Candy Cane Cookies

My family doesn’t have many food traditions I’ve hung onto; but candy cane cookies, made by my mother’s sister and mailed out each holiday season, is one I resurrected when I had children of my own. Now they make them with their children. And so it continues.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp. red food coloring
  • Crushed peppermints, opt.

Directions:

Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). With a hand mixer (or stand mixer with a paddle attachment) on medium speed, beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and mix well to combine. Stir together dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Divide dough in half. Stir coconut into half of the dough. Add food coloring into the other half, knead to incorporate evenly.

Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Divide each half into 30 balls. Keep half of the balls of each color in the refrigerator. Roll each ball into 5″ ropes. Twist a red one and a white one together and curve top. (Opt. Mix it up a little and make half the plain dough green!)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes, or just until white dough looks golden. Repeat with remainder of dough. Optional: sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies as soon as they come out of the oven.

Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in an air-tight container in a single layer, between sheets of parchment paper, for up to 1 week at room temperature, or two weeks in the refrigerator. (They freeze well too.)