Nosh: Peppermint Palmiers

OK, I admit it, cookie friends.  Palmiers have always kind of intimidated me.  Why?  Oh, you know…They have curlicues, they look elaborate.  But what is the thing we do when things scare us?

No, “run away” is not the correct answer.

We face our fears!  We go to the mountaintop!  We make the sodding palmiers!

Peppermint, please.  Here’s the recipe.

Readers, bear this in mind: this recipe calls for three tablespoons of creme de menthe liqueur.  If you do not want to use any sort of alcohol, please feel free to substitute peppermint extract for the creme de menthe.

First things first: whip your butter for thirty seconds, and then mix it in with brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.

Butter, sugar. Yeah, we're starting on the right foot.

Butter, sugar. Yeah, we’re starting on the right foot.

Then add the wet stuff: eggs, creme de menthe, milk, vanilla.

Whipping things up in central PA.

Whipping things up in central PA.

Then mix in your flour.  I was able to mix all the flour in for this dough with the blender since it’s a pretty soft dough that is ultimately supposed to be bendy.  Mold it into  a rectangle, wrap it in plastic and stick it in your fridge to firm up.  The recipe recommends at least three hours and so do I; it needs to be firm enough to handle being worked on and I can’t stress enough that it’s a soft dough and will become sticky fairly readily once it warms up.

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To the fridge with ye!

Now, start on your filling.  The first thing to do is crush your peppermints.  I thought about using a food processor, but I worried that the heat from the motor would melt the candy into useless goo.  (If anyone has suggestions about this, I’d love to hear them.)  There’s always the “put ’em in a bag and whack ’em with a frying pan” method, but I prefer to have a slightly more precise method of control.  What I found worked?  A mortar and pestle.  And six standard-sized candy canes.

Crush. To smithereens.

Crush. To smithereens.

Then mix in all your filling ingredients in a nothin’ fancy kind of way, including a few drops of food coloring, until everything is blended and appropriately pink.

Pinkness achieved.

Pinkness achieved.

And then let that hang out in your fridge until you’re ready to roll out your dough.

The next series of steps is best conveyed by pictures rather than by text, so keep your eyes peeled for the visual feast.

Cut your dough in half.  Put one half on a well-dusted workspace, and re-wrap the other half to stay in the fridge until you need it.

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Soon to be a cookie.

Cut into a 12×8 rectangle.  Achieve this through the clever use of measuring tools.

Measure twice, cut once.

Measure twice, cut once.

Put half the filling in the prepared doughy rectangle.

Make sure you leave about a half-inch border around your dough.

Make sure you leave about a half-inch border around your dough.

And then roll the sides in.

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And roll.

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And roll.

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Once you get to this point, seal the seam of your cookies with some water, wrap in plastic and place it in the freezer overnight.  Yes, the freezer.  Then repeat with the other half of the dough.

Twenty-four hours later…

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, preheat your oven to 350°F, and take one frozen roll out of the freezer.  Cut it into quarter-inch slices.

Again with the clever use of tools.

Again with the clever use of tools.

You’ll get individual slices that look something like this.

Hello, beautiful.

Hello, beautiful.

Give them some space on the baking sheet because they will expand when they bake, and repeat with the second frozen cookie roll.  Work quickly!  They’ll soften up if you don’t and become nearly impossible to cut.

The recipe said to bake for ten minutes (remember to rotate the pans at least once during baking), but I let mine go longer.  Significantly longer; they were in for about fifteen minutes.  But it worked.  By the time the bottoms were done I had a batch of beautiful, delicate, minty cookies that–though were admittedly time-consuming–weren’t that difficult at all.

Feast.

And what are you having?

Enjoy, everyone!

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