I’ll admit it. I’m starting to get my jingle on. Just a little bit. I’ve been listening to the music, and enjoying the sight of the earliest of Christmas lights against the backdrop of snow that we got walloped with last week.
The basic cookie here is a fabulously chocolatey shortbread. They bake up firm, but not hard, and keep their shape, which makes them perfect for sandwich cookies. You can flavour the filling with anything you like. I contemplated orange cream. In the end, though, I settled on mint, a natural pairing, and especially apt for something festive.
Mint oil is far superior to mint extract, in my opinion. A little goes a long way, and it doesn’t dilute things like icing. Be sure to get peppermint, though. I have spearmint as well, but save for maybe in candy, I don’t use it. It just isn’t a nice flavour in baked goods. Tastes too much like gum.
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325F
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix in the cocoa, flour and salt until the dough forms a ball (you may need to use your hands, otherwise it might stay crumbly if you’re using a hand mixer).
Put the relatively soft dough between two sheets of parchment and roll out as best you can to 1/4″ thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll the scraps until not enough remains to work with.
Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
I got enough for 40 small sandwich cookies.
1/2 cup softened butter
2 cups icing sugar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
2 tablespoons cream or milk
food colouring, if desired
Whip all of the ingredients together with a hand mixer in a deep bowl (trust me). Keep beating until it’s fluffy, and don’t stick your head over the bowl to sniff until it’s all mixed. The mint oil will burn your eyes (again, trust me).