Monday, December 24, 2012

"Candy Cane" Cookies

"Candy Cane" Cookies
Okay. It's time to blog about the legendary Candy Cane Cookie. First of all, don't let the name fool you: these cookies are not minty at all. Actually, they're barely even sweet. My mother-in-law usually makes these every Christmas, but this year I decided to take them on because I wanted to blog about them, and because I wanted to finally see what went into these cookies. Over the 22 years my husband and I have been together, I've eaten these cookies every Christmas we've lived near his mom. They're a bit of a joke to my husband, and, well, to the rest of us too. My sister-in-law has always loved them and I too now look forward to them each year. They taste like Christmas to me now. I can't say I recommend this recipe to most people, but if they interest you even after I describe them, then perhaps you might want to give them a try.
The Candy Cane Cookie is what I would call an oatmeal shortbread. As you can see, there's barely any sugar in the cookie itself, so most of the sweetness comes from the small bit of red icing on top. The texture varies from year to year, but when I made these today, they turned out nice and tender. Not soft, but easy to bite into and a bit on the dry side (that's the way I like them, though). They're somewhat buttery and the vanilla flavor really comes through. All in all, I'd say if you're a shortbread fan, and you're not big on sweets, these might be the cookie for you. If you do try them out, please let me know so that I can get an outsider's perspective on these odd little cookies that I have come to love.

"Candy Cane" Cookies

  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons half and half or milk
  • red food coloring
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
I large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), cream the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and water. Add the oats, salt, and flour and mix just until completely combined.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough into your hand and roll it like you would a wad of Playdough into a snake shape that is about 3 1/2 to 4 inches long. Place on prepared cookie sheet and form into a hook. Leave about 1 inch between candy canes. When pan is full, bake at 325 degrees for about 20-22 minutes, or until edges start to brown.
Remove from oven and move cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

When cookie are cool, prepare frosting. In a small bowl, stir the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of half and half/milk. Add more sugar or milk as needed to achieve a pipe-able consistency. Add food coloring and stir. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, or just transfer to a small zip-top baggie and snip away about 1/8 inch of a corner.
Pipe icing onto cookies, trying to make them look like candy canes with red stripes. As you can see, I didn't achieve perfection on mine.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Unbaked Candy Cane Cookie
Baked and unfrosted Candy Cane Cookie

1 comment:

  1. Browsing your blog - which I love - and just saw these. My mom always made these when we were kids except we didn't use red icing for the stripes. We made two batches, one plain and one with red food coloring, and made "ropes" and twisted them together to make candy canes. Brings back great memories!


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