Confession time: I. Don't. Like. Candy Canes. I don't hate them, I like peppermint flavor, but I prefer my peppermint in the form of gum, mints, or toothpaste. I like peppermint when mixed with chocolate (think Andes mints) but just a straight up stick of peppermint hard candy. No, thank you... Inevitably, however, pretty much everyone at work seems to think a card is not festive enough on its own so they attach a candy cane to the envelope. Thus, I have a surplus of candy canes. Luckily, I came across this recipe from Luna Cafe and ohmygoodness I may just BUY candy canes so that I can make these cookies. The candy cane bits melt beautifully into a crisp, buttery shortbread. I wouldn't normally think that mint and shortbread would be a good combination, but in these cookies, the mint kicks the crumbly shortbread up another notch. The original recipe has directions for using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, and unfortunately, I don't have a paddle attachment. I used my trusty old wooden spoon, as a result the cookies flattened out quite a bit more than the cookies pictured at Luna Cafe, but the taste was still superb. If you have a stand mixer, definitely use it when creaming the butter and sugar, your end result will be much prettier, but if you don't, never fear, your cookies will still be delicious. So, next time you find yourself with an overabundance of candy canes, you should
probably definitely ABSOLUTELY whip up a batch of these cookies and savor the season!
Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies
From The Luna Cafe
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 ounces peppermint sticks or candy canes (1 cup crushed candy)
1½ cups unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (3 cubes)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract (I omitted this cause I don't have any)
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt and set aside. Put the peppermint sticks in a sealable plastic bag, remove air from the bag, seal, and then crush (a rolling pen works well!). Measure 1 cup of crushed peppermint candy and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and peppermint extracts (if using), and incorporate.
Add the flour mixture and mix briefly, just until a dough forms.
Add the crushed peppermint sticks and mix just to incorporate.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop level portions of dough and place side-by-side in a container. (Roll in your hands for more uniform shapes)
If you run out of room, it’s fine to put a second layer of dough mounds on top of the first layer. They will easily pull apart after they are chilled. Cover the container. Refrigerate dough for at least 4 hours before baking (I froze for 2 days, then let sit in refrigerator for 3 hours before baking).
Place well chilled mounds of dough 1-inch apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place a small piece of plastic wrap over each cookie and then flatten to ½-inch thick with a flat or textured mallet (or heavy jar) to a diameter of 1¾ inches. (They will spread as they bake.) I sprinkled the tops of mine with candy cane but I wouldn't recommend this as they just melt into the cookie anyways. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven, immediately loosen each cookie with a thin spatula and let cool for 3-5 minutes on the pan. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Store airtight in layers separated by wax paper rounds in a cookie tin in a cool, dry place.
These cookies improve with age. If stored properly, they keep for 3-4 weeks.
Makes 2 dozen, 2¼-inch diameter cookies.
What's your favorite Christmas cookie?