Wild Thistle Kitchen: Christmas Cookie Box & Peppermint Bark


Have you seen all the beautifully festive Christmas cookie boxes flying around Instagram? Well, I have! I had some major Christmas cookie box FOMO last year and finally got around to making one. So I figured I’d finally take the time to share the recipes I used and a few tips on how you can make one, too.

Oh, and I’m finally, FINALLY, sharing my famous and highly beloved white chocolate peppermint bark recipe.

First things first: you have to decide on your cookie and treat varieties. I like to do at least six types — but don’t stress, a few of the options can be no-bake or even store-bought candies. You want to have some little treats for filling in the cracks!

Before you get to the recipe for my white chocolate peppermint bark, here are links to the other goodies featured in the box:

Cranberry & Rosemary Tassies

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies (Martha Stewart)

Five Spice Snickerdoodles (Displaced Housewife)

French Meringues (The Kitchn)

Pecan Snowballs (Ash Cuoco)

Classic Molasses Ginger Cookies (Displaced Housewife’s “The Cookie Book”)

To me, these hit all of my must-have Christmas cookie tastes and textures. But that’s the great and FUN thing about making a cookie box: you have full creative authority! Choose your favorite cookies and treats — the special recipes that you wait all year to make — and have fun with it. I’ll link a few more recipes at the bottom of this post that I think would be great additions.

Something classic, spiced, fruity, chocolatey … I like to include a variety of flavors. This box has something for everyone. I chose to fill the chocolate cookies with a super simple American buttercream that I spiked with peppermint extract and then rolled in crushed candy canes for an extra-special and festive touch.

One of my favorite things to do is use the same cookie recipe but make two different sizes, just for some visual interest. You can see this with the peanut butter oatmeal cookies. It’s super simple to make two sizes of almost any cookie dough. Just decrease the baking time by a few minutes.

I like to include some candy-like treats, which in this box are the peppermint bark and the meringues. These are perfect for filling in cracks and just making everything pop. Not to mention they are super simple and perfect make-aheads (or feel free to use store-bought — you will get NO judgment from me).

Finally, arrange the cookies in a large box. You don’t need anything fancy (this was a box used to wrap a sweater in, I think). Just put down some pretty tissue paper and a little wax paper or parchment paper. I like to alternate some cookies on their sides and some in stacks. I just love the way it looks to see the sides and the tops — especially those crackled molasses cookies. They just SCREAM Christmas to me and remind me so much of my grandma.

And last, but definitely not least, add a festive touch by using a few small ornaments and some ribbon or twine. Even if you are just making this for yourself for a holiday at home, make it special. You deserve it.

A few more recipes I think would be great for a cookie box:

Classic No-Bake Cookies

Graham Cracker Toffee

Brown Butter Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

And I can’t post about a cookie box without sharing these two cookie queens! My friend Sam at Frosting & Fettuccine and my friend Becky at Displaced Housewife both have created such beautiful cookie boxes and I’ve linked to their posts below. These really show how no two cookie boxes are alike.

Holiday Cookie Box (Displaced Housewife)

How to Create the Ultimate Cookie Box (Frosting & Fettuccine)

Well, those are my Christmas cookie box tips. Grab my famous peppermint bark recipe below. I would LOVE it if you’d share a photo of your cookie boxes with me. Tag me on Instagram @wild.thistle.kitchen so I can see!

White chocolate peppermint bark. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

24 oz. white chocolate chips (see Notes)

12 peppermint candy canes

Instructions

Place a long strip of parchment or wax paper on your countertop. Peel and place candy canes in a large zip-top bag. Using a rolling pin or a meat mallet (the flat side), smash candy canes into bits. You want some larger pieces and some dusty bits.

Now, using a fine mesh strainer, separate the large candy cane bits from the dust (my kids and I used to call it fairy dust). Save the dust in a separate bowl and just leave the larger bits in the strainer as you prepare the chocolate.

Place chocolate chips in a large glass bowl and microwave in 30-second blasts, stirring each time, until all chips are melted. It should take about 2 minutes total.

Now, working pretty quickly, stir in your fairy dust while the chocolate is still hot and very runny. Quickly pour mixture out onto the paper and spread to a thin, mostly even layer. Quickly sprinkle top with larger chunks of candy cane, pressing down slightly so they really stick.

Allow to cool completely and break or cut into any shapes/sizes you want.

Notes

  • Just to make our lives complicated, Nestlé chips come in 12-ounce bags and Ghirardelli chips come in 11-ounce bags. Just use two bags of either variety. You don’t need to get too fussy about those few ounces.
  • One year, I couldn’t find candy canes and I used those little red and white star mints with great results.
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