Friday, December 28, 2012

Xmas Cookies '12 Part 1: Peppermint Crinkles and Macaroon Kisses

This year was not a banner year for Christmas cookies.  Nothing turned out totally disgusting, but there were several disappointments.

I made Gingersnaps,  and Chocolate Crinkles like I do every year.  Those were great, as usual.

Then I decided to make Taste of Home's Macaroon Kisses instead of Santa's Whiskers.

Yes I did take a picture of them in a bag.  If I didn't they would fall into my mouth.
The Macaroon Kisses were scrumptious.  Even my husband, who refused to even try one for several days because he doesn't like coconut, LOVED them.  I loved them too.  I mean what's not to love coconut and dark chocolate?  I mean come on.  (OK I know there are freaky people on this planet who don't like coconut and/or dark chocolate.  I'm pretty you guys are mutants.)

As much as I loved the Macaroon kisses, I missed the Santa's Whiskers.  I thought the cookie plate looked a bit drab without them.

I had hoped Cookin' Cowgirl's Peppermint Red Velvet Crinkles would be a good color replacement for the Santa's Whiskers, but as you can see the red is not very noticeable. They wound up looking too much like the regular crinkles.

I preferred the red velvet peppermint version to the classic chocolate one.  They stayed moist and fresh tasting for much longer.

Although, they did give me a bit of a scare.  You see the box of cake mix I grabbed was a Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake mix.  When I opened the box I thought there was a smaller amount of cake mix than your usual cake mix.  So I examined the box closely.  This particular box only makes 12 cupcakes.  Those of you who regularly make cupcakes know that this is about half the amount of cupcakes that you could get from a standard run of the mill cake mix. 

I didn't want to make a half batch of these cookies so I made the recipe for Red Peppermint Crinkles as listed but added additional flour.  I'm guessing it was around 1/2-1 cup of flour.  I didn't measure it.  I just kept adding flour until it was the consistency of Chocolate Crinkle dough.  Then I chilled the dough for a few hours so it was a bit easier to work with.

I'm sure that my additional flour made the cookies less red.  Thankfully, it didn't effect the taste one bit. As I mentioned earlier, the Red Velvet Peppermint crinkles stayed moist for a long time.  The slight crunch of crushed candy canes was perfect.  I had worried that it would taste gritty.

Although, I did crush my candy canes a bit more than those shown on Cookin' Cowgirl.  I think maybe the candy cane pieces on her cookies were to make the cookies more photogenic?  I'm not sure I'd want to chomp into a rock of hard candy while eating a moist chewy cookie.  Maybe that's just me.  Grind your candy cane to whatever floats your boat.  I'd say I crushed the mints to somewhere between coarse sea salt and turbinado sugar.

So while these two cookies weren't exactly what I was looking for this year for the "perfect" cookie platter, they were still scrumptious.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more Christmas cookie adventures!

Macaroon Kisses from Taste of Home
1/3 cup butter, softened
3oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Sugar
1 egg yolk
2 t almond extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
5 cups flaked coconut, divided (This is one bag of coconut. I used sweetened coconut)
48 milk chocolate kisses (I used dark chocolate kisses because they are da'bomb.  I also think I wound up using about 52 kisses.)

In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and extract. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in 3 c coconut. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle. Roll into 1-in. balls and roll in remaining coconut. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool on pan for 2-3 minutes or until chocolate is softened. (I did this for the first batch and the tips of the kisses sank, so I removed them from the cookie sheet immediately.)  Remove to wire racks to cool completely. (My wire racks are not designed for a smaller cookie like these, so I let them cool on a few layers of paper towels instead.) Yield: about 4 dozen.

Red Velvet Peppermint Crinkle Cookies from Cookin' Cowgirl
1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix(Don't be like me and buy the Decadent Duncan Hines Red Velvet cupcake Mix.  Make sure your mix yields 24 cupcakes, or a full size cake)
6 T butter
2 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 C crushed peppermint or candy canes
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt butter and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled butter, cake mix, eggs and peppermint extract. Add in crushed peppermint and stir. In a shallow dish, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch with a fork. Using a small cookie scoop, drop scooped dough into powdered sugar mix.  Coat with sugar, then roll into balls.  If you attempt to roll the dough into balls before covering them in sugar your hands will turn red from the dough.
Bake for 9 minutes. (They will look underdone.  This is what you want or your cookies will get rock hard.). Make sure not to overcrowd the cookies on the cookie sheet as these cookies will spread.  Take them out of the oven and cool for one minute. Then move onto a cooling rack/paper towels to cool. They will be chewy with little pieces of crunchy.Yield about 36 cookies

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