These Peppermint Shortbread Cookies are made with plenty of butter and peppermint extract and topped with chocolate ganache.
MORE COOKIES?! Yes friends, more cookies. To be honest, I didn’t go that cookie-crazy this year, but these chocolate peppermint shortbread cookies were a MUST. The shortbread cookies themselves are made with peppermint extract and candy cane pieces and they’re topped with chocolate ganache. You can make them into cookie sandwiches like I did, or simply ice the tops—both ways are delicious!
What comes to mind when you think of shortbread cookies? Every time I hear the words “shortbread cookies”, I think of those Girl Scout cookies. I’m not here to hate on Girl Scout Cookies (ummmm hello Samoa’s, you are my favorite), but I think homemade shortbread cookies will always be better than packaged one. Homemade cookies are soft and pillow-y and buttery and perfection, and these peppermint shortbread cookies are just so festive.
If you’ve never made shortbread cookies before, then let me tell you: the reason they’re so buttery is because you quite literally whip a lot of butter and a little bit of sugar together, versus a more even amount of butter and sugar.
For these peppermint shortbread cookies, you’ll start by creaming the butter and sugar together, then adding vanilla and peppermint extract and lastly, mixing in the flour.
Note: if you opt to include candy cane pieces in the dough, make sure they’re SMALL. If you have chunks of candy cane, the candy cane will melt and ultimately ruin the dough. I placed both candy canes in my food processor and pulsed for about 30 seconds to make sure they were completely broken down
Note: if you aren’t making these into sandwiches, I’d recommend adding a third candy cane into the mix so you can throw some candy cane pieces on top of your iced cookies
Once the dough is formed, you can roll it out then freeze it for about 30 minutes. This is super important because you don’t want the dough to be too sticky—the firmer dough will make it easier to use a cookie cutter to form the circles. While the dough is chilling, you’ll make the ganache. If you’ve never made ganache before let me tell you: you’re in for a treat! The first time I made these cookies I used chocolate buttercream which was good, but I think this ganache takes it up a level and I found that the cookies stuck together more easily with ganache than they did with buttercream.
Once the dough is cut out, you’ll place the cookies in the oven for about 10 minutes, then wait for them to cool before icing them with the ganache.
These peppermint shortbread cookies are fun, festive and a little something different—I really hope you give them a try!
Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
for the cookies:
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Optional: 2 candy canes crushed
for the ganache:
- 1 cup dark chocolate chopped*
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk full fat or lite
- Optional: 1/4 tsp peppermint extract**
- Cream butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla and peppermint extract. Last, stir in the salt and flour. If you're including candy cane pieces, I recommend placing them in your food processor and pulsing for about 30 seconds or until they're crumb-sized. Stir in the candy cane pieces by hand.
- Flour your surface then place the dough on the flour. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough (this prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling pin), then use a rolling pin to roll the dough out--make sure it's not too thin!
- Carefully pick dough up and place it on a baking sheet, then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes, allowing the dough to stiffen up.
- While dough is chilling, make the ganache: pour chocolate into a bowl and set aside. Heat coconut milk over stovetop; as soon as it starts bubbling, pour milk over the chocolate and wait 5 minutes. Then, stir milk and chocolate together. Ideally, the chocolate will have completely melted; if not, microwave the chocolate for 15-20 seconds then stir. At this point, you can also stir in the peppermint extract. Place ganache in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes, allowing it to thicken a bit.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Take dough out of the freezer and use a circle cookie cutter to cut out the dough, placing cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes, then remove then and place them on a cooling rack. Wait until cookies have completely cooled before icing.
- Once ganache is thicker but still spreadable, spread it on the bottoms of the cookies, then place the cookies together to form shortbread cookie sandwiches. Alternatively, you may just ice the tops of the cookies.