Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Holiday Treats

I like to have at least 4 kinds of cookies on hand for gift giving, and hosting.  The Swirl cookies have become part of my repertoire, and I have made them every Christmas for almost a decade.  Ricardo's Sucre a la creme recipe is the best  I know of. Biscotti is a good addition for those who want a little something sweet, but not a full on sugar/fat buzz.  The candy cane short bread is a recipe I developed recently. In the above photo I mixed the crushed candy cane into the dough, and flattened the cookies with a glass. 

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies
as seen in Mainstreet
Makes 45-50 Cookies

·      500 ml (2 cups) all purpose flour
·      250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar
·      250 ml (1 cup) corn starch
·      1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) sea salt
·      375 ml (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
·      5 ml (1 teaspoon) peppermint extract
·      Sufficient quantity cane canes (red/green/white candy canes look best)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 4 ingredients. Stir in the butter, and peppermint extract until a well blended dough is formed. Shape into 2.5 cm (1 inch) balls. If dough is too soft to handle, cover and chill for 1 hour.  

Now here is the fun part:  Either throw the candy canes into a food processor or break up the candy canes up by hand using a knife or a mortar and pestle.  You can even turn the canes into a fine powder if you have the patience to do it by hand or throw them in a coffee grinder that is dedicated to spice grinding. I would test a few cookie dough balls by bringing together the cookies and crushed cane in different ways to see which you prefer.  You can try making a indent in a ball and filling it with crushed candy cane, or rolling a ball in crushed candy cane and flattening it with a fork on a cookie sheet.  Alternately if you have made a fine power you can bake them, and then dust the baked cookies (once cool enough to handle), as you would with icing sugar.

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