1 January 2008
Peppermint Bark Cookies
While cruising the after Christmas aisles at Target, I encountered “peppermint bark” style cookies. Even at 50% off, they were rather pricey, and decidedly over-packaged (individually wrapped for those few remaining ultra-hygiene-concerned people who still eat sweets!). So I bought some half-price candy canes and decided to make my own cookies.
I found a recipe titled “Candy Cane Cookies” in Christmas Cookies ((c) 1986, Oxmoor House) and fiddled with it a bit. The original directions call for adding red food coloring to half the dough, then shaping teaspoonfuls of dough into rolls, twisting them together, then shaping into canes. 48 times! Too much work for me! I just wanted the taste, not the look of candy canes. Another recipe in the same book (Mint Chocolate Snaps) had melted chocolate and crushed peppermints in the dough. I was less keen on that recipe overall, but inspired by the melted chocolate. So I decided to flatten balls of dough, then dip the baked cookies into melted chocolate and the crushed candy. Yum! Everyone in the family liked them, except perhaps Jonski Papa, who confessed to not liking the combo of chocolate and peppermint bits, and requested I leave some without the candy. T-boy asked me to make 8 more batches. I might make 2 more (especially since I have peppermint bits left), but certainly not 8!
Cookies ala Peppermint Bark
1/3 cup finely crushed peppermint candy (about 6 canes)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 to 6 oz chocolate chips
Combine candy and 1/3 cup sugar in a small mixing bowl, mixing well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cream shortening and butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Stir in flavorings. Add flour and salt; mix well.
Using the scoop thingie your mother-in-law gave you for cookie making, scoop balls of dough onto cookie sheets. (I tried both greased and ungreased, and both worked fine, so go with your preference.) Flatten a bit (the cookies do not spread much).
Bake cookies at 375F for 9 minutes or just until edges begin to brown. While cookies are baking, melt chocolate chips (I used the microwave method). Remove cookies from cookie sheets while warm; immediately dip into melted chocolate and then into candy mixture. Cool completely on wire racks.
Yield: about 4 dozen
Note 1: One of my September Mom friends used a food processor to crush candy canes for minty hot chocolate mix, so I did that. It’s noisy, but it makes quick work of the crushing. And for what it’s worth, I only used about half the mixture. Your coverage may vary!
Note 2: If you don’t have one of those scoop thingies, just use your own tried-and-true method for getting balls of cookie dough. Make sure to flatten them, though!
Note 3: This dough recipe reminded me a lot of butterballs, one of my Christmas favorites. Maybe I’ll post that recipe next…