Melt-in-your-mouth Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. Buttery, light and tender-crumbed, sweetened just right and full of classic peppermint candy cane flavor. Each nibble brings back fond memories of Christmas holidays past. And you just cannot have one—in fact, they’re one of Santa’s favorite cookies! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation. Everyone will love these festive pink and red peppermint sprinkled cookies with a red center. They taste just like Christmas!
A New Christmas Cookie Classic:
Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies—Made from Scratch!
We are smack-dab in the middle of Christmas cookie baking time, my sweet friends. I hope you are enjoying time in the kitchen with family and friends.
However, if you haven’t already begun the holiday baking frenzy and still honing in on completing your holiday baking list, I highly recommend adding this festive and sweet Christmas cookie to your holiday baking list.
Today I am happy to share yet another special variation of my original recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies made from scratch—Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies—just in time for Christmas. As I have stated before, if you have never experienced Gooey Butter Cake, or a Gooey Butter Cookie made from scratch, you simply haven’t lived.
Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies taste like a delectable Christmas pastry cookie from the finest bakery in town but look like they came from a bakery in the North Pole where Mrs. Claus is head pastry chef. The cookie dough is flavored with a touch of the finest and purest peppermint oil for the most authentic peppermint candy cane flavor. Then, a small portion of the dough is tinted red so it can be placed in the center of a ball of dough after depressing it thumbprint style. Once in place, additional dough is placed over the top and sealed with fingers before rolling and shaping into a ball and coating with confectioners’ sugar. Alternatively, the two balls of dough, tinted and un-tinted, can be rolled together to create a swirled cookie.
LorAnn Oils Natural Peppermint Oil
The cookie’s tender and light “cloud-like” crumb is contrasted with a super-thin soft and yet crackly sugar crust that forms during baking after rolling the dough in confectioners’ sugar—effectively acting as an icing and making it a quintessential Christmas holiday cookie. While the cookie is still warm from the oven, small shards of crushed peppermint candy cane is sprinkled and gently pressed into the top of the cracked parts of the cookie and then dusted with superfine peppermint candy cane dust over the powdered sugar for a festive holiday appearance. Once bitten into, the red centers reveal themselves and these easy to make cake-like cookies take on an irresistible buttery and cheesecake-like texture, almost fudgy like a brownie, and then melt in your mouth. Seductive, I tell you!
Just as with my original recipes for Gooey Butter Cookies, Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies, Shamrock Gooey Butter Cookies, Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies, Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cookies, and Eggnog Gooey Butter Cookies, this recipe comes with a very stern warning straight up:
WARNING: DO NOT eat the cookie dough or there will not be enough to bake cookies!
A little surprise inside and so pretty!
Now, let’s talk about the gluten free version of our Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies…
Honestly, the gluten free variation of our Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies is phenomenally good. In fact, you simply cannot tell that they are gluten free! And there are three (3) important reasons why this is so.
First, it all starts with the right gluten free flour blend—in this case, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour—and the perfect amount of guar gum. Yes, I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for my gluten free baking for allergy reasons in addition to many other reasons. But, I will leave that for a future post on gluten free baking and ingredients.
Second, gluten free baking almost always benefits from the addition of dairy. I learned this very early on with my gluten free baking when I developed my recipe for Gluten Free Honey-Nut Rugelach for Bob’s Red Mill back in 2012. In addition, this concept and practice is confirmed by the folks over at America’s Test Kitchen. In their book, The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook, the authors confirm that the addition of dairy, in the form of cream cheese or sour cream in gluten free baking, or in the form of dry milk powder added to their gluten free flour blend, not only adds flavor, richness, structure and tenderness, dairy also contributes to the Maillard reaction—which is essentially the process that creates browning and additional flavors during baking.
Third, our recipe for Gluten Free Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies calls for a trip in the refrigerator for several hours (overnight is best) to thoroughly chill the dough. Do not skip this step. The resting is especially important because 1) the resting period allows the sugar to dissolve, the gluten-free flours to be properly hydrated and prevents a gritty texture and 2) the very sticky dough must be chilled to firm it up in order to be rolled between palms of hands and then rolled in confectioners’ sugar before baking as well as promote the structure of the cookies and prevent excessive spreading during baking.
Let’s now briefly talk gluten free flour.
Why does Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommend King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour?
By blending white rice and whole-grain brown rice flours with pure starches, such as tapioca and potato, while avoiding corn, dairy, nut, sorghum (grass) and soy products as well as gums and leavening agents, gluten free bakers in the food allergic and celiac communities have a safe and well-tested gluten free flour that performs exceedingly well on a multi-purpose level.
Quite simply, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend provides greater flexibility than other brands by allowing bakers and recipe developers to create recipes where the amounts of guar or xanthan gum and leavening agents, like baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and yeast, can be added accordingly for a wide range of applications from baking breads, cakes and cookies to cooking savory dishes.
King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
The good news is that King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend, is readily available among gluten free flours at Whole Foods Market® and most grocery stores.
Plus, since I am severely allergic to corn and any corn-derived food additives, I am safe from allergic reactions using KAF GF flour. Sadly, I can no longer work with gluten free flours that contain cornstarch.
For my gluten free readers, all I can say is thank the Lord above that King Arthur Flour® makes an exceptional Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend and that most brands of cream cheese are gluten free or there would be no incredibly scrumptious Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies and all the other variations (more coming soon to the blog) made from scratch!
Although I am enthusiastic about King Arthur Flour® products, I am not a compensated blogger, recipe developer or spokesperson for the company. I just love their products and catalog! In fact, I have been a happy KAF customer having received their catalog for over 20 years now and remember the days before it became the full-color catalog filled with every baker’s needs as it is today.
As for the confectioners’ or powdered sugar called for in the recipe, I found a fabulous corn-free confectioners’ sugar. This is excellent news for those who are allergic to corn, a major food allergen, because most powdered sugars contain cornstarch. It is also convenient to keep on hand when I am short on time and don’t have my own powdered sugar made from scratch, using a blender, with pure cane sugar and tapioca flour.
My favorite corn-free (cornstarch free) and vegan powdered sugar is 365 Everyday Value brand Organic Powdered Sugar, by Whole Foods Market shown below.
Organic Powdered Sugar, 365 Everyday Value® brand by Whole Foods Market®.
For my friends that do not have a Whole Foods Market nearby, I highly recommend Wholesome Sweeteners for corn-free powdered sugar that can be found online in their store at Amazon.com.
As in the past, when The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of these scrumptious Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free—just as with my other variations. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur.
Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our recipe for Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies becomes a new Christmas holiday tradition for your family. Kids will love them!
Happy holiday baking!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
Buttery, light and tender, sweetened just right and full of classic peppermint candy cane flavor with a red center. Each nibble brings back fond memories of Christmas holidays past. They taste just like Christmas!
- 2½ cups (300 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (about 8 g) baking powder
- 1 (8 oz or 226 g) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated cane sugar
- 2½ teaspoons (12.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) fine-quality pure peppermint oil
- ½ teaspoon (2.4 g) fine-grain sea salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 73 g w/o shells)
- 1½ cups (180 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
- Red, pink or even green gel-based food coloring
- Crushed red and white peppermint candies or candy canes, for sprinkling & dusting cookies, sifted to yield small shards of candy and peppermint dust
- Fine-mesh sieve, such as Norpro 2135 Stainless Strainer, 5-Inch (12.5 cm), White, to sift crushed candies
- Small spring-loaded cookie scoop, such as Norpro 675 Scoop 5MM (1.5 teaspoon or 7.5 ml), helpful but not necessary
- Regular (1 1/3-inch or 3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop, such as Norpro Stainless Steel Scoop, 39MM (1.5 tablespoon or 22.5 ml), helpful but not necessary
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well blended, creamy and smooth. Beat in sugar, vanilla, peppermint oil and salt; mix until well combined and light and fluffy, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary. Add egg and egg yolk and beat in well until creamy and light, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Do not skimp on this important step as it develops the structure of the cookies.
- On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Using a rubber spatula, remove about one-quarter of the dough and transfer to a separate bowl. Tint the dough as desired with food coloring taking care to blend thoroughly for even color. Cover work bowls and refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
- Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325ºF (165ºC). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
- Measure enough un-tinted dough to roll into generous 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls, using a 1 1/3-inch (3.3 cm) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a generous tablespoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful is in equal amounts. This is important for evenly baked cookies.
- Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball. Using thumb, create a depression in each ball of dough thumbprint-style. Then, using fingers create a somewhat larger depression to hold the scoop of tinted dough.
- Working quickly while the dough is chilled and firm, use a small (1.5 teaspoon or 7.5 ml) spring-loaded cookie scoop (or by measuring a small teaspoon of dough with a measuring spoon) making sure each scoopful of tinted dough is in equal amounts. Once again, this is important for evenly baked cookies. Without rolling the dough between palms of hands, release the tinted dough from the cookie scoop into the un-tinted dough ball with thumbprint depression.
- Using fingers, smooth the un-tinted dough over the tinted dough to enclose and, if necessary add a small pinch of un-tinted dough to pinch and seal closed. Quickly, roll and shape into a ball. This will also eliminate any air pockets. Alternatively, the two balls of dough, tinted and un-tinted, can be rolled together into a ball shape to create a swirled cookie rather than a stuffed cookie. Roll in confectioners’ sugar to coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
- Hands will get coated with this rather sticky dough. Washing hands after shaping every 4 to 6 cookies is recommended for best results in appearance.
- Bake in preheated oven until cookies have spread into round cookie shapes and are puffed and crackly, about 14 to 16 minutes depending on size. Do not overbake. The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.
- Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes. However, while cookies are still warm form the oven, carefully sprinkle on small shards of peppermint candy cane and use the end of a toothpick to gently depress each shard into the crackle area of the cookies to ensure they adhere. Then, sprinkle the snowy powdered sugar areas of the cookies with superfine (sifted) peppermint candy cane dust.
- Then, carefully remove cookies from baking sheet using a thin metal cookie spatula and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, transfer cookies to an airtight container. Repeat with remaining dough on prepared cookie sheets.
- If desired, chill the cookies in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Before serving, dust cookies lightly with additional peppermint candy cane dust. Serve cookies chilled or at room temperature.
- Yield: Makes about 2½ dozen cookies.
If your cream cheese is a bit watery after opening the foil packaging, simply blot up the moisture using a clean, dry piece of paper towel. This will help the cookies to puff up properly during baking and prevent any spreading.
Chill dough between batches to keep it firm enough to roll and to prevent excessive spreading during baking.
Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch.
Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches (5 cm).
These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.
Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cookies freeze very well when placed into an airtight container with sheets of wax paper between the layers. (The wax paper also absorbs excess moisture.) Thaw cookies in the container at room temperature allowing any condensation (moisture) to remain on the container and not the cookies. Once thawed, dust with additional confectioners’ sugar and/or superfine (sifted) peppermint candy cane dust.
Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
For Gluten-Free Peppermint Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2½ cups (400 g) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 g) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. (It is important to whisk in guar gum until evenly distributed throughout the flour because it is very sticky once moisture is added and sticky lumps are undesirable in dough.) Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder.
Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend organic grass-fed butter, eggs, granulated cane sugar and confectioners’ sugar. We also highly recommend aluminum-free baking powder, Organic Valley® Cream Cheese, Nielsen-Massey® Organic Pure Vanilla Extract and fine-quality Pure Peppermint Oil by LorAnn Oils®. For the food coloring, if using, we recommend red, pink or even green gel-based food coloring that is all-natural or kosher. Of course, you may use conventional food coloring so long as it is gel-based.
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
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