Peppermint Meltaways

peppermintmeltawaysIt’s peppermint season! With just a few weeks to go until Christmas, peppermint-flavored treats are everywhere…including my kitchen.

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.


Peppermint Meringues (Gluten-Free!)

peppermint meringuesMeringue cookies are a great option for using up leftover yolks; they’re easy to make, easy to adapt, and usually gluten-free, depending on what you combine with them.

The next time I make these cookies, I’ll do just a few things differently: first, I may bake them another 5 minutes or so, and second, I’ll remove them from the kitchen for cooling. The residual heat from my oven caused these meringues to get sticky within the first few minutes of cooling, which is something I haven’t experienced with meringues before. Despite their stickiness, they’re very nice peppermint treats, both with and without their chocolate enhancement!


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • red gel paste food coloring, for tinting

Chocolate Drizzle, for dipping cookie bottoms (optional)

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, peppermint extract, and salt; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form; when whites are approaching stiff peak stage, add red gel paste food coloring to tint.

Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 1-inch circles of meringue onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until meringues are dry and firm when lightly touched. Transfer meringues to wire racks and cool completely in a cool room.

Optional: combine semisweet chocolate chips and shortening in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate; place on parchment or waxed paper to harden.

Peppermint Snowballs

peppermint snowballs






Peppermint is a wonderful flavor often associated with winter, and these cookies, found in a delightful Christmas cookie magazine, have been on my list to bake for the past several weeks. Sometimes, you can tweak a recipe and make it better; other times, what you add or omit affects the finished product in what I wouldn’t necessarily call a bad way, but in an unexpected, less than desirable way.

Hoping for intense peppermint flavor, I added more crushed peppermint candies than recommended. At the time, I didn’t think about how they increased quantity of candy (essentially, melting sugar, which turns to liquid) would affect the dough, and it certainly did. Rather than turning out button-like as Russian Tea Cakes do, these were flat, and took longer to bake. The cookies still taste good, but next time, I’ll stick closer to the recipe and incorporate 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract, then decrease the vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon as well.


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (20 candies)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flower
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for rolling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add the 2/3 cup powdered sugar, crushed peppermints, vanilla, and salt; beat until well combined.

Add flour, one cup at a time, beating until combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls, then place at least one inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

Remove from oven, let stand on baking sheets for 5 minutes.

Roll in powdered sugar and place on a wire rack to cool completely.