A Noble Cardinal and Butter Mint Cookies

 

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These buttery cookies will literally melt in your mouth, ending with a satisfying minty crunch. I’m thinking ahead to Christmas here–Butter Mint Cookies would be an asset to any cookie tray, and can be made and frozen a month ahead. Hope you enjoy!

Butter Mint Cookies

Use
This is the type of mint candy to use. Crushing one cup of candies in the blender will yield 3/4 cup crushed candy.

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup finely crushed soft mint candies (about 1 cup mints)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour

Using a large, sturdy spoon, cream the butter thoroughly. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Then add 1/4 cup of the crushed mint candies, and continue to stir. Beat in the water and vanilla. (Do the best you can, the mixture won’t totally combine.) Add in the flour, and using your impeccably clean hands, combine with the butter mixture. The dough will be firm, almost clay-like. Set the dough aside while you tidy up.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the dough into one-inch balls and place on lined cookie sheet. (This recipe makes about 36 cookies, so place 18 balls of dough for the first baking, 18 for the next.) Bake until the bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the remainder of the crushed mints into a bowl. Take a warm cookie from the baking sheet and toss with the crushed mints. Lift the warm cookie straight up and out of the crushed candy, allow a little mound of candy to remain on top of the cookie. As the cookie cools, the candy will melt a bit and form a crispy coating.

Baking notes: The original recipe called for “butter mints,” but to my surprise, I couldn’t find them anywhere. These soft mint candies are an excellent substitute. Use your blender to crush the candies. It will take three or four times to whizz the candies and then stir them down to crush them. They don’t have to be perfectly even. The easiest way to mix in the flour is with your hands. Normally, I like to form cookies using a cookie scoop, but in this case it’s best to make the 1-inch balls with your hands.

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Noble Cardinal

This fall there are two male cardinals inhabiting our garden, and I’m wondering if one is the father and the other a son. I think this is the son, proud and noble.

(I am slightly nervous as I write this, because the house next door to us is being torn down, and right now I see a heavy earth mover thundering past our living room window. Hope his aim is good! It’s kind of like having a T. Rex lumbering around next door and trying not to notice.) Peace to you. Fran

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