My Motto

May the muffin rise to greet you, may your friends be always at your door, and until we meet again, warm a single-malt in the palm of your hand and make something homemade for someone you love.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Candy Cane Cookies, Our Very First Tradition

"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold."
~Judith Olney

Today I was invited to participate in a virtual cookie exhange by the lovely Di, of Di's kitchen notebook.  I'm honored to be included and will share my most special Christmas cookie for the event!
Back in the Paleolithic age, when I was first married, my sister-in-law gave me a Christmas Keepsake book that contained this recipe.  I made the cookies that year, we loved them and they became the very first Christmas tradition all our own.  These were the days when I was Little Miss Organization, and would make all the Christmas cookies early, when I had time, and stick them in the upright freezer downstairs.  More than a few times, I caught the Mister coming up the stairs with one or two of these cookies sticking out of his shirt pocket.  He liked them so much he was willing to eat them frozen...and as the kids grew up, they followed suit.  Go figure.  
They can be a bit of a pain to make, rolling out all those little logs of dough to put together and shape.  Make sure your dough is chilled, because it can get sticky, and try to recruit someone to help you.  It is best to roll them out on cold granite or marble, but you can do it on a very lightly floured cutting board, if need be.  To crush the candy canes, I just put the wrapped canes in a Ziploc bag and smash them with a hammer.  The plastic wrapper lifts away in one piece, leaving all the glistening crushed candy.  It only takes 30 seconds.  Have this done and at the ready so you can sprinkle the cookies with it immediately after removing them from the oven.  They need to be hot so the candy will stick.  The problem with these cookies is they taste so darn good!  Just like almond shortbread.  Everyone wants to snarf them down, but I'm willing to do the work but once a year!  Hope I haven't scared you away from them, they really are delicious, festive and worth it!
Check out the virtual cookie swap at The Farmer's Wife:

Candy Cane Cookies
Makes 15-18 cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring 
3 standard size candy canes, crushed

Blend butter and shortening; beat in confectioner's sugar, egg and flavorings.  Sift flour with salt;  stir into creamed mixture.  Divide dough in half.  Add red food coloring to one half.  Wrap both half in plastic wrap and chill at least 45 minutes.  Roll 2-teaspoon size pieces of dough into logs about 6 inches long. Place a white strip and a red strip side by side, press together lightly and twist like a rope.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet, curving the top to resemble a candy cane.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-11 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove cookies from oven and immediately sprinkle hot cookies with crushed candy canes.  Let cool 5 minutes, then very carefully remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  

Store in an airtight container.  Cookies freeze well.


Di said...

Those look great--thank you for sharing them. I love the tip about crushing the candy canes. I wonder if B&G would be interested in helping with these? Might have to find out. =)

TeaLady said...

These look great. What a great tradition to start.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Di: No Di, thank YOU! Regarding the candy's much easier than using a food processor and then having to WASH IT!!! I bet the girls would be a big help :-)

@TeaLady: Thanks so much for stopping by!

Kate Hannon said...

I make actually be motivated to make these. Yum.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Kate Hannon: EXCELLENT! If you do...let me know how you like them!

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

these are adorable

Tina said...

I have always wanted to make these, but they are on the endless list of must make! The crushed candy canes trick is new to me, but it does add a wonderful touch. Well done-yum!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Tina: Thanks, and I know what you mean...I currently have a backlog of must-makes that is 100 recipes long. That's not including the endless stuff in cookbooks. So much to little time!!!!

Elaine said...

Oh, I remember making these with my mom! They do take a while to make, but are so worth it. I love that you sprinkled them with crushed candy canes! I want to make these again!

Mary said...

Your cookies are baked perfection. They look beautiful and I know they are delicious. I also suspect they'll quickly disappear from your cookie tray:-). Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Kristen said...

I can just imagine how much fun kids would have making candy canes out of cookie dough. I used to make them out of play dough when I was little. Now I am feeling a little miffed that my mom didn't think of cookie canes.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

@Elaine: That's great, I hope you get a chance to make them!

@Mary: Thanks so much...yes, I'll have to hide them if they're even going to make it on the Christmas cookie tray!

@Kristen: is fun to do with kids. I'm sure your mom will be more than happy to make them with you ;-)