GINNA PARSONS: Mint cookie smells like Christmas

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house.
After the parade on Saturday, my husband hung the giant wreath on the front of our house, which generally signals the beginning of the holiday season at the Parsons/Langford abode. On Sunday afternoon, I decorated the mantle with the traditional red and lime green froufrou my kids have come to associate with Christmas.
Last week, we purchased our fresh tree at Mid-South Nursery, but it sat outside in a bucket of water for five days. Sunday evening, it made its way into the house and now sits in the corner of the living room with lights strung on it, but no ornaments. Those will have to wait until the weekend rolls around and my energy level is back up.
It’s also beginning to smell a lot like Christmas at our house.
The Fraser Fir and fresh garland in the living room have filled that area with the unmistakable scent of turpentine, but the kitchen is getting its share of action, too.
On Saturday, daughter Mary went in search of a Christmas cookie to make. First, she found a recipe that called for, among other things, a pound of butter. I put the kibosh on that one. Next, she found a recipe for these little Peppermint Cream Bites that are a dead ringer for a York Peppermint Pattie (only better).
They may be our new Christmas tradition.

Peppermint Cream Bites
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos (about 15 cookies)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 teaspoons shortening
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the pan edges; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and softened butter in a food processor. Cover and process until butter is evenly distributed. With processor running, add milk and peppermint extract to make a paste. Spread peppermint mixture evenly over the prepared crust. Put in freezer for 45 minutes.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chopped chocolate and shortening. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1 minute or until chocolate is melted, stirring once. Let chocolate cool 15 minutes. Pour chocolate over mint layer and spread evenly. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut mixture into rounds, or cut mixture into squares.
Makes 30 round bites.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.