Monday, September 8, 2014

Candy Cane Cookies

Another one from Chocolate Chip Murder by Joanne Fluke.  I like the sound of these because they use almond in the cookie and the peppermint is sprinkled on top.  I have seen the ones that use peppermint to flavor the cookie as well but I do love Almond!

½ cup hard peppermint candy, crushed***
½ cup white (granulated) sugar

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks, ½ pound)
1 cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 beaten egg (just mix it up in a cup with a fork)
1 teaspoon salt 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
½ teaspoon red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., rack in the middle position.
Hannah’s 1st Note: Lisa and I prefer to use the big round peppermint candies that practically melt in your mouth because they’re a lot easier to crush.
To make the topping, place the peppermint candies in a sturdy plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin, or a mallet.
You’ll need ½ cup to top your cookies.
In a small bowl, mix the ½ cup crushed peppermint candies with the ½ cup white sugar.
Set the bowl aside for now.
To make the dough, you’ll need two bowls, a small and a medium-sized.
In the medium-sized bowl, combine the softened butter, powdered sugar, beaten egg, salt, and extracts.
Stir until they’re well combined.
Then add the flour in half-cup increments, stirring after each addition.
Round up the dough and divide it in half.
Put one half in the small bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so it won’t dry out.
This will be the white part of your Candy Cane Cookies.
Blend the red food coloring into the other half (the dough in the medium-sized bowl.)
Mix it until it’s a uniform color.
This will be the red part of your Candy Cane Cookies.
Lightly flour a breadboard or rectangular cutting board and place it on your counter.
You’ll use this surface to roll the dough.
Remove a teaspoon of white dough from the small bowl and roll it into a four-inch-long roll by pushing it back and forth with the palms of your impeccably clean hands.
Remove a teaspoon of red dough from the bowl and form a similar four-inch-long roll.
Place the two rolls side by side on the board, hold them together, and twist them like a rope so that the resulting cookie resembles a candy cane.
Pinch the ends together slightly so they won’t separate.
Place the cookie on an UNGREASED standard-size cookie sheet and bend down the top to make a crook.  (NOTE:  no need to make the crook if you just prefer a straight cookie--saves time)
You should be able to get four Candy Cane Cookies in a row and three rows to a cookie sheet.
Hannah’s 2nd Note: The first time we made these, we rolled out a dozen white parts first and then we rolled out a dozen red parts. Our dough got too dry sitting on the board and the red and white twists we formed came apart. Now we shape these cookies one at a time and keep the dough bowls covered with plastic wrap when we’re not rolling. I’d really recommend forming these cookies one at a time.
Once you’ve completed twelve cookies, cover your bowls of dough with plastic wrap.
You don’t want them to dry out between batches.
Before you put your first pan of cookies in the oven to bake, spread out a length of foil and place a wire rack on top of it.
This will hold your hot cookies when you decorate them with the peppermint candy and sugar topping.
Once the cookies are completely cool, they can be transferred to a foil-lined box or a platter and you can round up any topping that’s fallen through the rack to use again.
Bake your cookies at 375 degrees F. for 9 minutes. (They should be just beginning to turn golden when you remove them from the oven.)
Immediately remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place them on the wire rack.
Sprinkle them with the mixture of candy and sugar while they are still very hot.
Continue to roll, shape, bake, and top your cookies until you run out of dough.
Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies, depending on cookie size.

***NOTE:  You can use round red-and-white peppermint candies that look like buttons, regular candy canes, or any other peppermint candy that you can crush into small separate pieces. You could even use pastel mints, the tiny little “pillows” you’ll find in a pretty bowl right next to the mixed nuts at almost every Lake Eden wedding reception.

Fluke, Joanne (2008-01-01). Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mysteries) . Kensington Publishing Corp. Kindle Edition. 

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