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
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.
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.