Last year I stumbled upon Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and fell head-over-heels in love (apparently they have been around for a while but I guess I was late to the game). They are absolutely adorable, delectable little treats and they are extremely addicting. EXTREMELY. One of my friends always makes Hershey’s kiss cookies and I thought that these might be good in cookies too. I turned to my trusty friend, Google and found Recipe Girl’s recipe for Candy Cane Kiss Cookies. In her recipe, you bake the cookies and when you pull them out of the oven, you place a candy cane kiss on top and then immediately put them into the freezer so that the kisses don’t melt. At my house (and at my mom’s where I was baking them) that is easier said than done. There was no way that I was going to make enough room in the freezer for an entire cookie sheet (especially around the holidays) so I decided to forgo the freezing step. So the kisses might melt a little and not look as perfect as Recipe Girl’s photos. I was okay with that.
I made the cookies and when they came out of the oven I placed a kiss on top of each one. They were the CUTEST THINGS EVER! I was so excited. I busied myself around the kitchen while I waited for them to cool. Before long I noticed that the candies were melting. No big deal, that was to be expected. I watched as they kept melting, and then they melted some more. I really wasn’t bothered because the kiss sort of collapsed into itself and was making a cute little puddle of pepperminty yumminess on top of each cookie. Well, about the time the cookies had cooled completely David, B.J., and my uncle Steve walked into the kitchen. They took one look at my cute little cookies and started giggling like schoolboys. I couldn’t figure out what they thought was so funny. They told me to take a closer look. When I did, I saw what they found so amusing. I, however, was not so jovial. I thought I might die right then and there and I could feel all of the heat in my body rising to my cheeks. All but the very tip of the kiss had melted and with the contrast between the cookie and the candy, they looked like little breasts with anatomically correct nipples (albeit candy-cane striped ones). I was completely appalled (I’m actually pretty horrified even sharing this story, and I’m sure that I’ll regret it later, but I don’t want anyone to make the same gaffe). Seeing my embarrassment only made the boys laugh harder. I thought I might cry but I started to laugh too. I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe. I had inadvertently made cookies that were far more appropriate for a bachelorette party than for a Christmas table. Everyone kept going on and on about how great they tasted but that didn’t make me feel like any less of a boob (sorry… bad joke, I know). So… I guess the moral of the story is that if you are placing candy cane kisses (or any other kiss shaped candy for that matter) on top of hot cookies, be sure to put them in the freezer so that you don’t wind up completely mortifying yourself.
Anyway, since the freezer is still loaded to the brim and because I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s misstep, I decided to bake the cookies with the kiss on the inside this time. On the one hand having the kiss on the inside, rather than the outside makes the cookies appear a bit plain (definitely more modest), but on the other hand, the plainness of the cookie makes the little candy hidden inside all the more of an unexpected treat. I also forgot to roll the dough in sugar before I baked them and while I think I actually liked that they weren’t as sweet, rolling them in sugar (or colored sugar) definitely makes them prettier.
Candy Cane Kiss Surprise Cookies (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s recipe here
Yield 36 cookies
- 56 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, divided
- 3 cups gluten-free rice flour blend (I like Bette’s Featherlight Flour Blend by Authentic Foods
- 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 ½ sticks), softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Sugar or colored sugar, for rolling (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Finely chop 20 of the Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and set aside.
- Mix together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, cream together the powdered sugar and the butter.
- Add the egg and the extracts and mix until just combined.
- Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until the dough starts to come together.
- Add the chopped kisses and mix until the dough holds together (I used my hands).
- Form the dough into (36) 1 inch balls.
- Using the remaining 36 candy cane kisses, press 1 candy cane kiss into the middle of each ball and form the dough around it completely, returning it to a ball shape.
- If you would like to roll them in sugar, now would be the time to do so (I totally forgot to).
- Place the dough on parchment lined cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart (12 cookies per cookie sheet).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
- Allow to cool on the cookie sheets (or don’t and eat while they’re still hot, your choice).