I had seen these cookies quite some time back on a couple of blogs and I knew I just had to make them. Cookies resembling candy canes were very unusual (to me anyway) and I knew my daughter was going to love them. And what could be a better time to bake them than now?
Making the dough and the cookies is not really difficult, but rolling out the dough and twisting them into canes does take a bit of time. So this not a cookie to make if you are in a hurry or as a last minute effort.
As far as I’m concerned the effort is well worth the result. I made my cookies by very slightly adapting an old family recipe that Katie, of All Things Catered, uses to make her Candy Cane cookies.
½ cup salted butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (or peppermint extract)
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ red food colour
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. Now add the flour and mix into a dough.
Divide the dough in half. Add the red food colour to one half and mix well. Wrap both balls of dough separately in cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Divide each ball of dough into 1 tsp rounds. Take one plain coloured dough round and place it on a clean work surface. Using your fingers, lightly roll it back and forth into a 4” long rope. Do the same with one red coloured dough round.
Do not use flour while doing this, otherwise the dough ropes will not stick together. If the dough starts feeling sticky while rolling, place the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes and then work on it again.
Place one plain and one red coloured rope side by side, and twist together to form a double coloured rope. Place on a greased cookie sheet and curve the top of the rope to form the handle of the cane.
Repeat with the remaining dough and bake the cookies at 190C for about 12 minutes or till they set and look dry and the plain coloured part of the cookie starts looking pale golden.
Cool the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes and then remove them from the tray. Cool on racks and store in airtight containers. I got 50 candy cane cookies with this recipe.
I only realized much later that I was supposed to use 1 cup of butter and had used ½ a cup by mistake. I also left out the baking powder by mistake, but my cookies were crisp and very good despite these mistakes.
I also feel these cookies could be made egg free by omitting the egg and adding the baking powder.