We have a great Christmas cookie debate going on at our house. My kids and I believe that everything could benefit from a dose of candy cane crunch this time of year, while Adam is solidly against event a hint of mint in his cookies. In our quest to convert him, I created these chewy chocolate peppermint cookies that are like a soft and chewy snowball wrapped around a molten chocolate center. And they’ve got a double dose of peppermint flavor, with extract in the batter and crushed candy canes sprinkled on top.
One bite (or 5) and even Adam was convinced—these are the best chocolate peppermint cookies any of us have ever tried (even those of us who aren’t Team Peppermint), and I’ll definitely be making batches of these for holiday gatherings all season long.
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Here’s what takes these chocolate peppermint cookies over the top:
- The molten chocolate center. When you bit into these cookies, they ooze with rich chocolate flavor (think chocolate lava cake in cookie form.)
- A new twist on snowball cookies. I wanted to put a twist on classic chocolate snowball cookies, so I roll these in powdered sugar which makes them look so festive and Christmas-y.
- Crushed peppermint topping. These get topped with crushed peppermints for holiday flavor, crunch, and festive color.
How to make chewy chocolate peppermint cookies
First, combine the wet ingredients
This one-bowl recipe begins as expected—in a stand mixer, cream together your unsalted butter and sugar until fluffy, then add peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and large egg.
Add the dry ingredients
Where many recipes will tell you to add your dry ingredients separately, I’m a fan of washing as few dishes as possible. Add the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, give it a little stir, then blend into the wet ingredients until just combined.
Chill for an hour
More on that below, but this is a key step in keeping the cookies’ shape and making sure they’re soft and chewy.
Scoop into balls, then roll in powdered sugar
This will give it the snowball effect we’re after.
Stick a chocolate disc in the center of each Cookie.
Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, add a chocolate disc to the center of each cookie dough ball. I like to use a bittersweet chocolate here, but semisweet or dark works great, too. This is the step that will give us that gooey molten lava cake-like center after they’ve baked.
Bake and leave a little underdone.
Remember, we’re after a soft and gooey (not crispy) consistency with these cookies
Sprinkle with crushed peppermints.
Do it while the chocolate is still melty, so it acts like a glue to hold the peppermints on. Then you’ll cool on a wire rack to let them set up before eating.
Tips for baking success
- Since candy canes melt in the oven, you’ll want to sprinkle on your crushed candy canes or peppermints right when they come out of the oven. Do it while the chocolate is still melty, so the crushed candy cane sticks!
- One secret to soft and chewy cookies is to rest the dough for at least an hour in the fridge before baking. This step evaporates some of the water and increases the sugar content, helping to keep your cookies chewy.
- We’re also going to keep these cookies chewy (not crispy) by leaving them the slightest bit underdone. We want that molten lava center that’s not quite set in the middle.
How to store and freeze
It’s rare that I make a batch of cookies without doubling the batch freezing leftovers. I like to have fresh-baked cookies at the ready at all times, whether it’s family movie night, or we need an impromptu dessert to take to a dinner or deliver to a neighbor. These chocolate peppermint cookies keep well for up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature. However if you do decide to freeze them, here are two methods to choose from:
- Freeze the dough and bake when ready to eat. This is my preferred way to freeze cookies because you get all the pay-off of truly fresh-baked cookies. The way to do it is: proceed through Step 4 of the recipe by rolling the chilled dough into balls. But instead of rolling them in powdered sugar, you’re going to pop them on a baking sheet and stick in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This gets them really hard so that they won’t stick together. Transfer the cookie dough balls to a gallon-sized ziploc and freeze for up to a month. When you’re ready to bake, just thaw at room temp for about 10 minutes, and proceed with steps 5 – 8.
- Freeze the already-baked cookies. If you have leftover cookies that have already been baked, you can still totally freeze them. Just seal into a gallon-sized ziploc and freeze for up to a month. When ready to eat, rewarm at 50% power in the microwave, or place on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes.
More Chocolate Christmas Cookie recipes you’ll love:
Scroll on for the recipe, and if you make these Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, be sure to leave a rating and review, and tag us on Instagram so we can see yours.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 12 chocolate baking discs (bittersweet or semisweet)
- crushed peppermint
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high. Add both extracts and egg, then beat until well mixed. Sprinkle over top flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
Refrigerate for at least an hour until hard.
Remove dough from fridge, and roll into tablespoon-sized balls. A cookie scoop makes this easy.
Roll into powdered sugar and place on parchment lined baking sheet, spread about an inch apart.
Place 1 chocolate disc in center of each cookie, pushing down slightly.
Bake for 10 minutes - you want the center to be slightly underdone. Remove from oven, and sprinkle immediately with crushed peppermint while the chocolate is still melty.
Let cool on a wire baking rack, then eat!
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