This traditional Lebanese butter cookie is here in a whole new flavor combo. Chocolate Peppermint Graybeh will be the darling of your cookie platter and swap! Try classic graybeh with this recipe.
This is the little Christmas that could. Could…find clever ways to impart chocolate goodness to that which it has not known before.
There was my adventure into the land of Chocolate Baklawa. There is now the never-never land of Chocolate Graybeh.
I do not aim via my fresh recipes to make a commentary of any deficiency on tradition. I’m talking to you, Chris. This brother let me know, when I spoke of chocolate-dipped graybeh, that he thinks any cookie that has to be dipped in chocolate to make it better wasn’t so great to begin with. Au contraire, mister. Graybeh is so very very good that I am compelled to explore in what other ways it might also, in an extension of itself, be very very good. AND give us our chocolate fix for the cookie platter while we’re at it.
Plus, one step beyond that is inspired by the season: peppermint. It’s so holiday, the peppermint, and begs for crushed candy cane on top. The beauty just ampliphies the flavor combination that is without a doubt my favorite of all time: chocolate mint. I think it must be the Lebanese nana (mint), an essential flavor note in our food, that takes me to this love and devotion. I’m a one trick pony when it comes to the ice cream cone—Mint Chocolate Chip, and Mint Chip only—much to the boredom of my crew of summer-night-treat-seekers.
The task before me with the graybeh seemed to be about whether the chocolate should reside inside or outside Graybeh cookies. Inside, and we’re talking the addition of cocoa powder to the very few ingredients that make graybeh what it is. That light, melt-in-your-mouth texture cannot be compromised.
Cocoa powder alone, however, in a cookie like this does not do enough to tell us we’re eating chocolate. Eyes closed, and you might not even be able to say this is a chocolate cookie, or a vanilla cookie. Trust me, I tested.
So doubling up with chocolate on the outside too, dark and true, seemed like the winning approach (think Milano by Pepperidge Farm . . . ). A dip of cookie in chocolate for me is just the right amount of too much chocolate. The problem is that now we’re entering into the land of candy, and chocolate tempering, otherwise the coating is fudgy and melty. Not at all presentable on our holiday or any cookie platter. Looks matter.
Enter my new chocolate glaze revelation, which I’ll return to in a post dedicated to that recipe alone soon: two-ingredient glossy chocolate glaze that hardens just enough so you can pick it up. The secret here is coconut oil, which solidifies at room temperature.
I hoped my sense that double chocolate is better than single chocolate would hold true here.
Indeed. This is the Chocolate Graybeh I’ve–we’ve?!– been waiting for.
Chocolate Pepperrmint Graybeh
Chocolate and peppermint are a match made in shortbread heaven! My riff on the classic Lebanese butter cookie, graybeh, is easily changed up to your taste--no mint lovers there? Replace the peppermint extract with vanilla or orange blossom water, and decorate with sprinkles instead of crushed candy cane. Learn how to clarify butter here.
For the cookies:
- 3/4 cup clarified unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (soft but solid)
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (either standard or Dutch process)
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus additional tablespoons as needed
For the glaze and decoration:
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 candy canes, crushed
- 2 tablespoons green sprinkles
Heat the oven to 325° F and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line two sheet pans with parchment or a silpat.
Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on high speed until fluffy, creamy and pale, about six minutes. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula for even whipping. Add the confectioners' sugar, peppermint extract, and vanilla and whip until well combined and fluffy, another 5 minutes.
On low speed, slowly blend in the flour, ½ cup at a time until incorporated.
Knead the dough by hand just enough to form a cohesive dough. If the dough is very sticky (leaving dough on your fingers), work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft but not sticky.
Take a large handful of the dough and shape it into a log about 1-inch tall and wide (this is pretty narrow!) on a lightly floured surface. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to square off the sides of the log, and to cut ½-inch pieces diagonally (these are quite small; they expand when baked).
Place the diamonds on a parchment-lined heavy sheet pan and bake until the cookies are baked through, about 18-20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Cool the baked cookies completely on the pan.
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan on low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil.
Spoon the glaze over half of each cookie and place them back on the lined sheet pan or a cookie rack to cool. Decorate the glazed half of the cookie with crushed candy cane and sprinkles.
Allow the glaze to set for several hours or better, overnight. After an hour or so, if setting on the sheet pan, nudge each cookie a quarter inch or so in the direction of the glazed side, to reduce the chocolate "foot" or puddling under that end of the cookie. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.