Carolling (Recipe: Peppermint Shortbread)

Two little girls, parents trailing behind, arms full of holiday baking, and lots of noise. Sorry, lots of singing. My girls took it upon themselves to go carolling to our neighbours last year. And while The Monster at one point this month suggested getting an iPod and just playing that as we walked instead, we are already planning this year's carolling.

Carolling means baking. Christmas usually means baking, but in our house it is the carolling that brings it on. If Christmas was my only reason to bake this Mama would eat nothing but cookies for a month. I wouldn't complain, but I think the doctor might have something to say about that. So, we plan the carolling and the baking hand in hand.

This year I've added two treats to the repertoire that have me wishing I could eat them all month long. This week I want to share with you this Peppermint Shortbread.

For most folks it doesn't feel like Christmas without shortbread. I am one of those people. In any form shortbread is a very good thing. While I do like the traditional Scottish Shortbread or my mom's light as air whipped shortbread, this is a great update. Just a subtle peppermint flavour to refresh the cookie and add to the Christmas spirit.

Peppermint Shortbread
Makes 16 bars or 32 cookies

1 cup butter
1 tsp pure peppermint extract
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp water or milk
1 candy cane, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9’’ by 13’’ baking pan with non-stick spray.

2. Whip the butter with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Add the peppermint extract. Then gradually add the sugar and whip for 2 minutes more.

3. While the butter is whipping put the flour and salt in a separate, large bowl. Whisk gently a few times to incorporate the salt. Gradually add the flour until well incorporated. Pat all the dough into an even layer in the prepared pan. Pat down firmly.

4. Bake for 22-25 minutes until the edges are lightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into 16 rectangles or 32 squares. If you don’t cut them while warm you won’t be able to cut them at all.

5. Once the cookies are cooled completely mix together the icing sugar and water/milk for the glaze. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over the cookies then sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top.

(recipe for Chai-Spice Pistachio Bark next week)