Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Pops

Ingredients

1 – 18 oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg Almond Bark, 24 oz, for dipping (may not need entire pkg)
Candy canes, crushed, for garnishing
Lollipop sticks
Block of Styrofoam for drying cake pops

Directions

Twist all sandwich cookies apart into halves and place into bowl of food processor, working batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Pulse cookies until ground into fine crumbs; transfer to large mixing bowl. Add softened cream cheese to crumbs, mixing with a large silicone spatula or your favorite wooden spoon; mix until crumbs and cream cheese are well blended and combined. Once this step is completed, begin to make tablespoon size balls, using either a small cookie scoop or your hands. (It’s nice to use the cookie scoop to easily keep balls uniform in size.) Place balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until firm, but not frozen solid. Meanwhile, melt almond bark according to package directions in a ceramic or glass container that is nice and deep.

Remove cookie balls from freezer. Dip one end of lollipop stick about ¼” into the warm almond bark, then push into the center of cookie ball, approx. ½ way through. Place cookie pop back onto cookie sheet until all pops are completed. Now place cookie sheet back into freezer to firm up candy coating inside each pop.

Place Styrofoam block onto center of work area. Remove pops from freezer. Warm almond bark, if needed, then dip cookie pops into almond bark to coat, using a kind of “dip and swirl” method. This may take a few attempts, but don’t give up! Once dipped, quickly sprinkle with crushed peppermint, then place pops into Styrofoam block to harden and set.

Makes about 30 cake pops, give or take a few for taste testing!

Helpful Tips:
* If you forget to purchase a Styrofoam block, I’m told a container of Play Dough works for holding cookie pops up to dry, through I’ve not personally tested this method! (Sometimes we have to improvise….)

* When dipping cookie pops into melted Almond Bark to coat, be sure to dip down far enough that coating covers cookie pop clear up to where coating is on stick from when you first dipped the stick into Almond Bark to first insert into centers. (Chef Alli to show you this when we begin dipping!)

* To give cookie pops as gifts, make them pretty and colorful by placing them in clear treat bag and adding a ribbon to match.

* You may garnish/adorn cookie pops with any sort of sprinkles, finely chopped nuts, crushed candies, etc while coating is still wet/soft.

* It’s also fun to melt colors of candy melts or chocolate chips in baggies, then snip just a tiny corn of the bag off and drizzle the colored melts over cookie pops in a zig zag pattern or dots – get creative!

* You may need to make the Almond Bark a little thinner for a perfect dipping consistency. If so, add only solid vegetable shortening (I like Crisco) and proceed as per directed on package of Almond Bark. Don’t add any other liquids such as milk, water or even oil – these can cause train wrecks!!

* Using a tall, large coffee cup works well for dipping cookie pops as this is a good size for re-heating in the microwave as you go along.
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