Monday, December 20, 2010

Peppermint Bark Shortbread

Holidays and cookies. What could be better.  Each year I have a fantasy of turning my kitchen into a flour- and sugar-covered wonderland where the mixer is always on and the oven is happily chugging away and making apartment toasty, and I bake millions and bajillions of cookies.

This pretty much never happens. Maybe one day. When I have my huge-ass house with a ginormous kitchen with a massive island perfect for multiple stations for cookies in various stages of creation.  Actually, it probably wouldn't happen then either.  The expansive house and kitchen probably won't happen either.  Pretty much a useless and depressing exercise in imagination.

Until then (or never), I will make peppermint bark shortbread.  It is easy and festive--I made it for an office potluck and for cookie tins that we mailed to family (which probably should have been mailed with a pouch of shelf-safe milk since there were some other components of the cookie tin that were quite...crispy, even by the time I mailed them. Whatever it's the thought, people).

From Epicurious
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-whitestriped hard peppermint candies or candy canes (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the crap outta your candy canes or peppermint candies.  I do this by placing the candies in a resealable plastic bag (something thicker than just a sandwich bag, like the quart or gallon size because the candy shards will mercilessly rip through a sandwich bag) and beating it with a rolling pin.

Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the pan, with enough overhang on the short ends that will give you enough grip to lift the parchment and cookies out of the pan.  Spray the parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

In a mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy--a couple of minutes.

Or, as was the case with me, beat a mere 1 minute until half fluffy, half greasy because the butter was too warm. Whatevs.

With mixer on low speed, gradually mix in sugar.  Make sure to spill a good portion of it on the counter.

You'll end up with something like this.  But maybe not as greasy (see note above).

Gradually mix in flour/salt on low speed, until just combined--as in, don't wait for it to come into a ball or anything.  Scoop dough out of mixing bowl into parchment-lined baking pan.

Gently press dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan--it's going to be a thin layer, about 1/4" or 1/3" thick.  Prick all over with a fork.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Honestly, I overdid the baking a touch. The next time I paid attention to the lightly in "lightly golden" and was happier with the final results.

While the shortbread base is baking, chop up the bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. I used a combo. Like you care.

When the shortbread base is done, evenly sprinkle the chocolate all over the base.  Some of it will start to melt right away.

Cover tightly with foil and let sit for about 3 minutes, to give all the chocolate a chance to soften.

Remove the foil.  With an offset spatula (or whatever, you could use the back of a spoon), spread the chocolate into a smooth layer.

Fun.  Then, sprinkle the peppermint candies all over. 

Someone didn't work quite hard enough at beating the candy canes into submission.

Rogue piece of candy cane. 

Melt white chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan filled with an inch of simmering water.  In order to get the white chocolate to drizzling consistency, I had to add a touch of cream, like a teaspoon or so.

Dip a fork in the melted chocolate and drizzle over your concoction.

Place entire pan in refrigerator until the white chocolate sets up--at least 30 minutes. 

Some of my "drizzles" were more like blobs.

You can lift the entire massive "cookie" out of the pan and cut into desired size. 

I have final pics of the shortbread that I'll show to you later, along with the other cookie goodies I made.

But here's a Ta-da in the meantime. Ta-da! 


  1. I tend to spill sugar or other ingredients on the counter too! I'm glad it's part of the "recipe". No, but seriously, that looks delicious, rogue candy cane and all. :)

  2. that looks so tasty. WHEN IS MINE ARRIVING IN THE MAIL??!

  3. I dream of the day I make delicious Christmas cookies from scratch too, but in the meantime, I'll use Betty Crocker's bags of cookie mix. I fail. I know.

    Those bars look so good! I need some. Nom.

  4. lobster: i know, the layers make it so much more interesting. and tasty.

    minted: nothing says you've been slaving over cookies than sugar all over the counter

    sashacleo: i believe you got it yesterday

    terri: you're welcome anytime!

    hot cocoa: as if you aren't eating enough delectable stuff in hong kong!

    tiffany: thanks!

    jessica: that's not a fail. that's smart. smart as hell.

  5. This looks delicious! I love peppermint bark and never thought about making it into shortbread. Thanks for the idea!

  6. Oh man, this looks fantastic! It makes me cry inside that my husband doesn't like chocolate/mint combo - because I sure as heck do!