Peckish Me is in full holiday overdrive. No excuses.
There is something about December. The air is crisp and even sunlight seems to be brighter than the usual. There is this electricity in the air, a certain cheerful energy that makes you want to break into song and dance your days away. Smells are more intense, tastes are too. Nostalgia gets to you and you often find yourself fingering the tinsel and the colourful baubles of the Christmas decorations at the supermarket with a dreaming look in your eyes.
Happy times :)
Ok so, this candy cane cookie recipe is part of our ‘Edible Christmas’ theme this year. It’s a fun recipe (and a yummy one) and you can even hang these cookies on the tree too!
A little note on the candy canes. Why are they associated with Christmas?
It is believed that the candy cane was born in Cologne, Germany, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral who wanted to keep the children quiet during the tradition of Living Crèche asked a candy maker to make some candy sticks. Giving candy to children during worship services was not in practice, so to justify this, he asked the candy maker to add a little crook at the end of each stick to remind the children of the shepherds who came to visit the infant Jesus at his birth. They were originally made in white to teach the children about the sinless life of Jesus Christ. The red stripes were added in during the 1900s and the colour red is said to represent the blood he shed on the cross.
The candy canes are made in peppermint flavour and this is said to represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible. The practice of handing out candy canes during plays enacting the Nativity spread through the Europe and thus the candy cane became officially a symbol of Christmastide.
What we are making are cookies that are shaped like candy canes. I mean you can hang some store-bought candy canes on the tree, but where’s the fun in that eh? So we’ll put some elbow grease into it and make candy cane cookies instead! Fun!
Since I’m not such a fan of the peppermint flavor, I am using almond essence in this recipe. You can of course go ahead and use peppermint. If you are a fan of course.
Candy cane cookies
- Beat together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well.
- Add the flour gradually and mix well.
- Separate the dough into two portions. To one portion add vanilla essence. Mix and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- To the other portion, add almond essence and red food coloring. Mix and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Take about 2 tblsps of the dough in each color and roll out each dough portion into thick ropes of about 6 inches long.
- Pinch the two ropes together at the end and twist them together gently to achieve that candy cane effect. Curve the top of each to create the hook effect.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the tips of the cookies have just started to brown.
- Butter - 1 cup
- Flour - 3 cups
- Icing sugar - 1 cup (or powdered sugar)
- Egg - 1
- Almond essence - 1tsp (alternatively peppermint extract)
- Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
- Red food coloring - ½ - ¾ tsp
The smell when these cookies are baking – oh heaven :)
First and foremost, they are a feast for the eyes, the white and the red contrasting, creating an irresistible combo, literally good enough to eat. But the thing is, they are so pretty that you don’t want to eat them. They are crunchy, they are soft and melty – these cookies feel…almost fleshy in the mouth. Infused with that signature almond flavor poignant of the season, the sensual vanilla notes peek through the wintry notes, warming you up from within. Sweet and piquant, fragranced with almond and vanilla, hang some of these in your Christmas tree and in addition to prettying up this year’s tree they will also perfume the house with the delicious smell of cookies, almond and vanilla, blended together in an irresistible union.
- I’ve used almond essence in this recipe although the original recipe calls for peppermint. I’ve never been fond of peppermint flavored cookies and hence, the almond.
- Refrigerating the dough is very important to keep it from breaking as you twist the two dough ropes together to form the candy cane. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. You can actually make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it up to 3 days.
- Even if you break the dough ropes it’s okay. You can pinch it back together and plaster the cracks with your fingers because the cracks will meld in the oven anyway
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