Thursday, June 30
What can possibly be more relaxing than snipping some fresh mint from the garden? Nothing, unless your garden is a mutant jungle. Some of the lilies, which I love, are almost taller than me, which isn't much of a feat, but I still find disturbing. And the spiders...I think my garden is the home to the matriarch of the entire species. Case and point: After I cut a few stalks of mint and made my way out of the garden, an oddly-shaped branch caught my attention. In the back of my mind I knew that branches don't normally bend at symmetrical 90-degree, evenly-spaced angles, nor do they have fur. When it moved, I flew out of the garden/yard/neighborhood/city like a bat out of hell. Needless to say, fetching some mint is not as la-de-da as it sounds. Lucky for you and the future of this recipe, I had a death grip on the mint stalks as I was running and I made it safely back to the confines of my tiny indoor kitchen.
And just so you know, I'm not a total wuss. There are only a few things that make my hair rise: Spiders, ants (those big ones with the creepy segmented bodies), and clowns.
The last time I made these cookies, I used peppermint extract. This drew in mixed reviews, people either loved them or hated them. So finally I decided to make them the way nature, and the original recipe intended, by using real mint. It made a huge difference. Natural mint has a much softer voice. It's presence was evident in the cookies, but it wasn't as obnoxious as the peppermint extract, ergo it was much more compliant with the chocolate. What I love about these cookies, aside from the mint, is the texture. It's the perfect chocolate chip cookie...small, but perfect. The center is chewy and soft, while the edges have a light crisp. Also, they seem to improve with age. By some miracle of snug-fitting shorts, a few cookies managed to make it to a 2nd day, and they were fantastic! A bit milder in flavour, but surprisingly delicious.
Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Montecarte)
[Note: This recipe yields only 12-15 cookies, but it can easily be doubled.]
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of baking Soda
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of tightly packed brown sugar (I used light)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of dark chocolate chips (you can use any kind of chocolate, but mint and dark chocolate go deliciously together)
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves (once the leaves were measured out, I put them into a food processor and pulsed a few times until finely chopped)
In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Place the butter, and both sugars into stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large bowl if using a hand held mixer.) Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes.)
Add egg and vanilla, and again, beat on medium speed until well combined.
Switch the speed down to low, and slowly add the flour mixture, beating only until the streaks of flour have disappeared.
Add the chocolate chips and mint.
Using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in both until well combined.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 3 hours (if you can't wait that long, a half hour is fine.)
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375ºF, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Form the dough into balls that are about 2-inches in diameter (roughly about 2 Tablespoons.)
Place the cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch of space between each one (these don't spread very much.)
Bake until light golden, about 7-8 minutes (mine were perfect after 7 minutes.)
Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Makes 12-15 cookies