Eat It: Jersey Peppermint Patties

Chocolate Peppermint Bars: Make these as fast as you can. They’re extraordinary. And easy. As long as you can get your head around 3 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar, a half cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup heavy cream, you’ll love them. I made them because my  younger son love York Peppermint Patties. These are so much better. They are wonderful to share and make a lovely gift. (You can even make them gluten-free.) The New York Times made our Valentine’s Day with with this one.

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PREPARATION

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over the sides.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD:
1 cup/125 grams all-purpose flour (Note: I used King Arthur Gluten-Free)
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons/15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)

FOR THE PEPPERMINT FILLING AND CHOCOLATE TOP:
3 ¼ cups/405 grams confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons/43 grams unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup/60 milliliters heavy cream
2 ¼ teaspoons/10 milliliters peppermint extract, or to taste
9 ounces/255 grams bittersweet chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa solids), chopped (Note: I used 9 ounces of Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)
½ teaspoon coconut oil (optional, I skipped this)

PREPARATION
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over the sides.

Make the shortbread: In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add butter and process until a smooth dough forms. Press dough evenly into the bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake until firm to the touch, and sides of the crust are beginning to pull away from the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.

Make the filling: In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream and peppermint extract. Beat until mixture forms a thick, smooth paste. Press filling evenly over shortbread. Chill to set the filling for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. (Note: Chill at least 2 hours. I only chilled for 1 hour and the wax paper stuck to the bottom of the short-bread.)

Use parchment paper overhang to lift the shortbread and peppermint out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares (there should be 36 squares). Place squares on a rack placed over a parchment-lined sheet tray, and let them come to room temperature for about 15 minutes.

In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt 7 ounces chocolate, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 ounces chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. (Note: This is a lot of chocolate and you may not use it all. I’m a chocolate lover and I thought it was too much.)

Add coconut oil, if using, and stir the chocolate until smooth. Spoon 1 teaspoon chocolate on top of a cut peppermint square, using the back of the spoon to spread chocolate to the edges. Be sure to fully cover the top of the square with chocolate. (Leave the sides exposed, though it’s O.K. if some of the chocolate drips down.) Repeat with remaining squares.
Let squares sit at room temperature until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.