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Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/Leigh Belanger; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

Makes about 3 dozen or enough for 6 gift packages

A friend brought a simpler version of these cookies to a holiday party years ago and I couldn’t help but find ways to amp up the chocolate-mint-candy crunch trifecta. The thin, rich (and a little salty) chocolate wafers come from Joythebaker.com. They’re sandwiched with a sweet, minty filling, then dipped at the edge in chocolate and sprinkled with candy cane bits. These cookies are a project, so break down the steps and make them over the course of a day or two. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to give away. To measure 1 scant cup, remove 1 tablespoon; to measure 1 generous cup, add 1 tablespoon.

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COOKIES

¾cup granulated sugar
Scant 1¾ cups flour
Generous ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½teaspoon baking soda
teaspoons salt
15tablespoons (7½ ounces) unsalted butter, cut up, at room temperature
Extra flour (for rolling)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have on hand extra parchment for rolling and a plain round 2-inch cutter.

2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one (or the whisk), blend the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt on low speed. Start adding the butter a few pieces at a time. The dough will look loose, like ground crumbs.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and use the heel of your hand, pressing it away from you again and again, to work the butter into the dough. Once the dough comes together, shape it into a flat cake. Divide in half. Flour 2 pieces of parchment paper. Place 1 piece of dough between the sheets and roll to a ⅛ -inch thickness. Using the cutter, stamp out rounds and transfer them to the baking sheets, setting them 1-inch apart. Reroll the scraps once or twice.

4. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, or until they are firm to the touch. Set the sheets on wire racks; cool the cookies for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely. Roll and bake the other piece of dough in the same way.

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FILLING

½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2teaspoons water
¼teaspoon salt
¾teaspoon peppermint extract

1. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one (or the whisk) beat the butter for 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar in ½-cup increments, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the water, salt, and extract. Taste for seasoning and add more extract, if you like.

2. Turn half the cookies over, flat sides up. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each. Top with the remaining cookies, right sides up. Press down gently on each to get the filling to spread to the edges.

FINISH

8ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1-inch pieces
12candy canes, crushed into bits

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a heatproof bowl over hot, but not boiling, water, melt the chocolate, stirring gently. Reduce the heat under the saucepan. Working quickly, and holding the cookie sandwich by one side, dip each one halfway into the chocolate to make a half-moon glaze on two sides.

3. Set them on the baking sheet and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. (Add the candy cane sprinkles as you go, while the chocolate is still warm.) Repeat until all of the cookies have been dipped and sprinkled. Let the cookies sit for at least 1 hour, or until the chocolate sets. Freeze, layered with waxed paper, until ready to wrap. Leigh Belanger. Adapted from Joythebaker.com

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