It's a 2fer.
It's National Cookie Day (it's a thing) AND it's the Holiday Season!
So, in honor of both...I proudly give you Beth's Peppermint Sables from Ye Olden Days of Cookie O' The Month.
Enjoy and Happy Weekending,
FROM BAKER BETH:
Some days ago, as I was beginning to mull December's cookie, I asked Angelo if he had any requests. (We'd never collaborated on a cookie before.) He pondered for a spell and came up with ... dark chocolate and peppermint.
Seriously seasonal and a damn fine idea.
I considered ways to combine the two but kept thinking about the people in my life who can't eat chocolate (the poor dears) but who love peppermint. It seemed a shame to shut them out of the holiday fun.
I had already decided that I'd made sandwich cookies, so I decided to make chocolate sandwich cookies and peppermint sandwich cookies. And I further decided to make them bite-size so folks can have several because that way, they can enjoy them as they are or pull them apart (which most everyone does with sandwich cookies anyway, right?) and recombine them as they pleased: chocolate cookie/chocolate filling/chocolate cookie and peppermint cookie/peppermint filling/peppermint cookie can become chocolate cookie/chocolate filling/peppermint cookie or chocolate cookie/peppermint filling/peppermint cookie.
I made wee peppermint and chocolate sablés because Angelo and I are sablé fanatics and because sablés hold their shape as they bake. I wanted as close to straight-sided cookies as I could get. The fillings are frostings, very simple to make. I considered using crushed candy canes in the peppermint frosting but then decided that I didn't want the crunchy candy to compete with the smooth frosting and the crumbly cookies. But if you'd like to include some crushed candy cane, by all means do. Or you can roll the cookies through the crushed candy to coat the frosting layer.
Happy baking, kids! I hope everyone's holidays are filled with comfort and joy.
Peppermint Sablés (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, November & December 2008)
1 large egg
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Place egg in small saucepan, cover with 1 inch water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill small bowl with ice water. Using slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack egg and peel shell. Separate yolk from white; discard white. Press yolk through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, granulated sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl and beater with rubber spatula as needed. Turn mixer to low, add the peppermint extract, and mix until incorporated. Stop mixer; add flour and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, press dough into cohesive mass.
Divide dough into fourths; roll each piece into log about 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in 12-inch square of waxed paper and twist ends to seal and firmly compact the dough into tight cylinder. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using chef's knife, slice the dough into slightly less than 1/4-inch-thick rounds, rotating dough so that it won't become misshapen from the weight of the knife. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using pastry brush, gently brush cookies with egg-white mixture.
Bake until centers of cookies are pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than centers, about 12-14 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheet 3 minutes; transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
(For the chocolate sablés Follow the above recipe but reduce the flour to 1 1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) and include 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa, and use 1 teaspoon coffee extract instead of peppermint extract.)
Scoop frostings (recipes below) into piping bags fitted with wide round tips or into Ziploc bags and snip off a corner of each. Pipe dollops of frosting onto the backs of half the sablés and top with remaining cookies, backs facing each other, nice sides facing out.
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or less, to taste)
6 (or so) teaspoons milk
Beat butter and powdered sugar together. Add peppermint extract to taste. Add milk, one teaspoonful at a time, until you reach a stiff-yet-spreadable consistency.
4 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons baking cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or less)
6 (or so) teaspoons milk
Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add cocoa. Stir until smooth. Mix in some of the powdered sugar and a teaspoon or two of milk. Beat until smooth. Taste for sweetness. (I like my chocolate frosting on the not-too-sweet side.) Add additional powdered sugar and milk accordingly, until you reach the desired sweetness and consistency.
Yield: About 24 sandwich cookies per recipe of dough. I made one recipe of peppermint and one recipe of chocolate.