1 c+ 2 T sugar 3/4 c butter
1/2 t salt 1 large egg
1 T cold water 1 t vanilla
1 t espresso powder, optional but good
1 1/2 c flour or white whole wheat flour
3/4 c black cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
about 6 standard-size candy canes or 3 ounces peppermint hard candies*, optional
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c shortening
1 t vanilla,omit if using the peppermint
2 t cold water*
*If you're adding the peppermint candy, increase the water to 2 tablespoons
1) Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, or more if you have them.
2) To make the cookies: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, salt, and espresso powder.
3) Beat in the egg, water, and vanilla, then the flour and cocoa. The dough will be very stiff.
4) Roll the dough into balls about the size of a chestnut (about 2 level teaspoons)**. Try a teaspoon size cookie scoop, not heap too high. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2" to 2" between them.
5) Use the flat bottom of a glass, dipped in cocoa as necessary to prevent sticking, to flatten the cookies to about 1/8" to 3/16" thick. Measure the thickness; you want to get pretty close to this measurement, for the best-textured cookies.
6) Bake at 375º for 18 to 20 min. It's important to bake them just the right amount of time; too little, and they won't be crisp; too much, and they'll scorch. If you start to smell scorching chocolate before the time is up, take them out. Cool completely on a rack.
1) If you're making the peppermint version, break the candy canes into pieces, and process them with the confectioners' sugar in a food processor till they're pretty finely ground.
2) Beat together the sugar, shortening, and vanilla. It'll seem very dry at first, but will eventually begin to clump together.
3) Add the water, beating till smooth and spreadable. The filing should be stiff, but not so stiff that you can't flatten it when you sandwich it between the cookies.
4) Place one level tablespoon filling in the center of one cookie; again, a teaspoon cookie scoop, slightly heaped, is perfect for this task. Place another cookie atop the filling, and squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Store in an airtight container.