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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recipe: Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

These are a great holiday treat with a peppermint kick. I just made them to test my recipe, and I had to force myself to stop eating them.

The base cookie is the same as my sugar cookie recipe.

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
Red food coloring

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and peppermint. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two equal-sized balls. Place one ball back in the bowl, add red food coloring, and continue to mix until desire color is obtained. Remove red dough from the bowl and re-shape into a ball. Flatten both balls slightly, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate discs until firm, at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325.

Divide dough into approximately tablespoon-sized balls. Roll out each ball into a snake-like strip (just like we used to with play-doh). Line a red snake next to a white snake and twist evenly around each other, twisting from both sides. Curve one side down to form the cane shape. Place formed cookies on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake 9-11 minutes. I always make sure to slightly under-bake these, because I prefer the white parts to not brown at all. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks (they have to cool to set completely if you under-bake them). They don't need any icing, but I have seen variations where people sprinkle crushed peppermint candies (or crushed actual candy canes) on top immediately after removing from the oven. I prefer them without the crushed candy, since they're very chewy and soft, and I don't like the hard candy juxtaposition on them.

Makes ~ 3-4 dozen 4" cookies.

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