Part XXVII: Cokes and Diamonds
I know you’re all probably expecting me to lay out some long, detailed rant about how I hate Christmas and damn the children and why can’t these people shut the hell up about their new iPhones. That sort of thing.
Joke’s on you, internet fans. I freaking LOVE Christmas. I love the lights. I love the food. Hell, I love crappily-made sweaters that say “Hapy Holodays” on them and jingle while you try and navigate your way through a fourth cup of something-nog.
But (ah, yes, the inevitable but). What I don’t like? People who try and tell me how to do my Christmas. Or anybody’s Christmas, for that matter.
You didn’t invent Christmas, and a bunch of Jesus-loving do-gooders hundreds of years ago didn’t either. Like most of the finer things we enjoy in the 21st century, it was stolen. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty, mostly because I’m too lazy to look up all the details, but it involved sacrifices to Thor, a tree, and a big giant feast of some sort. And I’m sure even those fine Viking fellows got those ideas from somewhere else, too.
That, right there, is the beauty of these so-called “traditions”, particularly Christmas. It doesn’t matter where the tradition came from. I can do whatever the hell I want, every year, and call it Christmas…and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. One year my Dad tried to shove 10 Christmas cookies in his mouth at once and ended up throwing up over a trash can. It was hilarious. And I can make that a Christmas tradition, every single year, if I damn well please. Hey kids, gather round the trash! Santa’s about to make a huge mistake with 8 gingerbread men! Grab your cameras!
So don’t let people mess with your holidays. That’s the moral of the story, kids. That, and make these Candy Cane Cookies. They’re both delicious, and vaguely Christmassy, so I can pretend that whole intro had some remote connection to food.
Here’s what you need:
- 3 sticks of softened butter (3/4 lb)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar (wooooo diabetes)
- 1 1/2 eggs (I know…I know. Just do the half an egg as best you can. It’s easier if you whisk the egg in a bowl first, then try and pour half out.)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 cup bread flour (don’t skimp and use AP flour here guys. It makes a difference.)
- A pinch of salt
- 3/5 teaspoons baking soda (you can thank Europe for that nice bizarre measurement. Like before, guess as best you can.)
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- 24 mini candy canes (or 8 full-sized candy canes. I recommend the baby ones, they’re easier to break up)
Here’s what you do:
First, take all that butter and sugar, cram it in a mixer, and cream it together. Spoiler: this recipe’s pretty much just butter and sugar pucks with hints of peppermint. You’re welcome, America. To the other, more civilized countries across the globe: I’m sorry if this kills you. May I suggest a thin, sugared tea wafer instead?
Scrape all the butter/sugar gunk down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs and honey. Scrape again (just scrape every time you add something, you’re a common sense kind of reader, you can figure this stuff out), then add the vanilla.
Mix the dry stuff (flours, salt and baking soda) in a separate bowl, then mix it in with the creamy sugarbutter just until they’re combined.
Next, crush up the candy canes. Put them in TWO plastic bags and roll them over with a rolling pin until they’re pellet-sized, like the picture. You don’t want them to end up as dust, but you don’t want them to be huge either. I can’t emphasize the TWO plastic bags enough. Candy cane shards are sharp, people. They will cut through a single bag, then proceed to ejaculate cane-dust across your lovely 2 square foot kitchen. Don’t be an idiot.
Add the candy cane pieces to your dough.
Now, here’s precisely where I started to screw up this recipe. See that ugly, disgusting looking flat puck of nonsense up there? That’s because I didn’t freeze my dough. The whole freezing/refrigerating part is the most important part of this recipe, and if you do it right, yours’ll look way better than mine. Meaning they’ll look like actual cookies. Not like manhole covers with candy jammed into them.
Roll your dough in a log about 2 inches wide (also something I neglected to do, as you can see), refrigerate it for an hour, then freeze it overnight. When you’re ready to bake them, take the dough out and let it sit in the fridge for another half hour, then preheat your oven to 335.
Take your dough out of the fridge, cut it into discs, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. You want the edges to be just barely brown.
After that, hopefully, you’ll have decidedly unruined and delicious candy cane treat things, instead of a bio hazard. Granted, a delicious and pepperminty bio hazard, but a bio hazard nonetheless.
Speaking of things that’re both unruined and thoroughly delicious, check out this week’s beat. It’s Andy P and Fishy with Vamo Alla Django:
Ok, so admittedly…this post is egregiously late for a Christmas post. Turns out on Christmas I like to do Christmassy things. Like opening presents, or throwing rocks at carollers. Also I got the flu, so there’s that. Just enjoy your damn cookies, and tune in next time when I hope to write this thing on a decent schedule. See you then, readers.
Addendum: I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING
So…two things. First off, the person (who shall go unnamed, but she knows who she is) who gave me this recipe gave it to me on a plain, unmarked piece of paper. What she neglected to tell me was that the recipe actually comes from the freaking Ritz. As in the huge, monolithic hotel chain, not the delicious, buttery cracker. If only it were the latter. Anyway…I don’t know where the actual recipe is to credit it, so let’s hope their lawyers take settlements in baked goods.
Second, I gave this recipe another whirl, and it turns out all that stuff about the freezing is nonsense. You just have to refrigerate it for an hour and you’re good. As usual, I’ve gone on a huge long rant and found out too late that I’m completely misinformed. Three cheers for integrity!