Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

As the clock ticks ever closer to midnight on New Year's Eve, I sit here wondering what on Earth happened to Christmas?  While everyone else is putting away their trees and lights, sighing with relief that the carols and holiday music are done for another year...  I'm wistfully wishing for just a little more.  I didn't get enough of the music this year, in spite of "Swinging Holidays" on Pandora.  I didn't get to see the Grinch (original animated version, of course).  Didn't get in enough baking.  Didn't even get buckeyes made!  My tolerant husband did at least download a digital rental of "White Christmas" for me, to stave off total withdrawal.  He even put up with me singing along with my favorite songs in the movie (which would be all of them) including this one:

When I'm troubled, and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep.
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

When my bankroll is gettin' small,
I think of when I had none at all,
and I fall asleep counting my blessings.

It's a good lead in to the New Year.  And, yes, I have some goals and intents for 2012.  Hopefully it will hold some better things in store for us than it's recent predecessors.  But for now, I'm trying to savor the last of the holiday spirit.  Even if it's only me and Panera Bread that are still in a Christmas mood.  As of Friday at least, they were still playing Christmas music.  And still selling their Mint Crinkles.  Which gave me an idea....
I came home and dragged out my copy of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.  My mother had the original.  And, bless her heart, the sense to get me a copy of the facsimile edition that came out a few years ago.  It's a treasure-trove of recipes, and one that she used a lot.  So, here I share my conversion of the classic Chocolate Crinkles recipe to a gluten-free version.
2 1/2 c. Fancy Flour Blend OR
1/2 c. millet flour
1/2 c. sweet rice flour
3/4 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
4 Tbsp shortening or unsalted butter
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 c. powdered sugar

In a bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt shortening and cocoa over low heat.
Stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool.
Beat together oil, sugar, and cooled chocolate mixture.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in extracts.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Refrigerate dough several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Form dough into 1-1/2" diameter balls.  Roll in powdered sugar.
Place on baking sheet several inches apart.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until cracked areas no longer look wet.  Cool on pan 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can leave the mint out if you prefer.  Either way these are soft, tasty cookies.  And even though Christmas is gone for another year, it's well worth making a batch for friends and family.  Or maybe your sweetie?  After all, Valentine's Day is just around the corner....

Note:  The original recipe calls for 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate, melted.  I almost never have that in the house.  This substitution is one that Mom taught me and is how I usually approach recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate in it's "solid state".


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