Candy Cane Christmas cookies have been one of my favorites since I was a child! As a child I loved their festive appearance and it meant Christmas was on its way. As an adult, I love how they taste! I really like this recipe with the peppermint extract and crushed candy cane. You typically have two options for the candy. At your local supermarket you may be able to purchase it crushed or you can purchase candy canes and crush them in a food processor. It is a bit noisy and a little dusty. I have used both options and I prefer crushing my own candy canes. I found when I bought them already crushed from the supermarket they were crushed too finely. Keep them a little chunkier to gain a better flavor in your cookie.
I chill my dough overnight, as you need to work with it cold. I take small sections out of the refrigerator to make the cookies. The dough can be finicky and this year it tended to crumble as I was trying to form the candy canes. If that happens you just need to be more careful in rolling and forming the candy canes. You might need to fix the final candy cane once it is on the baking pan. This year, I used Crisco butter sticks instead of real butter. I am not sure if this was the problem as the dough had a great texture. Or it could have been the weather. On the East Coast we are having odd December weather. The day I was making them was rainy and damp. This may have introduced too much moisture into the dough making it difficult to roll. But regardless, the cookies are still fabulously good!
When my dough is more agreeable I make smaller candy canes. This year I made them larger to accommodate the dough. I also made some of them into white and red logs, as I got tired fighting with the dough. But I am glad I made them, as they are delish!
2-½ cup Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup Butter, room temperature
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla (I make my own with Rum and a vanilla bean)
½ tsp. Peppermint Extract
¼ tsp. Liquid Red Food Coloring
½ cup Candy Cane, crushed
In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy; gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract then slowly blend in flour and salt. Remove slightly more than half of the dough and place in refrigerator. In the remaining dough add red food coloring and crushed candy cane and beat until evenly mixed and colored. Place in refrigerator to chill.
To make the candy canes cookies, use a 1/2 or 1 tablespoon-measuring spoon depending upon the size of the finished cookie. Take each tablespoon of dough and form it into a ball. Then take that ball of dough and roll it with your hand into a long rope. Repeat so you have one white and red rope.
Form the two ropes together and roll.
Twist the dough to start forming the candy cane.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 8-minutes and cool on a baking rack.