For fans of soft, chewy cookies: these peppermint meltaways will be your favorite treat on the Christmas cookie tray. These cookies have a light-as-air, melt-in-your-mouth texture with a sugar cookie and peppermint flavor. They’re topped with fluffy, peppermint-flavored buttercream and crushed peppermint candies for a cookie that just screams Christmas. Peppermint meltaways are one of those essential Christmas cookie recipes that everyone adores during the most wonderful time of the year.
Ingredients for Peppermint Meltaways
- Butter: Butter adds fat, flavor and richness to the peppermint cookies and frosting.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Confectioners’ sugar creates a lighter cookie texture compared to granulated sugar. A melt-in-your-mouth cookie texture is an imperative characteristic of mint meltaways.
- Peppermint extract: Peppermint extract lends a minty flavoring to the cookies and frosting.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour gives the cookies their structure without being too dense.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is added to the peppermint cookies recipe to prevent the cookies from spreading. Cornstarch also imparts a light, fluffy texture. It’s the secret ingredient for a chewier whipped shortbread!
- Red food coloring: A bit of red food coloring creates a hue that’s reminiscent of a candy cane.
- Peppermint candies: Crushed peppermint candies add a beautiful, festive Christmas touch to the tops of the cookies. The candies also provide more peppermint flavor.
Step 1: Create the cookie dough
In a small bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy, three to four minutes. Beat in the extract. In another bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch. Gradually beat the dry mixture into the creamed mixture until just combined.
Editor’s Tip: Do not over-beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients or you’ll end up with tough, dense cookies. Instead, beat everything until just combined.
Step 2: Chill the cookie dough
Cover the bowl with storage wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 3: Bake the cookies
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until the bottoms are light brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove the cookies from the pans and place on wire racks. Cool completely to room temperature.
Editor’s Tip: Use a cookie scoop to portion the balls so they’re uniform in size.
Step 4: Make the peppermint frosting
In a small bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the butter until fluffy. Beat in the milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cookies. Sprinkle with crushed candies.
Peppermint Meltaways Variations
- Use a glaze: If you’re not a fan of frosting, decorate the cookies with a quick vanilla glaze. Glaze creates a sweet finishing touch that’s not quite as heavy and rich as frosting.
- Frost with a piping bag: Add your frosting to a pastry bag that’s fitted with a star tip or round tip and pipe the frosting onto the peppermint cookies. They’ll look like they were done by a pro!
- Change the flavor: Peppermint not your thing? Swap out the extract for vanilla or almond and replace the crushed peppermint candies with festive Christmas sprinkles.
How to Store Peppermint Meltaways
To store, place peppermint meltaways in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to three days. You can also freeze the cookies (unfrosted) in an airtight container for up to three months. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge, then frost the cookies.
Plan out your Christmas cookie baking schedule by learning how long Christmas cookies will stay fresh. The answer varies based on the type of cookie!
Peppermint Meltaways Tips
Can you make peppermint meltaways ahead of time?
Yes, you can make peppermint meltaways up to two to three days ahead of time. However, they’re best when they’re fresh!
How can you adjust the thickness of the frosting for the peppermint meltaways?
You can adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding additional confectioners’ sugar. Only do a tablespoon at a time until you reach your preferred consistency.