You have all probably participated in an annual Christmas Cookie Exchange somewhere along the line. Everyone makes scores of one kind of cookie, usually their specialty, and then on a given time and date everyone participating gathers and swaps out cookies so that you get to take home a nice selection of cookies for your Christmas cookie platter and yet you only had to make one kind of cookie. Fun, and sometimes, a bit taxing this time of year.
Enter Di from Di's Kitchen Notebook, one of my online baking buddies who is whipping up tasty treats and breads in her kitchen down in Texas on a daily basis. Di had an inspiration this year that involved a Virtual Cookie Exchange. "What is that?" you ask. Well, I didn't know either, but more than a dozen people jumped on the bandwagon and before you knew it, we had a time, a date, and a cute little badge for our posts designed by Nancy's very talented daughter in Georgia.
Let's see, there are people from California, Rhode Island, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Utah, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Germany, and the Netherlands (and I might have forgotten someone, sorry) so far. It's a rather inspired group. Here's how it works: You make a favorite Christmas cookie (or any kind of cookie actually), you post about it today (Monday), and then you send Di a link to your post in her comment section of her post. In a few days she will do a round up that includes all the cookies and links and you are free to steal any of them and make them at home in your own kitchens. (If you have a blog and want to participate, just bake and post a cookie and link it on Di's post...this is not an exclusive group, just anyone at all can participate. Of course, if 500 people do this, Di will no longer be speaking to me for having to link all those cookies, but I am trusting this won't lead to 500 posts.)
Without further ado, here is my submission for the Virtual Cookie Exchange: Candy Cane Peppermint Cookies.
Originally this recipe came to me from my good friend, Katie, who has a cookie party each and every Epiphany in their home. She and her family make thousands of cookies, so many kinds to choose from, and I try to fit in one time to go over and help with the sugar cookie decorating, which is no end of fun as Katie has three daughters, each and every one of them able to be talked into fits of giggles about creative decorating.
These peppermint cookies are my favorites of all the cookies she makes and finally one year she gifted me the recipe for my birthday. Try as I might, I could not make that recipe work...sometimes recipes can be like that, one person can make it excellently, and the next cannot. So I persisted and played around with the recipe until I could get it to turn out like hers but using slightly different measurements (could be my oven, could be the type of butter or flour I use, who knows), so finally, I have it where I can make them perfectly. Which may not be a good thing as I am always tempted to eat more than one or two, so it's a good thing Matt is here to make sure that they disappear quickly.
Here is my version of the recipe in all it's melty, crunchy, chewy, candy cane minty goodness. Bet you can't eat just one.
Candy Cane Peppermint Cookies
1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces) of unsalted butter, room temperature
I cup powdered sugar (measure, then sift)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups of sifted flour (measure, then sift)
1 cup uncooked quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes (crush, then measure)
Extra powdered sugar for rolling dough balls in before baking
Cream the butter. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more. Add the vanilla and the salt and cream a little more. Sift the flour into mixture and mix until flour is all absorbed. Fold in the quick cooking oats and the crushed candy canes.
Form into small balls, about the size of a quarter, roll in the powdered sugar, place on an ungreased baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
Bake at 375 degrees for 14-15 minutes (everyone's oven is different, so keep an eye on them to see the timing for your oven, as they can brown quickly).
Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then place them on cooling racks to finish cooling.
Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.