After almost three weeks of eating cookies for lunch and unbuttoning our pants at our desks, we’ve chosen a cookie contest winner.
Congratulations to Kathryn Galloway, whose peppermint macarons had us feeling generally unaccomplished in the kitchen.
A rich, dark, chocolatey filling was nestled in between two sturdy but surprisingly soft layers. Crumbled peppermints provided a nice foil to the chocolate.
Kathryn wins a gift card to Pinehurst Olive Oil, just in time to bake us something else for Christmas. Here’s her recipe:
For the cookies: 1 cup Almond Flour, 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 large egg whites, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp. peppermint extracted, food coloring gel, crushed peppermint
For the ganache filling: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips1/2 cup heavy cream
Make the ganache:
Microwave the chocolate chips and cream, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until smooth. Set aside to cool at least one hour.
Make the meringue cookies:
- Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together twice; set aside.
- Using hand or stand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue mixing. Add the sugar one teaspoon at a time and mix on medium-high until soft peaks form. Add vanilla then mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form. (Stiff means you should be able to turn the bowl upside down the mixture shouldn’t move.)
- Sift the flour and sugar mixture over the meringue, then fold in by hand until incorporated. IMPORTANT: DON’T OVER MIX. You’ll know the batter is ready when you can drop a bit off the spoon and the edges disappear in 10 seconds.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Using a piping bag (or a ziplock if you’re too lazy to buy piping bags like me), run a bit of red food coloring along two sides of the bag, then add the batter to the bag.
- Pipe 1 inch diameter circles, leaving about 1.5″ space between them.
- IMPORTANT: Tap the baking sheet on the counter a few times to release the air bubbles from the batter. This will prevent cracking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees
- ALSO IMPORTANT: Before baking, let the cookies sit out for 15-30 minutes until a film forms on top. (You should be able to gently run your finger across them without them being sticky).
- Bake for 18-20 mins. Cookies should very easily come off the parchment when done.
- Move to a cooling rack.
- Put ganache in piping bag and fill and sandwich the cookies.
- Roll the sandwiched cookies in the crushed peppermint and VOILA!
As you know, our panel of judges rated each cookie contest entry based on taste, texture and presentation. The peppermint macarons took the prize for taste, but we chose a couple honorable mentions based on texture and presentation.
Texture Honorable Mention:
Jane Harbour Ethridge’s light and crispy jam kolaches. Think freshly-toasted Pop Tart, but like waaaaaay better.
Presentation Honorable Mention:
The ladies of SLAM. Your snickerdoodles were bomb, but you really won us over by wrapping them in a super cute bag, attaching a bell and replicating our Sway logo on the tag. Kudos.
And to all of our contestants — thank you. Your cookies were all delicious and kept us from getting hangry while we wrote and re-wrote several newsletters.
Until next year, ladies and gents. Merry Christmas!