Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A holiday gift recipe that will not usually cause recipients to explode

You all remember the scene in Monty Python's Meaning of Life where the fat guy is offered a "wafer thin mint"?

I'm nearly there myself, thanks to the holiday baking frenzy around here*.

That said, if I were to have an after dinner mint, I'd want it to be one of these.

Homemade buttercream mints | Cheesy Pennies

It'd be totally worth it.

Another thing that is totally worth it?  The 12-week Serial podcast.  Gripping doesn't even begin to describe it.  If you missed the story of Hae Min and Adnan, give it a listen.  And if you were as addicted as I was, you'll appreciate the brilliance of the SNL holiday spin even more.


Here's to inexplicable Christmas magic, great stories, and scrumptious little buttercream mints.

Homemade buttercream mints II | Cheesy Pennies


Buttercream Mints
by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight drying time
Cook Time: none

These are exactly like the melt-in-your-mouth treats that you are occasionally lucky enough to get after dinner at restaurants.  They will not cause recipients to explode, but should instead elicit nostalgic smiles and the occasional "mmmmm" sound.  Note that even with the overnight drying time, they will still be a bit soft in the middle, which makes them extra nice.  This recipe is a mash up of recipes from Averie Cooks and Jen's Favorite Cookies, and makes enough to share with loved ones as a small holiday gift.  You know what I'm sayin?

Ingredients
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • a few drops of food coloring, optional
  • 4 to 4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Instructions

Place butter, cream cheese, salt, condensed milk, extracts and food coloring into a large bowl, and mix with an electric mixer until well combined. Add 4 c. of powdered sugar, and mix on low speed until sugar is totally incorporated. The mixture should resemble soft play-dough. Add additional powdered sugar as needed.

Sprinkle a little powdered sugar onto a flat surface, and transfer the candy mixture out of the bowl. Dust a cookie sheet with additional powdered sugar.

Using your hands, form dough into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter. Slice each rope into pieces using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, and place mints onto the prepared cookie sheet. Allow mints to dry overnight, then store in a cool, airtight container.

Homemade buttercream mints III | Cheesy Pennies


* My well documented propensity for seasonal cookie baking was recognized recently by the Los Angeles Times.  I submitted my Maple Pecan Pie Bars to their Holiday Cookie Contest, and they were selected as one of their 10 favorites for 2014!  The winning bakers enjoyed a VIP tour of the paper and spent some time behind the scenes in the test kitchen with director Noelle Carter and noted food writer Russ Parsons, sampling cookies and providing recipe consults. (Why, yes, it is perfectly OK to use a 13x9 pan, Noelle.  By all means!) We wrapped up the day with a glamorous photo shoot for us and our cookies.

The bar looks awesome.  I look a bit uncertain, but the lip gloss situation is good.

BTW, the now-famous bars were the first to disappear from the Dessert Room this year.  Who says no one reads the newspaper any more?

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