This Christmas Candy Cane Cookies recipe is a family-favorite cookie that creates sweet holiday memories. Made from a simple cookie dough recipe, with plenty of festive peppermint flavor, the colorful dough is twisted to look like a real candy cane. Always a favorite at Christmas parties and cookie exchanges.
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When I was little, there were only two cookies that I vividly remember my mom making for Christmas. One was Russian Teacakes and while I certainly didn’t turn them down, they weren’t my favorite. But there was one cookie that my mom made for Christmas that I loved: Candy Cane Cookies.
I’ve talked with other people about Candy Cane Cookies over the years. A lot of times, they will me how they made them with their mom for Christmas and, because of that, the cookies always held a special place in their heart. Candy Cane Cookies always seem to be one of the top memory-making Christmas cookies.
But, making candy cane cookies side-by-side with my mother, wasn’t my memory. I don’t recall ever helping my mom make them. I’m not sure if she never thought to have us help, of if she preferred to do it herself, or maybe us kids didn’t want to help, but it wasn’t something I made with my mom.
But while that might seem a bit sad, it’s totally not. Because my memory is that when my mom made those cookies, she was a superstar baker. I didn’t understand how my mom could transform a candy cane into a delightfully sweet cookie. How did she make the two colors? How did she make it all twisted together? Just how did she do it? I asked her. I always asked a lot of questions. But she didn’t give me all her secrets and so the magic remained.
At some point, my mom stopped making Candy Cane Cookies. But her times of making them were enough to seal a memory in my mind. Eventually, when I was a young wife and mom, I made those Candy Cane Cookies for my kids. I’m not sure my kids are as impressed with mine, as I was with my mom’s, but I know they love them and I know that they eat them almost as fast as I can make them. And that’s good enough.
You’ll be relieved to know that Candy Cane Cookies are actually quite easy to make. No magic is needed and you don’t have to have superpowers. The dough is a simple sugar dough, which is divided in half. Half is tinted with red food coloring gel.
To make a Candy Cane Cookie, you take 1 teaspoon of each color and roll each color out into a “rope” that is about 5″ long. You’ll find that many Candy Cane Cookie recipes will tell you to make the ropes 4″ long. I like the 5″ long because I prefer a more slender candy cane look. The two rope colors are twisted together and then placed on a baking sheet, curving the top to one side so that it forms the look of a candy cane.
The cookies are baked in the oven, giving you just enough time to create a mixture of sugar and crushed peppermint candies. This is what is sprinkled on top of the cookies immediately after coming out of the oven. I recommend that you don’t skip this step – it really makes them quite pretty and even more delicious.
Once you’ve added the peppermint sprinkle on top, your Christmas Candy Cane Cookies are done and ready to be enjoyed!
When buying ingredients for these Candy Cane Cookies and your other holiday cookies, be sure to look for the REAL® Seal on your butter. When you see the REAL® Seal on a product (which can be on the front, back, or side of the product), it’s a sign that the product you are buying is a genuine dairy product, made with milk from cows on U.S. dairy farms. You can learn more on the REAL® Seal website.
Christmas Candy Cane Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup real butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 egg
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Red food coloring gel
- 2 tablespoons finely crushed peppermint candies
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, beat together butter, both sugars, both extracts, and egg on low, just until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Divide dough in half, making sure you have 2 equal portions. Add red food coloring gel to half of the dough until the desired color is reached. Wrap each portion of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 3-4 hours.
- In a small bowl, combine peppermint candy and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- To make a candy cane cookie, take 1 level teaspoon of each dough. Roll each teaspoon into a 5" rope (use a ruler, if necessary). Place one red and one white rope next to each other and begin twisting the two colors together, while pressing ends together so that they won't unravel.
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet, curving the top to one side to form the look of a candy cane. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle cookies with the sugar/peppermint mixture.
Moviecookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I’d love to hear if you have Christmas Candy Cane Cookie memories – did someone in your family make them? Have you ever made them for your family?