Last weekend Matt and I traveled to Minnesota for our annual family weekend “up north” on the Gunflint Trail. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the area, the Gunflint Trail is a 57-mile roadway that begins in Grand Marais, Minnesota and ends at Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near the U.S. border with Ontario, Canada. The weather during our stay was chilly to say the least. On Saturday the high was a balmy negative three degrees.
The weekend was the perfect get-away amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We managed to keep ourselves busy making wreaths, singing Christmas carols, hiking in the woods, and gorging ourselves on walleye chowder. Since our cabin was outfitted with an oven, I took the opportunity to do some baking. These peppermint meltaways really do melt in your mouth. The little morsels also look very festive and would be perfect displayed on a cookie platter.
Makes approximately 3 dozen
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
Always use unsalted butter for balanced flavor in your baked goods. Unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in the cookies. Although salt is a flavor enhancer, the flavor can be overpowering in a delicately flavored cookie.