I’ve been baking a lot of cookies recently, and I have plans to make some more for friends (chocolate chip bacon cookies, double dark chocolate shortbread, and chocolate covered beer marshmallows) before the holidays are over. So far, I’ve made 3 different batches of candy cane cookies. They are our family tradition. The cookies are my grandma’s recipe and my dad’s very favorite. I make them for him every year for Christmas. Over the years, with much practice, I think I’ve perfected making these, figuring out the ratio of red food coloring to dough (having a KitchenAid mixer sure does help blend the color!) and the right temperature to roll out the cookies into canes. My experience working with clay doesn’t hurt either, since you do have to get your hands dirty with these and form them by hand. But even with all the work, they are totally worth it! Mmmm….they are perfect with coffee in the morning. Oh, and yeah, these are my favorite cookies too. What can I say? It runs in the family.
Grandma Kortz’s Candy Cane Cookies:
1 C soft butter- real butter!!! even better if its organic
1 C sifted confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract- all natural only- no imitation extracts, eek!
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift together and stir into the above mixture until it forms a uniform dough:
2-1/2 C sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
Divide the dough into halves. Blend 1/2 tsp. of red food coloring into one of the halves. (As I said the KitchenAid is perfect for this. If you don’t have one, you can also blend in the color by kneading it into the dough by hand, which is what I used to do before I had a mixer. But I would suggest wearing gloves unless you’d like to be caught “red handed”)! Refrigerate the dough until firm (at least a half hour). Take the dough out of the fridge, and while still chilled, take 1 tsp sized portions of each dough and roll each separately into a uniform ball in your hand. (This helps warm up the dough just enough to work with. I’ve discovered through trial and error that if the dough is too warm, its hard to work with and the colors do not stick together). Roll each ball into a log about 4″ long. Place the red and white strips side by side, and then roll together, but try not to blend the colors. twist slightly to create a spiral candy cane pattern. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and curve the top down to shape into a cane. Press the cane down slightly to flatten. Once all the canes have been made, bake them for about 9 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from the sheet while still warm. Try not to consume all of them right away. They don’t last long in our house. Makes about 4 dozen.
And yes, I know the irony in pointing out that you should use all natural and organic ingredients and then telling you to blend in a bunch of red food coloring. Its all about balance. And cookies.