My obsession with Christmas is pretty much 100% my mom’s fault. Christmas has just always been so much fun and so magical for me. She went to great lengths to keep me believing in Santa Claus until she finally had to tell me the truth the summer before I started 7th grade after I got into a fight with a neighbor boy about his “realness.” All those sooty footprints carefully placed across the living room floor and the reindeer bells hanging off the roof really had me convinced.
One of my favorite things to do every year at Christmas time was to make Christmas cookies for all the neighbors with my mom. We would make those little turtles out of caramel and chocolate and pecans, these yummy chocolate cherry shortbread cookies, and these delicious candy cane cookies out of the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. When I moved out on my own, I immediately bought a copy of this old-school treasure. It is one of my favorites, mostly for nostalgia.
I amp these cookies up a bit. I don’t like peppermint cookies, so I don’t add the crushed candy canes and sugar on the outside per the recipe. Instead, I add some more sweetness, and lots more almond extract. The flavor of these cookies is awesome. It’s a delicious combination of sweet, a tiny bit of salt, and they are oh-so-festive.
I also have a very strict policy about shortening in cookies. The policy being that I don’t use it. So I replace the shortening in this recipe with butter. Shortening, in my opinion, is for pie crust only.
Of course I made these cookies with my kids. They were all over it and had so much fun. The kids kind of manhandle these, so even if you make them wash their hands, you might want to keep theirs “special” and separate from any that you’re actually planning to eat.
Here are their cookies. They wanted me to put them on the blog as well so of course I obliged. Here is a random sample. They were so proud of these.
I love this recipe for it’s simpleness, it’s easy method, and it’s delicious flavor. Turn on the Bing Crosby Christmas Album or It’s a Wonderful Life, and add this recipe to your Christmas baking list this year. You’ll be glad you did. Merry Christmas!
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons red food coloring
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Combine butter, egg, powdered sugar, almond and vanilla extracts in a mixing bowl and mix to combine thoroughly.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Blend the red food coloring into one half.
- Use a 1 tsp. measuring spoon to portion the dough.
- Form one cookie at a time by rolling the balls of dough out to make 4″ strips.
- Place a red colored strip together with a plain colored strip and lightly press them together, then twist like a rope. (see pic above)
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet and curve the top to form the handle of the cane.
- Bake about 9 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned.