Infusing a key ingredient with mint upgrades these Mint Chocolate Chunk cookies from good to great…mint and chocolate-y goodness in one cookie!
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Minty fresh, and delicious
I’ve been playing with mint lately. I teased on my social media feed about making Mint Chocolate Chunk Scones for Father’s Day…I steeped mint in the cream used for baking basic cream scones, even reserving some cream to make a lovely minty glaze with which to finish them. The results were cream scones that had a nice minty flavor without being overpowering, balanced by chocolate and a crunchy coarse sugar finish…they were quite delicious.
In truth, those scones were the second item that I made with mint, the first being these Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The original idea came from Christina Lane of Dessert for Two, her recipe for small batch Mint Chocolate Chip cookies being one I’ve wanted to try for some time and just got around to making. Actually, it was my older daughter who made them. Her batch was tasty, but the mint flavor was subtler than she wanted.
I decided to try the recipe for myself, taking her suggestion to increase the amount of mint we’d use. She also mentioned that it would be nice to make chocolate cookie dough as well, sort of like a York Peppermint Patty in cookie form, or a Girl Scout Thin Mint. I took her ideas and ran with them, increasing the mint by 50% and substituting cocoa powder for some of the all-purpose flour. By using extra mint, I upped its flavor presence so that it could stand up to the chocolate cookie dough. I also used Chocolate Mint that I purchased from Still Life Farm at my local Farmer’s Market (just like I did when I made Mint Lemon Lime Bars last summer)…I wanted to see if that made a difference also.
(So how does the mint fit in?)
Infuse, infuse, infuse
The secret that Christina used in her recipe was to infuse the butter with mint, i.e. she steeped roughly chopped mint in melted butter, then strained it out. The result? Mint butter for cookies, cakes, or anything else you’d want to have flavored with minty yumminess. This same technique can be used for other flavors that you want present (think lemon, rosemary, lavender…). This recipe called for infusing the butter, but you can also infuse cream (hence the aforementioned scones), oils (garlic oil, anyone?), or even sugar (the last by letting the flavoring agent sit in granulated sugar for a time). Get jiggy…er…creative with it!
One last note…I made my cookies two ways, one as regular cookies and one as cookie bars (based on a comment I read on Christina’s post; I halved the recipe). I give you instructions for both below. It’s good to have options.
There was a lovely minty aroma as I was beating the butter and sugars together…just from that I knew this recipe would be a winner.
The cookies were soft, chewy, while the bars were a little crispier (if I had made them thicker, perhaps in an 8- x 8-inch baking pan, they would’ve had a softer texture).
Overall, both versions of these Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies have a minty chocolate-y goodness, great with a glass of milk or your preferred dairy-substitute (actually, I had mine with a dram of Irish Cream). They freeze well also…hmmmm…there’s still some left in the freezer now. Gotta go!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- fine mesh strainer
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 oz, 114g)
- 3/4 cup fresh mint (1 1/2 oz, 45g), firmly packed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (3 3/4 oz, 107g), firmly packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 oz, 100g)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (5 1/4 oz, 150g)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (1 oz, 30g)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (3 oz, 85g), plus extra to press into top of the dough before baking
Make the dough
- Place the butter and mint in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, swirling occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes, when you can smell the mint, remove from heat and let the butter continue to steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl), pressing the leaves to extract all of the butter from the leaves. Allow butter to cool to a semi-soft texture (it will help the creaming process if the butter isn’t too hard or still liquid).
- Add sugars to the butter. Beat until light and creamy, 3-5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for an additional minute.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder (I like this sifter), then whisk in baking soda and salt.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer while running, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Add the chocolate chunks and mix just until combined.
- Remove the cookie dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and press flat into a disk. Chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days)
To make cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (I use a small cookie scoop), rolling into 12 balls. Space 6 balls on each cookie sheet (the cookies can spread considerably). Press a few extra reserved chocolate chunks in the top of each cookie.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes for cookies, rotating the pans half-way through.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make bars
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Line a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to assist lifting.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking pan as evenly as possible (use plastic wrap on the dough and a small pie roller if possible). Press some extra chocolate chunks in the top of the dough.
- Bake bars for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment paper overhang to lift bars onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Cut into 48 approximately 1- x 2-inch bars.