Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seasonal goodies: Peppermint Puffs

Christmas cookies! Would it be Christmas without them? When I was a kid, my paternal grandmother started baking for Christmas, oh, probably right after Thanksgiving. Or Halloween. She was way into cookie baking, and produced cans and jars and boxes of cookies, fudge, rocky road candy, and divinity to cover a card table two layers deep. Seriously. Her cookie output was prodigious. She always baked the family traditional old world cookies -- mainly Lebkuchen, Pfeffernusse, and Springerle -- and added a few new ones that she'd decided to try. From my mother's side of the family came the fabulous Peppermint Puffs, which became a "must have" cookie each year. They're a buttery soft shortbread cookie with crushed peppermint candy and a crunchy, sugary coating.

These days I bake mostly to please myself. I don't strive for Grandma's cookie output, and I don't feel obliged to produce ALL of the traditional cookies. But Peppermint Puffs are still my Number One Cookie that I make each year. This year I got all wild and crazy and made some spearmint ones, too. Maybe I'll even try cinnamon.

But mostly I bake them only at Christmas, 'cause if I ate buttery cookies like that all years I'd be a butterball myself.

So without further ado, I bring Peppermint Puffs to the rest of the blogosphere.

Grandma's cookie recipe. On Grandma's fine china. Supposedly the Roosevelts used this pattern in the White House.
Peppermint Puffs

Cream together until soft and fluffy: 
3/4 cup butter (or margarine if you must but NOT shortening) 
1/4 cup sugar 
1 egg yolk (save the white because you’ll need it) 
1 teaspoon real vanilla (accept no substitutes!)
Mix in: 
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (or spearmint)
2 cups all-purpose flour
The mixture will be crumbly, but should hold together when pressed. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. If using real butter, refrigerate the doughballs for at least one hour. (Otherwise, upon baking, one tends to get peppermint flats instead of puffs.)
Add about two teaspoons of water to the egg white. Whisk together until foamy. Roll the doughballs in egg white, then in granulated sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and let cool on a rack. It’s helpful to use a nonstick pan, or line the baking sheets with parchment paper.

1 comment:

Mereknits said...

They look delicious,


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