In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston

With so many great cooks and bakers around us, we wanted to connect and invite them to share their secrets and specialties in the kitchen.

We were so grateful to start this series off with one of our lovely grandmothers, Mary Johnston. She has been a true inspiration to us growing up, teaching us many lessons in and out of the kitchen. This recipe is one that has been in the family for years – German Peppermint Cookies. These fluffy white cookies require baking ammonia and peppermint oil, which gives them their proprietary taste.

In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston - blondewalk

Full name: Mary Johnston
Recipe: Peppermint Cookies

The story behind this recipe:
Growing up, these cookies were a tradition – my mother would always make them for us. When my mother passed away, my aunt generously shipped them out to us at Christmas from British Columbia. This recipe calls for “baking ammonia” which can be difficult to find in Saskatchewan.

What/who inspires you when you cook?
I love cookbooks, especially ones with pictures because they make me want to try the recipe. I enjoy baking and cooking my way and using the recipe as a guideline!

The one kitchen tool you cannot love without:
My rolling pin – I have three of them! I enjoy making pastry.

In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston - blondewalk

In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston - blondewalk

In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston - blondewalk

In the kitchen with: Mary Johnston - blondewalk

(yields 10-12 dozen cookies, depending on size)


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp baking ammonia dissolved in 2 tbsp water
    (baking ammonia can be found at Mom’s Nutrition Centre in Saskatoon)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/3 tsp peppermint oil (this is stronger than peppermint extract)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 8 cups flour


    1. Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar; beat in eggs one at a time.
    3. Dissolve baking ammonia in hot water, making sure there are no lumps.
    4. Add oil, sour cream, peppermint oil, and baking ammonia/water to egg mixture, beating until well combined.
    5. In separate bowl mix dry ingredients; add to wet ingredients, stirring with wooden spoon or using the hook attachment on the mixer.
    6. Cover and refrigerate overnight (optional).
    7. Divide dough into 4 portions. Roll out to 1/4-inch thicknesss, using a light dusting of flour on the surface as well as on top of the dough.
    8. Cut with a small cookie cutter.
    9. Bake at 375ºF for 7-10 minutes or until golden underneath.
    10. Remove onto wire cooling rack.
    11. If desired, make a thin icing with icing sugar and whipping cream.

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