It’s holiday cookie exchange time! Yes, it’s not even December yet, but Thanksgiving is over so bring on the cookies. The more the merrier. Earlier this month, I casually mentioned to fellow feedfeed editor Rebecca Firth that I wanted to exchange cookies with her this holiday season. She makes the most delicious cookies on her blog Displaced Housewife (among other drool-worthy foods). Rebecca took me at my word and turned it into a holiday cookie extravaganza. Today, she’s brought together 18 cookie-loving food bloggers to participate in the first annual #holidaycookieparty2016! Over the past week, we’ve all been shipping out cookies to each other Secret Santa style. I received a festive holiday box of white roll-out cookies, peanut brittle, and divinity from Chez LaRae and felt completely spoiled rotten. My offering to the holiday cookie party comes in the form of these Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies. Fluffy marshmallow mounds with a buttery shortbread crunch. All coated in chocolate with a fleck of edible gold for holiday glamour.
These cookies are made up in two parts: shortbread and marshmallow. The shortbread is peppered with a light touch of finely crushed pink peppercorns and vanilla bean seeds fleck the marshmallows. If you like a stronger bite to the pepper flavor, then by all means add more pink peppercorns. Be sure to save any leftover marshmallow fluff for December’s hot chocolates as well. These cookies can all be made the same day; make the shortbread and while they’re cooling make the marshmallows. When the cookies have set, temper the chocolate for coating (the ‘how-to temper chocolate’ link provided in the recipe). If you don’t want to bother with tempering chocolate I’ve also included an alternate option for chocolate coating. It doesn’t set with the same firm ‘snap’ as tempered chocolate and takes a bit longer to set, but it still tastes delicious. Edible gold leaf can be ordered online or feel free to use whatever garnishes you currently have in the cupboard. Enjoy these festive cookies for upcoming holiday parties and be sure to check out #holidaycookieparty2016 on Instagram. Visit all the delectable links, at the bottom of the page, for even more cookie recipes. Happy Holidays!
Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies
Makes 48 cookies
Pink Peppercorn Shortbread
5 oz (143g) unsalted butter, room temperature soft
2 oz (57g) powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, finely crushed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
7 oz (200g) all-purpose flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium-high speed, cream together the soft butter, powdered sugar, salt, pink peppercorns, and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes. Add flour and mix, on low, just until combined. Be careful not to overmix the dough.
Place shortbread dough between two large pieces of parchment paper and roll out to 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick. Rolling dough between parchment paper prevents any extra flour being added to the dough while rolling or dough sticking to the counter. Transfer dough onto a large baking sheet and place into the freezer for 20-30 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (176C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
Remove chilled dough from freezer and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds using a cookie cutter. Place shortbread on lined baking sheet, spacing 1-inch apart, and bake for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden. While first batch of cookies are baking, gently press together dough scraps, reroll, cut out rounds, and store in the freezer until ready to bake.
Remove shortbread cookies from the oven and set on cooling rack until completely cooled.
Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
1/2 oz (14g) gelatin, about 1 1/2 packets
6 oz (170ml) cold water
9 oz (255g) sugar
4 oz (114g) light corn syrup
2 oz (57g) honey
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the gelatin over 3 oz (85ml) cold water and set aside to bloom.
In a small saucepan, bring remaining 3 oz (85ml) water, sugar, light corn syrup, honey, vanilla bean seeds, and fine sea salt to a boil. Cook mixture to 250F (121C). If needed, brush down any crystallizing sugar from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Meanwhile, attach the mixer bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whip.
Once the hot sugar syrup has reached 250F (121C) immediately remove it from the heat. Turn the stand mixer onto low and carefully pour the hot syrup down the inside of the bowl onto the bloomed gelatin. Gradually add hot syrup until it’s all added (mixture will look watery). Turn mixer speed up to medium and let whip until it begins to cool and thicken, about 10 minutes (careful not to ‘slosh’ out any hot syrup mixture when turning up the speed). Once thicken and opaque, turn the mixer speed up to high and whip until cooled, about 10-15 minutes. Marshmallows should form smooth stiff peaks when ready.
Meanwhile, prepare countertop work space for cookie assembly. Once the marshmallow mixture is ready you must work with it immediately before it sets. Once all the cookies have been piped, spread out any leftover marshmallow onto a piece of parchment paper and let set. Cut into cubes and coat in powdered sugar. Use for hot chocolate or freeze, in an airtight container, for up to three weeks.
Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookie Assembly
Pink Peppercorn Shortbread, cooled
Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, freshly prepared
12 oz (340g) 60-65% dark chocolate, tempered* (how-to tutorial here or try this method)
Edible gold leaf garnish, optional
*If not using tempered chocolate, then use:
12 oz (340g) 60%-65% dark chocolate, melted
2 oz (57g) cocoa butter or refined coconut oil, melted
Line up pink peppercorn shortbreads on a large cooling rack. Fit a piping bag, with the tip cut off, with a large Ateco 808 round tip. Fill the bag with freshly prepared marshmallow and hold the pastry bag tip directly over the center of one cookie (90-degree angle). Gently squeeze the pastry bag until the base of the cookie is covered in a mound of marshmallow and then slowly pull ‘up’ to form a peak. Continue this process until all cookies have been covered with marshmallow peaks. Allow cookies to set for at least an hour or until marshmallow can be touched without smearing or changing shape.
Prepare tempered chocolate for coating. If skipping the tempering process, then mix together melted dark chocolate and cocoa butter (or refined coconut oil) in a bowl. Mix very well in order to prevent oil streaks when set.
Set a large piece of parchment paper under the cookie cooling rack. Dip a spoon into the chocolate and then carefully pour it over one cookie until completely coated. With a small pairing knife, carefully place on a sliver of edible gold leaf to the tip. Repeat with the remaining cookies until they’re all coated and garnished. Let set for at least 1 hour or until cookies can be touched without leaving fingerprints.
Store Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to five days. They’re best enjoyed the day they are made.
Wife Mama Foodie | Gluten Free Icebox Cookie
Now Forager | Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies
DisplacedHousewife | Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles
Tutti Dolci | Brown Butter Chai Snickerdoodles
The Daley Plate | Romany Creams
Fig & Bleu | Cornmeal & Cherry Shortbreads
Cloudy Kitchen | Anzac Biscuits
The Beach House Kitchen | Double Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Vanilla and Bean | Cocoa Nibby Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Chez LaRae | White Rollout Cookies
Husbands That Cook | Apple Cider Snickerdoodles
Rainy Day Bites | Melody Cookies
Bakeritablog | Brown Butter Shortbreads With Dark Chocolate
The Jam Lab | Thandai Shortbread Cookies
Katie Clova | Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Food Fashion Party | Stuffed Shortbread Cookies
My Kitchen Love | Chocolate Toffee Shortbread
No Crumbs Left | Peanut Butter Blossoms