Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Candy Cane Cookies

Everyday the weather man has taunted me with the possibility of snow..and everyday this week I have been let down. Reports are coming in from my friends on facebook today that they are seeing snow in their area of the netherlands..fingers crossed it comes this way today!

I cranked up the christmas music and set out to make me some candy cane cookies this morning! These are a childhood favorite of mine. My mom wouldn't make these every year so when she did make them, it was extra special. As a child you don't fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into making something and it's only later on in life that you experience that for yourself. I didn't realise that these suckers can take some time to make. The rolling the dough into strips can take awhile but the outcome is so worth it..Nothing says christmas like a candy cane cookie!

Now, there are several recipes out there and unless they use almond extract in their recipe, they are not the original Betty Crocker version. Im a firm believer in using tried and true recipes and not giving them some splashy update. I'm an old school girl and alot of my cookie recipes are ones I grew up on or have been passed to me from another family member. You won't get a ton of cookies from this recipe. I got almost 2 dozen but that also included when I got bored and made peppermint shaped candy cookies with the dough or just plain candy cane sticks when they didn't want to bend. This is a really soft dough but by treating it gently you can create wonderful cookies.** Make sure when rolling the strips out that your dough is not thick,but on the thinner side. You want semi thin to medium ropes. If you go bigger they will not twist**

Candy Cane Cookies..several dozen
1 cup Butter: Softened..the original I believe calls for 1/2 Crisco
1 cup Sifted Powdered Sugar
1 Egg
1-1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2-1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
Red Food Coloring

Pre heat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a bowl combine the flour and salt: Set aside.

Mix butter,sugar,egg, and flavorings throughly with an electric mixer; Stir in the flour mixture with wooden spoon. Divide dough in half and color one half with the red food coloring.

Take some dough(tablespoon or so) and roll into a 4 inch long strip/rope from each color. For smooth,even strips roll them on either a lightly floured surface or parchment paper. Place strips side by side and press together lightly. Transfer the pressed dough over to the cookie sheet and then gently twist like a rope making sure to curve the top down to make the candy cane shape. If you don't transfer to the cookie sheet before making the twist it makes moving over and staying together harder at that point.

You can also make peppermint candy shapes aswell. I combined the two colors,rolled it out into a strip,twisted it and then curled it up. Bake for 9 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool and transfer to wire rack. Another version is when cookies come out of the oven to sprinkle them with either sugar or crushed candy cane bits. I prefer them plain.

** Experiement with the amount of dough. I sometimes make super thin long ones,going longer that the 4 inch or sometimes I make fat squatty ones. I make just candy cane sticks with no curve. The dough is soft enough to kind of play around with it without having to much trouble. If it comes apart once you twist it, gently press it back together.**