With a little research, I learned all about cornstarch and its benefits. Cornstarch comes from the endosperm of the corn kernel. They are separated from one another using a lengthy steeping process. Once separated, each is ground into a fine powder. Following that there is more processing ending with a cornstarch that has unique properties and can be used in cooking and baking.
At my house, cornstarch is used most often in sauces, soups or stews as a thickener. I learned that when it comes to baking, cornstarch can be combined with flour which increases hydration and creates a fine texture.
In a meltaway recipe you will note that there is a combination of cornstarch and powdered sugar. It is that combination which creates the melting sensation in your mouth due to the finer texture.
Science aside, the Peppermint Meltaways are light and delicately flavored and that is what will keep me coming back.
Julie at Little Bit of Everything inspired me to finally make the meltaways! Thank you, Julie. I noticed that she made the basic recipe her own by stuffing a mini Hershey's Kiss in each one. She also rolled the cookies in a mixture of powdered sugar and crushed candy canes once removed from the oven. I made some of the cookies in that manner but with a cookie this delicate in flavor I decided that I really wanted to put a glaze on the cookies, which is what I did for the remaining cookies.
I ended up doing three different finishes: 1) rolled in powdered sugar then topped with red sanding sugar, 2) glazed and topped with sanding sugar and, 3) since I grabbed Andes Peppermint Bits, not thinking that they would be soft, I topped some cookies with those!
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2-3 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or sanding sugar
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and the confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the extract. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and the cornstarch. Gradually combine the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a cooking scoop or spoons, shape dough into balls about 1 1/2-inch in diameter. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies from 10-12 minutes or until they are light brown on the bottom. The tops of the cookies will not be golden brown. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, beat the butter until creamy, then beat in 2 tablespoons milk and the extract. Gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar until smooth. Adjust the mixture to glaze consistency by adding the third tablespoon of milk, or more, as desired. The glaze must be thick enough to adhere to the cookie. Dip the cookies into the glaze. Sprinkle with sanding sugar or crushed peppermint candies. Set the cookies back on the rack to dry and set up completely.
NOTE: We really liked the Andes Peppermint Bits on the cookies. As an additional twist, I did tuck a small piece inside of some of the cookies....just for fun, but not part of an original meltaway recipe.
I found Julie's recipe as I am a participant in The Secret Recipe Club. This month I was assigned her blog, Little Bit of Everything. Since it is a month for celebrating and spreading good cheer, I went searching for something sweet. I debated about making Julie's Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria, or her Peppermint Crunch Brownie Bites for this post but the Meltaways won. I do have everything I need for the Brownie Bites so they will be coming up later this week. It was fun exploring Julie's "creative journey" as she makes her way through over one hundred cookbooks, clippings and new recipes. Thank you for inspiring me to make these wonderful Peppermint Meltaways!