Friday, October 19, 2012

RECIPE: Perfect Peppermint Cookies

So, a weird thing happened this week. My husband's company is having a holiday party today, and one of his coworkers asked, "Will your wife be baking?" -- like, in a hopeful manner. I have a reputation as a good baker somewhere! I'm awesome!

Out of sheer gratitude, I made two batches of my peppermint sugar cookies. These cookies have become my calling card at Christmas time -- they're like sweet little buttons of deliciousness. I can't take too much credit -- the key is my Nanny's sugar cookie recipe, which isn't sickeningly sweet or overly buttery or too doughy. Then I add Andes peppermint chips, which are seriously one of the best inventions of the century.

You'll need:
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Andes peppermint chips (these are melty like NOT use candy canes!)

1. Soften (but don't melt) the butter in the microwave. Times vary depending on your microwave, but in my nuclear-meltdown microwave, the magic number is 20% cook power for 2 minutes.

2. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and egg. Add in baking powder and vanilla.

3. Mix in the flour. You can slowly sift it in, or you can just dump the whole cup in and deal with the consequences. I usually choose the later method and end up antiquing myself and most of the kitchen, but I'm impatient. At this point, your "batter" should like granules of sand and you'll think, "I screwed up. This will never become a cookie." That means you did it right. (You can skip the next step if you just want sugar cookies.)

4. Add in the peppermint chips. I use about 1/4 bag for each batch.

5. Wash your hands. Then roll the cookies into 1-1/2 inch balls. Because of the sandy batter, you'll have to really smush them together like you're kneading Play-Doh.

6. Cook at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. When you take them out, the bottoms should be just barely golden, and they should fall apart when you pick them up:

7. Move them to a cooling rack and hang in there, because once they cool, they'll stay together like a normal, well-behaved cookie. Cookies always keep baking for a minute or two while they're on the cooling rack. Keep the faith. If you cook them "to perfection" in the oven, you'll wind up with crispy cookies. 

These are relatively easy and so, so good. Enjoy. I just did. For breakfast.