Our final cookie recipe comes from Joyce Rossiter of Hartington, Neb.
She shares how the cookies got their name: This is a recipe that my husband's grandmother used to make each Christmas. I have been told that she always said, as she was wrapping the mints with dough, "you have to be an idiot to sit here and do this." So that is why in this family they have always been known as "Idiot Cookies."
• 1 cup butter or margarine
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 cups flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• Solid chocolate mint candy
• Pecan halves, optional
Combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and eggs. Add vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Using as little dough as possible, completely cover each mint candy and place on baking sheet. Pecan halves may be placed on top of each cookie.
Bake at 325 degrees for 9-12 minutes.
Test kitchen notes: I finally realized what an Andes mint was missing: a sugar cookie wrapped around it and a pecan. That combination is fairly perfect, which makes the “Idiot Cookies” worth all the times you may call yourself an idiot as you make them.
You will say “idiot” the way Homer Simpson says “Doh!” if you buy the wrong Andes mint, as I did the first go-around. The recipe does not specify which kind of chocolate mint to buy, but it does say “chocolate” mint and not the special Andes holiday mints that have zero chocolate in them.
You will say “idiot” a second time if you don't go with Andes but say, a cheaper knock-off of the York Peppermint Patty. That's too soft for your purposes here. You need the hard Andes kind.
Some non-idiot tips from the test kitchen: Cut about 1/8 cup of the flour. Thaw the dough for a while before it's ready so it's pliable and not crumbly. Add some melted butter if it's too crumbly to work with. Don't eat too many mints. You will need them! — Staff writer Erin Grace