Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Candy Cane Butter Cookies
Yield: 6 dozen
These pretty cookies take a little patience and manual dexterity to shape properly, but the results are well worth the effort.
3 c King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 c cornstarch
3 t baking powder
½ t salt
2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2½ c powdered sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 T peppermint extract
2 t pure vanilla extract
red food coloring
6 oz candy canes, broken
1 c powdered sugar
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat just until smooth. Add the peppermint & vanilla extracts and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and blend just to incorporate.
Divide the dough in half (makes two 22-ounce portions) and add the food coloring to one portion. Divide each portion in half again, form each into a rough cylinder, about 2-inches in diameter, and wrap well with plastic wrap.
Chill for at least 2 hours; overnight is even better.
You should have four cylinders of dough in the refrigerator. Remove one red & one uncolored cylinder from the refrigerator and unwrap.
Cut each cylinder in half crosswise, and then rewrap and return half of each to the refrigerator.
Using a flour-dusted pastry cloth or silicon rolling sheet and continued very light dustings of flour as needed, with your hands, roll each portion of dough out to a long rope, ¾-inch in diameter and about 18 inches long. (Remember rolling clay in grade school art classes?)
Position a colored rope and an uncolored rope side-by-side, and then twist them around each other, compacting the dough as you proceed. The idea here is to get the two colors to twine around each other and stick together. Don’t begin rolling outward until the two halves of dough are adhered to each other. Pinch and push together as needed.
Using your finger tips only, gently begin to roll the dough outward, twisting it as you go (to twist, push forward with the fingertips of one hand and pull back with the fingertips of the other), until the rope is a little less than ½-inch in diameter. As the rope begins to get too long to handle easily, cut it in half and work with one 12-inch length at a time.
Cut the rope into 4-inch lengths, and place cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about ½-inch apart.
Curve one end of each cookie to form a candy cane shape.
Bake at 375º for about 12 minutes.
Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes; place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Finishing: Using a processor fitted with the steel blade and the pulse action, process the candy canes and powdered sugar to a fine powder.
When cool, dust the cookies lightly with the powdered sugar mixture.
Store in layers separated with wax paper sheets in an airtight container.