This Is Our Most Popular Holiday Cookie Recipe of All Time

This festive recipe was submitted to the Taste of Home Test Kitchen by Denise Wheeler, and over 200 readers have given it a 5-star rating.

Yield: About 2-1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

For the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Editor’s Tip: The recipe calls for mint and candy canes, but you can vary the flavor to suit any craving. Swap out the peppermint extract for vanilla or almond, and you’ve got a backpocket shortbread.

Directions

Step 1: Cream the Wet Ingredients

Start by creaming together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Then, beat in the peppermint extract.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch.

Editor’s Tip: Cornstarch in cookies? Yep! It’s what gives these shortbread cookies their lovely, tender crumb. Don’t skip it!

Step 3: Combine and Cover

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and combine until you reach a soft, smooth dough. Don’t over-mix, though, or you’ll end up with tough cookies. Refrigerate the dough, covered, for 30 minutes or until it’s firm enough to shape.

Editor’s Tip: 30 minutes is the minimum amount of time your dough should chill. Leave it in the fridge even longer for a more peppermint-infused flavor.

Step 4: Shape and Bake

Once your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, place them 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets, and bake for 9-11 minutes. You’ll know the cookies are done when the bottoms are light brown. Remove from the pans onto wire racks, then let cool completely.

Step 5: Make the Frosting

While the cookies are cooling, beat the butter in a small bowl until it’s creamy. Add in the milk, extract and, if desired, food coloring. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Step 6: Decorate and Enjoy

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