We took some time off, over the Cup Day long weekend, and I took some of that time to do some baking. The most recent Donna Hay magazine (issue 47) has many seductive pages of biscuit recipes, and I succumbed to this one that makes biscuits that taste like a cross between a choc-fudge brownie and an after dinner mint. Donna Hay calls them Chocolate Peppermint Crackles, but it would be simpler to just call them Choc-Mint Biscuits.
1/2 cup (125mL) hard peppermint lollies
200g dark chocolate
1 1/2 cups (375mL) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (310mL) plain flour
1/2 cup (125mL) cocoa
2 teaspoons baking power
1/3 cup (80mL) milk
Get the butter out and allow it to soften.
Start by turning the hard peppermint lollies (I used the supermarket’s home-brand peppermint) into a power that the biscuits will be coated with. Put the lollies into a food processor or spice/coffee-grinder and process until they become a fine powder. Set it aside.
Break up the dark chocolate into small pieces for melting. You can either melt it the traditional way (in a heatproof bowl sitting above a simmering saucepan of water) or the fast way (a minute or so in the microwave). Either way is fine as the chocolate will be going into the biscuit mix, and it doesn’t matter if the chocolate loses its shine. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, stir until it is fully melted. Then set it aside.
Now we can start on the biscuit mix.
If the butter isn’t soft, give it a little zap in the microwave. Place the softened butter and brown sugar into a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.
Add both eggs, beating well after adding each. Add in the vanilla. Then beat on high for another 2-3 minutes until the mix is pale and creamy.
Add the melted chocolate into the mix, and beat well.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the mix, stir in the milk, and then beat until smooth.
Cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap and put into the fridge for 30-60 minutes, until the mix is very firm.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit).
Spread some of the peppermint powder onto a plate.
Take the mix out of the fridge. Scoop out heaped teaspoons of the mix, roll them into balls, and roll the balls in the peppermint powder until thoroughly coated.
Lay the balls out, well-spaced, on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The balls should spread out and the white coating should crack.
Cool on the trays. Makes between 40-50 biscuits.
Like a chocolate brownie, they are probably better the day after baking.
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