Peppermint Cookies

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A gorgeous plate of red velvet, cream cheese-frosted Peppermint Cookies is exactly what Santa’s hoping for. Leave some of his favorite Christmas cookies out this year, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a little something special under the tree.

A plate with peppermint cookies on top.


 

Red Velvet Cookies are a good idea all on their own, but I love the addition of peppermint at the holidays. The cookies are soft and chewy, each one slathered with a rich cream cheese frosting.

Add a dusting of crushed candy canes reminiscent of winter’s first snow, and every bite is a cool, tingly, chocolate mint sensation.

Recipe Ingredients

Labeled ingredients for peppermint cookies.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Red food coloring: Red food coloring comes in liquids, gels, and powders. The red coloring adds visual appeal but not flavor or function. So if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You could also try 1 tablespoon beet powder in place of the food coloring for a slight red hue.
  • White vinegar: A little extra acid helps the baking powder do its job, but it also interacts with the cocoa powder and helps brighten the color of the cookies. No vinegar? Use lemon juice.
  • Peppermint candies: Candy canes are festive if you can find them. If not, the round Starlight mints are available year-round.

Step-by-step instructions

To make the cookies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
Creaming butter in a mixing bowl.
  1. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in red food coloring, vinegar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
Peppermint Cookie dough in a mixing bowl.
  1. Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and lay on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO medium cookie scoop, a size 40 portioner, and do 12 scoops of dough per baking sheet).
Peppermint cookie dough balls rolled on a baking sheet before baking.
  1. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with remaining cookie dough (Yield: about 48 cookies).
Unfrosted peppermint cookies on a baking sheet.

To make the frosting:

  1. In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
Making cream cheese frosting in a mixer.
  1. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Making cream cheese frosting in a mixer.
  1. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Store in the refrigerator or store unfrosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
A plate with peppermint cookies on top.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 48 peppermint cookies. You can adjust the yield by making larger or smaller cookies (but your baking times will change, too).
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • White chocolate chips: Add some white chocolate chunks to the cookie dough for an extra creamy, chocolatey bite.
  • Peppermint cookie sandwiches: Glue two cookies together with cream cheese frosting. Roll in crushed candy canes. These travel well!
  • Minty cream cheese frosting: Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the cream cheese frosting for an extra cool cookie.
A baking rack with peppermint cookies on top.

Baking Day

Plan your own Baking Day with friends and family where you bake cookies and make candy for the holidays together. Share the costs, the work, and spoils so everyone leaves with a boat load of…

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More festive sweets

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Peppermint cookies on a gray plate.

Peppermint Cookies

A gorgeous plate of red velvet, cream cheese-frosted Peppermint Cookies is exactly what Santa’s hoping for.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 171
5 from 5 votes

Ingredients 

For the cookies:

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely crushed peppermints or candy canes (see note 3)

Instructions 

To make the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in red food coloring, vinegar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Working with 1 heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and lay on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO medium cookie scoop, a size 40 portioner, and do 12 scoops of dough per baking sheet).
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with remaining cookie dough (Yield: about 48 cookies).

To make the frosting:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Store in the refrigerator or store unfrosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Red food coloring: Red food coloring comes in liquids, gels, and powders. The red coloring adds visual appeal but not flavor or function. So if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You could also try 1 tablespoon beet powder in place of the food coloring for a slight red hue.
  2. White vinegar: A little extra acid helps the baking powder do its job, but it also interacts with the cocoa powder and helps brighten the color of the cookies. No vinegar? Use lemon juice.
  3. Peppermint candies: Candy canes are festive if you can find them. If not, the round Starlight mints are available year-round.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 48 peppermint cookies. You can adjust the yield by making larger or smaller cookies (but your baking times will change, too).
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 107mgPotassium: 24mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 252IUCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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