|Homemade peppermint Oreo cookies , twist-tested, taste-approved. Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Okay, okay, so let's be totally honest: these "chocolate sandwich cookies" are clearly Oreo cookies. At the risk of MIB's from Nabisco's legal department swooping in with tranq guns and a "cease and desist," I'm going to call a spade a spade -- these little morsels are homemade Oreos, and that's that. They are also freakin' delicious. Baking during the holidays is not only a nice way to create lovely handmade gifts for others, they are a great way to try new recipes and come with an opportunity to cast these sinful treats out out of the house to others' tables. For realsies, I'd have eaten the whole lot of these guys, despite the near three sticks of butter it took to make a single batch. Be still my barely-beating heart.
The homemade peppermint Oreos were adapted from one of my favorite baking bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker, aka, the lovely Michelle, who always creates beautiful goodies and her site never fails to inspire and get me off my lazy baker bottom. Her recipe was originally adapted from Gourmet Magazine, and I added a holiday tweak to it, adding pulverized candy canes to the vanilla creme filling. To make this at home, please pay a visit to Ms. BBB's site to see her recipe.
Hers were of course perfect little gems with the elegant scalloped edges. I didn't roll out the dough for these, instead cutting the wafers from chilled logs of the mixed chocolate dough. You don't get the pretty decorative edges, but I'll admit, I was on a short time schedule that day, and dough logs make for quick circular cookie shapes. I used up the extra time going totally medieval on three candy canes, going through two plastic baggies while wielding a meat mallet to reduce them to a sandy consistency ensuring the filling's consistency would stay smooth during spreading.
|Baking under the watchful eye of Miss Indy D. Pupple - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Yes, the ever-present Miss Indy watched on, with a look of cookie-longing throughout the several days' worth of holiday baking. The power of Cute was strong with this one, but the Prime does not give in, as Indy's vet would most certainly not approve. Although I was almost tempted to share a bit of an Earl Grey Tea Cookie with the pup, as it's not as heavy of a cookie as the decadent peppermint Oreos.
|Cookie, Earl Grey, hot. Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I was forwarded this recipe from a friend; it was originally on The Kitchn's site. You can take a look at their recipe here. A beautifully light-flavored dough, speckled with bits of Earl Grey tea leaves, it bakes into crisp little wafers that are perfect to enjoy with tea or coffee. The dough is mixed in a food processor to both pulverize the leaves and gradually incorporate the ingredients. I have baked this cookie with other teas like a spicy chai and I've found that the stronger tea flavors hold up best during the baking process. We drink a lot of the Stash teas at home, and I tried incorporating my favorite tea, lemon ginger, in a batch of these cookies, but the flavor just got lost in the oven's heat. If you decide to give this recipe a try and want to swap out the tea, definitely go big with the tea flavor.
|The Spice must flow... into these cookies. Photo by Wasabi Prime|
The last cookie to share is somewhat of a Wasabi Prime original. Inspired by the use of tea in cookies and a craving for the childhood favorite of fork-smooshed peanut butter cookies, Peanut Chai Spice Cookies were born.
Possessing all the familiar flavors of peanut butter cookies, these have the added warmth of chai leaves. It wasn't any particularly fancy or expensive tea -- just a few bags of Stash's chai were torn open and the contents were mixed right into the dough. The warm cinnamon flavors mixed nicely with the rich peanut butter, and a dash of cayenne pepper is also added for a subtle hint of heat. People get nervous or confused when an element of spice heat is added to desserts, but I hope this is soon overcome, because it can be a really pleasant nuance that just adds something beyond straight sweetness. As a visual reminder that these aren't the typical peanut butter cookie, a light sprinkle of paprika was added right before baking, to give a slight rouge to each cookie. I was pleased with the final result, as it was both sweet, savory, and had multiple flavors to keep the cookie interesting beyond just the straight sugar rush.
Wasabi Prime's Peanut Chai Spice Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 teabags' worth of chai (approx 2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tsp cayenne powder
Paprika powder to dust tops of cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix softened butter and brown sugar together until combined and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla extract, chai, baking soda and cayenne. Add the peanut butter and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add flour to dough until it's fully mixed, but do not overbeat. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to firm slightly before using a spoon or cookie scoop to place rows of dough balls on parchment-lined or silicone mat-covered baking sheets. Use a fork dipped in flour to create the criss-cross pattern that flattens dough balls slightly. Dust each cookie with some paprika before placing in oven. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tops are golden and the bottoms are slightly browned. Set cookies on cooling racks until fully set, and give them away before you eat them in one sitting, because that will totally, totally happen.
|Homemade gifts baked with love... and butter. - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
An extra-special thanks to Mr. Wasabi, as I was very, very, very glad (emotionally so!) to have gotten the early Christmas present of a new camera recently. I'd been wanting a DSLR for a while, and this very special gift is something we will both use. So, no, it's not like the bowling ball Homer Simpson got for Marge that said "Homer" on it. This post is a mix of photos from both the new camera and the Old Faithful point-and-shoot that has been my stalwart blog companion for almost a year; I look forward to more photographic adventures for Year 2 of the Prime. Much love and thanks to Mr. Wasabi (aka Brock), as his thoughtfulness, love and support have been the greatest gifts, all year-round.