Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peppermint Week: Candy Cane Shortbread Bites

by Darla

I lost all of my Christmas cards, you guys.

Like, I can’t find them anywhere, even though I just had them the other day.

How does that even happen?? It’s not like we live in a mess, or in clutter. We are top notch streamliners, what with all the moving and such.

And yet, they’re gone.

I mean, I kinda gotta get them in the mail, but they’ve vanished into thin air.

I like to blame the Hubster when things go missing around here, because he has a notorious habit of throwing things out, but even he wouldn’t have tossed an entire box of addressed Christmas cards.

Which leads me to the only logical conclusion…

The Elves on the Shelves of the world did not appreciate what I had to say about them. They’re in cahoots with the tiny goblins that sneak in through the plumbing access tile in my bathroom, I’m sure of it.

I decided to try to appease them with sweets. Teeny tiny peppermint shortbread filled with bits of candy cane ought to do the trick, eh?

Course, then they were so yummy, I ate them all, and may have angered the small magical beings of the world further. My tweezers are MIA, and I haven’t seen my favorite slipper socks since cookie day.

Go figure.

This is how tiny I made my cookies. They’re truly bite-sized; maybe an inch across. You can just pop the whole thing in your mouth. Even for little hands and mouths, these are one-bite treats.

Which means that you’re gonna end up eating about 12 every time you go to have one.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Since these are so tiny, and since they don’t rise greatly or spread really at all, you can put lots and lots of them on a sheet, close together. They’re all chums, they don’t mind. I think I put about 40 or more on each sheet. And I made three sheets, so that gives you an idea of how many one inch cookies you’ll end up with here.

I left some of the cookies plain, but for one sheet, I sprinkled all of them with vanilla sugar.

That statement needs no explanation.

Some of the other cookies got a tiny candy cane sprinkle on top. Appearance-wise, these are my favorite. Adorable.

For some of the plain cookies, as soon as I removed them from the oven, I pressed a tiny Hammond’s peppermint pillow on top. Since the cookies were so hot, the sugary candy melted just enough to the surface to stick. These were, by far, my favorite to eat. They were already amazing before the candy, but the pillows added an extra little crunch, and an additional little zing of peppermintiness. That’s a word.

The Hubster is a huge fan of shortbread, and for some reason, I rarely make it. I mean, he couldn’t have an easier favorite, but I just never make it. I made this recipe for him, and I ate almost all of the cookies.

Oops.

They’re just so light, and perfectly pepperminty without being overbearing, and just-right-sweet…I couldn’t resist. Looks like I’ll be making shortbread more often. :) Since it only takes about five minutes to make, I don’t mind.

This is truly the easiest homemade, from scratch cookie recipe you can make for the holidays, and they’re completely irresistible. Everyone will love them, and you hardly have to do anything. Win-win!

Enjoy!

Peppermint Shortbread
Makes 8 to 10 large cookies, or a whoooooooole lotta bite sized ones :)

**For vegan/dairy free and gluten free recipes, make sure all of your sugars and candies are vegan and dairy and gluten free**

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (margarine for vegan/dairy free)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour (GF flour for gluten free)
1/4 cup crushed candy canes
1 tablespoon of cream or milk (soy or almond milk for vegan/dairy free)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
sugar, sprinkles, or peppermint candies for garnishing, optional

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the salt, flour, and crushed candy, and continue beating until everything is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles wet sand with large clumps. Stir in the cream and extracts just until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and shape as desired (press into a shortbread pan or mold, press individual cookies, or roll and cut) and sprinkle with the sugar or sprinkles, if desired. If using candy, don’t add it until the cookies come out of the oven.

Bake for 30-35 minutes in a shortbread pan, or as large cookies. Bake for 15 minutes for bite sized cookies.

Allow to cool completely before serving.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 leslie December 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

YEAH for peppermint week!
These are the cutest cookies…like ever.

Blame the missing Christmas cards on the dog.

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2 Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers December 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

You know, that makes perfect sense. Darn, dirty elves.

Do you have nymphs that fly into your dryer vent and steal socks too?

I think all the magical brethren are working together against us. They’ve formed a coalition or something.

Also, I’m totally mad that you ate all of these, you know I wanted some!!

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3 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar December 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I love these! So cute!

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4 Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} December 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm

These look so good, Darla. I love the ones with the tiny candy cane sprinkle added. Of course, the vanilla sugared one needs no explanation. I may have to try with cinnamon sugar. :)

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5 Lisa {Sweet 2 Eat Baking} December 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I think your blog just ate my comment.

These are too cute, I love the ones with the teeny tiny candy cane sprinkles and, of course vanilla sugar needs no explanation. Might try with cinnamon sugar. :)

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6 sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more December 20, 2012 at 6:13 am

oh my gosh they are adorable!

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7 Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet December 20, 2012 at 7:26 am

These cookies are so adorable!!! SWOON

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8 Gemma December 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm

So super adorable! Yep, adorable is the word! :-) I love their bite size…that makes them a lot more irresistible!
Happy Holidays Darla!

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9 Elizabeth Stewart December 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I just made these today so my husband and I could take them with us to Mississippi for his dad–I’m not sure they’re going to survive the trip! My husband has already eaten several of them, and I must admit I had to try a few as well. They have a nice peppermint flavor; not too strong, just enough to enjoy! Your recipe instructions did not specify exactly when to add the 1/4 cup crushed peppermint, so I added it in right after the milk and extracts and “kneaded” the cookie dough a bit after taking it out of the bowl to make sure it was fairly evenly distributed throughout. Turned out great! I think I’ll be making these every Christmas now! :D

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10 Becca from Cookie Jar Treats December 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Oh my goodness! These could not get any cuter! Seriously! And those little candy cane sprinkles are to die for! So, so, soooo cute! :3

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