Kitchen Adventures: Peppermint puts Christmas in cookies

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By Becca Owsley

I saw a video this week of Cookie Monster learning the concept of delayed gratification while waiting to get a cookie from actor Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in the “Thor” films. Cookie Monster had a hard time grasping this concept, but by waiting and not eating Hiddleston’s cookie, he was rewarded with an entire plate of cookies.

Many times at Christmas, like the Cookie Monster, it’s hard to wait to eat delicious Christmas cookies fresh from the oven. Add peppermint and chocolate to the mix and it becomes even harder.

Peppermint and chocolate combinations have become my holiday weakness. When milkshakes in that flavor start appearing in fast food places, I have to avoid those restaurants entirely. And let’s not forget peppermint bark, one of the most delicious and addictive foods ever invented.

This Christmas season I tried two peppermint-flavored cookie recipes. One was pretty easy and the other took a little more time and care.

The first recipe, Easy Peppermint Buttercream Cake Mix Cookies, has easy beginnings. The cookie is made from a cake mix and two other ingredients. The mix seemed a little gritty and didn’t mix smoothly but came out OK once they were baked.

You can use store bought icing on these cookies or use the buttercream recipe to make your own. The buttercream frosting is not hard to make and tastes better than store-bought icing. So if you have time, I recommend trying it.

The second recipe for Candy Cane Kiss Cookies is a little more difficult but worth the effort. The trick to these is making sure you put the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after adding the kisses. 

If you don’t do this, the kisses will melt. Be careful putting them in the refrigerator because the kisses become soft soon after placing them on the cookie and if bumped they could lose their shape. To be safe, make sure there’s room in the refrigerator for the cookie sheet before baking the cookies to avoid quick rearranging and melted kisses.

You can make some with chocolate kisses for variety.

Both recipes are great fun for holiday baking the Cookie Monster in all of us cannot resist.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Easy Peppermint Buttercream Cake Mix Cookies Recipe

Box of cake mix
2 Eggs
Vegetable Oil (the amount called for on box directions for cake recipe)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5-6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Red gel food coloring (optional - you could leave the frosting white)
Pinch of salt
Crushed candy canes, for garnish (or candy cake sprinkles)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together and then form into 1-inch balls, or use a cookie scoop, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately nine minutes.

Let cool and then frost with your favorite frosting or make your own.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, whip butter for eight minutes on medium speed. Butter will become pale and creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for one minute, then on medium speed for six minutes. Frosting will be very light and fluffy.

Frost each cookie and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Source: www.inkatrinaskitchen.com

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, optional
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped Candy Cane flavored Hershey’s Kisses
Granulated sugar
Additional, unwrapped Candy Cane Kisses- about 36

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make room in either refrigerator or freezer for your cookie sheet.

In large mixer bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy (2-3 minutes).

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture and beat, scraping bowl often until well blended (1-2 minutes). The mixture will be dry and crumbly. Stir in chopped the kisses.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set.

As soon as they come out of the oven, press a candy cane kiss in the center of each cookie.

Put cookie sheet (with cookies) immediately into the freezer (preferred) or refrigerator so that the Kisses will set quickly. As soon as you press them into the cookie, they will begin to soften. If you can get them into the freezer then they will keep their shape.

Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to a week. In the freezer they should be ok for a couple of weeks.

Source: www.recipegirl.com