Mintywiches – Andes Candies Sandwich Cookies

These cookies are the absolute favorites of both Gladys of the Suburbs and Mahatma Sissypants (according to my recipe notes from 1999).  I’ve given their nicknames here because right now they’re stepping out on old Minty … looking for greener (literally in one cookie’s case) pastures in the chocolate-mint cookie combo… but I know they’ll be back and I don’t want to out their infidelity to the world for this minor blip.

I don’t know where the recipe originated, just that Mom’s been making them as long as I can remember and I’ve carried on the tradition.  In full disclosure, however, I really prefer to make these cookies with someone else – anyone else (as long as their hands have been washed, natch) – because I loathe rolling the balls.  My uniformity skills are sorely lacking and I end up with a variety of shapes and sizes which are okay in a stand-alone cookie but, um, not so aesthetically pleasing in a sandwich cookie.  You have been warned!

Since we’re coming onto Christmas like a freight train without brakes into a downhill station on a freezing rainy night, I’ve been remiss in photographing these latest cookie recipes.  Fortunately, my verbosity will be of great use here.  To wit, how to make these no-fail cookies in five(ish) steps:

1) Mix the ingredients together following the directions outlined below. 2) Chill the dough (overnight is best but sixish hours should do it).  3) Preheat the oven, 3a) roll the dough in sugar, 3b) bake, 3c) sandwich the Andes candies between two like-sized cookies. 4 or 3a1 … I erred on the side of a stand-alone hint ) The more uniform your dough balls, the less likely you will burn your fingers picking up and putting down cookies until you find the right size to match. 5) Eat.  And done.

Mom used to put a little rosette of red and green frosting on each cookie before serving … I never remember but it is pretty if you want to dude up these otherwise plain cookies.

If the directions above and below still leave you scratching your head as to why I’m recommending these perennial favorites and/or how to make them in more detail, drop me a line.  If I’m not too far into me grog cups, I’ll answer promptly.  I may even let the locusts answer for me since their sadly frequent (and sometimes successful by my count) attempts at pilfering make me think they may be experts in all things Mintywich.

Hope you bake these little lovelies – unless you’re Gladys and/or Mahatma and are out there in your come-hither baking get-ups looking for some Minty-come-lately – they are a real crowd pleaser.

Merry! Merry!

Mintywiches

2/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 ¾ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
granulated sugar
60 creme de menthe wafers (Andes Crème de Menthe Thins)

Combine butter, sugar and egg in large mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy.  Blend in melted chocolate and corn syrup.  Sift together flour, soda and salt.  Stir into chocolate mixture.  Chill several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Using a level teaspoon of dough, shape into a ball and roll in granulated sugar.  Place  an even number of balls on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove each batch from oven and let it stand just a few seconds.  Do NOT cool.  Turn half of each batch upside down and top with a mint wafer.  Top with a like-sized cookie.  Place mintywiches in freezer to harden (or on counter for an hour).  HINT:  This dough becomes sticky at room temperature; return it to the refrigerator between batches.  If you’ve rolled a pan and they waiting (first, wow, you’re good!), put them in the refrigerator to keep them from getting melty.

Store, layered between parchment or waxed paper in a cookie tin.

Makes 50 cookies when using 1 level tsp measure for the balls.

If you prefer a higher filling to cookie ratio, measure out 1/2 tsp of dough for the balls.

Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Butternut Squash and Rapini

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I came into the butternut squash fan camp way late in life.  I am embarrassed to say – given my mantra to my kids, “at least try it before you say you don’t like it!” – that it wasn’t until last Fall that I discovered my extreme love of this roasted beauty.  I had assumed (and you know what they say about assuming …) butternut squash would taste like sweet potatoes, one of my culinary arch-nemeses. By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of purgatory!! I was wrong and am in the throes of making up for lost time.

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Lunch Lady Pizza

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With much deference and a huge blop of literary license, I have dubbed this monstrous-good, locust-and-friends-favorite Lunch Lady Pizza.  I bow to those everyday superheros.  Cafeteria crews who work, day in and day out, to prepare and serve the (oftentimes not wonderful) goods provided them to the sometimes unappreciative (sometimes quite deservedly so) wee masses deserve our respect.   This pizza is easy, tasty, comforting, and budget-friendly… things the lunch ladies worry on our behalf about every day… and so I name it in their honor. Continue Reading

Grilled Korean Chicken

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It’s that time of year again when any meal sounds so much more appealing coming off of the grill.  Mingling with the scent of a fresh-mown lawn and newly turned mulch, nothing goes better with a post-yard work beer than something off the grill.  I say this almost selfishly gleefully since I am generally not she who mans the grill.   That being said, I do sometimes like to play with fire – a family trait so I hear – and this chicken recipe is my go-to favorite.

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Bacon Caramel Popcorn

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I love popcorn.  I eat it almost every day for my afternoon snack; some days it’s lunch. Drizzled with unsalted butter and Old Bay is best ….  I know, I know; living on the edge.  And I live in a house where there is always a hunk of BD’s home-smoked bacon in the freezer.  It was kizmet; eventually I was going to find a way to get those two crazy kids together.

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Taco Seasoning

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3 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbs ground cumin
3 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake.  This will last a few months in the pantry.

If using for tacos, start with 2 tbs per pound of meat and add to taste. When I use 1 lb meat and 1 can (rinsed and drained) black beans, I use 3 tbs of taco seasoning.

 

Nana’s Puerto Rican Rice

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Just as Juan Ponce de León searched for the fountain of youth and adventurers, to this day, comb the peaks of the Himalayas for their yetis, I have been – until now – on a heretofore futile mission to recreate Nana’s Puerto Rican Rice. Not nearly as sexy as preternatural beauty or as exciting as a vicious bear-man, this elusive dish with bits of pork goodness and the brininess of green olives dancing a culinary waltz with sofrito and just a whisper of tomato’s acidity rightly sent me into a search from which I could not return until its luscious flavor secrets revealed themselves to me. Lordy, this is good stuff that, yes, makes me write bad prose and most likely bad checks if that need ever arose.

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