Cookie baking is one of my favorite winter activities and it’s even more fun when I can give them away in a cookie swap! Over the last couple weeks, I have been participating in my first Great Blogger Cookie Swap, created by Lindsay and Julie of Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. The swap involves hundreds (566 this year!) of food bloggers in multiple countries and raises funds for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. The way it works is that each blogger is matched with three other bloggers. One dozen of the same cookies are sent to each blogger that we’re assigned to by the shipping deadline. Each participant should also each get a dozen different cookies from three different bloggers!
Since I seldom ship cookies, I turned to the Betty Crocker site for a list of cookies that ship well. Russian Teacakes were on that list, so I was inspired to make a peppermint chocolate chip version of teacakes that Santa might enjoy for his Christmas Eve treat. Russian Teacakes are a fairly popular holiday cookie and go by many names: Mexican Wedding Cookies, Butterballs, Russian Tea Cakes/Cookies, Swedish Tea Cakes/Cookies, Snowball Cookies and probably many more! They are all pretty similar though: a tender shortbread type sugar cookie baked in a ball with or without finely crushed nuts and coated in powdered sugar. In this case, I chose to make the kind without nuts as I thought it would be less delicate for shipping and I didn’t want the nut flavor to interfere with the peppermint. I couldn’t help but throw in some mini chocolate chips in place of the nuts though as I do love chocolate and mint together! I was really happy with how these came out and we couldn’t stop eating my test batch. I think I may have discovered a new holiday favorite for our household. I’m really hoping they did ship well and the people I sent them to didn’t end up with peppermint flavored crumbs or peppermint balls with all the sugar shaken off.
I got cookies from all three of my matches in one day, so it was like Christmas with boxes and wrappers everywhere. It’s always a good mail day when the mailman leaves TWO keys because not all the packages will fit in a single mail overflow box!
From Heidi of Awesome With Sprinkles I got Chocolate Chili Dipped Sriracha Peanut Butter Cookies. An awesome name indeed! These peanut butter cookies are a slightly spicy twist on the standard with some heat from the sriracha and the chili chocolate. Thanks, Heidi!
From Leslie of My Kitchen is Open, I got Biscoff Dark Chocolate Cookies with Pecans. I know what I’m going to do with my jar of Biscoff now! Thanks, Leslie!
From Kudos Kitchen by Reneé I got Peppermint Shortbread Cookies in both green and red. These brightly colored cookies would brighten up any Christmas cookie plate. Thanks, Reneé!
- 1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/227g) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (2oz/56g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¼ - ½ tsp. peppermint oil (1/4 tsp for lightly flavored cookies, ½ tsp. for stronger flavor)
- red or pink food coloring
- 2¼ cups (315g/11oz) all purpose unbleached flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup (4oz/113g) mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup (4 oz) powdered sugar, sifted
- Cream together the butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, vanilla and peppermint oil in a large mixer bowl. Mix in the food coloring until it's the desired shade of pink.
- Stir the flour and salt together with a whisk, then add the flour mixture and the chocolate chips to the dough. Mix until combined. The dough may be a little crumbly, that's ok.
- Wrap the dough in a square shape in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/204C.
- Cut the dough into 24 equal cubes and roll each into a ball.
- Place the dough balls onto cookie sheets and bake each sheet for about 12 minutes, until the bottom of the cookie is just slightly browned and the cookie is set.
- Let the cookies set on the sheet for a minute or too until they are cool enough to handle, but still warm.
- While the cookies are still warm, toss them very gently in the remaining powdered sugar and move them to a rack to cool completely.
- When completely cool, gently toss the cookies in the powdered sugar mixture again.
If you don't have peppermint oil, you can use peppermint extract. 1 tsp or so will probably do it, but it depends on the brand. Some of the flavor will dissipate in the baking.