Peppermint Spiral Cookies

Peppermint is one of my favorite flavors, and this time of year is a great time for peppermint-themed baking. These peppermint spirals, which I found at Taste of Home, are delicious, even if they didn’t quite turn out how I was hoping.

As you can see in this photo, there are cracks and holes in the center of my cookies. How does this happen? Rolling spiral-style cookies is a delicate business; you’re usually working with two thin sheets of dough and trying to roll them together tightly enough without tearing them. My spirals definitely left something to be desired looks-wise, but they have a wonderful peppermint vanilla flavor and great texture. Maybe next time they’ll be pretty!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon red liquid food coloring

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat to combine, then add flour mixture in two batches, beating on low speed, then on medium, until dough comes together.

Divide dough in half and add peppermint extract and red food coloring to one portion. Roll out each portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a rectangle about 16 by 11 inches. Remove top sheet of waxed paper from each rectangle, then carefully flip the red rectangle on top of the plain rectangle and remove the waxed paper from the red. Roll up on the long side making as tight a log as possible; wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.

Remove dough from freezer and unwrap, then cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Place about 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on the thickness of your slices.

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Peppermint Meltaways

peppermintmeltawaysIt’s peppermint season! With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, peppermint-flavored treats are everywhere…including my kitchen.

Peppermint is my favorite plant in the mint family, and not just because it pairs very well with chocolate. Peppermint calms headaches, soothes sore throats, tames upset stomachs, and can lower anxiety associated with depression. A pretty powerful little plant, when you think about it.

These peppermint meltaways are adapted from Taste of Home, one of my favorite recipe sources. They’re lighter than expected, perhaps due to the cornstarch in the dough. Next time, I think I’ll swirl together white and red frosting for a candy cane look. This makes a relatively small batch of 2 dozen, but they’d be a nice addition to your Christmas cookie platter.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the frosting

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • About 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • red food coloring, if desired

Preparation

In a small bowl, combine flour and cornstarch; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Add peppermint extract and beat to combine.

Add flour/cornstarch mixture in three batches, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each. Chill dough for about 20 minutes, until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Be careful when checking – these cookies are very soft and crumbly until they’re cool.

Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat butter for 1 minute, then add 2 tablespoons milk, peppermint extract, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until combined, then add remaining powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well. Check your consistency; you want a spreadable frosting that isn’t too thick or thin, like the consistency of peanut butter. If necessary, thin your frosting with the remaining milk. Add food coloring, if desired.

Frost cookies and store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

Peppermint Snowballs

peppermint snowballs

 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint is a wonderful flavor often associated with winter, and these cookies, found in a delightful Christmas cookie magazine, have been on my list to bake for the past several weeks. Sometimes, you can tweak a recipe and make it better; other times, what you add or omit affects the finished product in what I wouldn’t necessarily call a bad way, but in an unexpected, less than desirable way.

Hoping for intense peppermint flavor, I added more crushed peppermint candies than recommended. At the time, I didn’t think about how they increased quantity of candy (essentially, melting sugar, which turns to liquid) would affect the dough, and it certainly did. Rather than turning out button-like as Russian Tea Cakes do, these were flat, and took longer to bake. The cookies still taste good, but next time, I’ll stick closer to the recipe and incorporate 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract, then decrease the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (20 candies)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flower
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add the 2/3 cup powdered sugar, crushed peppermints, vanilla, and salt; beat until well combined.

Add flour, one cup at a time, beating until combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls, then place at least one inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

Remove from oven, let stand on baking sheets for 5 minutes.

Roll in powdered sugar and place on a wire rack to cool completely.