Peppermint is my favorite plant in the mint family, and not just because it pairs very well with chocolate. Peppermint calms headaches, soothes sore throats, tames upset stomachs, and can lower anxiety associated with depression. A pretty powerful little plant, when you think about it.
These peppermint meltaways are adapted from Taste of Home, one of my favorite recipe sources. They’re lighter than expected, perhaps due to the cornstarch in the dough. Next time, I think I’ll swirl together white and red frosting for a candy cane look. This makes a relatively small batch of 2 dozen, but they’d be a nice addition to your Christmas cookie platter.
For the cookies
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the frosting
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- About 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- red food coloring, if desired
In a small bowl, combine flour and cornstarch; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add peppermint extract and beat to combine.
Add flour/cornstarch mixture in three batches, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each. Chill dough for about 20 minutes, until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Be careful when checking – these cookies are very soft and crumbly until they’re cool.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, beat butter for 1 minute, then add 2 tablespoons milk, peppermint extract, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until combined, then add remaining powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well. Check your consistency; you want a spreadable frosting that isn’t too thick or thin, like the consistency of peanut butter. If necessary, thin your frosting with the remaining milk. Add food coloring, if desired.
Frost cookies and store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature.