St. Petersburg Times: Photo gallery   Bake two, they're small
photo Peppermint Fudgies

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels, divided use
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candy, divided use
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon peppermint or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with baking parchment or aluminum foil. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave 1 cup chocolate morsels and the butter on full power for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue microwaving on medium power, stopping and stirring at 30-second intervals. Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job.

Stir the condensed milk, half the crushed candy, the egg and peppermint (or vanilla) extract into the chocolate mixture until blended. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and cocoa. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chocolate morsels. If the dough seems too soft to drop, let stand for 5 minutes to firm slightly.

Drop the dough by heaping measuring tablespoonfuls, or use a small ice cream scoop lightly coated with nonstick spray, on the baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 6 to 9 minutes, or until the centers are almost firm when pressed. Do not overbake.

Remove from the oven and garnish each cookie with a pinch or two of the remaining crushed candy. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the candy bits begin to melt. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to the rack to cool completely.

Makes 40 to 45 cookies.

From Nancy Baggett, freelance food writer and author of "The All-American Dessert Book" (Houghton Mifflin), Ellicott City, Md.

[Times photo: Patty Yablonski]