How many bakers do we have here? I'm standing here with both hands raised, personally. I love to bake! Even for those who don't regularly like to concoct some new sweet treat, the holiday season brings out the chef in all of us. Our family has quite a few standard favorites each Christmas season, but we like to try some new recipes out as well. I was so excited when LorAnn agreed to participate in our holiday event. One, so I could try out baking emulsions for the first time ever, and two, it gave me a wonderful excuse to bake up some seasonal goodies!
With as much baking as I do, somehow I have never had the chance to use an emulsion. These are used in place of extracts and measure the same, teaspoon to teaspoon. So if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract, simply substitute a teaspoon of peppermint emulsion. It's that simple! I received the Peppermint Emulsion and Pumpkin Spice Emulsion. My first use was the peppermint, as I tried a new Mocha Peppermint Cookie recipe. I'll share the recipe below, and let me tell you-this instantly received a place on our holiday cookie traditions list! Soft, minty-chocolatey cookies with just a hint of coffee flavor (adjust to your taste or leave the coffee out altogether for a chocolate mint cookie) topped with white chocolate and crushed candy canes. However, back to the baking emulsion. I was, honestly, wondering if the emulsion/extract would really make a difference. I had heard that extracts actually "bake off" because they are alcohol based, so during the baking process a lot of the flavor evaporates. The baking emulsion is thicker than an extract, similar to a syrup consistency.
I sampled the dough before baking, and was very pleased with the peppermint flavor. It's definitely a real peppermint taste, not the fake toothpaste flavor some of the cheaper extracts have. It's not overpowering though, it blended nicely with the chocolate and coffee. The next test was baking, to see if the flavor lasted better than an extract. 10 minutes later I had my answer-yes, it definitely does! I found a full, rich peppermint flavor that didn't dull or lessen at all during baking! I have officially joined the ranks of lifetime baking emulsion fans!
I also tried the Pumpkin Spice emulsion, actually in two different "recipe". I used it in place of pumpkin pie spice in my Pumpkin Cake Roll recipe, which has always been a family favorite but using the emulsion gave it a much richer flavor. I also used just a drop (about 1/8 teaspoon) in an iced latte, for my own version of a pumpkin spice latte. Much cheaper than going to a coffee shop, and I can adjust the sweetness, pumpkin flavor, and milk to coffee ratio to suit my taste. I love that by using the emulsion instead of spices, I didn't have that gritty texture I've noticed before when attempting to create a pumpkin spice latte.
If you have any baking planned this holiday season, be sure to stop by LorAnn and check out all the flavors, oils, emulsions and other supplies you will need for those cookies, cakes and pies. Or, surprise the baker in your life with a gift set of LorAnn baking supplies!!
Now for the recipe!
Peppermint Mocha Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon LorAnn peppermint bakery emulsion
1 cup flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 candy canes, crushed
In a large bowl, beat the butter until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint emulsion on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, instant coffee granules, and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes-- if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls and place on the baking sheets.
Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or use the microwave. For the microwave, place the white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15 second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the white chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cooled cookies. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!