Christmas season is in full swing, the tree is up and decorated, lights have been hung and as we head into the longest night tonight we will have all four of out Advent candles lit. I’ve been busy baking, sewing, and crafting this week. I’ve made baked dozen cookies, designed and mailed holiday cards and sewed the cutest present ever that I can’t wait to show you after Christmas because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I also attempted to make fudge, (which I didn’t stir well enough so it ended up tasting more like a calcium chew), marshmallows (which never set up) and eggnog muffins that were amazing (but I forgot the baking powder so they were more like eggnog biscuits). Two steps forward, one step back. I will be attempting the marshmallows and muffins again tonight because I’m really quite excited about them, and well maybe my Mom will make fudge this year.
The cookies are what I want to share with you today though. I made four kinds of cookies this year, these were my favorite. I will I know we’re getting down to the wire with holiday baking but you really must add these to your list because these will be making an annual appearance in our house for years to come! They may sound like an odd combination and like my mother you may curl up your nose at first, but the flavors work, boy do the flavors work. They are kind of like a ginger snap, but more mild and slightly refreshing.
They have crushed up peppermint candies in them, you could use either candy canes or the round peppermint candies. I used a heavy-duty freezer bag and my rolling-pin to crush them housewife style, though a food processor would also work well, less messy. The first day, right out of the oven they are slightly crisp around the edges, after a day or two in a tin on the counter than soften and almost melt in your mouth. I’m not sure which I like better.
Hope your holiday preparations are going well and you are carving out a few moments to share some cookies and eggnog with someone you love!
Molasses Peppermint Cookies
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
When I made these I was out of powdered ginger, so I used a little bit fresh I had on hand, about 1 teaspoon. It worked, but I don’t think there was as prominent a ginger flavor as there would have been had I used the proper amount of dried. Adjust the spices to suit your taste, there are no hard and fast rules.
2/3 cups butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed hard peppermint candy such as candy canes
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy.
Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended (it will look a little curdled but it will smooth out once you add the flour)
In a medium bowl lightly whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir into butter mixture, then beat until dough comes together.
Stir in crushed peppermint candy.
Cover bowl and chill until the dough is firm, 30-45 minutes. (You can also prepare the dough a day or two ahead, just make sure it doesn’t dry out)
Scoop dough, and shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2-inches apart on parchment paper-lined backing sheet.
Bake cookies at 350º for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
Transfer cookies to rack to cool. When completely cooked drizzled with Peppermint Icing.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon finely crushed peppermint candy
In a small bowl whisk powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. If it is to thick to drizzle thin with a bit more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Stir in crushed peppermint candy.
Lightly drizzle over cooled cookies.