Here’s a Christmas treat that combines two favorites: cookies and candy canes. These cookies are not only shaped like real, 3-d candy canes, they’re also rolled in a coating of sugar and crushed candy cane. After making a batch of simple sugar cookie dough (remember to use confectioner’s sugar), you add red food coloring to one half, leave the other plain, and form both into “snakes”, which are twisted together to form the cookies. This would be great for a cookie swap. The Birchwood Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, provides this recipe and a great place to stay whether you want a culture-filled weekend or a country-style getaway.
1 cup butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring (more if needed)
1/4 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candy
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the butter, sugar, egg, and extracts thoroughly. Mix the flour and salt, and stir into the butter mixture. Divide the dough in half. Blend the food coloring into one half. Mix the sugar and crushed candy together.
Roll 2 tsp. of each color into 2 5-inch “snakes,” rolling each “snake” back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place the two “snakes” next to each other, press together lightly and twist like a rope (so it looks like a barber’s pole).
Make the cookies one at a time. Curve the top to make the handle of the candy cane. Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes, until just lightly brown on the bottom. Remove the cookies immediately and sprinkle with the sugar-candy mixture.
Makes approximately three dozen candy canes.