Barking Up the Peppermint Tree

Well, the mad baking has begun and I have amassed several cans of cookies already: Chocolate Almond Polenta Puffs, Florentines (I’ll give out this recipe in the next day or two), Cinnamon Bing Cherry Cookies, Ginger Orange Stars, Chocolate Hazelnut Sandwiches. But each year, my kids (now in high school and beyond) ask me if we couldn’t just make some cookies decorated with icing, cookies so fun and colorful that they just sing out, “Ho, ho, ho!”  But truth be told, I hate sugary icing. This goes beyond “royal icing” which graces such lively holiday cookies, but to cupcakes and cakes iced with frostings made with powdered sugar (which encompasses most vegan cakes). Maybe it’s because of my early exposure to French and Austrian pastries, which are less sweet but much richer, than their American counterparts. In America, “buttercreams” are made with just a small amount of butter or its equivalent, then cups and cups of powdered sugar, whereas in France, a buttercream is exactly that – made of lots and lots of butter with just a little bit of sugar. The result is a creamy, light, rich concoction that is hard to stop eating. So perhaps I’m an icing snob, but show me a cookie or cake iced with a powdered sugar-based icing and I’ll find an excuse to turn it down.
     But alas, as an understanding parent, I felt it was my duty to provide them that holiday pzazz and glitter. So I took a classic holiday treat — peppermint bark — and made a cookie version. A dark, rich chocolate cookie glazed with a vegan white chocolate with a hint of peppermint, topped with colorful sprinkles — one look and my daughters’ eyes popped with delight, and got even larger after biting into the festive-looking, rich treats. The white chocolate is delightful without the peppermint as well, and can be used as a base for a not-too-sweet buttercream, so if you’re going to make it, you might want to double the recipe for it.

Peppermint Bark Cookies
Chocolate Cookie:

1 cup oil or vegan butter substitute
1 cup maple syrup
2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa
4 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and maple syrup until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour and cocoa. Mix into the butter mixture. Mix in the melted chocolate and combine well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment and flatten slightly with the spoon. Bake for about 8 – 9 minutes. Gently pull the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto the counter and allow the cookies to cool completely before icing. When cool, pour the white chocolate onto each cookie. Sprinkle with colorful sprinkles if desired. Let the icing set before transferring to cans for keeping. If you are going to stack them, place parchment between each layer.
Peppermint White Chocolate
8 ounces cocoa butter
1 cup powdered or regular sugar
1 1/4 cups soy milk powder
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Liquid lecithin
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
Melt cocoa butter with sugar in a double boiler. Dissolve the soy milk in the water. Add to the cocoa butter mixture along with lecithin and vanilla. Stir until completely emulsified. Allow this to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour until it is thick enough to pour on top of the cookies without running off. Use a teaspoon to drop spoonfuls of white chocolate on top of each cookie. It should be a consistency that will naturally run a little to cover the top of the cookie but not run off. 


  1. vegematic says:

    This recipe looks wonderful! How many cookies do you get from a single batch?

  2. Hi Miyoko. These cookies look fantastic. I am trying to gather the ingredients. I found a Raw Cacao Butter in a package of 50.4 g (net wt 1.8 oz). Would this work for the cocoa butter portion of the icing? How many packages should I get? Or am I looking for another product altogether? Thanks!

  3. Also, do you think crushed candy cane would work well as a topping in lieu of the sprinkles? Thanks!