If there is one thing that turns my cooking and eating habits on their heads, it’s Christmas. In the days and weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years I find that my habits differ in such a way from the rest of the year that at times, I confuse myself.
I’m also normally the kind of girl who rarely repeats a recipe, always living for the new and the challenging. But Christmas again changes all that. I long to remake the recipes I grew up with as a kid, especially when it comes to cookies and bars. In my house we grew up with a standard repertoire of cookies, many of which I’ve realized through cookie exchanges and blog reading, are common favorites among other households as well. Peanut Butter Blossoms, Cream Wafers, Pecan Cups, Cream Cheese Lemon Bars, and Cherry Blossoms have been regular fixtures on my family’s Christmas cookie plate. If you celebrate Christmas, I’m sure your family has its own revered favorites. It’s just assumed that these cookies will return year after year and if they don’t, their absence is often met by confusion and complaints.
Today we live in a world where we have access to an almost limitless array of recipes through the internet, magazines, books, and other media. There’s something appealing about instead, if only for a season, returning faithfully to family recipes, to a subset culled down over generations. Sure I’ll bet that many of ours, as personal as they seem, all originated from the same Betty Crocker or Joy of Cooking cookbooks, but it’s irrelevant. They’re wedded to sentimentality all the same.
The downside of this is that this kind of baking doesn’t lend itself well to blogging. Most people don’t want to hear about the same five recipes year in and year out. So this post, as a result is a bit of a compromise – a reinvention of one of last year’s hits, Chocolate-Orange Cookie Dough Truffles.
I made them for a blogger cookie exchange and they were rich and creamy and so addictive that I’ve been wanting to remake them ever since. But because a simple recreation seemed a bit boring, I decided to swap out the orange for a new flavor…
Candy cane! The result is pure perfection.
Creamed butter and brown sugar give this treat a texture that is shockingly similar to real cookie dough (but without the eggs) while mint extract and crushed candy canes give it a unique and festive twist. I loved how the mint was well balanced against the chocolate so you definitely know it is there, but it in no way overwhelms the other flavors. I dipped mine in dark chocolate because I love the flavor and color contrast, but you could always use red candy melts instead to carry through the colors of a candy cane.
These also keep incredibly well in the freezer so if you can spare a few, they’re great to stash away for a post-holiday nosh. The only problem is they are so addictive, you may not have any left to save!
Yields about 5 1/2 dozen
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon mint extract
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
-1/4 cup crushed candy cane pieces (about 3 average-sized candy canes)
-2 cups chopped dark chocolate
-2 tablespoons shortening
-Additional crushed candy cane pieces, if desire, for decorating
For the filling, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in salt, and mint extract.
Gradually add flour, alternately with milk beating well after each addition.
Stir in chocolate chunks and candy cane pieces
Shape into 1 inch balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Alternatively, grease and flour small silicone truffle molds and press in cookie dough. Loosely cover and refrigerate for one to two hours or until firm.
Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer over a burner. In a glass bowl combine the dark chocolate and shortening. Place over the saucepan (the water should NOT touch the bottom of the bowl) and stir until chocolate and shortening are melted and well combined. Dip cookie dough in coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle additional crushed candy cane pieces on top.
Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Store any leftover truffles in the fridge or the freezer.
Hungry for more holiday treats, check out my posts from holidays past: