Recipe of the Month from Christmas Cake Murder By Joanne Fluke


A Criminally Sweet Holiday Dish!

A Christmas season many years ago, a young Hannah Swensen was preparing to open The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota—and her Minty Dream Cookies are one of the first treats she baked in her new oven. Not only are they pretty, but these special sugar cookies also reflect the sparkle and joy of the holiday season!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and Queen of the Culinary Mystery Joanne Fluke goes back to where it all with a recipe-filled Hannah Swensen holiday prequel. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake…

Minty Dream Cookies

DO NOT preheat oven—dough must chill before baking.


1 cup melted butter (2 sticks, 8 ounces, 1⁄2 pound)

1 cup powdered sugar (don’t sift unless it’s got big lumps and then you shouldn’t use it anyway)

1⁄2 cup white (granulated) sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar (critical!)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (don’t sift—pack it down in the cup when you measure it) 

1⁄4 cup white sugar in a small bowl (for coating dough balls)

1⁄4 cup white sugar in another small bowl

approximately 3 Tablespoons red decorator’s sugar

approximately 3 Tablespoons green decorator’s sugar

approximately 5 dozen Hershey’s Kisses


Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add the cup of powdered sugar and the half cup of granulated sugar and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Mix in the egg and the peppermint extract.

Add the baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Mix until everything is well combined.

Add the flour in one-cup increments, mixing after each addition. (You can add the 2 Tablespoons of flour to the last full cup.)

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least one hour. (Overnight is fine, too.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with the rack in the middle position. While your oven is preheating, either spray your cookie sheet(s) with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray or line them with parchment paper.

Add the red decorator’s sugar to one bowl of white sugar and mix it in with a fork from your silverware drawer.

Add the green decorator’s sugar to the other bowl of white sugar and mix it in.

Use your impeccably clean hands to roll the dough into walnut-size balls.

Roll half of the dough balls in the bowl of red and white sugar.

Roll the second half of the dough balls in the bowl of green and white sugar.

Place the sugar-coated dough balls on a cookie sheet, 12 to a standard-size sheet.

Unwrap the Hershey’s Kisses and place one, point up, on top of each sugared dough ball. Press it down so that it will stay in place.

Bake your Minty Dream Cookies at 325 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes. (The cookies should have a tinge of gold on the top.) Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Hannah’s Note: If you used parchment paper to line your cookie sheet, just pull the paper, cookies and all, over to a wire rack.


Approximately 5 dozen crunchy, buttery, sugary peppermint and chocolate cookies.



JOANNE FLUKE is the New York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Raspberry Danish Murder, Wedding Cake Murder, Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment premiered as Murder, She Baked:  A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, and has since been followed by three more TV movie adaptations (and counting!) based on the series and starring Alison Sweeney. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, but now lives in Southern California. Visit Joanne Fluke online.

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