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.
In a perfect world, no Christmas dessert plate would be complete without a peppermint candy cookie. But among all the chocolate, peanut butter, and sugar cookies, well... sometimes the classic mint and chocolate dessert combination gets overlooked.
Not anymore! These red and white lovelies are definitely showstoppers, demanding your (and Santa’s) full attention as soon as they hit the table. Heavenly peppermint flavored red velvet, each one slathered with a rich cream cheese frosting and dusted with crushed candy canes. Every bite is a cool, tingly, chocolate mint sensation. Like a sleigh ride on a winter's night.
Making peppermint chocolate Christmas cookies for Santa and a workshop full of elves? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Peppermint Cookies ingredients:
Here’s what you need for the best chocolate peppermint cookies ever:
- Cocoa. Unsweetened baking cocoa, not cocoa mix.
- Baking powder.
- Butter. Softened to room temperature.
- Red food coloring.
- White vinegar.
- Peppermint extract.
- Cream cheese. Softened to room temperature.
- Butter. Softened to room temperature.
- Powdered sugar.
- Peppermint candies or candy canes. (These get crushed into a fine powder.)
How to make Peppermint Cookies:
This recipe uses a red velvet-style cookie dough, so don't be put off by the red food coloring. Also, a little vinegar is important because helps the chemical process along, and makes the cookies rise. You'll be surprised by how classy red velvet cookies look!
By the way, no exact quantities are listed in this photo tutorial—so look at the recipe card down below for the details.
- First, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Next, beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed until fluffy. You get the best results using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Beat the mixture thoroughly after each egg.
- Once the eggs are added, pour in the vanilla, food coloring, vinegar, and peppermint extract.
- Then it’s time to add the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture gradually, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl to incorporate everything.
- Time to roll out some cookie dough! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then take about 3 tablespoons of dough and roll it into a ball. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet at lease 2 inches apart. They'll spread out during baking!
- Finally, bake the cookies at 350 degrees until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Once you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wore rack to cool completely. (They have to be completely cool when you frost them.)
How to make Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting:
By the way, this frosting works with any chocolate cookie or cupcake you can dream up, so get baking! Try Chocolate Cupcakes for a deep, dark chocolate mint dessert.
- To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and softened butter, using the paddle attachment, until super creamy—2 to 3 minutes.
- Then slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Frost the cookies only when they’re completely cool. Spread a thick layer of the cream cheese frosting over each red velvet cookie, then sprinkle on the crushed peppermint candy.
- Most importantly, the cookies taste better when the candies are crushed into almost a powder, as opposed to rough, sharp shards. No one wants to bite into hard candy.
What can I substitute for white vinegar in red velvet?
Peppermint red velvet cookies need a little acid, usually in the form of vinegar, to help the cookie dough do its thing. Cider vinegar is a good substitute as it is also fairly mild. You can also use lemon juice or cream of tartar. The substitutes should be used in the same quantities as the white vinegar.
Candy Cane Chocolate Cookies Variations:
- White chocolate chips. Add some white chocolate chunks to the cookie dough for an extra creamy, chocolatey bite.
- Peppermint chocolate cookie sandwiches. Make smaller cookies (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and glue two of them together with cream cheese frosting. Roll in crushed candy canes. These travel well!
- Peppermint cookies with cream cheese and mint. Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the cream cheese frosting for an extra cool cookie.
- Red velvet cookies with chocolate chips. Chopped Andies candies in the cookie dough up the ante on a mint and chocolate cookie, but only in the most delicious way.
Peppermint Cookie Recipe
For the cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract
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 notes)
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 3 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I use the OXO large cookie scoop, a size 20 portioner, and do 6 scoops of dough per baking sheet).
- Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
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 minues. 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.