These buttery shortbread candy cane thumbprint cookies are topped with peppermint icing and crushed candy pieces for the perfect Christmas cookie!
This easy recipe requires no extra prep and is made using peppermint essential oil for a healthy alternative. Plus check out all the other Christmas cookies being shared today as part of our virtual cookie exchange!
Thumbprint Christmas Cookies
When you normally think of thumbprint cookies, I’m sure you imagine the traditional version that has a dot of jam or jelly in the middle.
I love that version, but for the holidays I wanted to give that recipe a little upgrade! I replaced the jam with buttercream icing and topped it with crushed candy canes.
The result is so yummy! Buttery shortbread thumbprint Christmas cookies with peppermint icing and dotted with crunchy candy cane pieces.
I adapted this recipe from the original Betty Crocker recipe from her Cooky Book, originally published in 1963. I can remember leafing through my mom’s copy of this cookbook during the holidays and gathering inspiration for what we would bake for Christmas!
The original recipe for Thumbprint Cookies called for shortening. But we all know that butter tastes so much better! Let me know if you give my recipe a try and what you think of my updated version of the Betty Crocker original.
How To Make Candy Cane Thumbprint CookiesJump to Recipe
What I like about a good shortbread recipe is that it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Flour, sugar and butter are the foundation to a great shortbread. Check out my recipe for Rosemary Shortbread Bars with Lemon for another delicious treat!
To make these thumbprint Christmas cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. First, you will cream the butter and sugar together. Butter at room temperature will mix better for this.
Then add your egg yolks and vanilla. Once the mixture is incorporated, add your flour and salt mixture. The dough will seem crumbly at first, but will come together.
Now, scoop out tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough with a cookie scoop and roll in sugar. Place the thumbprint Christmas cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and use your thumb to press into the cookie to make a well where we will be placing our peppermint icing! Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes.
Once the cookies are done baking, take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.
While the cookies are cooling, make your icing. Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk. Add 2 drops of Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil and 1 drop of pink food coloring. Mix together.
If you don’t have peppermint essential oil, you can use peppermint extract. Just a drop or two will do unless you want a stronger mint flavor.
You want the consistency of the icing to be thick so it doesn’t run. Feel free to add more powdered sugar if needed.
Once the peppermint thumbprint cookies are cool, place icing in the thumbprint and sprinkle with crushed candy cane pieces.
You can find the crushed cane pieces during the holidays at the grocery store or Target. This makes it much easier than having to crush your own candy.
These Candy Cane Thumbprint Christmas Cookies are so yummy. The combination of buttery shortbread with crunchy candy cane pieces is heaven!
For the full, printable recipe, scroll to the bottom.
Can you Freeze Christmas Cookies?
I love to make Christmas cookies through the season and freeze half to save for Christmas parties or get togethers.
To freeze these Thumbprint Christmas Cookies, place cookies in an air tight container in a single layer. Place a piece of parchment on top and place another layer of cookies. Repeat until filled to the top. Freeze for up to three months.
I saved a few of these Candy Cane Thumbprint Christmas Cookies and used them on my Christmas Cookie Dessert Board. This is a great idea for holiday entertaining. Check out the post for more details!
More Christmas Cookie Ideas
My friends are also sharing the most delicious Christmas cookie ideas today. Click the link below the image to visit the post and grab their yummy recipes!
Candy Cane Thumbprint Christmas Cookies from Modern Glam // Mint Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies from The Happy Housie // Peppermint Meltaway Cookies from Inspiration for Moms // Chewy and Soft Ginger Cookies from Twelve On Main
Christmas Cookie Recipe from Happy Happy Nester // Maple Pecan Tassies from The DIY Mommy // Secret Ingredient Soft Gingerbread Cookies from Jenna Kate at Home // Molasses Ginger Cookies from Finding Lovely
Jam-Filled Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies from Your Marketing BFF // Hello Dolly Bars from A Blue Nest // Chocolate Chip Almond Biscotti from The Design Twins // Oatmeal Whoopie Pies from She Gave It A Go
Candy Cane Thumbprint Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar plus extra to roll dough in
- 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- t tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp whole milk or half and half
- 2 drops peppermint essential oil or sub with peppermint extract
- 1 drop red or pink food coloring
- 1/4 cup crushed candy cane
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and well combined.
- Add in egg yolks, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Add in flour and mix until dough comes together.
- Using a cookie scoop, or measuring spoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Roll in sugar and place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Using your thumb, press an indentation and make a well into each ball of dough.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until bottoms are lightly brown. Take out of oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Mix together the powdered sugar, milk and peppermint essential oil.
- Add a drop of pink gel food coloring and mix well to combine.
- Once the cookies are cooled, fill each cookie "well" with icing using a small spoon. Top with pieces of crushed candy cane. Let set for an hour or more before storing.