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  • Mary Kay

Peppermint Wreath Ice Box Cookies

Day 17 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories"

Gram's Butternut Ice Box Cookies are so good that I have transformed them into Peppermint Wreath Cookies with candy cane sprinkles and my buttercream frosting to round out the wreath design.

It's easy! Just use Gram's Butternut Ice Box Cookie recipe which is also on my site. I've included it below along with my substitutions for the Peppermint Wreath version. I've dropped the nuts and substituted Peppermint extract. Plus, I've added a layer of chocolate candy melts, topped with rough chopped candy cane peppermints. Then, I encircle the top of the cookie with my buttercream frosting, colored green or white. A red M&M accents the base of each wreath. Yum!

This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Prepare the cookie sheets:

Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Preheat the oven:

- A few minutes before you are ready to bake the cookies, set the oven temperature to 375F degrees.

- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Ice Box Ingredients:

1 C Shortening or lard (I sometimes use half butter)

1 C Sugar

1 C Brown sugar

3 Eggs, large

1 t Peppermint extract

½ C Sour cream

4 C Flour, or more

2 t Soda (Baking soda)

1 t Salt

Decorating Ingredients:

4 Candy canes, rough bits

Buttercream frosting for piping the wreath

4-6 oz Chocolate candy melts for spreading on the cookies

Green gel coloring for the wreath frosting

60 Red M&Ms to decorate the wreath

Mix the cookie dough:

- Using shortening or lard will make the cookies a little softer while using butter will make them crispier. It's your choice.

- Beat the sugars and shortening together until creamy and smooth. (Gram noted on her handwritten copy of the recipe that she sometimes used 2 cups of brown sugar in place of 1 cup white and 1 cup brown. She always had lard on hand to use in all of her baking, including cookies, pies, etc. She never bought shortening until her later years when they no longer had any animals on the farm to provide the lard.)

- Beat the sugars and shortening together until creamy and smooth.

- Add the eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition.

- Stir in the peppermint extract and sour cream, blending well. Set aside.

- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, soda (baking soda) and salt. (In Gram’s handwritten recipes she refers to soda, even though today’s recipes specifically call for baking soda.)

- Mix the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl until well combined.

- Form into two long cylinders in plastic wrap, rolling them about 2-4” in diameter. The smaller around the cylinders are, the longer they will be and the more cookies you will get out of the batch. They do not spread a lot while baking.

- Wrap the cylinders in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours. I find that overnight works best.

- Bake at 375F degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown around the edges. I like to get them a little golden in the centers, too, for a crispier cookie.

- Let the cookies cool. I usually make them a day before I want to share them.

Decorate the wreaths:

- After freezing them overnight I pull them out and spread a thin layer of melted chocolate candy melts on top of each cookie. These can be melted in the microwave according to the instructions on the package.

- While the melted chocolate is still wet, sprinkle some broken up candy cane peppermints on top.

- Let all the cookies dry before piping frosting on them.

- Mix a recipe of buttercream frosting. There are many available online. I have a recipe that I found and have been using for over 20 years. I like to beat meringue powder into my frosting so that it sets overnight. That way the cookies pack much better and can be layered between parchment paper without smashing the frosting. - I color the frosting with green gel coloring for piping the wreath design.

- Prepare a piping bag with a medium star tip and fill with the frosting.

- Pipe a green wreath around the outer edge of each cookie.

- Place a red M&M at the base of each wreath. An option would be to color some of the frosting red and pipe a little bow on the base of the wreath.

- Let the cookies dry for a few hours or overnight for easier no-smudge packing.

This is a fun recipe and makes a fun decorating project for the kids to help with. Kids love to crush the candy canes in a sealable plastic bag. They can help spread the melted chocolate candy melts on the cookies, then sprinkle the peppermints on top. Teach them some eye to hand coordination by helping them pipe the frosting for the wreath design. Let them practice on parchment paper - it's fun to "Bake your own Memories!

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