Sometime in the past two weeks, the idea popped into my head to do a “Christmas in July” feature, since I’m running out of holidays and special occasions now that we’ve mostly finished running the summer birthday gauntlet and all the summer holidays but Labor Day have passed. Since cookies are probably the most popular baked good of the winter holiday season, I decided to make for you some holiday favorites, but with summery twists.
This week’s cookie started out as a pumpkin spice cookie with chai frosting. Delicious as it was, I decided to swap peach for the pumpkin, substitute some new spices for the original spice blend, and swap the chai tea bag for a peach one. The result is fragrant, spicy, and summery. I got 44 cookies out of this recipe, and while I was skeptical that I would be able to get rid of them all, it seems my worries were unfounded. The group that normally finishes 4-6 servings in a day of the baked goods I send in to work with my husband went through 11 of these in the first two hours. They’re just that good.
You will need the following ingredients:
For the cookies:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup peach purée (use one 16-oz can of peach slices in syrup)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 peach tea bag (the one I used was a Celestial Seasonings herbal tea, but a peach black tea would be good too)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
For baking ambiance:
- I decided on some Deep Purple for this one. I’ve had “Space Truckin’” stuck in my head for a week, so I thought this might help. Now it’s been replaced with “Strange Kind of Woman,” so I’ll let you be the judge of this plan’s efficiency.
Without further ado, let’s make some peach cookies! [Yes, there was a terrible pun that was going to go here, but it was flimsy even for me.]
Drain your can of peach slices as well as possible and put them in a food processor or blender. Process on high until they are the consistency of baby food (this only took me about a minute). You can do this with fresh peaches, but you will need to skin them and pre-boil them, which was too much fuss for me.
Line a strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and put it over a bowl or glass measuring cup. Pour the peach puree into the strainer and put the whole thing in the fridge to drain off some of the excess liquid. Allow this to sit at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened stick of butter and sugar until it looks fluffy (I used a handheld electric mixer, but as long as your butter is soft enough, you can do this with a wooden spoon easily enough).
Stir in the egg, peach puree, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth, if slightly grainy looking.
Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir them together until the dry part is fully-incorporated. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir them in until it looks like cookie dough.
This dough is a bit wet for cookie dough, so you can refrigerate it for half an hour to make it easier to work with (I chose not to go this route for time reasons). Scoop the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon balls and arrange them on a cookie sheet. A cookie scoop is really useful here to make sure your dough balls are uniform, but you can also do this using two spoons are your bare hands. You probably should leave more room than I did, but this is something I staunchly refuse to do (for no good reason at all).
Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. The tops will look a little wet, but have faith. They seem to continue to cook a little once they come out of the oven.
Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets, then remove them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the frosting, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the 1/4 cup of milk and the peach tea bag to the saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the tea bag to steep for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally (if you’re using a black tea bag, steep for 2 minutes less, as it can become bitter).
Remove, strain, and discard the tea bag. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until you have a smooth frosting.
Spread a dollop of frosting on each cookie and let the frosting set. I left the cookies on the cooling rack so that any dripping frosting would fall down onto the cookies below, or onto the paper towel underneath that I had (for once) remembered to place there strategically.
Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
You can find the printable PDF of this recipe here: Summer Peach Cookies