Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peppermint Kiss Sugar Cookies, or: Is Xmas over yet?

There is one little thing you need to know about me: I do not care about "seasonal".

I am known to fancy persimmons in April, rhubarb in December, pumpkin in June or what have you. At any given time my freezer drawers will be bursting with ingredients I squirreled away months before, so when one of my ill-timed cravings hits, I am ready.
This arrangement works especially well for me since I'm broke most of the time (wanna try being a foodie on a CSR's budget, hmm?) and it's cheaper for me to grab the leftover seasonal goodies after the holiday's over and the prices plummet.

I won't deny, of course, that my main reason for despising seasonality in food may be that I got the "Mary Mary, quite contrary" bug pretty bad.
Take peppermint, for instance. It's one of my favourite things in the world (and hands down my favourite when paired with chocolate), and I would gladly eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of my life - except in the week-or-so that goes from mid-December to Xmas. You know, when everybody and his dog is baking candy cane-flavoured anything, as if there's a global-level flash mob going on or something.

This is why I baked my test batch of these cookies in mid-October, with candies I had bought back in January, and kept sitting in my fridge during the summer months.
They were delicious (why, of course - we're talking peppermint sugar cookies here, gents!) but not perfect. In retrospect I think I overbaked them, because they ended up far crispier than your average crinkle cookie.
And I'm baking them again now, with Kisses I ordered online and had shipped all the way from the other side of the big pond. Talk about a time-consuming mise en place!

Once you can get you dirty paws on some of these elusive Peppermint Kisses (and, possibly, the baking chips Hershey makes in the same flavour around Xmas, so you don't have to unwrap another bunch of them just to chop them up), the recipe's actually very easy. 
You can get it HERE, by the way! 

It's weird how I still am unable to automatically associate the colour red with anything peppermint-flavoured. 
I mean, the rational part of me knows it's because of candy canes, only... every time I see the iconic red-and-white stripes, the first thing that occurs to me is strawberries and cream, because these are the flavours I grew up associating the colours with. To me, mint candies must be green or white, or both.  
Oh well...

Sugar crinkles are yummy and cute enough as-is, but pressing an unwrapped Kiss into each warm, soft cookie is what makes the magic happen. The candy will melt slightly and go all creamy inside and shiny on the outside... 

...See? It's magic, I tell you!

As with all good sugar cookies, these have a slightly crunchy surface and a soft, crumbly heart. They're wonderful with coffee, or hot cocoa, or with your balsamic infusion of choice - and even more so on their own, so you can concentrate on the different textures and colours of the cookie and candy.

On a side note: sugar cookies freeze exceptionally well as a rule, and these are no exception. Only once they're thawed, the Kisses will have lost the creamy quality and gone back to their pristine condition of hard chocolates. Sad, really...

Now, about my manicure. Isn't it adorable?
If you want to treat youself to candy cane nails too, here's a video tutorial for you...

The idea of painting my nails to match the cookies I'm serving would never cross my mind normally, but this tutorial was so easy and fun, I just couldn't resist!

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