If you need a showstopper for your holiday cookie table, lookie right here. Infused with peppermint flavor from the cookie to the frosting to the crunchy garnish, these peppermint whoopie pies are a decadent seasonal delight.
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Warning: insanely delicious sugar and gluten laden recipes were involved in the making of this post. Proceed with decadent abandon.
These peppermint whoopie pies, y’all. I can’t even. This dessert is the essence of my wild side. When it comes to treats, I am a cake lady. I love cake. But more than cake, I love frosting. So much so that Cameron rightly states that I prefer my frosting with a side of cake. And ya know, sometimes without cake at all.
Enter the whoopie pie. A heaping mound of frosting sandwiched between two moist and tender cakey cookies. ZOMG.
These whoopie pies take the experience next level with a layer of peppermint throughout, from cookie to frosting to crunchy garnish. Could there be a sweeter seasonal delight? I think not.
How to Make Peppermint Whoopie Pies
This recipe for peppermint whoopie pies is largely based off Mark Bittman’s classic recipe in How to Bake Everything. My version is infused with peppermint flavor throughout, and I baked them a bit smaller for the perfect two-bite cookie experience. These make an exceptional edible gift, especially if you’re gifting them to yourself. You’re welcome.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set that aside.
Combine a stick of softened butter with brown sugar and white sugar in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars at medium high speed until light and fluffy.
Add a teaspoon of peppermint extract, and mix at medium speed until it’s combined, then scrape down the sides. Add one egg, and mix at medium speed until it’s thoroughly combined, then scrape down the sides.
Add half the dry ingredients to the bowl, and mix at low speed until it just comes together. Scape down the sides, then add the buttermilk, and again mix at low speed until the dough just comes together.
Finally, add the remainder of the dry ingredients, and this time mix by hand with a spatula (more folding, less mixing) until the ingredients are combined. I found that hand-mixing this last step kept the dough light and fluffy, and allowed me to best incorporate the last bits of ingredients without over-mixing.
The resulting dough will be much more like a thick cake batter than cookie dough.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop 2-teaspoon mounds of dough on a baking sheet that’s been lined with greased parchment paper (either with butter or non-stick cooking spray). The picture above shows 8 mounds, but you can actually fit 12 (I was being conservative).
A reminder that the dough is sticky! A cookie scoop makes the job much easier than using spoons, plus all of your mounds will be equally sized. For an even smoother job, spray the inside of the cookie scoop with non-stick spray before filling with dough.
Bake on a rack positioned in the center of a 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes – until the top of the cookie springs back lightly when gently pressed. Mine took exactly 12 minutes, but know thy oven, and check at 10 minutes.
You can bake two sheets at a time on separate racks, but I found that when I did this they were slightly less puffed in the center and a bit flatter around the edges (which I believe may have had something to do with the air circulation, but I’m not positive). For the sake of looks, I baked them one sheet at a time for my second batch and they came out perfect.
Let the baked cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Baked using 2-teaspoon mounds, you should get four dozen cookies total.
While the cookies are cooling, make the peppermint buttercream frosting and crush some candy canes for a fresh and crunchy garnish.
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
To make the frosting, combine two sticks of butter with a teaspoon of peppermint extract in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat at medium high speed until soft and airy.
Add a pound of powdered sugar, about a cup at time, on low speed. Allow the first portion to incorporate completely before adding the next, and scrape down the sides in between additions.
Add a bit of cream – start with 2 tablespoons – and mix into the frosting at medium speed.
Lastly, increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is smooth, creamy, light and airy. Taste for consistency – add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, if it’s too thick. Add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, if it’s too thin.
Crushed Candy Canes
To make crushed candy canes, the easiest way is to blend ’em up in a food processor. Just pulse a few times until they’re crushed, but not pulverized. Peppermint candies work just as well as candy canes, but ’tis the season for canes, so…
Pour the crushed candy canes onto a small plate for dipping the peppermint whoopie pies into later.
Forming the Peppermint Whoopie Pies
Now for the fun part! If you have kids, grab ’em. They’ll love helping you assemble these sweet little treats.
If you have one, transfer the frosting into a piping bag fitted with large round tip and pipe frosting onto a cookie, then top with another cookie.
If you don’t have a piping bag, place the frosting into a gallon sized ziplock bag, and snip half an inch off a corner using scissors for a make-shift piping bag. And if you don’t want to do that, using your (cleaned) cookie scoop to mound icing onto the cookie.
Sprinkle the exposed icing with the crushed candy canes, or roll the cookie sandwiches into the crushed candy canes for a crunchy, pretty finish.
More Sweet Holiday Treats
Debating on salad vs. cake for lunch? Here’s some “help” with that decision:
- Polish Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
- Life Changing Paleo Brownies
- White/Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Cherries
- Soft and Chewy Sea Salted Caramels
- Mom’s Super Moist Carrot Cake
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Peppermint Whoopie Pies
- 1 3/4 c flour
- 3/4 c cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 stick butter softened
- 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c buttermilk
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
- 2 sticks butter softened
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 2-4 tbsp heavy cream
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, then heat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then grease with softened butter or spray with cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined.
- Combine the butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sugars at medium high speed until light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the peppermint extract, and mix at medium speed until just barely combined.
- Add the egg, and mix at medium speed until just barely combined.
- Add half the dry ingredients, then mix on low until just barely combined. Add the buttermilk, and again mix on low until just barely combined. Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and combine by hand with a rubber spatula. The dough will be sticky, with the consistency of thick cake batter.
- Using a small cookie scoop sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, drop 2-teaspoon mounds of dough onto a prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. You should be able to fit 12 cookies on a sheet.
- Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake until the tops of the cookies lightly spring back when pressed gently, 10-12 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, cool the cookies on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Make the frosting. Combine the butter and peppermint extract in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat at medium high speed until soft and airy. Add the powdered sugar, about a cup at time, and mix on low speed. Allow the first portion to incorporate completely before adding the next, and scrape down the sides in between additions. Add the cream, starting with 2 tablespoons, and mix into the frosting at medium speed. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is smooth, creamy, light and airy - about 2 minutes. Taste for texture. Add more cream, a tablespoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick. Add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, if it's too thin. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag.
- Place 4 broken candy canes (or a handful of unwrapped peppermint candies) into a food processor. Pulse until the candies are crushed, but not pulverized.
- Pipe frosting onto a a completely cooled cookie, then top with a second cookie. Sprinkle the exposed frosting with crushed candies, or roll the cookie into a dish layered with crushed peppermint.
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