I know, you are all very, very sad to see the end of the supreme reign of pumpkin. Fret not, dear Internets, because do you know what follows Pumpkin Season? Peppermint Season! (I’ve also been noticing a lot more eggnog-flavored items appearing these days and I do have some recipes I want to try, but it seems as though eggnog can be a very hit-or-miss thing for a lot of people. I, personally, enjoy it. I know some people that despise it. Most people seem to like peppermint, though. .)
I am starting off with some cookies that seemed easy enough and only needed one ingredient I didn’t have. (Surprisingly, it wasn’t the candy canes. I had a box left over from last year that never got opened. At least I think it was last year. Let’s pretend it was. Candy canes don’t go bad, though, right?)
Also, since a lot of people seemed to really like the Measure-All Cup that I pimped out in the pumpkin snickerdoodle cookie recipe, I’m going to shamelessly promote something else.
I recommend the Pampered Chef Food Chopper, but you might also know it as this:
Crushes things up like you would not believe, AND it’s a great stress reliever. Because if you don’t put some oomph into it, it just doesn’t really work. I used it to crush up the pecans for the pumpkin lust cake, so I figured I may as well try it here. You’d think candy canes would be tough buggers to crush into small bits?
Nope. It was like chopping butter, if you were to chop butter. I don’t know. It’s an expression, okay?
It’s also great if you need to chop up things like Oreos or graham crackers. (I suppose you can use a food processor too, but this is much more fun.) I usually use mine for chopping veggies (carrots, onions, etc.).
Side note: if you chop up onions with the base in place, it helps alleviate the fumes that irritate your eyes. Basically I use it whenever I need to chop things into bits.
THE RECIPE – Sparkling Peppermint Cookies
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (one stick)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon mint extract (I did not have a measuring spoon for this amount, at least not one that was clean or that I could find… I tried to just fill the 1/4 tsp spoon half full but of course I’m not that talented so my cookies got a full 1/4 tsp of it. They were just a bit mintier than they were supposed to be. Or probably needed to be.)
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup crushed candy canes or those small round peppermint candies (this is about 4 full-sized candy canes, FYI)
- 1/4 cup crushed candy canes or those small round peppermint candies (again, 4 full-sized canes should do the trick)
- 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit.) Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper, if that’s your thing. I used my baking stone for one batch and my metal cookie sheet for the other and they both seemed to turn out equally fine.
Combine sugar, butter, egg, vanilla extract, and mint extract in large bowl. Beat until creamy.
Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a smaller bowl. Add to sugar-egg mixture; beat until well-mixed. Mix, mix, mix.
Stir in 1/4 cup crushed candy canes into your dough. (I just dumped mine in and used my mixer some more. Same thing, right?)
In a separate bowl, combine the other 1/4 cup of candy cane bits with 1/4 cup of sugar. This will be your coating. Roll balls of your dough in this mixture and place on cookie sheets (give them some space – they’ll expand into flat cookies!)
I used a medium-sized scoop for consistently-sized cookies; I got 19 out of the batch.
Now, they say to bake for 8-10 minutes (until the edges are lightly browned, as one does with most cookies.) I had a hard time gauging the done-ness of these – they did NOT seem to want to get done.
I like my cookies on the softer, chewier side, but they didn’t seem to be getting brown at all. I ended up baking for about 15 minutes and probably could have gone a couple more. This will have to be at your discretion and how “done” you like your cookies to be.
The thing I did not like about these cookies is the very thing that I thought I might not like about them going in – and it’s really more of a personal quirk than it is a statement on how good the cookies are.
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch
I have kind of a texture… thing. It’s why I don’t like celery. Or mushrooms. Or squash. Or water chestnuts. Oh, let’s not get started on the water chestnuts.
But if you’re familiar with candy canes – or hard candies at all, really – you know they don’t get soft. I suspected the word “sparkling” in the name was due to the still-crunchy candy cane bits. And because I am psychic, I was right.
The first bite I took was very chewy, but not in the “mmm warm cookies right out of the oven” sort of way. I mean, it WAS a warm cookie right out of the oven, but I couldn’t tell if they simply weren’t done, or if this odd texture was because of the candy cane bits. They had melted a bit, so they were kind of sticky… but still crunchy. It’s hard to describe, but I wasn’t terribly keen on the sensation. Everyone else I fed them to seemed to like them, though, so it’s probably just a personal quirk.
Also, they leave a very minty aftertaste, which I suspect is due to the fact that I accidentally dumped in too much mint extract. Don’t do that.
Can you cook it yourself?
Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy? Yes and yes. I think without the aid of a chopper or food processor, the crushing of the candy canes might be a bit tedious, but we live in the future, and there are devices to help us with such things.
Did it require any weird gadgetry or cookware? I would recommend the chopper, but you definitely don’t need it. Also, I had no idea what “cream of tartar” even was until this recipe; in case you are similarly confused, it’s in the section with the spices.
How much did the ingredients cost? The only things you might not have lying around are the candy canes (I think those are maybe a dollar a box?), the cream of tartar (I paid 99 cents), and the mint extract (can’t remember but it was probably a couple dollars.) Otherwise? flour, sugar, butter, eggs, the usual.
Does it taste as good as it looks? Honestly, I’d say they tasted exactly like I expected them to, based on the picture.
Does it only look good because it was so well photographed? Guys, these are really pretty cookies. Even though I may have over-minted them and had a hard time determining a proper baking length, they turned out absolutely beautiful. And, well, the chunks of candy cane do kind of give a little bit of shine to them. I don’t think they photograph as well as they actually look up close. Then again, it’s probably pretty obvious by now that I am a terrible food photographer.
Other notes: these calculated out to be 4 points [Weight Watchers] each.
Final recommendation: an easy, delightful holiday cookie.