Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Baking: Candycane Cookies

My mom is the queen of Christmas baking. Every year since I can remember, starting right after Thanksgiving, the kitchen has overflowed with holiday treats, from homemade Almond Roca, to melt-in-your-mouth Russian Teacakes, to chocolatey peanut butter balls.

This year, I decided to tackle one of the recipes I grew up with: Candy Cane Cookies. And I am here today to share them with you!

I'll be fair and forewarn you that this recipe requires some time and dedication, but in the end, they're worth it! (As most Christmas cookies are).

Recipe #1: Candy Cane Cookies

Time: 1 hr. 30 min. 
Yield: 3 dozen

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg (plus one more for brushing over cookies)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • red food coloring
  1. Cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. 
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla, and almond extract (Don't skip the almond extract! It gives the cookies a subtle, delicious flavor).
  3. Mix in salt and flour.
  4. Divide dough in half, and add red food coloring to half of the dough. Go with more color rather than less, as the color lightens after the cookies are baked. 
  5. Now here's where the dedication comes in: Forming the cookies.

    1. Divide each set of dough into 36 balls, giving you a total of 72 red and white
      balls of dough.
      For each cookie, roll out one red and one white as shown in the picture.
      Gently twine the two pieces together.
      Once they are twined together fully, gently shape the dough into a candycane shape.
      You're almost done! Gently arrange candycanes onto a greased baking sheet. Beat one egg and use a pastry brush to lightly coat each candycane. You can arrange them pretty close together because the cookies will not rise or spread out in the oven.
      6. Bake the cookies at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before gently removing them from the pan with a spatula. Don't be discouraged if a few cookies break while you're doing this.
      7. Arrange the cookies on a pretty plate and watch them disappear!
      Let me know if you try them, or if you have any questions about the recipe!
      Merry Christmas!

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