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 Candy canes Or broken peppermint candy sprinkles
- Lay sheets of parchment paper over your cookie sheets. Cream together the butter and 1/2 cup of white sugar with an electric mixer or stand mixer. Add two eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract and mix well until combined.
- In a second mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms.
- Place the last 1/4 cup of white sugar in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon scoop the dough into small balls about the same size as a ping pong ball. Roll the cookie dough balls in the sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Place all the cookie dough balls in the fridge and allow the dough to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the cookie dough is chilling place the heavy whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the chocolate chips and vanilla in a separate heat-safe bowl. Microwave the heavy whipping cream for one minute. (Be careful your bowl is big enough the cream doesn't boil over.) Pour the hot cream immediately over the chocolate chips and blend with a whisk until smooth. Set the ganache to the side until the cookies are cool.
- Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a thick ziploc bag. With a rolling pin, crush the candy canes in the bag until they are in little bits to use as sprinkles.
- Spread the dough balls out on several cookie sheets, leaving 2-3 inches in between each cookie. push the round side of a teaspoon in to the center of each cookie, this will be where the chocolate ganache sits. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. When the cookies have just come out of the oven, push the round part of the teaspoon again into the center of each cookie ro make the space to hold the ganache larger. Let the cookies cool completely.
- Using a spoon, drizzle the ganache into the indent in each cookie. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with crushed candy canes. Cookies can be eaten right away but the centers will be gooey.
- If you don’t have peppermint extract, you can use all vanilla extract for more of a cocoa flavor. The cookies will still have some peppermint flavor from the candy canes, but not as much.
- Don’t put the ganache on hot cookies or it will leak. Wait for the cookies to cool before adding the chocolate ganache center.
- The chocolate ganache centers of these cookies seem really soft at first, but they will firm up as they cool. If you leave the cookies on a cooling rack for about two hours, the centers firm up enough that you can then stack the cookies in a container.