This Peppermint Shortbread Cookie recipe is buttery with a wonderful peppermint flavor. My recipe combines my delicious shortbread cookie recipe with crushed peppermint candy canes for the perfect holiday cookie. The cookie dough takes 15 minutes to make before the dough is chilled for 20 minutes and then baked. The final cookies are chewy and buttery with the minty taste of peppermint.
Dark chocolate and peppermint are a classic flavor duo, but when you taste this peppermint cookie I think you'll agree that white chocolate will become your new favorite. So move over dark chocolate, white chocolate is king today.
These peppermint shortbread cookies with white chocolate ganache are super festive with crushed candy canes, plenty of white chocolate, and a fresh dose of Christmas’ favorite flavor - peppermint.
Bakers Tip: If you can, buy candy canes that are flavored with real peppermint oil such as Brach's Peppermint Candy Canes.
Why You’ll Love These Cookies
Texture. As the peppermint candies melt they combine with the butter and flour to create chewy cookies. In addition, the sugar in the candy cane pieces caramelizes the bottom of the cookies, creating a slightly crisp texture as you bite into the cookie.
Unbelievably delicious. The combination of buttery shortbread, minty freshness, and white chocolate is truly delightful. Each bite is pure holiday magic!
Festive and fun. These cookies are sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Their beautiful colors and delightful aroma will fill your home with Christmas cheer.
Peppermint Shortbread Cookie Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you'll need for these delicious buttery peppermint cookies:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: Use all-purpose unbleached flour for this recipe.
- Unsalted Butter: Butter adds flavor and produces a nice tender cookie. You can use salted butter but don't add the additional salt that the recipe calls for. It's also important to use a good quality butter that tastes good. Use room-temperature butter for the best texture and to ensure the dough comes together.
- Peppermint Candy Canes: Use the small mini candy canes. They’re easier to crush into small pieces.
- Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar produces nice crisp edges and helps with the light browning on the bottom edge of the cookie.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: The vanilla extract enhances the butter and peppermint flavor in the cookie.
- Kosher Salt: The salt enhances the other flavors in the cookie. If using table salt, cut the amount of salt in half.
- White Chocolate: The white chocolate is used to make a chocolate ganache for coating the cookies. The combination of white chocolate and peppermint is absolutely delicious.
- Heavy Cream: The heavy cream is combined with the white chocolate to make ganache.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
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Step 1: Place the candy canes in a plastic bag and crush them into small pieces with a rolling pin. Place them in a small bowl.
Step 2: Place the sugar, unsalted butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment beat the ingredients on medium speed until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is creamy.
Step 3: Add the flour to the sugar-butter mixture and mix on medium-low speed until the flour is mixed in and the dough starts to come together.
The dough will initially appear crumbly, but will eventually come together into large pieces. Mixing the flour in at a low speed is important to prevent the development of too much gluten.
Step 4: Add the crushed candy canes to the dough and mix on low speed until the candy cane pieces are well distributed throughout the dough.
Step 5: Pour the shortbread dough onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to lightly knead the dough until it forms a uniform mass. Roll the dough until it's 1/2-inch thick.
The dough will initially have a crumbly texture, but will eventually come together as you knead it on the work surface.
Step 6: Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or your favorite shaped cookie cutter) to cut out the cookies and reroll the dough scraps to cut out the remaining cookies.
Step 7: Chill the unbaked shortbread cookie dough for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 days before baking.
Baking Tip: Chilling the dough will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter which is necessary to help the cookies maintain their shape.
Step 8: Line a half-sized baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange 12 cookies on the baking sheet and bake the cookies at 300 degrees F.
Step 9: Remove the cookies from the oven. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie, then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
The cookies are done when you see a little browning on the bottom edge of the cookies.
If you want a little color on your cookie, increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees and start checking the cookie after 15 minutes.
The cookies may spread a little because of the candy cane pieces. If that happens, take a cookie cutter larger than the cookies, place it around the cookie, and swirl it around the cookies to create a perfectly round shape.
Once the cookies are cooled the white chocolate ganache and crushed candy cane pieces are added to the top of the cookies
How to Make White Chocolate Ganache Glaze
White chocolate ganache is a silky smooth and easy to make with just two ingredients: white chocolate and heavy cream.
Chop the white chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat-proof bowl over a double boiler with simmering water. Melt the chocolate until it is creamy and smooth.
Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it boils. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and slowly stir together until the cream and chocolate are well combined.
Let the chocolate cool to 80-85°F before spreading it across the top of the cookies.
How to Store the Shortbread Cookies
Without the Chocolate Glaze. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
With the Chocolate Glaze. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up without the chocolate Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Shortbread cookies keep remarkably well, so they can be enjoyed for a long period. These cookies also ship well (without the chocolate ganache) if you want to send them to friends and family.
Pro Tips for Making These Cookies
- Weigh the ingredients. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. The ratio of flour, butter, and sugar is the key to the cookies keeping their shape. Too much flour will result in a dry, crumbly cookie and too little flour will result in a cookie that spreads.
- Use great-tasting butter. The taste of the butter is very prominent once the cookies are baked so make sure your butter tastes great.
- Bake the cookies on parchment paper instead of Silpat. I noticed that the bottom of the cookies flares out just a little bit when baked on Silpat.
- When baking multiple batches, don't place unbaked cookies on a warm baking sheet. Let the baking sheets cool completely.
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Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
- 4 ounces (114 grams) granulated sugar
- 8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces (340 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 10 mini (40 grams) candy canes
White Chocolate Ganache Glaze
- 4 ounces white chocolate
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Candy Cane Topping
- 5 mini (20 grams) candy canes
Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
- Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl, and add all the flour at once. Turn the mixer to low speed and mix until all the flour is just combined. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough has completely come together.
- Place the candy canes in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush the candy canes into small pieces. Add the candy canes to the dough and mix on low speed until the candy bits are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You can turn it out onto a large piece of parchment paper or Silpat. Knead the dough until comes together into a smooth ball of dough.
- Lightly flour the work surface and the top of the dough. Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined board or cookie sheet about 1/4-inch apart. Prick each cookie in the center with a fork. Pricking the cookies will ensure the steam is released as the cookies bake and that they remain flat on top.
- Chill the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Chilling the dough will help the cookies hold their shape when baking.
- Bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes. The bottom of the cookies will be lightly golden brown. The pieces of candy cane will melt as the cookies bake causing them to spread.
- Take the cookies out of the oven. Immediately place a cookie cutter around the cookies on the baking sheet. (It should be bigger than the cookies, so it doesn’t cut off any of the edges.)
- Use a swirling motion to mold the edges of the cookies from uneven to perfectly round. Allow them to cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a wire rack to completely cool.
- At this point the cookies are ready to eat. The white chocolate glaze is optional.
White Chocolate Ganache Glaze
- Break or cut the white chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat-proof bowl.
- Over medium-high heat bring a saucepan of water to a simmer. There should be steam rising from the water, but it shouldn’t be boiling. Reduce the temperature to low and place the bowl of chocolate over the hot water.
- Melt the chocolate until it’s smooth and creamy. Place the heavy cream in a 1-cup measuring cup and heat it in the microwave until boiling.
- Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the water, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 30 seconds. Use a whisk to slowly stir the ingredients together. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Let the chocolate ganache cool for about 10 minutes. Use a spoon to spread some of the chocolate glaze on top of the cookie.
- Crush the 5 candy canes and sprinkle pieces of the candy cane on top of the chocolate.
- The cookies can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container without the white chocolate glaze. Once the white chocolate glaze is added the cookies can be stored for up to 3 days. The sugar in the white chocolate keeps the cream from spoiling.