cane and able

Every Christmas Eve, I have dinner with my immediate family, and spend the latter portion of the night BSing and watching approximately three showings of “A Christmas Story” with my 2.5 Jewish friends and assorted others at my friend Jackie’s house. It’s been a tradition of ours since middle school. A few years ago, we started a new tradition: the retelling of one of my most shining moments of brilliance.

See, Jackie has this snowman statue outside her front door (at left). And if you’ve ever read any of my posts, you know I’m a proponent of word play — especially the corny kind. So upon seeing this snowman five or so years ago, I thought I was clever commenting on his accessories in what I thought was the ‘punniest’ way possible…

Me: Nice snowman, Jac.
Steve: I like his top hat.
Me: I like his candy CANE — get it?! He’s using it like a cane?
[full minute of silence]

Yup. It wasn’t until age 20 that I realized the parallel between the candy cane moniker and its shape is no coincidence. (I promise I’m not as brain dead as this story suggests.) With Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, though, I don’t have to worry about that whole walking stick shape thing because the sharp minty flavor is packed into chewable little drops of awesome, and these cookies successfully put those little dollops on display.

Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses

♦1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-1/4 c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. finely chopped Candy Cane flavored Hershey’s Kisses (about 15)
granulated sugar for rolling
about 30 Candy Cane Kisses

Make sure there’s room enough in your freezer for a cookie sheet. Combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg.Beat at medium speed for about three minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture and beat for about two minutes. The mixture will be very crumbly. Stir in chopped Kisses. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a Candy Cane Kiss in the center of each cookie. Hold the outsides of the cookie together as they will crack a little with the pressure. Place cookies immediately into the freezer to allow Kisses to set; otherwise, they will melt into a sloppy mess. When set, store in a covered container at room temperature.

Total time? 20 prep, 12 minutes bake, 30 minutes set. 
$2.50 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses (one package), $3 mint extract
Overall success relative to expectations? 6 out of 10. These cookies are pretty dense; I’m going to guess it’s due to the bevy of butter and the use of powdered sugar in the mix instead of granulated. I wanted a little more mint out of the cookie itself (would consider using 2 tsp. of extract next time), and while the whole Kiss on top has nice to look at it, it makes consumption of the cookie a little less convenient. Maybe it would have been better to leave them out of the freezer and take my chances with those sloppy Kiss puddles.


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