I was annoyed when I found several broken peppermint candy canes in the box that I had bought to decorate my tree. I was nibbling on a piece while trying to find a nice Christmassy variation for the traditional kringle cookie from Norway and decided to use the broken pieces to decorate my cookies. When I took my first batch from the oven I found that the bits had melted and made beautiful red see-through drops. So I sacrificed the whole box of canes for my cookies and carefully filled the centre of the next batch of peppermint heart cookies with a thick layer of crushed canes. I waited anxiously for them to come out of the oven and was very pleased with the result! The candy canes melt to form pretty red stained glass centers. These peppermint heart cookies are very tasty but, if you can keep yourself from eating them all, they look even more festive in your tree than candy canes.
Peppermint heart cookie from Norway
for about 30 cookies
125 grams unsalted soft butter
175 grams sugar
1 vanilla pod
450 grams flour + extra for dusting
2½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
drop of peppermint extract
200-240 milliliters (3/4 – 1 cup) buttermilk
about 150 grams peppermint candy cane (about 10 little canes)
With an electric mixer beat the butter with the sugar for about 5 mins. until light and creamy. Beat in the egg.
With a sharp knife split the vanilla pod in two lengthwise. Scrape out the black seeds from the middle. In a bowl mix the flour with the baking powder, the vanilla seeds and the salt. Add the butter mixture, the peppermint extract and pour in the buttermilk. Knead into a soft dough, cover with cling film and leave to rest and firm up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Break the candy canes into small pieces and crush them into a coarse powder with a pestle and mortar.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Take a piece of dough of about 20 grams and roll a rope of about 18 cm/7½ inches long. Shape into a heart and place on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper. Leave about 1 inch between the cookies to spread. Carefully fill the inside of the heart with crushed candy cane. The layer should be about ¼ inch/ ¾ cm thick.
Bake the peppermint heart cookies until done in about 12 mins. They should still be pale and have a cake like consistency. Leave them to cool completely on the cookie sheet. The candy cane center of the peppermint heart cookie has to be firm.
This post is also available in: Dutch