Monday, December 19, 2011

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies- Put These on Your Christmas Baking list ASAP!

Oh... these are good. I'm not gonna lie, you probably should skip to the recipe and go make these immediately, then finish the post while munching on them.

I must confess, these were not actually my own idea. Yesterday we went to The Trails Cafe, which is a cute little place right in the middle of Griffith Park. Along with this amazing avocado sandwich, we also had the daily special, a peppermint shortbread cookie.

The only thing was, while it was pretty delicious, I didn't feel like it was quite pepperminty enough. So, I set to work. I found Ina Garten's shortbread cookie recipe and went from there. 

3/4 pound butter (unsalted)
1c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5c flour
1/4 tsp salt


10 full sized candy canes

Preheat the oven to 350. While it's heating, put the candy canes in a food processor (or, I guess, hit them with a hammer or some other creative solution). The pieces should be very small, big chunks will melt and spread when the cookies bake. Cream the butter and sugar together really well. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well, then stir in the candy cane powder/pieces.Then gradually add the flour- the dough will be a bit crumbly. Smush it together and wrap in plastic wrap. Set in fridge to rest for about half an hour.

When it's ready, roll it out. I made mine a bit thin, you should remember that there is nothing in these cookies that will make them rise (no eggs, baking soda, etc), so they will essentially be exactly the same thickness as they are when you put them on the cookie tray.

The recipe says to make them half an inch thick and bake for 20-25 minutes. You should probably watch the first batch carefully, since mine were relatively thin (which actually tasted good and crispy in the end) they only took about 17 minutes. You don't want them to be too brown, the edges should just barely be getting brown. When they look good, put them on a cooling rack and get ready to enjoy!

NOTE 12/13/13- since posting this, I tried again to make these cookies, and it did not go well. They spread out all over the sheet and generally looked like a crazy flat weird mess. Not to be deterred, I tried again. It turns out it is CRITICAL to let the dough chill. This time, I rolled it into a log, covered it in saran wrap, and put it in the freezer for at least half an hour. Then, I just sliced the cookies (which after all, is easier than rolling anyways!). The remainder of the dough went back in the freezer. In addition, I would slightly reduce the number of candy canes to 8. When you blend them in the food processor you end up with some amount of candy cane dust, which then acts just like sugar, and melts and can cause them to spread. I also baked them on parchment paper- do NOT grease the cookie sheet. Good luck!

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