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Peppermint cookie bars

A shower of crushed peppermint candy adds a festive touch to shortbread cookie bars.

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    These peppermint cookie bars will look festive on a platter and will really stand out on a display of other sweets.
    The Runaway Spoon
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A good, thickly frosted sugar cookie bar has all the old-fashioned comfort we look for during the holidays. I like to take that recipe and zuzz it up for Christmas, with some rich white chocolate and bracing peppermint. The shower of crushed peppermint candy adds a festive touch and couldn’t be easier to do. These are simple to make, but look gorgeous on a festive platter and will really stand out on a display of other sweets. I took them to a party last year and another woman picked one up then asked what they were. I told her they were peppermint and saw her hesitate – but clearly wasn’t going to put it back on the plate – so she politely took a bite. Her face lit up and she declared “I don’t really like peppermint but these are yummy. My son would love these!” She promptly asked for the recipe.

You could tint the icing pink if you are so inclined and I have been known to add some edible white glitter to the peppermint candies to add an extra sparkle. The soft peppermint puffs work best, rather than the classic starlight style mint, because they crush more easily and are not as hard to eat.

Peppermint cookie bars
Makes 26 bars       

Recommended: Christmas cookies for everyone on your list

For the Base
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8- by 8-inch square pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

2. Beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg, sour cream and vanilla and beat until well combined ans smooth. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until you have a smooth, thick dough. Beat in the white chocolate chips.

3. Press the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer. Smooth the top with your fingers to make a flat surface. Bake the base for 20 – 15 minutes until lightly golden at the edges, firm, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bars completely.

For the Topping:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar/
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
10 soft peppermint candies (such as Bob’s Sweet Stripe)

1. Clean and dry the bowl of the stand mixer, then beat the butter until light. Gradually add the confectioners sugar alternately with the milk, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently, until you have a luscious, spreadable frosting. Beat in the peppermint extract.

2. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the top of the cookie base. I like to use an offset spatula. Smooth the top.

3. Unwrap the candies and place them in a sturdy zip top bag. Use a rolling pin or other heavy object to smash the candies to rubble and dust. Evenly sprinkle the candies over the frosting and use your clean hands to press the candy into the frosting so it doesn’t just fall off when served.

Cut into small squares.

Notes: For the batch in the photo, I found white chocolate chips with a red swirl, which make a pretty addition. They were not peppermint flavored, but if you find those, I am sure it would be lovely.

Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Peppermint angels

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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