This post comes to us courtesy of cooking instructor Jodi Liano.
One of my favorite cookbooks of all time is Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book. Originally published in 1963, the technicolor title will bring out the baker in anyone. My mom’s copy is so tattered and torn that the pages are bound together with a rubber band. I was lucky enough to come upon a like-new first edition of the book several years ago and have made everything from the Almond Meltaways to the Toffee Bars.
But, come holiday time my fondest sweet memory is of the Candy Cane Cookies. Braided ropes of mint flavored dough form the shape of a candy cane. They scream Christmas, and while the novelty of them is super appealing to kids, the buttery flavor makes them equally as delicious for grown-ups. And, come on, who doesn’t love a cute cookie that also tastes great?
I’ve adapted “Betty’s” recipe bit. I use butter instead of shortening and mint instead of almond extract. I also find that chilling the formed cookies until they are very firm helps them hold their shape much better in the oven.
Hope they make your holidays as sweet as they make mine.
Candy Cane Cookies
Cookie of the Day
Leading up to Christmas, we’ll be featuring one standout cookie recipe every day on The Blender. See them all here — let the holiday cookie exchanges begin!
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure peppermint extract (it’s generally very strong but you can use a touch more if you like)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and extracts and beat well to combine. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Remove half the dough from the mixer and set it aside. Add the food coloring to the dough that remains in the mixer and blend on low speed just to combine.
Using about one teaspoon of dough at a time, roll a rope each of red and white dough, keeping them about 1/2 inch around. Place the ropes side by side and press them very gently together. Holding the ropes at opposite long ends, twist them in opposite directions, then curve the end over to form the candy cane. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Chill the cookies in the refrigerator, or freezer, until very firm (this can be done up to one week in advance if the cookies are tightly wrapped).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake until set and just lightly browned on the bottom, 9 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your candy canes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Betty recommends dusting the warm cookies with a mixture of sugar and ground up peppermint candies (or candy canes) — I usually leave mine alone. Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.
About the author: I am a cooking instructor and food writer from San Francisco. Originally from Seattle, I moved to SF in 1998 to pursue a career in food. After culinary school I worked at Rose Pistola and the Blue Plate in SF, Sunset Magazine, the Food Network in New York, and Bay Cafe, to name a few. My passion is teaching cooking and I’ve made a career doing just that at Tante Marie’s Cooking School San Francisco. I’ve also written three books for Williams Sonoma-“New Flavors: Vegetables”,”Cooking From the Farmer’s Market” and “Eggs”. I’m a huge proponent of family dinner so most nights you’ll find me eating at home with my husband and son. When I’m out in SF, I’m probably eating a Panna Pie at Pizzeria Delfina, a Rainbow Salad at Burma Superstar, Chopped Liver at Bar Agricole, or Coffee Ice Cream with Jimmies from Swensen’s .