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Butter Mint Cut-Out Candy Cookies

Butter Mint Cut-Out Candy Cookies

"...while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads."





I don't know about you, but I tend to replace sugarplums with candies and cookies. This is the best of both worlds: cookies decorated like Christmas candies. Dreamy, pastel, sweet, and sugary...perfect for a holiday dessert table or packed up and given as gifts.





These are not your average, ordinary cut-out cookies, either. In honor of the holidays, these buttery cookies are flavored with peppermint and vanilla. As usual, I used Land O Lakes® Salted Butter in this recipe. Salted butter adds just the right flavor to these minty sweet cookies.





{Be sure to look for peppermint extract, not spearmint or plain mint. Otherwise, your cookies could end up tasting like chewing gum.}





Of course when I think of Christmas candies, candy canes immediately come to mind...along with peppermints and loopy, striped, fabulous ribbon candy.


The yield varies on this recipes, based on the size and shape of your cookie cutters. Making 4-inch cookies? You'll get about 12 to 15 cookies. For mini or 2-inch cookies, you'll get about 36. The dough is easy to whip up with no chilling required, so it's easy to make multiple batches in a jiffy.




Butter Mint Cut-Out Cookies



Ingredients

1 cup (2 full sticks) Land O Lakes® Salted Butter, cold and cut into cubes 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract


Peppermint Royal Icing (this will cover approximately 3 dozen cookies)

4 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract




Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in the egg and extracts. Beat until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On low speed, mix in the flour in three additions until a dough forms. If some flour remains in the bowl, knead it in by hand.



On a floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of ¼-inch. (I like to use dough rolling guides, but you can eyeball it.) Cut into shapes and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze the cut-outs for 5 to 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

(The dough scraps can be gathered and re-rolled.)

Make the Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the meringue powder and water on low speed for a few minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar. Add the corn syrup and extract. Beat on low until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes or more until stiff peaks form.

Divide the icing into containers and tint using gel paste food coloring. Press plastic wrap onto the top of each icing to keep it from drying.

Decorate the cookies, using a #2 tip to outline each design and/or section. To fill the outlines, thin the icing with a bit of water, stirring slowly, until is reaches the consistency of glue. A ribbon of icing dropped back into the bowl will disappear in a count of one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two.

Pour the thinned icing into squeeze bottles and fill in the outlines. Use toothpick to pop large air bubbles and guide the icing to edges and corners.



For the candy canes and green swirl candies, fill in the base color first, then after a few minutes, add on the contrasting color. (For the candy cane, it's the green stripe on the white. Use the white swirl on the green for the swirl candies.)



For the peppermints, start with the white base, wait a few minutes, then add the asterisk-looking shape on top. Use a toothpick to swirl the center.



For the ribbon candy, fill 2 piping bags with contrasting colored (piping consistency) icing. Snip the ends and place BOTH bags inside another piping bag fitted with a petal tip. With the large end down, pipe the icing in a zig-zag motion. (It helps to practice on a plate first to make sure both colors are coming out.)



Let the cookies dry uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.



Once dry, the cookies stack or package up beautifully.




Bake at 350 has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversations blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.

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