Super Simple Candy Cane Cookies

candy cane cookiesHolidays 101: Baking and decorating batches and batches of sugary cookies shaped like reindeer and stars and snowmen and Christmas trees is absolutely mandatory. If you can't produce a few dozen, you're basically the Grinch. Oh, and this is definitely supposed to be a kid-friendly kitchen activity! Otherwise you might as well put coal in their stockings.

Except anyone who's ever tried to show a 4-year-old how to use a rolling pin knows what an exercise in frustration this activity can be: My dough won't get flat! My reindeer's legs fell off!

Hey, wasn't this supposed to be fun?

The great thing about these candy cane cookies is that they actually are fun to make with kids, basically because they're almost impossible to mess up (no matter what you do, they come out looking like candy canes). Plus they don't require the use of a rolling pin!

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I loved making these with my mom as a kid, and hopefully my kids will feel the same way when we try out this recipe next week. (One tip: If your kids aren't crazy about mint, leave out the peppermint extract.)

Candy Cane Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candy canes, crushed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar for decoration

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, and confectioners' sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extracts. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until well blended. Cover or wrap dough and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Divide dough into halves. Color one half red by mixing in the food color. Roll a small amount of each dough into a 2-inch-long worm. Roll them together in a twisted rope and curve the end like a cane. Place onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed candy cane and remaining white sugar. Roll hot cookies in the sugar mixture.

 

Image via Leah1201/Flickr

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