Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies — Chocolate cookie dough is studded with crushed candy cane pieces and flavored with peppermint extract for incredible chocolate-peppermint flavor! These cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside thanks to the sugar coating. These are PERFECT peppermint Christmas cookies and everyone adores them at holiday parties and cookie exchanges! FAST and EASY too – no dough chilling required!
Table of Contents
- Festive Peppermint Kiss Christmas Cookies
- Ingredients in Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
- Words of Caution: Peppermint Extract
- How to Make Peppermint Kiss Cookies
- Tips for Making The Best Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookie FAQs
- Storage Instructions
- Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies Recipe
- More Chocolate Cookie Recipes:
Festive Peppermint Kiss Christmas Cookies
The richness of the chocolate cookies pairs perfectly with the bold yet sweet peppermint in these holiday favorite and oh-so-festive peppermint kiss chocolate cookies.
These easy cookies definitely aren’t short on peppermint flavor! There’s peppermint extract and crushed candy cane pieces in the cookie dough, and a Hershey’s Candy Cane Kiss is pressed into the center of each cookie while they’re still warm.
And because I can’t resist chocolate around the holidays – or really ever, who am I kidding – I made the cookie dough with double the chocolate. I used both melted chocolate and cocoa powder, partly for flavor and partly for the perfect texture both kinds of chocolate lend to the cookies.
This is a festive take on my favorite peanut butter blossom cookies recipe. If you’ve made peanut butter blossoms before, the baking process is nearly identical in this peppermint version — there are just a few ingredient swaps!
Bring these candy cane Kiss cookies to your next cookie exchange, plate them up for a holiday party, or gift to friends, family, or teachers for a treat everyone will love!
Ingredients in Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
These chocolate peppermint Christmas cookies require basic fridge and pantry ingredients you likely have on hand.
Gather the following ingredients:
- Semi-sweet chocolate (use a bar, not chocolate chips – see the Tips section below if you want to know why)
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Peppermint extract
- All-purpose flour
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Crushed candy cane pieces
- Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses*
*You’ll need to keep an eye out for Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses at your local grocery store or big box retailer since they’re a seasonal item, but they usually start cropping up in stores before Halloween, crazy, I know! On the plus side, that just means you can make these chocolate peppermint Kiss cookies well before Christmas!
If you absolutely can’t find them, use regular Chocolate Kisses, or White Chocolate Kisses are also a nice variation.
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
Words of Caution: Peppermint Extract
Every time I post a recipe with peppermint extract, I always caution my readers not to just dump in ‘whatever’ they think looks right, but to truly measure it.
I confess, when it comes to vanilla extract, if a recipe says 1 teaspoon, I probably add 2 teaspoons, and I use the eyeball method….Because with vanilla extract, more is better! However, you do NOT want to do that with peppermint extract because it’s so much more potent, intense, strong, and frankly your dessert will taste like mouthwash! So do NOT add more than called for.
There are different types of minty extracts including peppermint, spearmint, wintermint, and on it goes. Use peppermint extract.
Do not use peppermint oil. There’s always someone who asks me if they can use an oil in place of an extract – no, you can’t. Use peppermint extract.
Wondering what to make with the rest of the bottle of peppermint extract? White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge, Peppermint Bark, Chocolate Peppermint Cake, or Double Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich Cookies are all fabulous and festive.
How to Make Peppermint Kiss Cookies
The dough for these candy cane Kiss cookies doesn’t need to be chilled before being baked, so you can whip up a batch of these cookies at a moment’s notice.
There’s just about 15 minutes of active prep time and about 30 minutes total time, which includes bake time and a bit of cooling time. The Kisses get pressed into the cookies right when they come out of the oven, so there’s no wait time there either!
Here’s an overview of the basic recipe steps:
Step 1: Melt the chocolate in 30-second intervals in the microwave until fully melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars before adding in the egg, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract.
Step 3: Add in the melted chocolate and mix until just combined.
Step 4: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Step 5: Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing just until incorporated.
Step 6: Fold in the crushed candy canes.
Step 7: Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar before placing on parchment paper-lined baking trays.
Step 8: Bake the cookies just until the edges are set and the center still look soft.
Step 9: As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a Hershey’s Candy Cane Kiss into the center of each one. Then, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before enjoying.
Tips for Making The Best Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
If you want a less peppermint-y cookie, leave out the peppermint extract and/or crushed candy canes from the chocolate cookie dough.
Do NOT add extra peppermint extract! Peppermint extract is much stronger and more potent than vanilla extract. Adding too much can cause your cookies to taste like mouthwash. See my Words of Caution, above.
To easily crush the candy canes, place the unwrapped candy canes in a zip-top bag and gently smash with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat tenderizer. You might want to place the bag of candy canes on a cutting board before smashing to protect your counters!
Buy crushed candy canes to make your life easier. It’s well worth the price paid to not have to smack candy canes inside a zip-top plastic bag with a rolling pin, but that method is also viable should you choose it.
Feel free to use any flavor of Hershey’s Kiss. This recipe is also great with regular Hershey’s Kisses or other holiday varieties! So if you can’t find the Peppermint Kisses, never fear and use what you can find!
Press the Hershey’s Kiss firmly into the baked cookie. You want the Kiss to stick to the peppermint blossom cookies as they cool.
Use a chocolate bar and not chocolate chips. Chocolate bars melt better and won’t seize up as easily as chocolate chips, which contain stabilizers and are resistant to melting.
Use any chocolate bar you like! Dark or semi-sweet chocolate will make richer cookies, while milk chocolate will make sweeter cookies.
For a less sweet cookie, you can skip the sugar coating. However, these really aren’t an overly sweet cookie and are more rich than ‘sweet’, and I think the sugar coating is a great touch. It also helps give a very light crispness to the exterior of the cookies when baking.
Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookie FAQs
No! For this chocolate peppermint Christmas cookie recipe, you must use peppermint extract.
Do NOT use peppermint oil, because it’s not the same as peppermint extract. Peppermint oil is much more concentrated and you’d need far less than the amount of peppermint extract called for in the recipe.
See my Words of Caution box above for more details about this.
Technically yes, but I wouldn’t.
Mint extract contains a blend of peppermint and spearmint extract. That spearmint extract might make these cookies taste like toothpaste or mouthwash — that’s a big no from me! It’s not worth it to me because ingredients aren’t cheap and I wouldn’t want to take the chance.
No! Peppermint extract is very potent, and these cookies are plenty peppermint-y enough, trust me. If you’re a peppermint fiend, add more crushed candy canes to the dough if you must but not more extract.
You want to use an unsweetened natural cocoa powder. Something like good old fashioned Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder or Scharffen Berger would be amazing. It’s pricier but if you have something of that quality on hand, it would make for incredible chocolate peppermint cookies!
Just do NOT use hot chocolate mix, sweetened cocoa powder, cacao powder, or cacao nibs.
I’ve never used Dutch process cocoa powder in this recipe, so I don’t know if it will work or not.
If your grocery store is sold out of candy canes or you can’t find them where you live, either omit them entirely or substitute them with another hard peppermint candy, such as Brach’s Peppermint Candy (i.e. the circular breath mint candies) which are available year-round!.
Nope, you can use any flavor you want. Go with original milk chocolate Kisses or pick another flavor that pairs well with peppermint.
Right when you take out the peppermint blossom cookies, while they’re piping hot. The base of the Kiss will melt and stick to the cookie, which is what you want.
It’s a bit more difficult to tell since it’s a chocolate peppermint cookie and the dough is already darker which can cause judging doneness to be a bit trickier. However, you’re looking for the edges to be set and the center to be just barely set. Remember that the cookies will firm up as they cool so it’s better to err on the side of underbaking vs overbaking the cookies in my opinion.
Yes of course. Double (or triple) all ingredients. Remember to bake only about 12 cookies per baking sheet though and don’t crowd the sheets. You will need to bake them in a couple batches.
As written, I use a medium cookie scoop and make rounded 1-tablespoon sized cookie dough balls. It would be tricky to make them smaller, and then still have room to apply the Kiss after baking.
You could make them bigger, however when you place one little Kiss on an overly large cookie, the scale and proportion can look, well, disproportionate.
So bottom line, try to make your cookies about 1 rounded tablespoon of dough each, so that you yield 24 cookies like the recipe intends.
Store the chocolate peppermint Kiss cookies for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for up to 3 months.
You can also roll and freeze the raw cookie dough. Wait to roll them in sugar until you’re ready to bake the frozen cookie dough!
When you’re reading to bake them, you don’t need to thaw the dough balls first. Rather, you can simply bake them for an extra minute or two.
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Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate – chopped, melted, and slightly cooled (use a chocolate bar, not chocolate chips, for best results)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar + ⅓ cup more, for rolling
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract*, do NOT use more; see Notes
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup crushed candy canes, optional but recommended
- 24 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
- Preheat oven and line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat liners; set aside.
- To a small microwave-safe bowl, add the chopped chocolate, and heat on high power to melt in 30 seconds intervals, stopping to check after each interval, and stirring until smooth and melted; set aside. Tips – You want to use chopped chocolate from a bar, rather than chocolate chips, because the chocolate will melt much easier and smoothly. I like Trader Joe's Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bars or a Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Bar. You can use darker chocolate bars such as 72% chocolate (cookies will be less sweet) or milk chocolate bars (cookies will be sweeter), depending on preference.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer), add the butter, ½ granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cream them (a verb, not an ingredient) on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until smooth, light, and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg, vanilla extract, peppermint extract* (read the Notes), and mix momentarily to incorporate.
- Add the melted chocolate and mix momentarily to incorporate. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl; set batter aside.
- Slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet, in 3 additions, stopping to beat the dry ingredients into the wet on low speed with your mixer, until just combined, but don't overmix; and repeating twice more, or until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Optionally, but recommended, add the crushed candy cane bits, and mix for a couple seconds to incorporate. Tips – Crush candy canes in a sealed ziptop plastic bag with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer tool, placing the bag on a cutting board, and a kitchen towel over the top, to protect your counters and the contents in the bag. To save time, I like using already crushed candy bits. They keep forever and are great to have for holiday baking needs. Brach's Peppermint Candies (or similar peppermint candies) also work well here and are less seasonally dependent than actual candy canes or candy cane bits.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, form rounded 1-tablespoon mounds of dough. Tips – I make 24 cookies with this recipe and while you could make the cookies bigger or smaller, for the positioning and size-proportionality later on with the Hershey's Kiss, I think it's best to aim for about 24 cookies.
- Add the extra ⅓ cup granulated sugar to a small bowl and gently but thoroughly roll each cookie dough ball through the sugar.
- Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, divided and spaced evenly. I bake 12 cookies per sheet because the cookies are on the smaller side and don't spread excessively. Tip – You do not need to chill the cookie dough before baking in this recipe.
- Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, taking care not to overbake the cookies. Tips – I bake one sheet at a time, on the center oven rack, rotating the baking sheet once midway through baking. I find I get the best results this way. It's a bit tricky to tell when chocolate cookies are done, because the dough is already dark. In general though, chocolate cookies with cocoa powder can tend to bake quicker than you think, and also dry out quicker than you think, so if in doubt, pull them sooner rather than later. Cookies always firm up, harden, and are dryer out of the oven.
- While the cookies bake, unwrap all the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses and have them ready. Tip – If you can't find these locally or don't want to order them, another favorite type of Kiss may be used from classic milk chocolate to white chocolate.
- As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, gently press a Kiss into the center of each cookie, making sure to press it down just firmly enough that the bottom surface of the Kiss is securely in contact with the top of the cookie so that the Kisses melt just enough to adhere well upon cooling.
- Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack after about 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet before enjoying.
- Storage – Cookies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cookie dough balls may also be frozen and then baked off, as desired. When baking from frozen, you don't have to allow the dough balls to thaw and can bake directly from frozen, adding a minute or two to the overall baking time, or as necessary.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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