Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peppermint Pattie's Favorite Cookies - Candy Cane Shortbread

Having been raised on Charlie Brown holiday specials (I'm still waiting for the Great Pumpkin) I always think of Peppermint Patti and her side kick Marcie when it comes to the cool and refreshing pepperminty goodness of candy canes.   Thus, since candy canes have become such a part of this particular holiday season, I spend a lot of time around Christmas thinking of a non-existant cartoon character that runs around in what appears to be Birkenstocks.  My therapist would have a field day with that one.

I love peppermint, anything peppermint as a matter of fact...  from York Peppermint Patties and Peppermint gum to Peppermint Ice Cream and, of course, Candy Canes.  I don't go in for all these weird flavored things they have come out with in recent years.  There is just something quintessentially wrong with a yellow Starburst Lemon flavored bent stick hanging on the tree.  Not Normal...  I am sure my therapist is going to have fun with that one too. 

When I was younger, oh SO many moons ago, I use to hoard the left over candy canes from the tree.  I would then store them in a jar in my closet and nibble on them throughout the year... Of course by October they would have inevitably drawn moisture at some point and the wonderful little sticks of pepperminty heaven would become all sticky.  But I ate them anyway, reminiscing the whole time about the previous Christmas....  Yet another thing that my therapist is gonna wanna discuss.

So now that I have laid out the topics of discussion for my next few sessions, here is a shortbread that includes those ever so cheery candy canes.  As I have mentioned before, since the peppermint in the candy canes will be fairly intense, I skip the cultured butter and just use regular unsalted butter.  Don't worry, if you think that the lack of cultured butter will make the shortbread less luxurious... Oh no my friends.

These puppies are "painted" with white chocolate, which will be surreptitiously spiked with peppermint oil... Oh yeah baby!

Candy Cane Shortbread

8 oz Unsalted Butter
4 oz Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Kosher Salt
12 oz AP Flour
2 oz Crushed Candy Canes (you can use starlight mints too)
2 oz White Chocolate
a couple drops of Peppermint oil (trust me, it only takes a couple drops)

Though it seems such a shame, but you need to get all medieval and smash the candy canes to almost a powder with a meat mallet (kitchen mace).

Cream the Butter, Sugar and Salt together in a bowl.

Add Flour and mix just until incorporated and crumbly.

Add the candy cane "powder" and mix with a spatula, until incorporated.

Mix the dough with your hands to warm the butter a little bit and create a cohesive dough mass.

Form into a rought square and wrap with plastic wrap; then let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Sprinkle your work surface liberally with flour then roll the dough (carefully, cause it is VERY tender) to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Grab your favorite cookie cutter and cut out the cookies.  (I thought the Candy Cane was à propos)

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden, not brown or you have baked them too long.

Let rest on baking sheet for 10 minutes, to let the melted candy cool and harden, before moving the cookies to a cooking rack.

Let cookies cool completely while melting the white chocolate.
Place just a few drops of peppermint oil if you like (I like, so I did)  No extract please, the chocolate will seize.
Either paint white chocolate stripes with a paint brush,

or use a squeeze bottle to squeeze White Chocolate stripes over the cookies.

I like the brush method better, mainly because the lines end up thicker, ergo more White Chocolate.
(Brush on left, squeeze bottle on right)

Please do not try to actually hang these on your tree. 

P.S.  I am not really seeing a therapist... Though maybe I should.  ;)  LOL

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