Kate of the popular blog Savour Fare is an amazing home cook, mom and lawyer. Today she is sharing with us these amazing Christmas cookies she made for her family the other week. I have bought these at the store before, too, so now I am so excited to have a recipe to make at home! Take it away, Kate: One of the joys of the holiday season is baking Christmas cookies. On Saturday mornings in December, my daughter and I wake up, head to the kitchen, and, armed with a cup of warm milk (her) and hot coffee (me), begin the ritual of mixing and stirring, rolling and cutting. The ritual of baking cookies says “holiday” to me.
But sometimes I encounter a storebought holiday treat that’s so tempting (or addictive) that I just can’t resist buying them. One of these are the Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s sold at Trader Joe’s. Available only at holiday time, these are basically an Oreo with crushed up candy canes in the filling. Sounds basic, right? But the sum is so much more than its parts. The bits of candy cane stay crunchy in an entirely different way than the cookies stay crunchy. And the whole thing just begs to be dipped in a glass of milk and eaten. In vast quantities.
That’s why I decided to combine the joys of Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s with the joys of baking holiday cookies, and make a homemade version, which I have dubbed Candy Cane Faux-Jo’s. This way, my kiddo and I can share the joy of baking and eating this holiday season.
Candy Cane Faux-Jo’s
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate cookies:
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 c unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used a very dark Callebaut cocoa)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. sugar
10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 T) salted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 c. salted butter (1/2 a stick)
1/4 c. vegetable shortening (measure it by filling a Pyrex cup to 3/4 cup with water, then adding shortening until the water level reaches 1 cup)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1.5 ounces candy canes
In a food processor, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and pulse until it’s incorporated, then add the egg. Preheat the oven to 375. Chill the dough for a few minutes in the refrigerator while your oven is preheating.
Take rounded teaspoons of the batter and form them into balls, placed evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Because these are sandwich cookies, it’s important to make the balls as evenly sized and shaped as possible — I found a melon-baller to be useful. With the heel of your hand, flatten each ball slightly — you want them to look like chubby disks.
Bake for 9 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
Crush the candy canes — you want there to be recognizable shards, but nothing too big. I found the best way to do this was to put the canes (I used mini) in a Ziploc bag, bang them with a rolling pin until they were in small pieces, then roll them with said rolling pin until I had candy cane dust/powder.
To make the filling, combine the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and add until combined. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add the extract, beat until combined, then add your candy cane “dust” and stir until just combined.
To assemble the cookies, try to match up your cookies with a pair of roughly equal size and shape. Place the filling in a pastry bag and, using a 1/2 inch pastry tip, pipe a small blob of filling right in the center of one of your cookies. Using the other half of the sandwich, press the halves together until the filling has spread to the edge, or nearly. Repeat for the remaining sandwiches.
Try to restrain yourself.