Peppermint Vanilla Shortbread Cookies are tender, buttery whipped shortbread with a lovely peppermint vanilla glaze! Delicious Christmas shortbread cookies for holiday trays!
Make these easy shortbread cookies for your next holiday cookie exchange, they have heavenly flavor in every bite. This shortbread cookie recipe is so easy to follow, it calls for simple ingredients and comes together fast to create a wonderful festive holiday treat.
Tips for making amazing shortbread cookies every time
Shortbread cookies are very tender and crumbly, so they are a bit different than your traditional cookie dough. Here are some tips to making them perfectly:
- Shortbread cookie dough is a bit sticky, so I like to spray both my hands and the cookie scoop with non-stick spray prior to scooping and rolling. Resist the urge to add more flour to the dough! If you add too much flour, the ratio of wet to dry ingredients is off and the cookies end up dry and crumbly.
- Do not melt the butter. The butter needs to be softened (at room temperature), by using melted butter you run a high risk of ruining the cookie results.
- Spend a little extra time when you mix the butter and sugars. Creaming them together for 2-3 minutes will improve the consistency of your cookies and the final product will have amazing texture.
- Preheat the oven and wait for it to get to the full temperature. This will help your cookies turn out right every time, patience is key with cookie recipes.
- Use a cookie scoop! If you want all your cookies to be perfectly shaped and have them all be the same size, a cookie scoop is the way to go. This is a great baking tool that is inexpensive but makes a huge difference.
- Use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Doing this will make it really easy to remove the cookies from your cookie sheet so that you don’t have to scrape them off the pan, they will just slide right off and in perfect shape!
- Make sure not to overbake your cookies. This may seem like an easy concept, but a lot of time people think their cookies need just “one or two more minutes”. What some people forget is the cookies continue to bake on the sheet after they are removed from the oven.
Ingredients needed to make Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Butter: You will need 1 cup of softened (at room temperature) butter to make these cookies rich and flavorful.
Powder sugar: Adding in ½ cup of powdered sugar, sifted, makes these treats sweet and soft.
Flour: Use 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour for the base and structure of this cookie recipe.
Cornstarch: Add in ½ cup of cornstarch to help the cookies rise as they bake.
Vanilla extract: Using 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract gives these treats great taste and helps enhance the other great flavors in this cookie.
Almond extract: For more wonderful flavor, add in 1 teaspoon of almond extract to this cookie dough.
Salt: To balance the sweetness in this cookie dough, add in ½ teaspoon of salt.
Peppermint Vanilla Icing
Butter: Adding in 3 tablespoons of butter, melted, will create an amazing cookie topping.
Powdered sugar: You need 2 cups of powder sugar for the base of this icing.
Vanilla extract: For great flavoring, use ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Peppermint extract: Add in 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract for the amazing holiday flavor we all know and love.
Milk: To make the icing the perfect consistency, you will need 2-3 tablespoons of milk.
Peppermint candy: For the delightful cookie topping, use some crushed peppermint candy pieces.
How to make Whipped Peppermint Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Begin by preheating the oven to 300°F. Then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat and set it aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until it is a light and fluffy mixture, this should take about 3-5 minutes.
Next, gradually add the flour and cornstarch, beating until all is well blended.
After that, add in the vanilla extract, almond extract and the salt. Proceed to whip the cookie batter on medium high speed for 5 minutes.
Continue to scoop out balls of cookie dough using a small 1 TBSP cookie scoop. Then, using greased hands, gently roll the dough into smooth balls and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving only about 1″ of space between each ball of dough. The dough doesn’t really spread, so you can fit a lot of cookies on 1 sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet and transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Peppermint Vanilla Icing
In a medium size bowl, combine the melted butter, powder sugar, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and milk. Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth, adding more milk as necessary until icing is pourable.
Proceed to spoon the icing over the tops of each cookie. Immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint pieces as the icing does set quickly.
Let the cookies cool to set, serve and enjoy!
Why are my Vanilla Shortbread Cookies cooked unevenly?
If your cookies are darker on the bottom than you’d like, it’s probably an issue with your cookie sheet. I do not like thin cookie sheets or dark cookie sheets, as these both tend to burn the bottoms of cookies. If you use a lot of cooking spray, the same result can happen. I prefer to use lighter colored cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. My favorite cookie sheets are Nordicware– I have 3 half sheets and 2 quarter sheets and love them all!
How can I tell if my shortbread cookies are done?
Normally I bake the cookies until the bottom edges are barely beginning to brown, then remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit for an additional 2-5 minutes. After that, you can transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. As the cookies cool, they’ll firm up in the middle so you’ll have perfectly cooked cookies that are slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy inside.
Note the time suggested in the recipe but know that everyone’s ovens cook a bit differently. You’ll have to pay close attention to how your oven cooks so you learn if you need to bake cookies a minute or two longer for instance, than what the recipe states.
How do you soften butter?
I like to soften butter by using the defrost function on my microwave. If you need the full 1/2 cup cube of butter, you can leave it in the paper wrapper, otherwise, place the amount of butter you need in a glass or porcelain bowl. I use the lowest defrost setting on my microwave and just let it run for 20 seconds. Check the butter and see how soft it is by pressing it with a rubber scraper. If it is still not soft to the touch, meaning it doesn’t indent when you press into it, let it warm for another 5-10 seconds. Watch it closely! Butter softens very quickly.
How long are iced shortbread cookies good for?
These amazing cookies probably won’t last long enough to store some. But if by chance you do have some left over, they will last up to 7 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Can Shortbread Cookies be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze shortbread Cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Make sure you first let them sit on the countertop for 2-3 hours before stacking them in the airtight container, so that the icing has enough time to set. Store each layer with a piece of parchment paper in between so that the cookies will not stick together and maintain their prettiness when defrosted.
Looking for more holiday cookies & shortbread cookies recipes?
When did my kids get so big?! Heavens, everyone told me time goes by quickly, but I haven’t really felt it until now. Good thing they are such good looking kids, because they drive me crazy sometimes!
Peppermint Vanilla Shortbread Cookies are a lovely tender, whipped shortbread with an incredible peppermint vanilla glaze on top! These Christmas shortbread cookies are not only pretty but delicious as well, they make a great dessert on any holiday treat table.