CHANGE IT UP FOR A NEW TAKE ON A CLASSIC
To be completely honest, I’m not sure why the flavour of peppermint is so strongly associated with Christmastime sweets and treats. I have searched the internet for an answer, but wasn’t able to find anything other than people asking the same question, just like I was doing! I’m going to go ahead and base the answer to this question on the articles I read while searching.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
WHY IS PEPPERMINT SO POPULAR AT CHRISTMAS?
Somewhere, somehow, peppermint flavour became permanently associated with, and connected to, the candy cane. Nobody seems to know who did this, or why it happened, but the best guess I could find was that the peppermint flavour is cooling and frosty to the mouth when eaten. It is quite possible that this extract was added to Christmas confections to mimic the feeling of winter itself.
But why is peppermint flavour usually found in the form of red, green, and white? I read that the red symbolizes the blood of Christ, while the white symbolizes purity. Okay, I can get behind that since Christmas is about the birth of Christ. But what about the candy canes that are green or have the three colours combined?
I also read that the red and white colours are used to mimic Santa’s red and white outfit. Then, I read that the green is used to instill feelings of calmness and nostalgia. There was another article that said the green symbolizes evergreen trees, which are often used as Christmas trees. At this point, Dear Reader, who knows!?
HOMEMADE IS BETTER THAN STORE-BOUGHT!
Lastly, since Christmastime is supposed to be all about family and friends, I highly encourage you to get your friends and kids involved with the making of these cookies. Well, maybe not the making part, but certainly with the decorating part. I can’t think of anyone – kid or otherwise – that wouldn’t love a go at icing a big, fat Lofthouse cookie!
(I didn’t have anyone helping me make the cookies or decorate them, because I have control issues, but that’s a topic of discussion for another time. You get help. You share the fun. Be you. Don’t be a Byron.)
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 5-7 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh, and be just as soft, as the day you first baked them.
If you’re feeling extra festive, make a double batch and share these with your friends and neighbours. I cannot tell you enough times how much people love to receive homemade Christmas cookies. And it feels so good to do so!
Just as an FYI, you don’t need to make this cookie only at Christmastime. Here’s a great halloween version. This is a cookie recipe that offers a freshness and brightness that’s perfect all year round!
For the Cookies:
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 drops red food colouring
- 2 drops green food colouring
- 1 cup sprinkles
- Begin by beating together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix in well
- Add the peppermint extract and beat into the butter and sugar mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until just incorporated.
- Turn cookie dough out onto plastic wrap. Wrap well and place in refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Next, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 3/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the rounds and gently transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie.
- Gather up the remaining dough and form into a ball to roll out again to make the rest of the cookies. Repeat until all dough has been used up.
- Bake the cookies for exactly 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, start the frosting. To do so, add all ingredients to a large bowl and use a hand held mixer to beat the ingredients until light and fluffy.
- Divide the frosting into three separate bowls. Add the red food colouring to one bowl and the green food colouring to the other. The third bowl is just left the way it is. No food colouring is needed for the third bowl. Once again, beat the two coloured frostings. Clean the beaters in between to keep the colours completely separated.
- To frost, use a one-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the frosting onto the center of the cookie. Use a small off-set spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the cookie, leaving about 1/4 inch space around the outside. Immediately top with candy sprinkles and set aside to allow the frosting to set up and dry a bit. (This frosting will not dry completely like royal icing!)
- You will get 10 white cookies, 10 red cookies, and 10 green cookies.
- Serve immediately, or transfer to a food-safe container with a lid. Cookies will last for 5 days. Refrigeration not recommended.