A Cookie for Christmas
“But I brought you a present. She laid the folded handkerchief in Faye’s lap. Open it carefully , she said.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
Candy Cane Cookies are a personal favorite. I try to make them every year. There is something about tinting the dough a rosy holiday red and smashing candy canes that signals the season to bake cookies has begun. The Candy Cane Cookies are buttery, with a soft crunch and just enough peppermint topping to evoke a traditional candy cane.
Crush the candy canes in a large zip top baggie with a kitchen mallet. Use a bag made of thick plastic or use two bags, one inside the other. The sharp edges of the crushed candy canes can pierce the walls of the baggie. The bag should to be zipped shut or closed before the crushing begins or shards of candy canes will fly out of the baggie. I used to follow the original recipe and roll the cookies in flour, but powdered sugar works much better. The cookie dough does not dry out from being shaped. The sugar is absorbed back into the dough, instead of coating the surface of the cookie as flour often does. For extra minty cookies replace the almond extract with peppermint extract. The peppermint candy canes can be replaced with a different flavor of candy canes too. The original recipe is from an out of print Betty Crocker cookbook. There are similar recipes on-line, but I could not find the one I use. The directions are updated to reflect the way I make the Candy Cane Cookies.
|Candy Cane Cookies|
|1/2C||shortening (I use this)|
|1t||fine grain sea salt|
|10 drops||red food coloring|
|1/2C||crushed peppermint candy canes|
- In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and shortening together until they are thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix together. Then add the egg, almond and vanilla extracts. Beat until the mixture is light and creamy and thoroughly combined. Stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix just until combined. Divide the dough in half. Return half the dough to the bowl and add the red food coloring. Mix just until the dough is uniformly colored. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
- Heat the oven to 375°. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. Mix the crushed candy canes and sugar together in a small bowl.
- Lightly dust the work surface with powdered sugar. Pinch off a piece of dough and roll into a rope of uniform thickness of ½”. Cut into four inch lengths. Repeat the process until there are 24, 4” pieces dough, 12 pieces in red and 12 pieces in white. The dough can be reworked as needed. Chill the dough again when it becomes too soft to handle. Side by side, pair one red and one white piece of dough together. Press one end together and twist the dough to make the candy cane swirl. Transfer the cookie to the baking sheet and bend the top down to form the handle of the cane shape. To emphasize the curved shape of the cane, use the handle of a small spoon, with a round handle, to press the curve into shape.
- Repeat the process to fill the cookie sheet with 12 cookies. Space the cookies evenly across the surface of the cookie sheet to bake uniformly. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. Remove them from the oven when the edges of the cookies just begin to turn brown. Immediately sprinkle the candy cane and sugar mixture on top of the hot cookies. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
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