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Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies
Adapted from Very Merry Cookie Party by Barbara Grunes and Virginia van Vynckt
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon red food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in egg, almond extract, and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined and a medium-firm dough forms.
3. Divide the dough in half, placing one half in a medium bowl to set aside. Add red food coloring to remaining half and beat until color is blended thoroughly.
4. Pinching off 1 teaspoon of red dough, roll with lightly floured hands to form a 4-inch long rope. Pinch off 1 teaspoon of plain dough and roll with lightly floured hands to form a 4-inch long rope. Press the ropes to each other at one end and twist together to create the stripes. Roll lightly to smooth ropes together. Shape one end of the cane into a hook and place on an ungreased nonstick cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 1/2-inch apart.
5. Bake until just firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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