These Peppermint Meltaway Cookies are soft and tender, with a hint of peppermint flavor in the cookie as well as the frosting, then topped with red marshmallow buttercream frosting, and crushed candy canes. When looking for a unique yet still Christmas themed cookie, you can’t go wrong with these. They are truly delicious.
What I like the best about these cookies is the trifecta of peppermint flavor. Not only does a little peppermint extract go in the cookie itself, but it’s also repeated in the soft layer of frosting, then found again when topped with a sprinkling of crushed candy cane.
How to Make Peppermint Cookies
- Cream butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer.
- Mix in extracts.
- Mix in egg and salt.
- Slowly mix in flour and cornstarch, alternating until mix well.
- Chill dough in refrigerator.
- Scoop 1½ tablespoons cookie dough. Roll dough into a ball.
- Place on cookie sheet about 1-inch apart.
- Flatten cookies to 2-inch by 2-inch using the bottom of flat glass or flat measuring cup.
- Bake in 325°F for 15 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, cream butter and marshmallow creme.
- Beat in peppermint extract and salt.
- Slowly mix in powdered sugar.
- Add in 1 drop red food coloring and beat peppermint icing until well combined.
- Frost cookies using a flat knife.
- Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
Peppermint Meltaway Cookie Ingredients
Butter: I like to use a quality unsalted butter especially since butter is the star of the show. Since every manufacturer adds a different amount of salt and water content to their butter, I like to use a high quality unsalted butter and measure out my own salt. When it comes to creaming butter, it’s important that the butter and sugar is mixed on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. To achieve this, I usually suggest beating butter and sugar for 5-7 minutes in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If using a hand mixer, this step will take longer; usually about 2 minutes longer. The color of creamed butter is lighter in color.
Flour: Use all-purpose flour. The dough may need to be blotted into any remaining flour and cornstarch at the bottom of the bowl. The dough will mix up thick and since the only liquid is softened butter, it makes it trickier to mix in the dry ingredients. Towards the end of mixing in the flour, I like to reach into the bottom of the bowl and hand stir in any lingering dry ingredients. Once this step is achieved, give the dough another good mix until combined.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch binds with the wet ingredients in the cookie dough and helps the cookie spread less when baking which produces a thicker cookie. It also helps turn the dough into more of a soft and tender cookie. Butter cookies, such as these peppermint meltaway cookies, commonly use cornstarch in the dough.
Sugar: Granulated sugar works well in this recipe.
Flavoring: Butter is a pretty important flavor in these cookies. It adds richness to the cookies therefore, I use a high quality, good tasting butter. In addition, peppermint extract is mixed into the cookie dough, and used in the marshmallow frosting. Peppermint extract can be found in the grocery store year-round otherwise during the holiday season starting in November. Look for it on the end caps or in the baking aisle. The extract can also be found online through amazon. Do not use essential oil in this recipe.
Marshmallow Creme: Gives the frosting a silky texture and sweet taste. Also, an hour or two after frosting the cookies, the cookies can be stacked on top of each other and stored in an airtight container or holiday tin and they won’t stick together. If you don’t have a kitchen scale to weigh out 4 ounces, it’s okay to eyeball it. I buy the 7 ounce can and use a little more than half of it when making the frosting.
Food Coloring: When using red food coloring, a significant amount would need to be used to achieve a deep dark red color in the frosting. I like to keep the buttercream frosting a light pink color. Simply add 1 drop of coloring to the mixer. Be sure to wipe down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to fully dye the frosting pink. Tinting the frosting a pink color is totally optional. Of course, it can be left white if desired.
Candy Canes: Crushed peppermint candy canes can be purchased at many stores during the winter season. I purchased mine at a TJMAXX/Home Good store during the Christmas holiday season. However, making crushed candy canes at home is simple. Simply unwrap and fill a ziplock bag with candy canes and hit them with a rolling pin until crushed. Adding the candy cane topping adds an extra layer of texture and crunch.
Variations for Peppermint Meltaway Cookies
- candy canes: Look for candy canes that have different colors and crush these up.
- Frosting: Change up the color of the frosting by keeping it white. If using different color candy canes, the frosting can be tinted accordingly. For a festive look, use green food coloring which will look great with red and white candy canes or divide the frosting into two or three batches then add red to one bowl, green to another bowl, and keep the third bowl with frosting white.
- Shape: Roll this dough out to 1/4-inch thickness using powdered sugar or flour on a clean surface. Refrigerate the dough and use holiday cookie cutters to make festive shapes. Once the shapes are cut, chill the butter cookie cutouts in the refrigerator to prevent spreading.
Peppermint Cookie Reader Tips and Questions
Can I stack my cookies after frosting? Wait an hour or two after frosting to stack the cookies so the frosting can set up. The frosting will not become hard at any point, but it will not be sticky.
Do I need to refrigerate my cookies after frosting them? Once these cookies are ready, cover them in an airtight container. They can sit out for 3 days at room temperature, but refrigerating them after that will extend their self life.
Can I make these ahead of time? Yes. The peppermint cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Simply take out the dough when it’s ready to be used and allow it to sit on the countertop for 15 minutes prior to trying to scoop it into balls. In addition, the dough can be placed in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator, then on the counter for an additional 15 minutes before scooping it into cookies.
Other Christmas Cookie Recipes You’ll Love
- Shortbread Cookie Bites
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Crinkle Cookies
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Pecan Fingers
- Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
- Lemon Meltaway Cookies
- Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies
- Raspberry Bow Tie Cookies
Peppermint Meltaway Cookies
- 2 cup unsalted butter, softened (4 stick)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 4 oz marshmallow cream
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 drop red food coloring
- ⅓ cup crushed peppermint candy cane
- Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy; about 5-7 minutes.
- Mix in extracts. Beat in egg and salt.
- With the mixer on low, mix in 1 cup all-purpose flour and cornstarch at a time, alternating until gone and wiping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Mix until fully combined.
- Chill dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls. Place on cookie sheet about 1-inch apart.
- Pat down dough into 2-inch by 2-inch flat cookies using the bottom of a flat glass or measuring cup dipping in powdered sugar.
- Bake in oven for about 15 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, cream marshmallow fluff cream and butter.
- Beat in peppermint extract, and salt.
- Slowly mix in powdered sugar until fully combined.
- Add 1 drop red food coloring to bowl and mix until color is combined and no more white frosting remains.
- Thinly frosts each cookie using a butter knife. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy canes.