Candy Cane Cookies: A Fun and Easy Holiday Recipe

easy candy cane cookiesNow that the jolly old elf has been seen in the Macy’s Day Parade, it is officially time to deck the halls and bake some cookies! Tradition has it that cookies and milk – and in most recent times, a carrot – is left on a special plate to thank Kris Kringle and his trusty reindeer for the goodies left under the tree. 

This time of year finds me in the kitchen for hours, happily baking my family’s favorite cookies to share throughout this holiday season. My dining room table will soon be filled to the brim with trays of gingerbread, sugar cookies, and a myriad of Italian treats, ready to be plated, wrapped, and tied with a bow to deliver to neighbors & friends to share holiday cheer.

The best part, of course, was eating them with a glass of milk; nothing tastes better than a homemade cookie!

One special treat that has a home on top of every cookie plate are Candy Cane cookies. Years ago, I needed a recipe that could involve the kids in this baking tradition. I wanted something easy that could keep their attention. This recipe was perfect because I could make the dough ahead of time and then let them work their master Playdoh skills as they used their hands to roll out balls and ropes of dough. They would then twist them together, form candy cane hooks, and patiently wait 8-10 minutes, watching their creations bake through the oven window.

The best part, of course, was eating them with a glass of milk; nothing tastes better than a homemade cookie!

This year, invite your kids into the kitchen to help make these holiday treats. You will all have tasty fun and the kids will love that their creations are the stars (or canes!) on a special cookie plate!

candy cane cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

  •  1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup egg whites substitute (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Red food coloring

In large bowl (or in stand mixer), beat together sugar and butter until creamy.

Add eggs, plus vanilla and almond extracts, and mix well.

In separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and stir well until dough ball forms.

Divide dough in half. Tint one half with red food coloring. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Divide each dough ball into 32 pieces of plain and 32 pieces of red. Roll each piece into 5” rope and twist together. Bend one end into “hook” to form candy cane shape.

Place on ungreased (or parchment lined) cookie tray and bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.

Cool on wire rack.

Store in airtight container or freeze for up to 1 month. 

{ MORE: Get Ready for New Gifts with a Pre-Holiday Toy Clean-Out }

What is your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Need a few more ideas? Check out my Holiday Cookie Prep recipes to get you started!

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Candy Cane Cookies: A Fun and Easy Holiday Recipe

Kelly Pugliano is a wife, mom to a soon-to-be-college student and one-not- far- behind, freelance writer, photographer and a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking and baking through photographs good enough to eat. Seeming to be a permanent fixture in her Upstate NY kitchen, you will often find her creating tried & true recipes from family archives or testing out new delights found by reading countless cooking magazines, watching Food Network or scouring Pinterest. If not behind the ... More

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  1. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    Sweet treat for sweet tooth! 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Timothy Timothy says:

    I am thinking of making these today…mmmmmm good.


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