Growing up at my house, Christmas meant two things: It meant that Mom would pull out the big box with the craft paper, glitter, and glue, and it meant that we would bake Candy Cane Cookies at least once during the holiday season. Candy Cane cookies are wonderful, minty but not too sweet pieces of Christmas yumminess. There were times when we would need to bake a second batch just before Christmas, to bring to the big family dinner because my sister and I had eaten the first batch.
Now that I’m grown with kids of my own, the tradition has carried over. Half of our kids are all grown up and yet we still have a Christmas baking day each year, usually the week before Christmas, and we make at least two batches of these wonderful cookies. They are almost as fun to make as they are to eat!
CANDY CANE COOKIES
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring or equivalent natural coloring
2 candy canes, crushed to powder, mixed with 2 tbs. white sugar
1. Cream sugar and butter, then add egg, milk, and extracts and mix well.
2.Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix into the creamed mixture.
3. Divide dough in half; add red coloring to one dough ball and mix until it is evenly colored.
4. Take 1 tsp. of each color of dough, and roll each into a rope. Lay your ropes side by side, and twist them together to form a candy cane.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes. Mix crushed peppermint candy with the 2 Tbl. of sugar, and sprinkle over the cookies immediately after removing them from the oven.
Makes as many or as few candy cane cookies as it makes. The original recipe says 4 1/2 dozen but we never get more than about 24 cookies!!
All of our kids LOVE to make these cookies, but if this sounds like too much dough handling, I’ve done it a couple of other ways. You can take a piece of each color, roll them into a ball together and flatten with the bottom of a cup (like peanut butter cookies) so you’ll have round ones, or you can put the dough through a cookie press.
HINTS: Margarine makes a stickier dough than butter. If the dough is too sticky to handle, knead in a little bit of flour. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate it for half an hour. If it is too dry, sprinkle in a tiny amount of milk while kneading (drops at a time).
This post is a part of the series A Cookie A Day Until Christmas.
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Dawn is still happily homeschooling after 15 years. She teaches her two sons, 12 & 10, enjoying every minute of “the second time around”. She lives in Eastern Washington with her husband, the youngest 2 of their 6 kids, and an assortment of barking, squeaking, and clucking critters. She writes at The Momma Knows and Prodigal Planet, as well as The Homeschool Post. You can also find her on Twitter @DawnMPerkins, Google+, and Pinterest.
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