Mint is not used often in Russian cooking, so this holiday cookie has always been considered special. It's sweet, with a slightly chewy consistency, meant for accompanying a samovar of hot tea. It would go just as nicely with a mug of hot chocolate.
Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 3 months.
Servings: 50 one and 1/2-inch cookies
- For the cookies
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 3 cups flour, plus more for your hands
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- For the glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Food coloring (optional)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
For the cookies: Combine the sugar, water and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in the peppermint extract and egg.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3 baking sheets with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the cooled syrup mixture. (The dough will be very sticky.) Use your floured hands to roll teaspoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Transfer the balls to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten the balls just slightly.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, just until the cookies are slightly golden and the tops have cracked a little.
While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, peppermint extract, food coloring, if using, and enough of the milk to create a thin, creamy glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies while they're still on the baking sheets. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.
Adapted from "The Joy of Cookies," by Sharon Tyler Herbst (Barron's Educational Series, 1987).
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.