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These peppermint bark cookies are a decadent double chocolate delight topped with white chocolate and crushed candy canes. In addition, I’m sharing my tips for the perfect holiday baking party!
In December of 2006 I got together with a few friends of mine to do some holiday baking. We each brought a couple of ingredients and a few recipes and we spent the afternoon making an assortment of holiday treats to give to our friends and families. Little did we know a tradition was born that day! We now get together every year on a Saturday in December to bake dozens of cookies and other sweet delights. Over time our group has grown with the kids we now have and new friends we’ve added along the way. I have happily assumed the role as holiday baking party hostess and today I’m sharing my tips for the perfect baking party and one of our favorite recipes for peppermint bark cookies.
What exactly is a holiday baking party? In my case, we pick 3-5 recipes and make double or triple batches of each one. At the end of the day we split up the treats and everyone takes home enough goodies to make gift trays. When we first started our baking get-togethers we didn’t have children – now that the kids are in the picture we put them in charge of the cookie decorating! Over the years I’ve learned what works best to make sure that everyone has a great time and takes home plenty of cookies.
- Choose your recipes wisely – it’s nice to pick a variety of cookie flavors, shapes and sizes. You also want to carefully read the recipes ahead of time to make sure you have all the right tools and ingredients. I recommend choosing at least one no-bake option like fudge so that you can make it on the stove while you’re waiting for the cookies to be done in the oven.
- Have plenty of drinks and savory snacks on hand. People will nibble on baking ingredients like chocolate chips or sample the finished cookies and it’s nice to have a little something salty to go with the sweet. It doesn’t have to be fancy, I usually put out vegetables and dip, cheese and crackers and a bowl of trail mix.
- If you’re doing cookie decorating with kids it is so much easier to have those cookies pre-baked and ready to go for when your guests arrive. The kids are typically so excited to decorate that it’s hard for them to wait through the whole cookie baking process.
- Ask your guests to bring containers to transport their treats home.
I do a lot of my shopping at Costco, especially when I’m getting ready for a party. We have a Costco store about 5 minutes from our house and the girls and I go there almost every week. I love their prices and the ability to buy in bulk; the girls love the hot dogs. I always make a Costco run before I’m having people over to stock up on the essentials. There’s nothing worse than running out when you have a house full of people!
While parties are fun, cleaning up afterwards can be a lot of work – especially when the party involves baking. I buy Procter & Gamble products at Costco to make clean up a little easier after my friends have gone home.
A helpful tip for any party is to make sure your dishwasher has been run and emptied before the party starts. That way you’ll have plenty of space to put in all of the dirty dishes from the party – it’s much less work than washing by hand and often uses less water. I prefer to use Cascade Complete Action Pacs which I buy in the detergent aisle at Costco.
After the party I separate my dishes into items that need to be hand washed like baking sheets, and items that can go into the dishwasher. If it’s dishwasher safe, it goes in!
There’s just one downside to letting the kids decorate the cookies – sprinkles everywhere!! I use Swiffer products to make sure the floors are sparkling clean and sprinkle free. I love that you don’t have to deal with a big bucket of water, just use and toss the cleaning cloths! You can find the refill packs in the cleaning aisle at Costco.
Now that we’ve talked about the preparation and clean up for the party it’s time to talk about cookies! These peppermint bark cookies are a twist on the classic candy and they’re very simple to make. A double chocolate cookie gets topped with a drizzle of white chocolate, crushed candy canes and sprinkles. These cookies are definitely for chocolate lovers, there’s over a pound of chocolate in each batch. You can easily double or triple this recipe if you’re baking for a crowd.
Entertaining during the holidays doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It’s all about being efficient and planning ahead – that includes buying in bulk to make sure you don’t run out of anything at a crucial time. You can see a list of larger sized Procter & Gamble household products on the Costco website. So tell me, do you have any holiday baking traditions? What’s your favorite holiday cookie?
Peppermint Bark Cookies
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped chocolate bar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips or white candy melts
- 1 1/4 cups crushed candy canes
- 1/3 cup sugar pearls or other sprinkles optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate and butter in a bowl in the microwave at 30 second increments, stirring between each, until just melted - be careful not to burn the chocolate!
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low; beat in the melted chocolate. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks. Dough will be soft and thin; this is normal.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- After the cookies have cooled melt the white chocolate in the microwave - heat at 30 second increments until just melted. Pour the chocolate into a resealable bag; snip the tip off one of the corners to make a piping bag.
- Squeeze the chocolate out of the bag onto the cookies in a decorative pattern then sprinkle evenly with candy canes and sprinkles. Let the cookies dry for at least one hour.