Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Media ServicesBread pudding, or stratas, as they are sometimes called, are perfect for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Since they must be made ahead before baking, these Originally Published December 27, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated December 27, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.
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Tribune Media Services

This Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread is a perfect treat for gatherings throughout the year.

Chocolate and peppermint is a flavor match hard to beat. I’m a fan of this combination in mousses, ice cream, soufflés and cakes, so why not in a crumbly classic cookie like this shortbread? This is one of the many delectable cookies you’ll find in Betty Crocker’s Big Book Of Cookies, which is full of excellent ideas and tips to help the novice baker become a pro cookie-baker.

I love the way this shortbread is baked in round pie plates so each cookie is cut into a pretty triangle. They really look festive on a white platter. Simple to prepare and serious in flavor, these cookies are my final farewell to the holidays. Consider these for your New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day celebrations.

Don’t forget to cut the rounds into wedges while they are warm, but do not remove them from the pie plates until they are completely cool so they won’t break. Also, for the best red color, look for candy canes that have bright red striping. The round peppermint candies have a larger proportion of white candy to the red color. I found that out the hard way when my cookies looked white with just a tiny hint of red.

I like to serve a platter of these on the table along with seasonal peppermint ice cream for a dreamy combination. Save one for yourself. A big glass of milk and one of these gems is a must for the baker.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

Makes 32 cookies

Shortbread:

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, melted, cooled

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

Glaze and topping:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons chopped miniature peppermint candy canes

Directions:

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2 (9-inch) glass pie plates with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, chocolate and peppermint extract with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour and 1/3 cup cocoa. Divide dough in half. With lightly floured hands, press dough evenly in pie plates.

Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until edges just begin to pull away from sides of pie plates. Cool in pie plates 5 minutes. Carefully cut each round into 16 wedges. Cool completely in pie plates on cooling rack, about 30 minutes.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and enough of the milk until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over wedges; sprinkle with candies. Transfer to a platter to serve.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 20 cookbooks, including her most recent, Seriously Simple Parties (Chronicle Books, 2012), and is also a James Beard award-winning radio-show host. Contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

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