I’m pretty sure seasonally flavored peppermint things are one of the reasons I can successfully get through the cold weather and short days of December. I look forward to it every year! So it would be pretty blasphemous if I didn’t post at least one peppermint treat here for the 2014 holiday season. I’m sneaking in a quick post here before Santa’s big day since I had to write this post ahead of time since I’m currently on safari and I figure you’re all pretty busy t-minus two days before Christmas anyway. But there’s always time for just one more peppermint recipe before January hits!

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There’s usually a cute anecdote to go with along with my recipes and why I made them, but for these I just had been wanting to make peppermint shortbread for awhile. Ryan questioned why I was whipping up a batch of cookies for no apparent reason when I made these a random week night, but I just flashed a dirty look and continued destroying our kitchen as usual. Who needs a reason to make cookies?? Especially in December! So anyway, these turned out really yummy, and even Ryan appreciated my random batch of peppermint goodies.  I’m a big fan of shortbread (I mean how can you not be with all that butter), and the kick of peppermint rounded out by the smooth dark chocolate works really well here. I used Chocoley dark chocolate melts, and they melt so pretty and make the cookies so shiny without even tempering, I’m obsessed! Sprinkled with a bit of crushed candy canes and red nonpareils, they’re totally festive while still maintaining their sophisticated shortbread look.

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All of your cookie exchanges are probably over by now, but be sure to save this recipe for next year (or make it in January, who cares??) and enjoy the buttery goodness of shortbread with a holiday flair. Happy holidays to you and your families and I wish you all a beautiful Christmas wherever in the world you’re celebrating! And be sure to follow me on Instagram (@ericasweettooth) to follow our holiday adventures in South Africa :)

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Shortbread

Recipe adapted from The Little Kitchen

Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup crushed candy canes (plus more for sprinkling on top)
6 oz dark chocolate melts
Red nonpareils
Few drops peppermint flavoring oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until well mixed.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the mixer and beat until just incorporated. Add the crushed candy canes and use a rubber spatula to mix in by hand. Split the dough into two even pieces and place each onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape them each into about 7" logs that are about 1-1/2" thick. Wrap the logs well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the logs of cookie dough and cut cookies about 1/2" thick. Place on a parchment paper or Silpat mat lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cookies are baking and cooling, melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing well in between each interval. Add a few drops of peppermint oil once melted and stir well. Dip cooled cookies into the chocolate halfway and wipe excess chocolate off on the side of the bowl. Place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with crushed candy canes and nonpareils. Transfer the cookies to the fridge for about 15 minutes to let the chocolate set.

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