November 25, 2012

Candy Cane Cookies {Our 'Black Friday' Project}

Fun and festive Candy Cane Cookies ~ two colors of almond sugar cookie dough twisted together, and sprinkled with crushed candy canes and sugar.  They'll become a family holiday tradition, for sure.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I sure did ... spent nice, relaxing time with my parents and Mark's Mom ... and didn't even THINK about going out for 'Black Friday' shopping.  Nope.  No way.  No how.  Shopping the day after Christmas?  Yup ... it's a tradition for Mom and me.  'Black Friday?' ... not so much.

Mom and I stayed home and made these candy cane cookies instead ... our little 'Black Friday' project!

We used to make these candy cane cookies every year at Christmastime when I was growing up.  It was a great in-the-kitchen family project, though Mom says my brother and I used to give up after assembling about two cookies ... leaving her to do most of the work.  Hmmmmm ... I don't seem to recall that.  Not at all sayin' that that happened ... but if it did ... it may have been ... just may have been ... that Mom's candy cane cookies were always so much prettier than ours.  And isn't it nice to have an entire batch of pretty candy canes?  Apparently we may have thought that.

We hadn't made these candy cane cookies together since I was in high school ... which, I hate to say ... was about 25 years ago. So, when Mom and I decided to make them this weekend, the test was on!  Had I improved?  Could I now make candy canes as pretty as Mom's??  Well, yes!  I'm pleased to report that my candy cane cookie-making skills have greatly improved!  I guess some things just come with age.

We had a nice afternoon together getting our Christmas baking started.  And I must say, we had totally forgotten how totally tasty these cookies are!  Almond extract gives them a truly wonderful flavor that goes surprisingly fabulously with the peppermint sprinkle on top.

So not only are these candy cane cookies pretty to look at, they're darn tasty too.  Ahhhhh, making them brought back great memories.

And here's how you can make your very own.

Start by getting the Peppermint Sprinkle Topping together.  Crush some candy canes or peppermint candies.  I found using mini candy canes was quite handy ... you can crush them right in their little individual packets and then just cut open the top and pour the crushed pieces into a bowl.  Easy and neat.  Love that.

Mix the crushed candy canes with granulated sugar, and set this aside for later.

Mix up some yummy dough ... and divide it into two equal portions.  Add red food coloring to one portion ...

... and mix it up really well.

Now you've got red dough and white dough! ... just perfect for making cute little candy canes.

Take about a 1" ball of dough of each color ...

... and use the palm of your hand to roll it out into about a 4"-long rope.

When you have a rope of each color, lay them side-by-side and gently press them together a bit.

Then twist them together ...

... so they look about like this.  Very gently roll the twisted dough with the palm of your hand to 'smooth' the twists out a tiny bit.

Place your twist on an ungreased cookie sheet and curve the top to look like a candy cane shape.

See?  Your candy cane cookies should look about like this ...

Pop them in the oven for a bit, and when they come out immediately sprinkle each cookie with Peppermint Sprinkle Topping.  (We highly recommend placing wax paper ... or something similar ... under the cooling rack to catch the spill-over sprinkle.)  The topping will sort of melt onto the cookies, giving them a yummy pepperminty crunch that pairs wonderfully with the almond-flavored dough.

Let these beauties cool, and enjoy.

Thanks for an afternoon of great memories, Mom!  I'm so glad I can now make Candy Cane Cookies as pretty as yours.

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Candy Cane Cookies
Source:  My Mom (and I have no idea where she got the recipe ...)
  • 1/2 c. shortening {such as Crisco}
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red food coloring
  • 1/2 c. crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (about 20 mini candy canes or 8 regular-sized)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  1. For the Peppermint Sprinkle Topping: Combine crushed candy canes and granulated sugar. Set aside.
  2. For the Cookies: Mix shortening, butter, and confectioners' sugar until well combined. Add egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract; combine well. Mix in flour and salt.
  3. Divide dough into two equal portions. Place one portion in a bowl. Mix red food coloring into the remaining portion.
  4. Take about a 1" ball of each color of dough and roll each into a 4" strip. Lay the strips side-by-side and then twist together. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and curve the top to make the strips look like a candy cane shape.
  5. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 - 9 minutes, until cookies are set and just barely beginning to get a bit of golden brown on the bottom.
  7. Place wax paper under a cooling rank. Carefully remove hot cookies from the pan and place on the cooling rack. Immediately, while cookies are still hot, sprinkle generously with Peppermint Sprinkle Topping. Let cool on rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

- There truly is no leavener in this recipe ... that's not a typo.
- DO NOT chill the dough.  It's needs to be very soft and pliable to be able to roll and shape it into candy canes.
- It's important to sprinkle the Peppermint Sprinkle Topping on the cookies immediately upon taking them out of the oven so it will stick and sort of 'melt' onto the cookies.  If the cookies have cooled too much, it will just fall off.
- These can be made ahead and frozen.  A single layer works best ... or very gently place wax paper between layers.



  1. Loved spending the afternoon making these with you...yes, it was just like old times..except your rolling skills have certainly improved :)!

  2. Thank you for the recipe that will keep my grandkids pleased during their break. They're too young to do the roll and twist, but I believe eager enough to sprinkle "peppermint fairy dust" to have a hands-on experience in my kitchen.

    1. Oh, I love that you're calling the sprinkle topping "peppermint fairy dust," Sandy. I'm going to call it that from now on!

    2. They are never too young, just as long as you do not expect perfect looking cookies! :-) Let your Grandkids create and have fun. Teach them with a positive, encouraging, and complimentary attitude.

  3. Hey there! I found you via This Gal Cooks blog!

    Can I just say that my hat is off to you and I am in a bowing position!

    My mom is a baker by trade and I've carried on with her legacy of baking but I.CANNOT.FOR.THE.LIFE.OF.ME make these cookies! They are my most favorite from when I was a child. I've tried many time the past few years and they just don't like me!

    So I've decided to just make peppermint patty's out of the dough. They look sort of tie-dyed and taste the same! LOL!

    These are great! But I don't know what I do wrong as I can bake me some cookies like crazy...except for these babies!


    1. Well, Kim ... making peppermint patties out of the dough is certainly a great way to solve the problem! No matter what the shape, these babies will still taste delicious! Thanks so much for popping over from This Gal Cooks.

  4. Stopping by from This Gal Cooks. Such a beautiful post. I love that you made them with your Mom :) I would love if you could link up your beautiful cookies at our Christmas party/giveaway. I know my family & friends will love it. ~ Julie

  5. Ohhhh love the cookies!!! I love the shimmery topping, so pretty! Delicious too, I'm sure!

  6. I make candy cane cookies every year too, except that I use peppermint extract instead of sprinkling peppermint candy on top. Although I may just try your method. Candy cane cookies have been in every Christmas cookie jar since I was a little one. They are my favorites!

    Susan and Bentely

  7. These would be addictive!!! And they are so so pretty! I love the look of your candy cane sugar!!!! YUMMY!

  8. These are festive! I love baking cookies this time of year :)

  9. Love these. And your recipe index looks fantastic!!!

  10. Wow! These look awesome! I tried to make some before and didn't have much luck. :( Would love if you'd join our Countdown to Christmas link party! Hope to see you there! Have a great week! :)

  11. These are not only so amazingly adorable..they look so dang good!! Thank you for linking these goodies up over at the No Rules Christmas Party!!

  12. Oh my, these look absolutely perfect as gifts for teachers and coworkers! Ummm what kind of texture is this cookie? Crunchy? Soft? Chewy? Dry? Moist?


    1. They're a tender shortbread ... so a teeny-tiny crunch on the outside but soft on the inside. I only bake them until they're just set and JUST BEGINNING to get golden brown on the bottom so I can have this soft, tender texture. If you want drier, crunchy ones then bake them a tad longer.

  13. Those look so good! I have always wanted to try making cookies like this and you awesome pictures and great tutorial really help!! I also love hearing about other's traditions and memories! Especially the ones from this time of the year! And amen to staying in and making memories at home on "Black Friday!" ;) I pinned your cookies to my Christmas board! Thank you so much!

    Visiting from Pin It Thursday link party!

    Come visit me sometime!

  14. These are adorable! Pinning! Definitely need to make some for the holidays. :)

  15. This is a fantastic tutorial!

    I would LOVE it if you would share this over on my Friday Link up!

    Off to pin...

  16. My husband and I tried a candy cane cookie recipe once, but it wasn't quite like this, and the end result wasn't nearly as cute and tasty. I also thank you for not shopping on Good Friday. My husband works retail, so he has to sleep through half of Thanksgiving to then work 10pm to 4pm because of this crazy shopping day. I hate it. Meanwhile, like you, I stay home and enjoy a day with my children. BTW, will you share this post with our Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap that is going on through mid-December at

  17. These are soooooooooooo great and beautiful
    Fun to make too
    Thanks for the details tutorial

  18. Just beautiful! What a festive cookie! Thanks for linking up! Sarah from The Ease of Freeze.

  19. Oh Tracey, I'm totally digging your candy cane cookies. I love how you've coloured the dough and created little actual candy canes with the cookie dough. And the crushed candy canes on top are like a snowfall of peppermint goodness with added crunch. Yum.

    If you don't mind, I'd love if you would stop by and share these and any other dessert creations on Sugar & Slice Sunday weekly link party.

    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

  20. I love them! I think that tradition cookies are the best this time of year. :)

  21. I just came from 12 Days of Christmas Cookies and I luv these cookies, I pinned it. I'm a new follower.

    Please stop by when you have a chance.

    Happy Holiday,
    Joanne/Winelady Cooks

  22. Oh my goodness these are SO our type of cookie! Must try soon! :) My boys will love making them! You are a featured favorite this week on Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us each week; we love having you! Can't wait to see what you've been up to this week!
    Mackenzie :)

  23. These are my favorite!!!! so cool!!! ~Nancy~

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. I have made these every year for as long as I can remember. We got these out of the old Betty Crocker cookbook! It has since fallen apart and I just have the single page all torn and tattered saved in my recipe box. They are my favorite! Many great memories!

  26. Thank you for posting this recipe for these wonderful cookies. I just made them and they turned out quite well. Thanks for the hint to roll them a second time; that smoothed out all the twisting errors :)

    1. You are quite welcome, Nicola. Yes, that second little rolling smooths out lots of little bumps. :-)

  27. Nice pictures but without chilling this dough I have no idea how it would be firm enough to twist into candy canes. This appears to be a slightly modified spritz recipe so the cookies tasted ok. Dough was tad to soft even for sprtiz but most turned out ok. Too soft and the cookies loose their definition. Not a total loss but i won't be adding this to my regular Christmas cookie recipes.

    1. I hate that they didn't work great for you! We've found that chilling the dough makes the cookies more difficult to roll and twist because the dough tends to crack more. But if a slight chill works best for you, go for it!


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