I love to bake, and I almost always bake from scratch. But sometimes, especially around the holidays, life gets so busy trying to juggle work, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, Christmas planning and all the parties, potlucks and cookie swaps that I need something I can bake fast … that is also delicious and TASTES like I made it from scratch (because there’s no pressure at all when you have a food blog and bring cookies to a gathering – ha!). So when Krusteaz recently sent me several samples of their cookie mixes, and I was facing a time crunch — plus some broken candy canes at the bottom of my grocery bag — I got inspired to make these Easy Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Cookie Bars for my December book club gathering. And WOW. Time crunch or not, I’ll be whipping up these chocolate peppermint delights again this holiday season!
I’m not sure there is a better food pairing than chocolate and peppermint. Unless it’s chocolate and cranberries. Or perhaps chocolate, cranberries and orange … or chocolate and coconut. Hmmm … I think there is a theme here. 😉
To make this recipe, I used the Krusteaz Triple Chocolate Chunk cookie mix. Because I added cocoa to the cookie batter itself, you can’t see the chocolate chunks very well in the pictures, but you can taste them. There are three different types of chocolate in the mix: bittersweet, semi-sweet and milk chocolate chunks. This recipe isn’t dairy-free like most of my recipes, but since I can tolerate a little dairy and none of my book club members have a dairy issue, this recipe was perfect for the occasion. Still, I used vegan butter instead of regular, so I could eat a large enough sample to fully and accurately taste test. Even if I could have eaten more, they disappeared too fast for me to go back for seconds!
The bars are soft and chewy and taste like I made them from scratch. The peppermint not only complements all the chocolate, creating a special holiday flavor twist, but it also gives the cookie bars a satisfying little crunch. To make the peppermint topping, I smashed up 2 of my already broken candy canes, sprinkled them on top of my batter in the pan and baked. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you broken candy canes, make these!
Want more creative ideas and inspiration for your holiday cookie baking? Check out this new holiday cookie helper from Krusteaz: http://www.krusteaz.com/cookie-swap.
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