I've always looked forward to winter. Because my birthday is in December and two of the biggest holidays of the year fall within the coldest season, I've always welcomed the chill while friends cursed at fallen leaves and pulled scarves from storage bins.
But even though winter has always meant family and home and presents (lots of presents!), there are a few things I hate about it. Like, really hate.
The short list, so far this year:
1. Socks of any kind
2. Chapped lips in the morning because the steam heat in my apartment is so dry
3. That the sun goes down at, like, 4pm
4. Fewer evening runs in the park because it's empty and dark
5. The bone-chilling cold that's gonna be here awhile
But like any list, there's a counterpart. There are lots of reasons to love New York and all things winter, and here are some of my favorites:
1. Puffy down coats and infinity scarves
2. Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream and Kiehl's lip balm #1
3. Snowy ski trips to Vermont with hot cocoa and chili bowls
4. Snuggling deep into my duvet on chilly mornings
5. Brussels sprouts on restaurant menus and holiday sweets in every bakery window
If you haven't caught on yet, I'm kinda really into #5 on the love-list. I love winter veggies but my favorite get-in-my-mouth treat this month is chocolate bark. Sea-salted, espresso-flavored, nut-flecked. The only thing that tops it on my must-make list are this month's Christmas cookies. So when I opened the December issue of Bon Appetit and saw Chocolate Peppermint Bark COOKIES, omg I had to have them. Right. Now.
They won't keep you warm or your skin hydrated, but they are delicious and were a hit at my book club tonight. Because they're embarrassingly easy to make, here's a great holiday gift recipe that's festive and will satisfy even the most die-hard cookie fanatic (like me).
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg yolk
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used a little over 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes
2 oz high-quality white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form an even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.
Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint over.
Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.
Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces and serve.