Candy canes are a great decoration for a Christmas tree, but they can have a lot of other great culinary uses, as well. For instance, stirring one into a mug of hot chocolate will give you a delicious peppermint hot chocolate that is indulgent and refreshing. They can also be a great addition to holiday cookies, and I don’t just mean as garnish for gingerbread men! These Peppermint Snickerdoodles have a lot of vanilla and mint flavor, with a hint of cinnamon, and a very festive look.
Snickerdoodles are made by rolling relatively plain sugar cookie dough into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, which gives them a nice flavorful finish, as well as an attractive look. I simply added crushed peppermint to that coating to incorporate mint into this recipe. The trick to getting this recipe just right is to use the right size peppermint pieces. Use candy canes, not super hard candies, and chop them up finely so that they’re about the size of large sprinkles and not as big as, say, chocolate chips. Sift the peppermint mixture through a medium-sized strainer to get rid of the peppermint dust. You can also buy chopped peppermint for garnishes and topping snickerdoodles, which can be a convenient option. When they’re not too big, the peppermint bits will melt a bit into the cookies during baking, giving them a great look and infusing that peppermint flavor even more.
The finished cookies are chewy on the inside and slightly crisp around the edges. The have a beautiful swirling red-and-white finish, thanks to the peppermint, and you can taste the vanilla, the mint and the cinnamon in each bite. I thought that the mint flavor was a bit too aggressive when I added peppermint extract into the cookie dough, but if you’re a real mint fan, feel free to try it out. These make great ice cream sandwiches with vanilla or chocolate ice cream if you want to dress them up, or simply serve them alongside some of that peppermint hot chocolate.
2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped peppermints or candy canes
1 cup butter, soft
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place 1/2 cup of the sugar in a shallow dish or bowl and whisk cinnamon to combine with it. Add in chopped peppermints. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and remaining sugar (1 1/2 cups sugar) until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the peppermint sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between balls to allow for spreading.
Bake for about 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set and edges are very lightly browned. Cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.