7 Christmas Bakes with Philippa Davis: #3 Chocolate Candy Cane Crunch Cookies

PUBLISHED: 21:41 17 November 2020

Candy Cane Crunch - put out for Santa Photo: Philippa Davis

Candy Cane Crunch - put out for Santa Photo: Philippa Davis

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This American inspired cookie is ideal to leave out for Santa and has a sweet minty Christmassy crunch

The tradition of leaving out cookies and milk for Father Christmas in the USA began during the Great Depression of the early 1930s as parents wanted to remind their children that even during challenging times it was important to think of others. This festive recipe was inspired by some of my American friends who introduced me to candy cane ice-cream. I was so excited by the sweet minty Christmassy crunch that it inspired me to come up with other recipes using them, including this one. This is a fun to make with kids but be warned you will need extra chocolate chips and candy canes as they won’t all make it into the mix. These will last for a few weeks …unless Santa raids the cookie jar!

Makes approximately 35

250g room temperature salted butter

Candy Cane Crunch - easy to bake at home Photo: Philippa DavisCandy Cane Crunch - easy to bake at home Photo: Philippa Davis

200g granulated sugar

220g soft brown sugar

2 free range eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp mint extract

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

375g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

300g white or plain chocolate chips

To decorate

400g icing sugar

4 tsp peppermint extract

4-5 tbsp water

10 candy canes, crushed

Method

1 Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugars until well combined, then add the eggs, vanilla and mint and combine.

2 In a small cup mix the bicarb and cider vinegar. Turn off the mixer and tip in the flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips and bicarb mix. Turn the mixer back on and beat until just combined.

3 Form the dough into two 5cm diameter logs, wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours. At this stage the dough will keep in the fridge for at least a week or a few months in the freezer.

4 When ready to cook, pre heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas mark 6 and line two flat sheets with baking paper. Slice the dough into 2cm thick disks and place them, spread out, on the baking sheets. Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until the edges are just looking a little more golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you make the icing.

5 Mix the icing sugar with the peppermint extract and water until you have a smooth thick mix. Spoon onto each of the cooled cookies then sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Leave the icing to harden before moving.

My top tips for perfect bakes

- Weigh out all your ingredients before you start mixing, it’s easy to get distracted and forget to put one in.

- When chilling doughs for rolling out at a later stage, form into discs rather than balls as they chill quicker, more evenly and are easier to roll out.

- Even new ovens tend to bake slightly unevenly so I usually swap around the baking sheets half way through cooking.

Philippa Davis is an international private chef and food writer, who when not travelling the world, is in Dorset. Follow her food adventures on Instagram

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