HOLIDAY BAKING: CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRACKLE + RED VELVET THUMBPRINTS

OMG. If you’re going planning to do some gift giving in the form of baked goods, these recipes from Southern Living are AMAZING.  All my chocolate lovers out there especially need to try to crackle cookies, they are rich and fudgey and delicious. 
CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CRACKLE COOKIES
2 oz. unsweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract 
2 large eggs
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. unsweet cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar 
1. Microwave first three ingredients in microwave safe bowl on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Stir in sugar, peppermint, and eggs until blended. Stir flour, cocoa, and baking powder together then stir into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic and chill for 1 hour. 
2. Preheat oven to 350. Drop dough by level spoonfuls into powdered sugar and roll to coat.  Place coated cookies 1 inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are crackled. Cool completely (about 20 minutes) 
RED VELVET THUMBPRINT COOKIES
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tbsp. unsweet cocoa
1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. cream cheese, softened / room temperature
1/4 c. white chocolate morsels, melted according to directions on package
extra morsels to garnish 
1. Preheat over to 325. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and food coloring, beat 30 seconds
2. Sift flour with cocoa and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Stir in vanilla 
3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.  Press thumb into each ball, forming an indentation
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies and fragrant and dry. While cookies are still warm, press indentations again.  Cool cookies completely (about 30 minutes)
5. Stir together cream cheese and melted white chocolate in a small bowl. Fill center of cookies with cream cheese mixture (I put the mixture in a ziplock bag and cut the corner to squeeze it out in nice little circles). Garnish with white chocolate. 
Happy Baking! 
XO

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