Every family has it’s own Christmas traditions, and in my family, they’re largely food related. Actually, every tradition in my family is largely food related… So much so, that a few years ago for Christmas, my Mom made each of us girls a book of family recipes. All the foods that make us, US, together in one place.
Part of those traditions are my mom’s Candy Cane cookies at Christmas. We used to eat those things like our lives depended on it, and she couldn’t roll them and bake them fast enough for our sticky little fingers. I remember her making containers of them and stacking them in the freezer, but I don’t recall ever seeing these cookies anywhere else except at our house. For that reason, they feel like a unique part of our traditions, and they connect me right back to my great-grandmothers kitchen.
Fast forward 30’ish years, and here I am, still needing those minty goodies to be part of my Christmas celebrations. I’m sure there are bakeries out there that make these, but I’ve never laid eyes on them outside of my own, or my moms kitchen, so today I’m going to share the recipe so you can get all addicted to them yourself!
I admit, I’ve changed my moms recipe a little, but it was only out of necessity because of time management, and let’s face it, lack of ambition. I use pure peppermint extract in place of crushed candy canes, and I push the soft dough through a large dough-nozzle fitted inside of a sturdy piping bag. This is a step where you have to figure out what works for you, because unless you have access to restaurant supplies like I do, you may not be able to do it exactly the way I do.
A few suggestions for procedure… Hand-roll them together the way my mama does! Or use a cookie press. Another suggestion (because sometimes I do it with left over dough) is to marble the two colours together and then scoop them with a cookie scoop. You will have round, peppermint cookies, and you can easily dip one edge into some white chocolate for a super pretty presentation. A lack of equipment doesn’t mean a lesser cookie, it just means you have to be a little more creative.
The ones shown in these photo’s were made gluten and lactose free, for my daughter. She loves these cookies as much as I do, so I just had to convert the recipe! They came out very well and the super soft dough was very easy to pipe, all in all it was a very easy recipe to convert. The first time I presented her with one that was allergen friendly, the first thing she said was “I used to stuff my face with these at grandmas!!!”
Well me too kid. Me too.
Recipe for Candy Cane Cookies
with Gluten/Lactose Free revisions included
- 1/2 cup of butter, softened
- 1/2 cup of shortening
(Replace with either 1 whole cup of shortening, or vegan butter substitute)
- 1 cup of icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon Pure Peppermint extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2.5 cups of all purpose flour
(Replace with 1.5 cups of brown rice flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup tapioca and 1 tsp. xanthan gum)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- You will need RED food colour. I use paste colour, Wilton No-Taste Red is perfect and you can find it at any cake decorating store, like Bulk Barn or Michaels.
- OPTIONAL: My mama doesn’t use peppermint extract, she mixes 1/2 cup crushed peppermints with 1/2 cup white sugar in a bowl and sets it aside for later.
Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Get your cookie press/cutting board/cookie scoop/piping bag ready – remember, you decide this part!
Throw it all into the bowl of a stand mixer (except for the crushed peppermint mixture and food colour) and mix it up until blended. You can also just do this by hand, it comes together really easily. Take out half the dough and set it aside. Add your food colour (you decide how much, I used 1/2 teaspoon of paste colour, to get this shade) to the half left on the mixer and mix thoroughly.
I used a large piping bag fitted with a very large nozzle, and put the white dough on one side and pushed the red dough down the other. I squeezed out a bit of dough until I had both coming though the tip.
My Mom shapes a rope from each colour, twists them together and shapes them into the candy cane shape.
You can cookie scoop it. They’ll be like pretty swirled mint candies, but you know… cookies.
Bake approximately 10-12 minutes. They’ll spread a little, and start to brown on the edges ever so slightly. They’ll firm up perfectly as they cool.
Now IF you made that candy cane mixture, here’s where you use it!. The second those cookies come out of the hot oven, sprinkle the mixture over them. It will melt slightly and coat those cookies with a super minty and sweet coating that will be well worth the effort.