Friday, December 23, 2016

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

What's your favorite holiday song?

I think I must belong to an elite super group of people who have listened to obscene amounts of holiday music until they have unwittingly become armchair experts. 

Name your favorite holiday song and I can either name at least two of the artists who have recorded it without referencing the internet, sing the chorus, or both. I tested this by asking my Facebook friends for their favorite holiday song, and I am currently 8/8 nailing it in both categories.

That's pretty impressive for someone who has never willingly played a holiday song. This has all been absorbed passively from my exposure to my mother's insane holiday song collection. She estimates she has at least 200 versions of  just the song "Silent Night" to give you some perspective on how much holiday music she has.

My favorite is "The Wassail Song." I have no clue why really, I just love the refrain. Maybe it's because I can really belt it out* and the quality of singing is less important than the enthusiasm at which it is sung.  I also really love "Auld Lang Syne" but no one in their right mind would be comfortable with me singing that one.

Holiday songs are imperative to making these cookies. When I go over to my mother's house to bake cookies, they never stop playing.

*I can also belt out Frosty the Snowman both in English and Spanish. This is the only thing I know to say in Spanish, which goes to show you they teach you nearly nothing useful in mandatory language classes like "Help! I think I need a doctor!" but hey, I know a Christmas carol!

It's too much!
Before we dive into making these cookies, can we talk about how retro and absolutely bitchin' my mom's hand mixer is? Please see the photo to your right to bask in its vintage glory .It sports both avocado green and faux wood paneling, and is undoubtedly older than me.

Peppermint Sugar Cookies
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 cups of granulated sugar (set aside 1/2 cup for rolling cookies)
2.5 cups Cup4Cup*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1¾ sticks of unsalted butter (14 tbs)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

*I use Cup4Cup to make these gluten free. If you have no interest in making these gluten free, just use all purpose flour.

When crushing the candies, you can crush them finely for a more marbled look, or leave chunky pieces to retain more of their swirls. I opted for a mix of both.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheart over to 350.

In a medium bowl, stir Cup4Cup, baking powder, and salt together, then set aside.

Using an electric mixed (hand or stand will work just fine), beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract. After all the wet ingredients are combined, reduce speed to low and add in the dry ingredients you set aside earlier and incorporate in three batches, mixing in thoroughly in between batches.

Grab that 1/2 cup of granulated sugar you set aside and put in a shallow bowl or dish. Roll 2tbs of dough into a ball, then roll into the sugar. Repeat with the rest of the dough and place 2" apart on your baking sheets. To flatten, grab a flat-bottomed drinking glass and use it to flatten the dough ball to about 3/4 of an inch thick. If the dough threatens to stick to the glass, butter it, dip in the sugar, and it will keep it from sticking.

Sprinkle the cookies with the crushed peppermint candies.

Bake until the edges are barely brown, about 10-15 minutes. My mother has a tiny oven, so we do one sheet at a time in the center rack and find that works the best to keep them from over-browning. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then serve warm or let cool completely on a wire rack.

See Also:
Salted Nut Bars
Slutty Brownies with a Twist
Sriracha Bar

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