Friday, November 28, 2014

Peppermint Cookies with Mint Chocolate Centers

It’s time for Christmas cookies! I always have a lot of fun picking out different cookies to bake. I’ve got a number of cookies lined up but I usually come across a new recipe that I also end up making. I try to pick cookies with different flavor profiles: minty, nutty, spicy, chocolate. Last year, there were a couple of peppermint cookies that I wanted to bake that called for crushed peppermint. Yes, I suppose you can crush your own, but buying it pre-crushed is much better and the candy is more uniform in size and bakes up better.

Of course last year I had seen the crushed peppermint candies in every store…until I actually went looking to buy some. Every place was out! So this year as soon as I saw it on the shelves at the store, I picked it up. These cookies are a variation of thumbprint cookies, which isn’t a cookie that I liked very much growing up. I’ve since found a lot of variations of thumbprint cookies that I do like. I just needed to try some different recipes.

These cookies come together quickly, and make a fairly small batch. I made 24 cookies, which is less than the original recipe said it would make. The dough is kind of shortbread, although it contains an egg, which a shortbread dough wouldn’t. It was hard to know when these cookies were done, as they don’t really brown at all. I baked mine for 10 minutes and perhaps they could have gone a little longer. I liked topping with the Junior Mint; they just make the cookies look so perfect! These have a strong peppermint flavor, and they’re a great way to start the holiday season.

Peppermint Cookies with Mint Chocolate Centers
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
Additional sugar
Junior Mint Candies (about 24)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. Stir in the crushed peppermint candy.

Shape the dough into 1-1/2” balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation in the top of the cookie with your thumb or the handle of a wooden spoon.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are set, but not necessarily browned. Remove from the oven and top with a Junior Mint candy. Return to the oven for 1 minute. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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