Peppermint Week Winner | The Daily Dish

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Peppermint Week Winner

No Comments | Written on January 10, 2012 at 5:00 am , by

Congratulations to our latest weekly recipe contest winner, Tina Verrelli!  Her creative take on classic thumbprint cookies came out on top during the “peppermint” themed week.  These “Peppermint Ganache Thumbprint Cookies” are the perfect marriage of a decadent chocolate cookie and peppermint bark candy.

They are great not only for a Christmas cookie exchange, but the red and white colors are perfect for Valentine’s Day as well!  Wrap up a batch with a beautiful bow and a love note, and you have a sweet homemade gift from the heart.  Plus, after a few bites you will have minty fresh breath for a Valentine’s Day kiss!

PEPPERMINT GANACHE THUMBPRINT COOKIES   (click here to view and print recipe) 


1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

3/4 cup Sugar, divided

3/4 cup Corn Syrup

1 Egg

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 cups Flour

1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

12 oz White Chocolate

2/3 cup Heavy Cream

1 tsp Peppermint Extract

1/2 cup Crushed Peppermint Candies, candy canes or starlight mints


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, cream together butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat in corn syrup, egg, and vanilla. In medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually mix dry mixture into butter mixture. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl. Scoop and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Swirl the balls in the bowl of sugar until coated. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet (approx. 12” x 17”.)

Bake for about 9 minutes or until set and just starting to crack. Remove and allow to cool for 1 minute. Use a rounded 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, melon baller or your thumb to press an indentation into the cookie. It should go at least halfway down through the cookie. Remove to cooling rack. Repeat to use up all dough.

Add white chocolate to medium heat-proof mixing bowl. Bring cream to boil in saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth and combined. Stir in peppermint extract.

Use teaspoon or piping bag to fill each cookie with peppermint ganache. Sprinkle each with a pinch of crushed peppermint candies.


Congratulations Tina!  How did you come up with your winning recipe? Is this a family favorite you have been making for years?  Or did you invent it specifically for this contest?

I have made a version of these before. The cookie dough was a little different and I used peppermint kiss candy for the center. I wasn’t able to find those same candies this year and I really wanted it to taste like the peppermint bark candy I really like. I had recently read an article about ganache, so I figured I give it a try. The cookie took some experimenting. I tried making the “dent” in the cookie before and after baking. The before dent spread the cookie out. Making the dent after made a prettier shape but took an extra minute or two of baking. I also tried rolling the cookie in crushed peppermint candies and several types of sugar. The crushed peppermint melted and made the cookie stick to the pan. Turns out regular sugar looked pretty and sparkly on the baked cookie. The first batch of ganache was too runny and didn’t firm up enough. Was more like a “shot” of ganache in a cookie cup (hey, there’s an idea!) The final ganache needed less heavy cream. These will definitely become a holiday staple. They last really long too in a air tight container!

What inspired you to enter the Better Recipes weekly contest?

I haven’t had a ton of time to enter contests recently. I’ve only entered Better Recipe contests in the past few months because they’re easy to enter and I know the rules/deadlines. It takes a while to pour over the detailed rules for some of these contests. I like your contests because if you don’t win one week, you move onto the next and focus on the new “ingredient.” Keeps you hopeful!

Why do you think your recipe stood out to the judges?

Thumbprints are a familiar style that people like and the peppermint ganache may be new to some. Was the first time I made it!

Do you have any advice for others interested in entering our recipe contests?

It’s important to not lose faith if you don’t win. Just move on to the next week. I entered just about every week for this series. You learn something new from every cooking experience – so I guess you never really lose!

Do you have any plans for the prize money? Any plans if you should win the grand prize?

I’m going to donate half of the money to breast cancer research, to honor friends and family, far and wide who have been battling this disease. The other portion will go to holiday bills! The grand prize would be amazing, but I won’t let my mind wander there – So many creative and yummy recipes were winners each week!

Do you have any other kitchen tips, recipe advice or culinary wisdom to share with the Better Recipes readers?

There are so many talented home cooks and chefs out there! I try to learn and get inspired when I eat out, read magazines, explore blogs and watch cooking shows.

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