December 21, 2008

Winter Mint Cookies

When I made my Minty Mummy Cookies for Halloween I knew that I wanted to had to make a batch for Christmas as well. I had planned on making snowflake-shaped cookies with piped on royal icing decorations. Then in my browsing on Foodbuzz I came across a wonderful tutorial for glacé icing. Like the author, I've struggled with flooding royal icing (it's so messy and never as easy as Martha Stewart can make it look). I couldn't help but love her beautifully decorated cookies. For my own cookies, I wanted to a generous amount of icing so I added some melted chocolate to the cutout cookie dough to help it stand up to a heavy dose of mint icing. The resulting dough was rich and chocolaty but it does need to warm up a little before you can roll it. I kept the cookies thin and topped the icing with crunchy nonpareils so they remind me of Sno-Caps. Once frosted these received an enthusiastic approval from my son Alex. Happy Winter Solstice!

Chocolate Cutout Cookies
Based on the recipe from Baking Bites
Makes 6 dozen thin 2-inch diameter cookies

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter or margarine (Earth Balance is my margarine of choice)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

-Melt the semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler and set aside to cool slightly.
-Mix together the flour(s), cocoa, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
-Beat the margarine (or butter) with the sugar until light in color.
-Add the chocolate and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix in. Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
-Add in the flour in three stages until all the ingredients are fully combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fully chilled.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm up for 15-30 minutes. This will depend on the temperature of your kitchen, but it needs to warm up a little because the chocolate will make the dough too stiff to roll out straight from the fridge.
-When the dough gives a little when pressed roll a portion out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. For rolling, I like to dust a sheet of parchment with flour and then roll on top. You can just flour your rolling surface or you can roll between two sheets of parchment.
-Cut out your desired shapes, I used 2-inch circles, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets.
-Bake for 7-9 minutes until light brown on the bottom.
-Cool and frost.

Glacé Icing for Winter Mint Cookies
This is an adaption of the recipe from Glace Icing Tutorial and makes enough to frost the above batch of chocolate cutout cookies. Please take a look at the tutorial for more help and ideas.

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk (soy milk for us)
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

-Set aside a 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar. Then mix the remaining sugar and milk together until smooth.
-Add the corn syrup and peppermint extract and mix again until smooth. Add as much of the remaining powdered sugar to get a runny consistency that is thick enough to stay on the cookie and make an opaque pool of icing. I made my flooding icing thicker than the example in the tutorial so that no chocolate cookie would show through.
-Spoon on a small amount of icing and spread with the back of a spoon. (Per the tutorial directions I used a baby spoon and it did make a difference.)
-While the icing is still wet add sprinkles as desired. Allow to dry over night or until the icing is hard before storing.

In lieu of an Abbie shot, here is a favorite Christmas decoration of mine, my Nativity puzzle.
All the pieces come out to form a Nativity scene.

This is my second addition to Food Blogga's Eat Christmas Cookies event. This is her second season of collecting Christmas cookie recipes. To see her ever growing collection take a look at:

Eat Christmas Cookies Roundup Part 1 and Part 2