Snow Days….

When asked my favorite Christmas movie people are often surprised by the answer. Why you ask? Because most people have never heard of it.
I only saw it twice when I was a kid, as it was on HBO. I own it now but it is not the same as Kermit the Frog was in the origninal and do to legal stuff it was cut out. That movie is Emmet Otters Jug-Band Christmas. It was put out by Jim Henson (you know the Muppet guy) in 1977. Yep, it’s an oldie…but a goodie. I’m not sure why I like it so, perhaps because I made my 8th graders join a jug band (but that’s a story for another time). Perhaps because I love otters. Perhaps because I love an underdog story. Either way, sitting down to watch with a cup of hot chocolate is one of my most happy holiday times. And even better was getting to watch it today while the snow falls down. We don’t get a lot of snow around these parts, so the ½ foot of snow outside (and still falling) is quite odd.
The snow has sent everyone into a giant tissy. On Wednesday they canceled school because snow was predicted…didn’t come to most places but was predicted (we got it though). My friends and family in Canada find that most amusing. As do I, though in there defense our area doesn’t really have the equipment to deal with snow. I think there are just a handful of snow plows. Plus we have lots of hills. The post office is still delivering but the wimps at UPS are not. Same with our garbage guys. We now get to sit with our garbage and extra week.
But me, what has the snow done to me? It’s made me bake. When I was younger, once the first flake hit the ground I knew what that meant. That meant my mother would be baking, anything and everything. I guess it’s genetic as I baked 20 dozen or so cookies yesterday as the snow came pouring down. Among those cookies were these scrumptious shortbread that I saw over on the Examiner. They come from a local bakery and they are a perfect cookie for this time of year.
These are simple to make, though you might panic when you make the dough and it doesn’t come together. Just dump it in the pan and press it down and when it starts to bake it all comes together. The original recipe calls for dipping the tops, but I chose the side because I am lazy and it is easier that way.
Hope you get time to sit around and watch your favorite holiday movie this year. Hopefully with some snow and hot chocolate…and maybe these cookies as well.

Peppermint Bark Shortbread

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 TBSP for the top
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white rice flour (I only had about 1/3 cup so I used cake flour for the other 2/3 cup)
½  TBSP salt
Parchment paper

In a standard mixer or with a hand-held beater, cream sugar, butter and peppermint extract until light and fluffy.
Add flours and salt and combine until mixture just starts to come together. (The dough should be crumbly but stick together when squeezed.) Don’t panic as the dough will be very crumbly, when they start to bake they will form into a cookie.
Line a 12-by-16-inch pan with parchment (I used a 9 by 13-inch pan just fine). Place dough into the pan and break up any large clumps, spreading evenly.
Press dough down gently and sprinkle the remaining sugar on top I skipped the extra sugar).
With a rolling pin or drinking glass, roll out the dough evenly. (Use a little additional sugar if the dough sticks to the rolling pin.)
With a meat tenderizer or fork, press indentations into the top of the shortbread. (This prevents the shortbread from rising unevenly.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until shortbread is golden brown.
Cut into squares while still warm and remove cookies from pan to cool.
Makes 24 2-by-2 inch cookies

16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1TBSP vegetable oil
Crushed candy canes (8-10 mini canes)

To finish, melt chocolate and vegetable oil over double boiler or in a microwave, watching constantly to prevent chocolate from burning. When melted, remove from the heat and stir to cool slightly.
Dip bottoms of shortbread in melted chocolate (I did just the side), then dip in crushed candy canes.  Place on parchment to dry.

Source: Adpated from Sugar Bakery & Cafe right here in beautiful Seattle.

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  1. Snow makes me want to bake as well :-)

    Yet another tantalizing treat, Peabody!! You never disappoint.

  2. What a delicious taste of the season! These look wonderful.

  3. Now that’s just not fair, combining my two favourite holiday foods at a time when I’m trying to cut back on my sugar ;-) Certainly won’t be making this today, having had 96 grams already, but it’s going in the save pile!

  4. These look so yummy and so cute. I’m bookmarking these to go in my holiday treat boxes next year. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Oh, I love Emmett Otter! It’s my favorite. I agree that the DVD that’s available now is not as good as the original. Luckily, I still have a taped-off-TV version from when I was little. How nerdy is that? :)

  6. These shortbread cookies look yummy! I am currently praying for a snow day tommorow (we have 1/4 inch of ice predicted) so I can get halfway ready for Christmas! :)

  7. Peabody!! I’ve been so busy and barely able to visit my favorite blogs… I hope you’ll forgive me. These cookies are not only adorable, but they sound delicious (uh… shortbread? chocolate? peppermint? weeeeeeeee!) You need to get out there and show the locals how to deal with snow. I can’t believe you lived in AZ and didn’t melt there. xxoo

  8. You did it again. I got drool on my keyboard. {sigh} Question: could I sub the rice flour with 100% cake flour or would it negatively affect flavor/texture completely if I did that? I don’t have rice flour on hand but I could always pick some up (I’m just a little lazy to go out in the cold – lol) Funny you mention Jim Henson. Last night the hubs and I were watching Muppets in Space on TV (ondemand) LOL!

  9. I just went for a dr. appt today, and actually lost weight. That means I get to make these :)

    That is my mother’s absolute favorite movie too! It’s darling.

  10. How gorgeous are those? I tend to bake more when it snows too! I may have to bake these up very soon.

  11. These look beautiful! It was 70 degrees here today, so it’s strange to be doing all this Christmas baking that I’ve been doing, but it’s my favorite baking time of the year :)

  12. Those look Amazing!! but holy cow – 20 dozen cookies!!!??? What I’m wondering is not how you had the stamina to make that many, but how much flour you keep on average in your house at once. That’s a lot of cookies!

  13. I’m so stoked you tried my recipe…it is a sure keeper and goes well with hot chocolate for sure. I like what you did with the alternate dipping style too.

    OH, and regarding subbing 100% cake flour…that makes sense because rice flour doesn’t have gluten so it makes the shortbread nice and sandy. You’re on the right track since cake flour has less protein…but I’m a little worried about it being gummy…if you had any organic sugar that was coarser, maybe add a little of that as part of your sugar to simulate the sandy texture. Let us know how they turn out.

  14. i love peppermint bark but i’d never though of combining it with shortbread-but what a delicious combo! My mom makes the best shortbread so I’m definitely excited to try this. I’ll be featuring this recipe on my blog tomorrow-thanks for sharing :)

  15. You said the magic words “Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas.” Hubby and I just watched it the other night… it was his first experience of the jug band. I couldn’t believe he’d never seen it before! I still get chills when I watch it.

    Oh, and the cookies look great! :)

  16. BEAUTIFUL…what a pretty & indulgent shortbread. Yes, the nip in the air does make baking so much fun! Happy holidays to you & your family!

  17. You’ve captured two of my favorite holiday treats ( shortbread and peppermint bark) in one fantastic cookie. They look awesome!

  18. Knew there was a recipe waiting for some candy canes I liberated from my old work…heehee. These look amazing!

  19. What pretty shortbreads! Very neatly decorated!



  20. Gorgeous Pea! I’m seeing shortbread everywhere. Love the idea of coating it with peppermint!

  21. We got about 3 – 4 inches near the U Dist. I was thinking about making some chocolate shortbread with white chocolate and peppermint. :)

  22. Hee, I remember last summer when everyone was all “It’s so hot! Don wanna bake!” And I was like, “lolz whats everyones prob?” :P I am certainly liking the baking climate more now, though I miss the summer fruits :) Great shortbread Pea!

  23. i want to make these, i love peppermint bark but mine always separates! these are so pretty too. (the snow makes me want to cook too)

  24. Seriously, how do you do it — combine two favorite holiday cookies into one even better cookie??! Definitely will be trying this bark technique on my mother-in-law’s shortbread cookie recipe.

  25. Bring on the bitter coffee, I am making these delicious cookies and need something to wash down all the sweetness!

  26. My husband LOVES emmet otter! I actually bought it on dvd for him this year, because his ratty old VHS from childhood was getting a little rough. LOL

  27. May the snow keep falling so you keep baking delicious looking things!

  28. That’s such a simple way to do the peppermint bark thing. (and I like cookies better anyway!)

  29. The second best place to be on a cold blustery day is baking in a warm kitchen…next to a beach on some tropical island of course.

  30. Your shortbread looks great. I jsut made some myself…it doesn’t last long!!!

  31. Even though it no longer has any impact on me, I still get excited when I hear school closures on the radio…

  32. This looks so good! Given how many treats I have already made, it’s probably a good thing I found this a little late ;) But I will definitely make it at some point. Anything with a shortbread base is great in my book.

  33. Shortbread is one of my favorites, and you just upped the ante (again). Super yum.

  34. I love that movie! I haven’t seen it in years so I didn’t realize they cut Kermit out! How sad! I was just thinking of all those old Henson movies – do you remember Musicians of Bremen?

  35. So festive and pretty! You can’t go wrong with shortbread and chocolate!!

  36. We’re having a snow day over here as well! Although it’s very frustrating and makes me -not- want to bake, since it’s so dark out.

  37. Who made you such a genius?! This looks like my soon to be favorite holiday dessert.

  38. these look delicious! perfect for the snowy day we had here in NYC today. i love emmet otter, too…he and his jug band are so cute!

  39. LOVED Emmet Otter and the Jug Band!! Can’t get anybody to watch it with me yet. Batman doesn’t appear in that one, so my boys won’t watch it. Someday, though. These cookies look astoundingly good.

  40. Emmets has become a new Christmas tradition now that a new son-in-law has joined our family. Add that movie to Chevy Chases’ Christmas Vacation and Grinch. BTW your cookies look fantastic.

  41. I had no idea you read Traca’s column. I read her personal site all the time. I am hopefully still going to help her out on a project sometime. She’s so much fun to talk to!

    Love your post. We are sitting in nine inches of snow in Bellevue and haven’t thawed out yet!

    ~ Happy Holidays ~

  42. Oooh! These cookies look perfect! Great pics!

  43. Snow in Seattle . . .snow anywhere means you should bake in my book.
    And cool peppermint with hot chocolate that’s just right.

  44. These look just deliciously perfect for the season! Yum!

  45. normal shortbread tends to be a little “meh” for me, but dunking it in chocolate and slathering on peppermint is just what it needs to be sensational–bravo!

  46. Fabulous shortbread!
    We’re big fans of Emmett Otter. The music is so beautiful. I really love the John Denver-Muppet Christmas special as well. I hope some day they put it on dvd.

  47. Those look so pretty! Perfect with a cup of tea.
    We got pretty buried here in Ontario yesterday, more to come tomorrow, extreme cold today.
    I think I should go bake to forget too…
    ps -I love Kermit too!

  48. How pretty and festive! Excellent way to keep busy on a snow day… :)

  49. These look great! Now that the snow is falling in Snohomish county again I think I will make some, as well as 10 other things that have been spinning around my head now that it is so cold here!

  50. These look SO good! I wish they had been around before I did my Christmas tins! Maybe I can find a reason to make them. :-)

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