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I’ve saved one of my most beloved cookies for last. These candy cane cookies are the best. As a kid, I loved them for pretty spiraled colors, their soft vanilla-mint sweetness, and the fact that they hooked so perfectly over the edge of a mug of cocoa. Simple pleasures. And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
I also may have loved these cookies because I could actually help make these — unlike the more delicate cut-out cookies. The dough is as soft as playdough and easy for little hands to roll into “snakes” and twist into candy cane spirals. Do note, however, that this dough is easiest to work with when it’s slightly chilled; chill it in the fridge for at least an hour before shaping the cookies.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red food coloring
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy and frosting-like. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint or almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour and salt just until no more visible flour remains.
- Use a stiff spatula to mix the dough a few times by hand to work in any last bits of flour. Divide the dough in half and remove half of the dough. Add 1/2 teaspoon of red food coloring to the remaining dough in the bowl. Work the color into the dough with the spatula, kneading by hand, or in the mixer on low speed, whichever method seems easiest to you. Add additional food coloring as needed until the dough is a bright, vibrant red.
- Pat both pieces of dough into 1-inch thick circles and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. This will make the cookies easier to roll out and shape.
- When ready to bake the cookies, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
For full instructions please see : www.thekitchn.com
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