Peppermint sugar cookies capture the essence of the holiday spirit. Full of bright colors and bright flavor, throw your holiday cookie exchange into overdrive with this festive treat.
These peppermint cookies are tailor-made for the Christmas season!
What are these?
These peppermint sugar cookies are coated with royal icing and then adorned with bright stripes of luster dust and peppermint extract.
What's in them?
With the exception of just a couple of ingredients, you probably have everything on hand to make these fun peppermint sugar cookies.
You'll see there are only three ingredients that we use for this recipe that may be uncommon to you:
- Meringue powder
- Red luster dust
The good news is you can omit the glycerin and instead of meringue powder, you can substitute two egg whites. (See notes in the recipe below.)
The red luster dust is used to color the "paint" and you can buy it online or pick some up at a cake decorating store.
How to make these
(See the full recipe at the end of this post.)
There are three steps for making these peppermint striped sugar cookies.
- Make a sugar cookie base.
- Make a batch of royal icing. Then coat the cookies with it and allow them to dry for 24 hours.
- Mix some red luster powder with a solvent and "paint" the stripes on the cookies.
Start by making a basic sugar cookie recipe. Allow the dough to chill for a bit and then roll it out.
Use a 2 ½-inch square cookie cutter to cut the cookies and then bake for about 8 minutes at 350° F.
These sugar cookies are coated with a royal icing. We add some glycerin to the royal icing to give it more of a sheen, however you can omit the glycerin and still achieve a beautiful finish.
After the cookies are frosted, you have to let them dry for 24 hours. This is so the "painted" stripes will adhere to the surface.
After the royal icing had dried on top of the cookies, you'll arrange them in a tight square. Then, mix the red luster dust with some peppermint extract (or another alcohol-based liquid like vodka.) Do not use peppermint oil to dissolve the luster dust.
The alcohol in the mixture will evaporate quickly, leaving just the striped pigment behind.
Use a couple of small paint brushes of varying widths and paint a series of stripes across the cookies.
When painting the stripes, start with a small amount on our brush. This will avoid a big glob of color on top of your cookies.
When dry, rearrange the cookies on a platter so the lines no longer match up.
Common recipe questions
These peppermint sugar cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
Royal icing is a hard, white icing that is used to decorate wedding cakes, Christmas cookies, gingerbread house, and other desserts. You can store any leftover royal icing in the refrigerator for another use. It will keep for months as long as it is stored in a sealed and refrigerated container.
We use meringue powder in the royal icing but you can use two beaten egg whites instead. Be sure to reduce the water that is called for, to achieve the proper consistency.
You can use luster dust or petal dust for the coloring. Either of these can be found at baking supply stores, online, or at craft store like Michael's. If you use luster dust, be sure it is the edible kind!
If you're not a fan of peppermint, substitute the peppermint extract with vanilla extract in this recipe.
If you try this peppermint sugar cookie recipe, be sure to tag us on social media and leave a comment below. We love to hear from our readers!
More Favorite Christmas Cookies
- Pfeffernüsse German Christmas Cookies
- Cherry Christmas Cookies
- White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
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Peppermint Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies
For the Cookies
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla (or peppermint extract) and beat well. Sift the flour and baking soda together and mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.
- Divide the dough into two sections. Then, wrap it in plastic kitchen wrap and chill until ready to use. Dough can be used right away but may be easier to work with if chilled first.
- Preheat your oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface roll out cookie dough to ¼” thickness. Use a square cookie cutter (I used a 2 ½” square cutter here) to cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving an inch of space around each cookie.
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until the bottoms show just a bit of browning. Cool the cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
- Repeat rolling out, cutting, and baking cookies into 16 cookies.
For the icing
- Use the whisk attachment of a standing mixer to beat together powdered sugar, meringue powder, 8 tablespoons of water, and glycerin until extremely fluffy - about 6-8 minutes.
- Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time until icing is just thin enough to drizzle from the whisk and smooth out completely within 5-10 seconds. Spoon some of the icing into a shallow bowl.
- Dip the top side of each cookie down into the icing, swishing back and forth gently to fully cover the top of the cookie and allow any excess to drip back into the bowl.
- Flip the cookie right side up, use an offset spatula to scrape off any icing on the sides of the cookie and set cookie on a sheet of parchment paper to dry.
- If the icing runs off of the cookie, it is too thin. Whisk in additional powdered sugar until the consistency is correct. If the icing does not smooth out after a few seconds, whisk in additional water until the consistency is correct.
- Allow cookies to dry for 12-24 hours before painting. Mix approximately ⅛ teaspoon of red luster dust with 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract (you can also use vodka or another alcohol based clear extract). Place cookies in a 4x4 square, edges touching. Use paintbrushes of various widths to paint stripes across the cookie rows. Mix additional “paint” as needed. Stripes will dry almost instantly as alcohol evaporates. Rearrange cookies randomly to create an offset stripes pattern.
- Leftover royal icing will stay fresh and useable for months if stored in an airtight container.
- Thin smaller amounts of icing directly in the dipping bowl if you wish to preserve the thicker consistency for piping or making other icing decorations.
- Once icing has dried, cookies should be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer before using. If dough is too soft for cookies to hold shape while cutting and transferring to baking sheet, chill dough for 20-30 minutes until it is more firm.
- Luster dust colors can be combined to mix a custom color - I mixed a bright red with a burgundy here.
- Glycerin is added to the royal icing to make it “glossy” icing, but I find there is not a big difference. Therefore, you can omit the glycerin from the recipe and still get beautiful results.
- If you don't have meringue powder on hand, you can substitute it for two egg whites. Just reduce the amount of water that is added to the royal icing, in order to get the proper consistency.