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Emily Hutchinson - Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Emily Hutchinson - Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Emily Hutchinson shows how to make our kitchen look and smell merry with adorable Christmas Cookies.
Christmas Cookies
Course:
Dessert
Seasonal Event:
Christmas
Yield:
Makes 24 Large Cookies
INGREDIENTS:

Peppermint Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 ¾ cups (365 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 3 tbsp corn starch

Crusting American Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
  • ½ teaspoon salt (3 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 9 cups (1080 grams) of confectioners’ powdered sugar (white powdered sugar)
  • 5-6 tbsp milk

Cookies for Santa:

  • Round and gingerbread man shaped cookies
  • Batch of buttercream
  • Tip 2
  • Brown, black and white food coloring gel
  • Tips 12 and 5
  • Clear sugar crystals
  • Cinnamon imperials

DIRECTIONS:

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

  1. Cream butter and salt together in a stand mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds to incorporate the salt into the butter.
  2. Add in both sugars and mix for one minute.
  3. Add in egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix together just until incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, and cornstarch in separate bowl. I use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients together.
  5. Add dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Mix until the cookie mix becomes a dough and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will seem a little dry but it will all come together.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and wrap in saran plastic, place in fridge for at least 15 minutes. If you flatten the dough, it gets colder quickly.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 while your dough chills.
  8. Flour your surface and roll dough out to ¼ inch thick. Cut your cookies out into desired shapes.
  9. Place about two inches apart on an aluminum restaurant grade baking sheet or non-stick baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 6-8 minutes, when the cookie puffs up and its matte on the top.
  10. Once baked, let sit for one minute on the cookie sheet to firm up then transfer to a cooling rack so they can cool completely.

MASTER TIP:

Peppermint extract and mint extract are not one and the same. They are not interchangeable. Freeze cookies unfrosted for three months, freeze frosted cookies up to three weeks.

Crusting American Buttercream

For this recipe we are going to cut the butter with vegetable base shortening to form a crust, they can still be smashed if a lot of pressure is applied. The crust will help so that the cookie doesn’t smear. The shortening helps give it a smoother texture which is great for piping cookies. They won't crust over quite as much but enough to gently stack. It is a little sweet but the powdered sugar makes a strong crust, which pairs nicely with the cookie because that’s not too sweet. It’s a perfect balance. Typically for a buttercream recipe you would mix until light and fluffy, not this recipe. You want the buttercream to be nice and smooth so we will just mix for a minute or two.

Makes About 6 Cups

  1. Cream your butter, shortening and salt in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Both must be at room temperature to prevent clumping.
  2. Once creamed, add your vanilla. Mix again for a minute.
  3. Sift your powdered sugar to make sure there are no clumps and add it in.
  4. Place a towel over your mixer to prevent a powdered sugar storm.
  5. Once mixed, add in your milk, starting with 5 tbsp. You can always add more but you can't take it out. Continue to add more than the recipe states if it's too thick. Remember temperature and humidity factor in. If you find its too soft, add in ¼ cup extra powdered sugar to thicken it up. Be careful because it will begin to taste like straight powdered sugar if you add too much.
  6. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute on medium to high speed. Be sure not to over-whip your buttercream. Don’t panic you won't ruin it if it whips longer. Store unused buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.

MASTER TIP:

I always use fresh shortening because it develops a strange taste if it is sitting in the pantry for long. Don’t overwhip because the shortening and butter get grainy after whipping too long. I use any kind of powdered sugar that the grocery store is carrying. Safeway brand seems to work great. C & h is a great one as well.

Cookies for Santa

I really wanted a cookie plate that would be fun to do with your whole family. Some of my fondest memories are getting cookies ready with my kids on Christmas eve. I am using some simple, yet effective decorating techniques that will leave Santa wanting more.

Reindeer:

  1. Turn the gingerbread man on its head. Use tip 12 and light brown, tan or white buttercream. Hold the tip ¼ inch off the cookie base and have your bag straight up and down. This will make the buttercream flow flatter. Fill the bottom half for the face.
  2. Make two ears where the gingerbread man’s hands would be. These will be your reindeer's ears.
  3. Dip the cookie straight into a plate of clear sugar crystals and gently press to fully coat. Don’t smash.
  4. With a darker shade of brown, use tip 5 and pipe on the horns. Making three to four points to the antlers on each side.
  5. Next, use tip 2 and black buttercream and make small dots for the eyes.
  6. Lastly, put a tiny dot of buttercream on where the nose will go and then put a red cinnamon imperial to make a bright red nose.

MASTER TIPS:

Make the reindeer white, light brown or dark brown.