Peppermint Meltaways

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There’s nothing like getting in the Christmas spirit. Yet somehow, every year I find myself wishing we could add on an extra week to the beginning of December. Between shopping for presents, decorating the house, attending holiday parties, and baking cookies—its seems as though there is never enough time! Although I do a TON of baking in December, I’m never able to post all the goodies I make. This year I decided to share one of my favorite recipes that I’ve made several times.

I made these peppermint meltaway cookies for a holiday party that Matthew and I had at our apartment. Let’s talk about these cookies a little bit… the addition of cornstarch makes for an incredibly delicate and flaky cookie. They truly do melt in your mouth! The addition of peppermint in both the dough and frosting makes these little morsels a true delight. I like to create fairly small cookies with the dough so you can just pop one into your mouth!

I’ll be signing off of Sweet Precision until the New Year so I hope that everyone has a truly special holiday season with family, friends, and loved ones.

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Peppermint Meltaways
Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Ingredients
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

Frosting Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Directions
In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. In another bowl, whisk flour and cornstarch; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350°. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread or pipe over cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before shaping the cookies into balls. This will help them retain their shape and prevent spreading in the oven. Add the milk to your frosting last and incorporate one teaspoon at a time. This way you can determine how “stiff” you want your frosting. I like mine to be a little less runny, which helps when piping onto the cookies.

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The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

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This post is dedicated to everything sugar cookie related. Since the Christmas holiday is right around the corner, I know many of you will be heading into the kitchen to make some sugar cookies. I had a blast making mine this year! The recipe that I’m sharing today isn’t a new one on Sweet Precision, but I wanted to post it again because it’s my go to recipe every year.

Today, I’m going to share my top three tips for baking sugar cookies. This comes after many baking failures and mishaps in the kitchen making sugar cookies. I always say that mistakes are how we learn in the kitchen. Hopefully I can save you a few baking disasters this holiday season!

1. Chill your dough at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before using (overnight is even better). Every recipe tells you to do this because IT WORKS. The alternative is dough that is too soft and won’t hold its shape.

2. Often recipes call for you to bake cookies until the outer crust is “golden brown”. Sugar cookies are an exception to this rule. You want to catch the cookies BEFORE the edges develop that golden hue. This way you can ensure your cookies will be soft and not crunchy.

3. Repeat after me… I will NEVER EVER place my cookies on a warm cookie sheet. If you’ve done this, you know that the cookies begin to spread even before you get them in the oven. This results in cookies that are not uniform in shape and size.

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Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe
Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Directions
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and light in color. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Next add vanilla and lemon extract. Slowly stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. After dough has come together, shape into two or three balls, cover with plastic wrap and chill. Chill at least three hours in the fridge but preferably overnight. If you are pressed for time, you can use the freezer to speed up the process.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar. Remove one pack of chilled dough at a time and roll out to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Your dough can be slightly thicker or thinner based on how long you will bake your cookies. As you are rolling, frequently check to make sure that it’s not sticking to the table. Use cookie cutter to cut into your desired shape and place on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Did you know that the color of your baking sheet will affect your baking time? In my kitchen, my favorite cookie sheet is a shiny aluminum pan that was passed down from my parents. Aluminum pans result in evenly browned cookies. This year I just invested in two new aluminum cookie sheets from Amazon that are amazing.

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The Tenth Day of Christmas: Key Lime Thumbprints

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I was at the mall last weekend and I saw lines of little kids waiting to get their picture taken with Santa Claus. It reminded me of the giddy feeling you get as a little kid when you’re face to face with what you believe the be the man himself—Old Saint Nick. It’s funny when you watch the demeanor of the little kids. Some are as happy can be, and are clearly running down a serious list of presents with Santa in the short time they have. Then there are others that look absolutely petrified, as if sitting in Santa’s lap is the absolute last place they want to be in the world.

Do you have a memory of sitting in Santa’s lap? I went in search of some pictures of a young Heather with Santa came up with two that I thought were pretty great.


For the tenth day of Christmas I adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart for Key Lime thumbprint cookies. These tiny morsels are a refreshing break from traditional thumbprint cookies which are usually filled with jam or chocolate. The center packs a powerful punch of lime flavor with both fresh lime juice and zest as ingredients. The shortbread dough and lime filling make for a unique and satisfying combination.

Day Ten: Key Lime Thumbprints 
Adapted from Martha Stewart
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Ingredients for Dough
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
For the dough, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy. Add yolks and vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour and salt until combined. Cover, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. For the filling, whisk granulated sugar, flour, and eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in lime zest and juice and salt.

Roll balls using 2 teaspoons dough for each. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. With the handle of a wooden spoon, press gently in the center of each to create an indentation. Bake for 10 minutes. Press centers if indentations lose definition. Spoon filling into centers. Bake until cookies are light brown around edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
If it seems you’re always short on time around the holidays, consider making your cookie dough in advance. Cookie dough can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight freezer bag wrapped in foil. That way you can make your cookie dough on a relaxing summer day in June and tuck it away for the holidays. Just remember to let your dough stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

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