It is Christmas cookie season! Making Christmas cookies is one of my favorite holiday activities, and I am so excited to share these fun marbled peppermint sugar cookies with you.
I first made these last year and loved them so much that I knew I needed to make them again for the blog. They are based on a traditional sugar cookie recipe from a great family friend that my family has long adopted as our own each Valentine’s Day. If it is any indication of how good the sugar cookies are, the handwritten recipe card is titled “Alice’s Damn Fine Sugar Cookies.” Growing up, Mrs. Alice brought sugar cookies to every playgroup party, always cut with perfectly seasonal cookie cutters and beautifully, almost professionally, piped with the best sprinkles. No matter the celebration, those sugar cookies would be there alongside her poppyseed Southern ham rolls, and my siblings and I looked forward to them long before we arrived at the party. They were present at every Valentine’s Day tea party, every summer soiree, every graduation party, and even came in the perfect “H” and “W” shapes at my own engagement party and bridal shower, always impeccably decorated. I know a lot of families make sugar cookies at Christmastime, but because they remind me so much of my mom’s Valentine’s Day traditions, they needed a little twist to feel seasonal for me.
With the same amazing base recipe and just a little peppermint extract, these all-season delicious sugar cookies turn into a wonderful Christmas cookie. Marbled peppermint sugar cookies are easier than other sugar cookies because there is no need for intricate royal icing – the red and white marbling does all of the decorating for you. This means you have more time to spend making all of your other holiday treats ;)
We make a box of cookies for some of our far away family who we don’t get to see for Christmas, and included these candy cane marbled peppermint sugar cookies in the box last year. They provide a fun shape and a great pop of red against the other cookies in the box. The peppermint flavor always reminds me of Christmastime and provides just the slightest difference from a regular sugar cookie
I often avoid roll-out cookies, partially because they take longer than drop cookies and re-rolling the dough can be a chore, but using cookie cutters is such a fun activity that lots of people can take part in together, which makes the process so worth it. The dough is super simple to make too, which makes up for any other rolling and cutting. And, if you aren’t tied to the candy cane shape, this multi-cookie cutter would make your cutting process extremely efficient, and for less than $16! Doesn’t it look amazing?! I may have found a new Christmas gift for myself ;)
One tip to make these marbled instead of pink – work with smaller pieces of dough so you aren’t rerolling the entire batch each time. The fewer times you reroll, the more clearly marbleized your dough will be. Want to get fancy? Dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate and sprinkle crushed peppermint candy on top.
Marbled Peppermint Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
red food coloring
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add the eggs one at a time and mix again.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture just until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Separate the dough in half and mix a few drops of red food coloring into one ball of dough. Continue to knead in more food coloring until it reaches your preferred red (or pink) and color is evenly distributed. Divide each dough ball in half again, then press one red half together with one white half. Break your 2-color dough ball into random sized pieces, and press back together alternating sides several times and gently knead the dough a few times to create marbled effect. Don’t over-knead or your dough will just be pink. Keep the marbling on a larger scale to make it easier to re-roll the dough and still have a marbled effect later. Repeat with other 2-color dough ball. Press each marbled ball into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Remove 1 dough disk from refrigerator. On piece of parchment paper, use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough disk to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place the cookies about 1-inch apart on your prepared baking sheet to allow for a bit of spread. Bake the cookies for about 8 – 12 minutes, or just until you begin to see golden creeping out from the bottom of the cookie (but don’t let the tops become golden). Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat this process you’re your remaining dough and chilled scraps.