Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Peppermint Sticks

(Makes 48)

Prep and chill: 3 hours
Bake: 11 to 13 minutes per batch
Decorate: about 20 minutes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp each vanilla extract and salt
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp mint extract
12 drops each green and red food color
1 cup white chocolate chips
12 each green and red peppermint candies, crushed

1. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. On low speed, gradually add flour; beat just until blended. Divide dough in half. Shape half into a 6-inch disk; wrap and refrigerate. Stir mint extract into other half; divide that half in half. Stir green food color into 1 half, red into the other (colors will be pale.) Shape each into a 5-inch disk; wrap separately and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Have baking sheet(s) ready.

3. Cut uncolored dough in 12 equal wedges and each disk tinted dough in 6 equal wedges.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 uncolored wedge and 1 tinted wedge into 15-inch long ropes (keep rest of dough refrigerated.) Place ropes side by side; cut crosswise in quarters. Holding ends of both ropes, twist together from 1 end to the other (handle gently; dough is soft.) Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet(s). Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bake 11 to 13 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool.

6. To decorate: Melt chocolate chips as package directs. Dip about 1/2 inch of both ends of each cookie in chocolate, letting excess drip off, then dip in crushed candies. Place on wax paper until chocolate sets.

Storage tip: store airtight at cool room temperature up to 1 week.

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