HIDDEN TREASURE COOKIES
Because I feature a recipe section in each of my Seasons of the Heart books, lots of people ask me questions about Amish cooking and recipes. I’m going to let you in on a little secret! I love to cook! And while I have perused many Amish cookbooks to feature “authentic” recipes in my stories, you know what? Amish recipes aren’t any different from the dishes I’ve been cooking for most of my life! Amish cooks don’t always use as many seasonings as I prefer, but otherwise—right down to using convenience foods like cake mixes and Cool Whip—I’ve noticed little difference between traditional Amish fare and mine.
So, because AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS features many of my longtime favorite Christmas cookie recipes, I’ve decided to share one here, along with a little insight into why I love it. For more than 20 years I’ve baked cookies to send to family, friends, my editors—and I donated 25 dozen for my church’s Christmas Eve service, along with several more dozen for church dinners. I was baking about 150 dozen and cramming them into my deep freeze. That’s a lot of cookies!
Now that we’ve moved to Minnesota and my cookie demands have diminished, I still bake about 75 dozen. I’ve included only tried-and-true recipes in my Christmas anthology, and this one for Hidden Treasure Cookies is a perennial favorite. I never tire of biting into one of these frosted cookies to discover the hidden chocolate mintiness inside! I triple the ingredients to make about 8 dozen, so I don’t run short. If you tint the frosting bright pink, yellow, or green before pressing them into jimmies or sanding sugar, they’ll really stand out on a cookie tray. Wrapping the dough carefully around the Andes mint takes some patience, but I think you’ll find it’s worth your effort!
Hidden Treasure Cookies
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. shortening (Crisco, for instance)
1/4 C. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
About 2 1/2 doz. Andes mints, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the sugars, shortening, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Add the flour and soda. Shape a tablespoon of dough around each mint, covering the corners and pressing together any cracks in the dough (be patient! It’s worth it!) Place the cookies about 2” apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake 8-9 minutes or until barely golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Frosting: 1 C. powdered sugar, 1 T. plus 1 or 2 tsp. milk, 1/4 tsp. vanilla or almond extract, plus food color, if you want. (You can also use the buttercream recipe included on my website, below.) Frost the centers of the cookies and press into jimmies, sanding sugar, etc. to decorate them. 1 batch makes about 2 dozen.
For the buttercream recipe and the entire collection of yumminess, go to www.CharlotteHubbard.com! And have your most wonderful Christmas ever!
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard (a.k.a. Naomi King) writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people—to share hearth and home. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.