Chocolate Peppermint Stars

Makesabout 4 dozen cookies
  • Active time: 1 1/2 hr
    Total time: 5 hr (includes chilling)
If you’ve been looking for a chocolate sugar cookie that doesn’t wimp out, delivering the dark chocolate hit you crave, this is the one for you. The thin coating of melted bittersweet chocolate, along with a festive sprinkle of crushed candy canes, only enhances the depth of flavor inherent in the cookie’s deep brown color.
Published in Gourmet Live 12.14.11


  • Buttery Sugar Cookie dough recipe with an addition and adjustments
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed small red and white candy canes (see Cooks’ Notes)
  • 4 ounces good bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, melted (see Cooks’ Notes)


  • Wax paper; parchment paper; 2 large baking sheets; 2- to 3-inch star cookie cutters; small offset spatula (optional)


Make Cookies:

  • Make Buttery Sugar Cookie dough as directed, but reduce the flour to 1 1/3 cups and add the cocoa. Whisk the flour and cocoa together.
  • Halve dough and wrap each half in wax paper, shaping each into a flattened rectangle, then store each half in a resealable plastic bag. Chill dough until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • While oven heats, roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining dough chilled) between two large sheets of wax paper to slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft to roll out, quick-chill on a baking sheet in the freezer or chill in the refrigerator until firm.)
  • Peel back top sheet of wax paper and cut out as many cookies with cutter as possible. Transfer cookies, as cut, to a lined baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft to remove the cookies, quick-chill on a baking sheet in the freezer or chill in the refrigerator until firm.)
  • Gather, reroll, and chill scraps to form more cookies.
  • Freeze or chill cut-out cookies on baking sheet until firm before baking.
  • Bake cookies, one sheet at time, until edges are a shade darker and centers are set, 9 to 12 minutes. For picture-perfect cookies, use cookie cutters while cookies are hot from the oven to trim edges. (Keep trimmings for snacks.) Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough. (Cool baking sheets and use fresh parchment between batches.)

Decorate Cookies:

  • Using the offset spatula or a small rubber spatula, spread cooled cookies with a thin layer of melted chocolate, then sprinkle with some crushed candy canes.
  • Let cookies stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour.


  • If you want a real hit of peppermint, replace the vanilla in the Buttery Sugar Cookie dough recipe with 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract.
  • For the cleanest edges, keep freezing or chilling the dough between the sheets of wax paper whenever it gets soft, and freeze or chill the cut-out cookies before baking them
  • To melt chocolate successfully: Keep chocolate from coming in contact with even the smallest amount of water. Chop the chocolate first, then put it in a dry metal bowl and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it is smooth. Alternatively, you can heat it in a microwave-safe bowl. Put the chopped chocolate in the bowl and microwave it at 50% power at 30-second intervals, checking it and stirring it, each time, until it is smooth.
  • Cookies keep in an airtight container in single layers, separated by wax paper, in a cool place, 5 days.
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