I think these are Santa’s favorite.  I have been leaving them out for him since I was big enough to love Christmas (at a very young age, in fact).  These cookies are not only cute (Betty Crocker calls them “gay candy canes”) they are a perfect mixture of light vanilla butter cookie and marzipan flavor.

While making them I discovered why people have children: to do the manual labor of making dozens of cute cookies (I’m on to you Mom…)  But because I love to post here, I did it all myself (wipes forehead), so you could have the recipe AND the pictures.  Do find some children to help you, since this is so much fun.

After making these, and the chocolate pudding pie, I am beginning to wonder if my later version (1970’s) of Betty Crocker has been redacted, or if the Schafer’s have just always done things our way.  It seems as though key directions are missing.  Although we always did use an extra ounce of chocolate in that pie, and here we left off the silly peppermint candy crumbs.  Luckily I know what I am doing…

Candy Cane Cookies

adapted from Betty Crocker

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 tsp almond extract

2 and 1/2 cups all-pupose flour

1 tsp salt

1-2 tsps red food coloring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix well the butter, sugar, egg, and extracts.  Gradually add the flour and salt, creaming thoroughly.  Divide the dough in half.  Add the food coloring to one half, mixing well.  It should be a sort of hot red color, just darker than pink.  Cover and refrigerate the dough about 1 hour.

Use a very very light dusting of flour on a board.  Scoop one teaspoon of each color onto the board and roll the dough to 5 inch long strands.  Twine them together gently, pressing to stop them from breaking if necessary.  Transfer the strands to the ungreased baking sheet, and curl 1/3 of the strand over to make the hook of the candy cane.  As the dough warms, sprinkle a small amount of flour, or chill it again until it firms up.

Bake for 10 minutes.  They will look underdone, but brown very quickly on the bottom, so dont be tempted to cook them longer.  Although, I always recommend using an oven thermometer– my oven is about 25 degrees cooler than the dial.  The bottom should be golden, while the tops look bright.  Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet, or they will break.

Dip them in milk, and leave a cup for Santa.