Peppermint Stripe Cookies Recipe (2024)

By Susan Spungen

Peppermint Stripe Cookies Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour, plus at least 4 hours’ drying
Read community notes

Inspired by a series of brushstroke paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, these sugar cookies are meant to be lined up in a tight grid, painted with bold red stripes and arranged randomly. To paint on cookies, they must be first coated with royal icing and allowed to dry, preferably overnight. Luster dust and petal dust, colored powders used in cake decorating, are mixed with peppermint extract (or lemon extract, if you prefer) as a medium. (The dusts are available from cake-decorating stores, craft stores or online.) Make sure the peppermint extract you use is primarily alcohol, which evaporates immediately, leaving the pigment behind, and not primarily peppermint oil, which might stain the cookies. Flat, soft art brushes work best to apply the color, and a plastic paint tray with wells is best for mixing them.

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Yield:About 2 dozen cookies

    For the Royal Icing

    • 2cups/245 grams unsifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
    • 2egg whites (or 2 tablespoons meringue powder and 4 tablespoons water)
    • A few drops of glycerin, if desired to create more of a sheen (optional)

    For the Cookies and Decorating

    • 1recipe Basic Sugar Cookies, dough flavored with ½ teaspoon peppermint extract (omit the vanilla extract), cut into 3-inch squares and cooled
    • Red and pink petal dust and luster dust

Ingredient Substitution Guide


  1. Step


    Prepare the royal icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and glycerin, if using. Combine on low speed, then raise speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, and test some of the royal icing on a cookie: If it doesn’t spread out to a smooth finish within 10 seconds, it’s too thick. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as needed to thin the mixture, whipping it by hand using the whip attachment. If the royal icing runs off the edge of the cookie, it’s too thin, so you’ll need to whisk in more sugar to thicken. You should have 1½ cups royal icing.

  2. Step


    Transfer to a small airtight container and refrigerate. It can be left out for 1 or 2 days, but you’ll need to refrigerate for longer storage. (The icing will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks.)

  3. Step


    Decorate the cookies: Pour the royal icing into a wide bowl. (The icing can be used cold, but it may separate, so it needs to be whisked, and may need to be thinned out with water or thickened with confectioners’ sugar.) Holding a cookie by the edges, with the top-side down, dip into the icing, moving the cookie around a bit to make sure the icing coats the whole surface. Gently shake the cookie from side to side to let the excess icing drip off.

  4. Use a small offset spatula to stop the flow of icing, gently scrape cookie against edge of bowl, and flip the cookie over. Use the spatula to spread the icing to pop any air bubbles, and make sure it goes all the way to the edges. It should quickly smooth out on its own. If not, thin it out a bit until it does. Use your fingers to wipe away any icing on the outside edges. Repeat with all the cookies. Place on a cooling rack set over a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet to dry completely, preferably overnight (or at least 4 hours).

  5. Step


    When dry, set up the cookies on a baking sheet or other flat surface in four rows of five cookies (you may have a few extra cookies), so they are abutting one another with no spaces. Mix the petal dust and luster dust with enough peppermint extract to make a very loose “wash” and, using brushes of different widths, make continuous brushstrokes in a few different widths across the entire surface. If you run out of pigment as you’re brushing, dip the brush again, and continue the line, allowing the brush texture to show in places. When dry, rearrange the cookies on a platter so the lines no longer match up. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.



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Cooking Notes


This might be total heresy but could you mix food coloring with the peppermint extract rather than purchasing the dusts?


You can also dilute a drop of gel food coloring with a teaspoon or so of vodka and paint with that. The vodka dilutes the gel enough to make a nice brush-able color and will evaporate quickly so the colors can dry.


I think I have some Angel Dust lying around, can I use that instead?


I googled "luster dust" and found that its commonly cited ingredients are titanium dioxide, iron oxide, carmine, and mica. Luster dust is frequently non-edible! I accidentally bought the wrong kind and have to return it.Wilton has a line of "pearl dust", all of which I understand is edible. It can be found at Michael's and other craft stores.Make sure the dust you purchase is edible!


Is this supposed to be four separate things? And do you mix them all together?“Red and pink petal dust and luster dust”


I think you get a much shinier surface with this cookie glaze without having to work with raw egg whites or track down meringue powder. I’ve used it for years and thousands of cookies.


These are not only stunning but delicious and may be my new favorite holiday cookie! To make the red and pink stripes, I bought Wilton Color Dust in red, and Wilton Pearl Dust in Orchid Pink (these were the best options I could find at my local Michael's) and mixed them each with peppermint extract in separate small bowls. I used three different sized brushes to vary the size of the stripes.


What good is this comments section if the author never responds to questions?How much dust to use? How much luster to use? What color luster?


Take pity on those of us new to "dust" (especially if possibly toxic!): what brands, how much of each dust (really need 2?), & how much peppermint needed for this cool project? 1 Tablespoon? 2 pinches? please help us amateur artists! Helpful details re: royal icing--more on painting please!


They taste fantastic. This is a great sugar cookie recipe. I do like the taste of peppermint extract, but if you don't, you could easily do vanilla, or almond, or...


Yum. Rather than to buy the dust, I mixed 1 tsp of McCormick all natural food color powder in berry with 1 tsp confectionery sugar and about 1/2 tsp peppermint extract. I added a bit of water until it was just liquid enough to paint with. The result was a dark magenta coloring.


@erinn - they are not the same thing, and luster dust is often not edible -- if using, be sure to select one that specifies it is safe to consume.


OK, word of advice! When it comes time to paint the stripes: Don't overdue it and don't overload your brush. A big drip makes an ugly blob and the more you try to paint it out, the worse everything gets. I might try these a second time....


Made these as directed except I subbed my usual icing of confectioners sugar, just enough milk to make it runny enough to spread but not drip, and a pinch of salt. Got petal and luster dusts online and used Flavorganics brand peppermint extract, whose first ingredient is alcohol. I eyeballed the amount of dust added to the extract to paint on and tested on one cookie to get the right color saturation. So pretty and they also taste great.


After cutting the square cookies with the ruler and pizza cutter and putting the squares on the cookie sheet, I put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes ( or whatever time to freeze the butter) and then put them in the hot oven. They held their shape.


Sooooo good! I accidentally did the vanilla extract in the cookie instead of the peppermint. So I added a tiny bit of peppermint extract to the royal icing. Honestly VERY into it! Would do it the same way next time. These are fabulous and soooo pretty.


They were pretty spectacular. Used the peppermint oil/food coloring/confectioner's sugar combo for the paint. They looked a little like ..blood streaks?!.. so I added some yellow stripes and they became modern art.


Fantastic. Exact texture you're looking for. Peppermint in the dough subdues its tendency to overpower. No notes. 9/10


Absolutely amazing. I was attracted to them because of the way they look but was so delighted by how delicious they are too. Probably technically it didn’t go great for me. But they are very forgiving!


I'd definitely recommend beetroot powder mixed with grain alcohol (evaporates) for painting -- luster dust and petal dust are not FDA approved or edible, and have been tied to toxic metal (lead, copper) poisoning in children after eating birthday cake. The U.S. is severely behind the times in safeguarding the public from toxic metals in food dyes. Wow.


Before baking I skipped the freezer step; they came out perfectly fine and had no lumps. Just make sure you mix and refrigerate as instructed and they’ll come out wonderfully.

Beth A.

This is my third year making these. So far, what we like best is just making plain sugar cookies with vanilla (omitting the peppermint extract in the cookie dough) and only using the alcohol extract in the colored pink wash. The smell is divine, it leaves a tingle on the tongue, and the peppermint taste is not overpowering (which we found to be the case when it is in the dough).We have also used this recipe to great effect using yellow petal dust and true lemon extract. Perfect summer cookie!


I made these & they turned out picture perfect!Follow the instruction & don’t cut corners. My twist was I made a chocolate peppermint cookie from another NYT Food recipe. Def chill dough before rolling. I made the cookies a week in advance & froze them. As my peppermint was oil based, I added peppermint (1/2 of req vanilla) to dough. Made icing day before dipping. Icing fully set in 6 hrs. Mixed dust with grain alcohol (evaporates) for painting. A bit labour intensive but worth it and stunning!

Mary Mumford

The instructions assume a lot, and some key instructions are in the author's notes at the top. First, what size are we talking about? It says 3" squares, which I thought were way too big -- 2 1/2" is plenty, but I know that makes the calculation complicated. Still, for 3" cookies, it would help to say roll into a 12"X18" rectangle. Presumably that would be about 1/4" thick since it easily divides into 4X6 pieces.Then there are the stripes. Why do you need both petal dust and luster dust?


Instead of buying luster you can use food coloring in corn starch and let it dry - I used a fan painting brush and made it look like little presents. Overall, a good cookie but a lot of work - next time I’ll pre make the dough and icing so it’s just less to do the day before.

Mary Mumford

Continuing with stripes -- how "loose" do you mean? I kept adding more dust, using one cookie as a test, and never got a very satisfactory color density, while the wash ate through my royal icing in a couple of spots (even though I let it dry overnight). It should recommend adding drops of extract until there's a paint-able consistency.Also, as noted by others, the mention of dust should include a warning about food safety.


They’re beautiful, but…toothpaste vibes.

Lisa S.

In order to avoid peppermint overload, we omitted peppermint extract in the cookie dough and used a 50:50 ratio of vodka to peppermint extract for the brushstroke wash. Used gel food color instead of dust and it worked fine. Just allow sufficient dry time. The whole family (kids and adults) declared them delicious!


Professional pastry chef and confectioner hete. Lustre dusts, oetal dusts, diamond dusts, glitter dusts are, indeed, edible. The labels read “Non-edible” due to some states’ regulations, such as California’s, but yes, these all ARE non-toxic and edible. Every gorgeous painted buttercream cake, wedding cake, sugarpaste flower, painted, rolled fondant cake, which every well-known pastry chef makes, is pretty much guaranteed to have these dusts on them. You CAN eat them.


This was my third time making these. Previously, I followed the instructions and found it very challenging to get the icing to the perfect consistency for the dipping technique and it made a huge mess. This time I thinned the icing just enough to drizzle and smooth it to the edges with a spoon. This was the cleanest, most successful method for me, with only a few dribbles over the edge.

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Peppermint Stripe Cookies Recipe (2024)


What is the secret to chewy cookies? ›

Cornstarch helps product soft and thick cookies. Using more brown sugar than white sugar results in a moister, softer cookie. An extra egg yolk increases chewiness. Rolling the cookie dough balls to be tall and lumpy instead of wide and smooth gives the cookies a bakery-style textured thickness.

Can I use peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract? ›

You can use peppermint extract as you might with vanilla extract by adding a small amount to baked goods or chilled desserts, such as ice cream. In my opinion, peppermint extract has a sharper flavor than vanilla, so I usually start with a smaller quantity and adjust as needed.

What makes a cookie hold together? ›

Flour is the main ingredient that provides structure in a cookie – without it, there would be no cookie! The gluten in flour forms a web of sorts – the framework that catches the air bubbles/gasses given off during rising. This helps provide the structure.

What is the secret ingredient to keep cookies soft? ›

Light corn syrup is another ingredient that you can add to cookie dough that will help it stay softer longer. The corn syrup you buy at the grocery store is not the high-fructose corn syrup that soft drinks are made with; it's a sugar that is liquid at room temperature and helps other sugars say liquid at high heat.

What are 4 tips to keep in mind while making cookies? ›

Tips for Baking Better Cookies
  1. Bake Better Cookies. ...
  2. Soften Your Butter. ...
  3. Creaming Butter. ...
  4. Measure Your Flour Correctly. ...
  5. Line Your Pans With Parchment Paper. ...
  6. Add Eggs One at a Time. ...
  7. Add Flour or Dry Ingredients in Batches. ...
  8. Fold in Chocolate Chips by Hand.

What makes cookies rise better? ›

Baking Powder. The type of leavening you use in your cookies doesn't just help them rise while baking, it affects their texture and structure too. Baking soda in cookies yields a denser cookie with craggy tops, while baking powder causes cookies to rise higher during baking for a cakier texture.

What is the best flour for chewy cookies? ›

Bread flour contains a higher protein content (around 12-14%), leading to more gluten development. This makes it ideal for bakers seeking a chewier texture in their cookies. The extra gluten can help retain gas and moisture, producing a denser and chewier result.

What happens if you don't add vanilla extract to cookies? ›

If you don't have any on hand, you can almost always omit the vanilla without impacting the final texture of your baked goods; although the rich flavor extract—or any form of vanilla—brings will certainly be altered. Just remember one thing: flavor comes first.

Do vanilla and peppermint go together? ›

The vanilla bean has a sweeter, more exotic aroma to it that does translate well to the cake, but the extract seems to blend perfectly with the other ingredients to create a strong vanilla backdrop. The aromatic vanilla combines with the peppermint for a cake that tastes incredibly light and flavorful.

Do vanilla and mint go well together? ›

Cozy vanilla with mint is a subtly delicious frozen treat. Bakery & Confectionery: Sweet, grassy pandan brings a taste of Southeast Asian cuisine to the quintessential flavor combination of mint and chocolate, whether in panna cotta or sticky rice cakes.

Should I use baking soda or baking powder in cookies? ›

Baking soda is typically used for chewy cookies, while baking powder is generally used for light and airy cookies. Since baking powder is comprised of a number of ingredients (baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch, etc.), using it instead of pure baking soda will affect the taste of your cookies.

What is the best sugar for cookies? ›

Brown sugar

Using brown sugar will result in a denser, moister cookie. Brown sugar is also hygroscopic (more so than granulated sugar) and will therefore also attract and absorb the liquid in the dough.

What makes cookies fluffy and not flat? ›

Room temperature butter is just the right consistency to incorporate air when it's creamed with sugar. These trapped air pockets result in risen, fluffy cookies. If the butter is any warmer, it won't incorporate enough air and your cookies will have less rise.

What are three factors that contribute to a chewy cookie? ›

The ingredients you use and how you shape your cookies both play an important role in whether your cookies turn out crispy or chewy. The type of flour and sugar you use, if your cookie dough contains eggs, and whether you use melted or softened butter all factor into the crispy-chewy equation, too.

How do you make cookies stay soft and chewy? ›

Keep Them Sealed

The key to keeping cookies fresh and soft is to seal them in an airtight container, like a resealable freezer bag. And here's a nifty little trick: add a piece of bread to the bag.

Why do my cookies never turn out chewy? ›

Hard cookies: you are over mixing, baking too long, baking at too high a temperature, or some combination of these. Cakey cookies: not enough brown sugar, too much or too little egg, too much flour, maybe you used baking powder instead of baking soda?

How do you keep cookies thick and chewy? ›

Chill Your Cookie Dough

Chilling your cookie dough for at least 24 hours or up to 72 hours does magical things to your cookies. Think of this like a “marinating” period. Not only will the flavors intensify, but the texture will also improve, so your cookies will bake up nice and thick and chewy.

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