Every year deserves a new holiday cookie. For Amaya's birthday we served an assortment of cupcakes from Sugar and Sunshine Bakery in Plainsboro, NJ. One of the most popular varieties among our group was the peppermint cupcake. It was a light gols cake with white icing that generously coated with peppermint dust. Had we been a bit more on the ball there would be pictures but in the chaos of the moment the camera was forgotten.
Fast forward a few days and we were discussing Christmas cookies. Last year we were on a cruise until right before Christmas and basically missed the entire cookie season. I am determined to have my cookies this year and spent the afternoon making doughs to bake next week. Alex originally requested a peppermint stick cookie inspired by those cupcakes but when he came back from the store there had been a change of plans. He had fallen for the siren call of the peppermint bark and it was broken and folded into the dough instead. We used a blend of white and light brown sugar to give a light butterscotch flavor to enhance the bark without overpowering it.
8 ounces unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2.25 cups (11.25 ounces) all purpose flour
1 11-ounce box of Peppermint Bark, roughly chopped
Put the butter, sugar, light brown sugar, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a standing mixer and use the paddle or a beater blade to cream them together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each one is fully absorbed before adding the next. Add the peppermint and vanilla extracts and mix until blended. Stop the mixer and add all of the flour. Start it again on the lowest setting and mix until just blended. Slowly pour in all of the bark and then stop the mixer. Fold the dough a couple of times by hand with a rubber spatula to make sure the bark is well dispersed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°F
Line 3 sheet trays with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to put 1.5 tablespoons sized balls of dough on the sheet pan leaving 2-inches between each cookie, approximately 12 cookies per pan. Bake for for 8-11 minutes, rotating the pans once until the cookies are just set in the center and brown around the edges. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes, preferably 15, before tasting.