I won't lie to you, the Candy Cane cookie is a mega time consumer. These cookies are no walk in the park. Every Christmas my mom would say, "I don't think we'll make the candy cane cookies this year". But every year we did indeed throw out the effort for these awesome cookies. They ARE worth the effort, and I believe it's the almond flavouring that makes them so.
As I baked today, a strong memory came back to me regarding this little not so simple sweet... That feeling of the immovable dough, and the eternal cookie rolling. When a point is almost reached where you decide that's enough, and the temptation to discard the rest of the dough or simply throw it down in blobs becomes victorious. Though the feeling began to creep up, I didn't give in. If you give these a whirl and you get that same inclination just snack on one from your first batch and you'll have a new lease on baking. Yummy! Also, it may help to have a little candy cane rolling assistance. Someone to chat with or even just to entertain you while twisting the dough would make all the difference.
The recipe comes from the Betty Crocker library (circa 1971) - one of those plastic box sets from the seventies where you sign up, and they regularly send you recipes to fill up the container. I especially adore those 70's food pics.
A little off course, but I gotta say though it may be just me, there seems to be a serious overabundance of hot dogs in recipes from the 1970's. Of course it makes sense though... For an era that thought "noodle loaf" was a good idea (you know, the bologna with noodles and cheese embedded in it) hot dogs were practically "gourmet".
And so, without further ado (or discouragement) the recipe:
CANDY CANE COOKIES
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food colouring
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, icing sugar, egg, and flavourings. Blend in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; blend food colour into one half.
Shape 1 teaspoon dough from each half into 4-inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured surface. I find the flour just makes the dough more crumbly and difficult to roll, so I twisted them up directly on the counter without any flour.
Place ropes side by side; press together lightly and twist.
Complete cookies one at a time. Place on ungreased baking sheet; curve top of cookie down to form handle of cane.
Bake about 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. If you wish, mix 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Immediately sprinkle cookies with candy mixture; remove from baking sheet. About 4 dozen cookies.
We have never done the candy sprinkle on top, but do sprinkle a small amount of granulated sugar. I think the peppermint candy would take away from the flavour of the cookie.
So glad the "work" is done and the eating can take place!
I also made macaroons today. What a nice contrast! About 15 minutes and I had a full container of them (and possibly a tummy ache from eating way too much as I scooped it out on the tray).