In the Cookie Jar

In the Cookie Jar: Chocolate Candy Canes

These were an experiment using a cookie recipe I’d found in a collection of holiday cookie recipes a bunch of years ago.  I liked these chocolate cookies because texture-wise they are kind of like shortbread.  They do not contain eggs.  They are easy and versatile.  And they taste really, really seriously chocolatey.

Here’s what you will need:

4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt – sifted together.

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1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature, and cut into small pieces.

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And you will need 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  (Sorry, didn’t take pictures of them.)

You’ll also need some sort of icing (I had some leftover royal icing from the cookie decorating that day) and about 8-10 small candy canes.

Okay.

Combine the butter and sugar in your mixing bowl and cream til light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, and then add the flour mixture and combine on the lowest speed, scraping down the bowl every so often, until the flour is completely incorporated.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl, flatten and wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

While the dough is chilling, set out some baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.

Then get those candy canes, still in their little plastic wrappers, and place them on a dish towel on the counter or a table top.  Fold the towel over the candy canes, and then beat the s***beat the p*** …beat the heck of them with a meat tenderizer or a hammer or a rolling pin or a baseball bat or something along those lines.  Then discard the torn and useless plastic packaging from the candy canes.

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You want to pulverize them as much as possible.  I should have hit these a bit more, in fact.  But it was an experiment.  At this point, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to use them.

Okay, after an hour, get your dough out of the fridge and get your pans ready, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Using your fingers, pull off a chunk of dough around the size of a ping pong ball, or maybe a bit bigger.  Roll this into a ball, and then roll the ball into a rope, about a third of an inch in diameter, or about 6 inches long.  Curve one end of this rope so it resembles a candy cane shape, and place this on your cookie sheet.  Keep going like this until you’ve filled the cookie sheet.  Leave space between the cookies because they will spread a bit while baking.  Put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about ten minutes before baking – this will prevent them from spreading a LOT. 

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(That’s my little step – by – step illustration for you.)

Bake each batch of cookies for about 15-20 minutes or until firm.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then let transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to finish.

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Once they’re cool, you want to put some white icing in a piping bag and draw the candy cane lines on the cookies.  I did a few of them one-at-a-time, and while they looked nice, I needed to move things along.  So I put a bunch of cookies on a rack like you see above, and put the rack over a baking pan.  Then I just piped the icing onto the cookies in a series of diagonal lines.  It’s a lot quicker then the individual approach.  You could also, if you don’t have a piping bag, either use a zip top plastic bag and cut a small hole in one corner and pipe that way, OR you could just drizzle the icing with a spoon.  So many options.  Find the one that works best for you.

Now, once you’ve drizzled or piped the icing on, get your crushed candy canes and sprinkle some across the cookies where the icing is.

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Now, it also just occurred to me that you could have a shallow bowl of the candy canes and take the cookies and press them, icing side down, into the crushed candy and have it stick on that way.  But you’d need a lot more candy for something like that.  Leave the cookies out so the icing will dry and harden before you pack them away, otherwise they’ll stick to each other.

However you apply the icing and the crushed peppermint, you MUST try one immediately.  If you like chocolate and mint, I think it’s a pretty good bet you’ll like these.

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As my son is now fond of saying – "Eat!  Eat!  MangiaMangiaMangia!"

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