Buttery, light and tender, sweetened just right and full of classic peppermint candy cane flavor with a red center. Each nibble brings back fond memories of Christmas holidays past. They taste just like Christmas!
- 2½ cups (300 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (about 8 g) baking powder
- 1 (8 oz or 226 g) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated cane sugar
- 2½ teaspoons (12.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) fine-quality pure peppermint oil
- ½ teaspoon (2.4 g) fine-grain sea salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 73 g w/o shells)
- 1½ cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
- Red, pink or even green gel-based food coloring
- Crushed red and white peppermint candies or candy canes, for sprinkling & dusting cookies, sifted to yield small shards of candy and peppermint dust
- Fine-mesh sieve, such as Norpro 2135 Stainless Strainer, 5-Inch (12.5 cm), White, to sift crushed candies
- Small spring-loaded cookie scoop, such as Norpro 675 Scoop 5MM (1.5 teaspoon or 7.5 ml), helpful but not necessary
- Regular (1 1/3-inch or 3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop, such as Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 39MM (1.5 tablespoon or 22.5 ml), helpful but not necessary
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar, vanilla, peppermint oil and salt; mix until well combined and light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Do not skimp on this important step as it develops the structure of the cookies.
- On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Using a rubber spatula, remove about one-quarter of the dough and transfer to a separate bowl. Tint the dough as desired with food coloring taking care to blend thoroughly for even color. Cover work bowls and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
- Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
- Measure enough un-tinted dough to roll into generous 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls, using a 1 1/3-inch (3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
- Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball. Using thumb, create a depression in each ball of dough thumbprint-style. Then, using fingers create a somewhat larger depression to hold the scoop of tinted dough.
- Working quickly while the dough is chilled and firm, use a small (1.5 teaspoon or 7.5 ml) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a small teaspoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful of tinted dough is in equal amounts. Once again, this is important for evenly baked cookies. Without rolling the dough between palms of hands, release the tinted dough from the cookie scoop into the un-tinted dough ball with thumbprint depression.
- Using fingers, smooth the un-tinted dough over the tinted dough to enclose and, if necessary add a small pinch of un-tinted dough to pinch and seal closed. Quickly, roll and shape into a ball. This will also eliminate any air pockets. Alternatively, the two balls of dough, tinted and un-tinted, can be rolled together into a ball shape to create a swirled cookie rather than a stuffed cookie. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
- Hands will get coated with this rather sticky dough. Washing hands after shaping every 4 to 6 cookies is recommended for best results in appearance.
- Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 to 16 minutes depending on size. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
- Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. However, while cookies are still warm form the oven, carefully sprinkle on small shards of peppermint candy cane and use the end of a toothpick to gently depress each shard into the crackle area of the cookies to ensure they adhere. Then, sprinkle the snowy powdered sugar areas of the cookies with superfine (sifted) peppermint candy cane dust.
- Then, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, transfer cookies to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
- If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies lightly with additional peppermint candy cane dust. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.
- Yield: Makes about 2½ dozen cookies.
If your cream cheese is a bit watery after opening the foil packaging, simply blot up the moisture using a clean, dry piece of paper towel. This will help the cookies to puff up properly during baking and prevent any spreading.
Chill dough between batches to keep it firm enough to roll and to prevent excessive spreading during baking.
Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch.
Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches (5 cm).
These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.
Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cookies freeze very well when placed into an airtight container with sheets of wax paper between the layers. (The wax paper also absorbs excess moisture.) Thaw cookies in the container at room temperature allowing any condensation (moisture) to remain on the container and not the cookies. Once thawed, dust with additional confectioners’ sugar and/or superfine (sifted) peppermint candy cane dust.
Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
For Gluten-Free Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2½ cups (400 g) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 g) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. (It is important to whisk in guar gum until evenly distributed throughout the flour because it is very sticky once moisture is added and sticky lumps are undesirable in dough.) Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder.
Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend organic grass-fed butter, eggs, granulated cane sugar and confectioners’ sugar. We also highly recommend aluminum-free baking powder, Organic Valley® Cream Cheese, Nielsen-Massey® Organic Pure Vanilla Extract and fine-quality Pure Peppermint Oil by LorAnn Oils®. For the food coloring, if using, we recommend red, pink or even green gel-based food coloring that is all-natural or kosher. Of course, you may use conventional food coloring so long as it is gel-based.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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