Looking for a gorgeous twist for this year’s holiday cookie plate? These simple shortbread cookies bake up quickly and call for just five basic ingredients! Top them with a simple peppermint buttercream and a clever peppermint swirl candy topper and you’ll be the belle of this year’s Christmas Cookie ball! Rich and buttery shortbread is a holiday classic, but we’ve notched it up a bit with peppermint frosting and a melted candy coating topper.
The shortbread dough is easy-to-make, perfect for holiday bakers of all skill levels. While it’s baking, prep the buttercream. The secret to great homemade frosting is to add just enough milk to make it soft and spreadable, then beat with an electric mixer on high until incredible fluffy. When mixing the frosting, add the powdered sugar gradually and don’t be afraid to whip generously until you get the perfect texture.
The real showstopper here is the triangle peppermint topper. Don’t be intimidated by the technique. Melting the candies is a easy the delivers a stunning results, truly worth the effort. You will need a good, sharp knife. And be ready to start slicing the moment candies come out of the oven. Work in small batches, if needed, melting half the candies at once so you have plenty of time to slice while warm. For best results, make sure the peppermint candy toppers are cool before placing atop your cookies.
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Candy Cane Swirl Shortbread Cookies
Take your holiday cookie game to the next level with these buttery shortbread bites topped with a festive peppermint swirl.
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus
- 1 cup butter, softened slightly
- Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1 lb bag powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2-3 Tbsp milk
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 24 peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat together the flour, sugar, and butter. Mix just until combined. Press mixture into a 9x13" pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or just until light golden brown.
Allow shortbread to cool slightly before cutting into squares, then into triangles with a very sharp knife.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk, prepare the frosting by beating together the powdered sugar, butter and peppermint extract. Add just enough milk to whip the frosting until fluffy, and soft enough to spread.
Line a 9x13" baking sheet with parchment paper. (Make sure the parchment lines the entire bottom of the pan, and comes up over the edges of the pan for easy removal.) Place mints across the bottom of the parchment-lined baking sheet, place in preheated oven and allow to cook just until melted. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the melted candy to a clean, flat workspace by grabbing the edges of the parchment and pulling it out of the baking dish.
Use a very sharp knife (spray the blade with nonstick baking spray for extra ease with this step!) to cut the candy into the same sized triangles as the shortbread. Spread a small amount of frosting on top of each cookie, top with a peppermint swirl triangle. Serve and enjoy!