Grandma’s Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread are a riff on a chocolate topped shortbread that my Grandma used to make. She topped hers with chopped nuts, but I couldn’t resist topping mine with crushed candy canes.
I took her shortbread base and topped it with chocolate chips just like she did. But then I topped it with crushed candy canes (instead of chopped nuts) to create Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread.
I can’t resist the combination of chocolate and peppermint this time of year. It might be the second best chocolate pairing of all time. The first, of course, is peanut butter and chocolate.
You need 7 ingredients for this easy recipe:
- Butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour form the simple shortbread base.
- Chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet) are melted on top.
- Crushed candy canes get sprinkled on top. Or you could use crushed walnuts like grandma did!
Making the shortbread squares
The dough for Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread is a basic shortbread. I used a stand mixer to make it.
It comes out of the mixer quite crumbly, looking a little too dry to be cookie dough. This is ok! Just pat it into the pan and send it to the oven to bake. It comes out a beautiful almost-golden brown.
After a sprinkle of chocolate chips and another minute in the oven to melt them, I used one of my favorite kitchen tools: the offset spatula. I use my small, 4.5 inch offset spatula the most. Its small size means I can get into the corners of the pan easily. It creates smooth lines and/or beautiful swirls with a just a little practice.
I use it most often for frosting, but also for nudging stubborn cake batter or dough into the corners of a pan. It’s a cheap little tool that I find myself using every time that I bake.
For the topping, I crushed candy canes in my food processor.
Some parts turned to powder and other parts to little chunks. You could also do it the old fashioned way: put the candy canes in a zip-top bag, and whack them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. This avoids having to clean the food processor (one of my most dreaded things to clean in the kitchen).
But that said, I have a hack for cleaning a food processor. If you won’t be using the plastic chute at the top, place your ingredients inside the bowl, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put the lid on over the plastic wrap and process the ingredients. Then remove the lid and plastic wrap, and the lid (and all of the lid’s parts) are clean!
More Christmas cookie recipes
This recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread is part of a collection of six Christmas cookie recipes from my grandmothers. You can find the other recipes here!
Grandma's Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 candy canes, crushed (I used a food processor)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3–4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and salt. Beat until combined. Slowly add the flour, beating after each addition. The mixture will be crumbly. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 inch pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the pan evenly.
- Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until the top is barely beginning to brown.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to the oven for 1 minute.
- Remove from the oven and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate chips evenly. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.