This year, the downloadable Land O’Lakes holiday recipe brochure, Oh What Fun It Is To Make A Very Merry Cookie Tray, is all about creating a fun and tasty holiday cookie and treat platter.
We had a lot of fun creating the recipes for this year’s brochure. We wanted to include some new ideas that all worked well together as a festive holiday platter. Or, if you chose to just make one or two of the recipes, they would be wonderful additions to your family’s traditional cookies. Of course, "cuteness" was important too. I especially like the Peppermint Swirl Pops because they have great kid appeal – both from the "helping make" angle and the "tastes great" angle. Think of Peppermint Swirl Pops as a cookie lollipop version of candy canes.
When kids help make Peppermint Swirl Pops they may not turn out as picture perfect but they will be filled with love and a fun time will be had by all. What kid doesn’t love playing with dough? They will have a great time making the ropes of dough that are twisted together and twirled into rounds. To save time you can make the dough ahead and let the kids join the fun when it’s time make the ropes. Just let the dough soften at room temp for a bit so it’s easier to work with.
To begin, heat the oven to 400°F. Beat the sugar, butter, egg and peppermint extract in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy.
Add the flour and baking powder. Beat at low speed (you don’t want flour flying all over the kitchen) until well mixed.
Because we want to have cookies with a candy cane appearance the dough needs to be divided into two equal parts.
Add red gel food coloring to one of the halves. Red gel food coloring adds a deeper, more red, color to the dough than liquid food coloring. It is available at craft stores and some grocery stores carry it too. It can be found near the cake decorating items. If you can’t find red gel food coloring, just use the liquid food coloring as it will work fine. Your red ropes just won’t be as dark.
If you find the gel food colorings, buy white as well. Then you can add the white gel to the other half of dough. It just makes the dough a little more white and less creamy in color. Note the white gel will not turn your dough a bright white. Don’t worry if you can’t find it, your "Pops" will still turn out great! Your colored doughs will look like this:
Shape the red dough into 36 balls that are about ¾-inch across. I placed them on cookie sheets for easy transporting and counting.
Do the same with the white dough.
Refrigerate the dough balls 10 minutes so the dough will be slightly firm and easier to roll into ropes. If you are making the dough ahead, cover the balls well with plastic food wrap before refrigerating. To make each cookie, work with the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll one red ball and one white ball each into a 3-inch rope. Here’s where the kids can help. It’s kind of like playing with clay.
Roll both color ropes together to form a 12-inch rope, twisting and stretching the dough as you roll. Here’s what it looks like as you begin.
And here’s what a 12-inch twisted rope looks like.
Pinch the dough together at each end so the rope doesn’t come untwisted. Now loosely coil the rope into a round spiral shape.
Repeat until you have formed 36 cookies. Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and gently insert a lollipop stick into each. Lollipop sticks are sold at craft stores.
Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the cookies are set but not browned. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Adding a festive ribbon to the lollipop stick dresses them up even more.
Just cut a piece of ribbon and tie in a bow around the stick. Aren’t these just adorable?
I’d love to hear about your favorite cookie tray recipes and if you try Peppermint Swirl Pops, please come back to rate and review the recipe.
Come back in a few days when Mallory will share another crafty holiday cookie.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.