Cookie Calendar: Minty Cream Wafers

And more with the mint!

Did you know that the flavor of mint appears to suppress your appetite? Sort of lends credence to that well-traveled bit of diet advice about brushing your teeth immediately after eating to curb snacking. I've heard that cinnamon also acts to curb your desire to eat. It seems that Christmas cookies are the answer to our nation's obesity crisis.

OK, maybe not.

I remember making these last year and having such a difficult time finding plain, minty candy canes. Cherry, tropical fruit, citrus -- sure! But the candy cane we all think of when we think of candy canes, the kind that are typically a dime a dozen? Nowhere to be found in the week before Christmas!

I don't remember if we ever found candy canes or if we had to resort to crushing starlight mints. I suppose we could have just gone the fresh mint route and saved ourselves some trouble, but I didn't think that it would hold up so well in storage.

At any rate, these are a sweet little cookie. Use candy canes in the filling if you like the crunch but don't mind the sticky candy taking up residence in your molars; use the mint if you're fancy and planning to serve the cookies right away before it can discolor.

Cookie Tip #11: While red and green are traditional Christmas colors, don't limit yourself in decorating your cookies! Dye frosting a deep yellow for a holiday gold, or leave it snowy white. Blue is popular for both Hanukkah and Christmas, and purple was pretty trendy last December. If you stick with red and green, your cookie platter will look pretty dull. If you go a little wild, it'll look lit up like a Christmas tree!

Minty Cream Wafers
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: 70 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • ⅓ cup evaporated milk

  • granulated sugar

  • ½ cup butter, softened

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 ⅓ cups sifted powdered sugar

  • ¼ tsp. peppermint extract (optional)

  • Red and green food coloring

  • 2 to 3 tbsp. finely snipped fresh mint or finely crushed candy cane (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 3- seconds. Beat in flour and evaporated milk. Form into ball. Cover, chill 2 hours or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with sugar. Prick each round three times with a fork. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1/2 cup butter on medium to high speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in peppermint extract, if using. Separate filling into 2 bowls. Tint one part with red food coloring and the other with green. Generously spread the bottoms of one-fourth of the wafers with red frosting and one-fourth with green frosting. Lightly sprinkle the center of the frosting with snipped fresh mint or crushed candy cane, if desired. Top with remaining wafers, bottom sides down.

Tip: If planning to store cookies for longer than three days at room temperature, do not use fresh mint as it may get dark.

Nutritional notes:
66 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 11 mg chol., 31 mg sodium, 7 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 0 g. protein, 3% vit. A, 0% vit. C, 0% calcium, 1% iron

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