Candy Cane Cookies

It’s mid-December and we are in the thick of holiday preparations. This weekend was cookie making day! I got sugar cookies made on Thursday and Saturday and Sunday were filled with chocolate crinkles and candy cane cookies.

Candy cane cookies are my favorite. The recipe comes from my Mom’s 50 year old edition of Betty Crocker Holiday Cookies. Unfortunately they have tinkered with the online recipe and it has become peppermint flavored instead of the traditional almond flavoring, so their candy cane cookies are no longer MY candy cane cookies. Again, the modern world is messing with my childhood. Thankfully, the Russian tea cake recipe hasn’t been altered.

So, here is the true 1960s recipe for Candy Cane Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, like Crisco
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 & 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Cream together the shortening, butter, and confectioners’ sugar. Mix in egg, almond extract, and vanilla until well blended.  Stir in flour and salt until thoroughly combined.

IMG_3614Divide the dough in half and place half in a separate bowl. Add the food coloring to one half of the dough. If you are using liquid food coloring and not gel you may need to add more flour to keep the dough the proper texture.


Take a small handful of dough from one of the bowls. Roll it out into a long dough snake about half and inch in diameter. Repeat with the other color of dough.

IMG_3616Lay your two dough snakes side by side. You can do one of two things. 1) You can wrap one color around the other and then bend the top over to make a traditional candy cane hook.

Or 2) you can roll the two dough snakes together to make one dough snake, then twist them to make a candy cane stripe, and bend over the top into the cane hook.

IMG_3617IMG_3618 IMG_3619Place them on the parchment covered cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. They will puff up and possibly double in size. Bake for 9 minutes or until just slightly brown. Let it cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

A couple of tips:

If you want a really intense red try to go with a gel color because it won’t thin the dough down like a liquid red coloring will. Or you can learn to love that faded country red color.

Also, if you feel like the dough is becoming too crumbly and hard to work with try putting it into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool down. The butter and Crisco get too warm and they starts to melt out of the cookie dough. Getting it cooled down helps give it back some structure.

IMG_3623They are so delicious! The almond flavor isn’t as intense as you think it would be with so much extract in it, but it’s tempered by the vanilla. It’s prefect with hot chocolate or a nice cup of tea.

Hopefully I’ll have time to post another favorite cookie recipe this season. Let me know if you try them or tell me all about your family’s favorite holiday cookie.


One response to “Candy Cane Cookies”

  1. […] butter stars, chocolate covered pretzels, pecan tassies, chocolate drops, chocolate crinkles, candy cane cookies, and – a huge favorite – Russian tea […]


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