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Candy Cane Twist Cookies

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close up overhead shot of Candy Cane Cookies on a cooling rack
These peppermint-flavored candy cane cookies are sweet festive treats for the holiday season, don’t forget to add them to your baking list!
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Table of Contents
  1. Candy Cane Cookie Recipe Ingredients
  2. Candy Cane Cookies Recipe Substitutions
  3. How to Make Candy Cane Cookies
  4. How To Serve
  5. Candy Cane Cookie Storage
  6. You’ll Love Candy Cane Twist Cookies
  7. Candy Cane Sugar Cookies FAQ
  8. More Recipes You’ll Love
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

These pretty candy cane cookies have got to be on your Christmas baking list this year. The simple recipe is made using peppermint-flavored sugar cookie dough and twisting it together to look just like a candy cane.

candy cane cookies on a white plate and surface
Candy Cane Cookies raw ingredients that are labeled

For our recipe, you will need: 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract
  • 1¼ teaspoons clear vanilla flavoring
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon red squeeze gel color

Candy Cane Cookies Recipe Substitutions

GEL COLOR: If you’d like, you can split your dough into three dough balls and add green gel food coloring to one of them. That way, you can add green to your candy canes as well.

ICING: If you’re looking to add a bit more sweetness, you can add frosting to your cooled cookies. You can use store-bought or homemade icing.

DECORATIONS: You can leave your cookies plain or decorate them however you like. Feel free to add things like crushed candy canes, sanding sugar, or sprinkles to your frosted or unfrosted cookies.

How to Make Candy Cane Cookies

STEP ONE: Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium-high speed, cream the unsalted butter for 1½ to 2 minutes in a large bowl.

STEP TWO: Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Increase the mixing speed to medium speed and continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes or until the butter mixture is fluffy.

sugar and cream of tartar added to the butter in a bowl and blended together

STEP THREE: Keep the mixing speed on low and add the egg. Mix until well incorporated. and add the peppermint extract and clear vanilla flavoring.

STEP FOUR: Keeping the mixer speed low again, slowly add the baking powder and all-purpose flour a ½ cup at a time. Continue mixing just until the flour is well incorporated and no visible streaks of flour are showing.

flour added  to the sugar mixture and blended in a bowl

STEP FIVE: Divide the cookie dough into 2 equal dough balls. Return 1 dough ball to the mixing bowl to be colored red. Cover the dough ball that is to be the white part of the candy cane cookie and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

PRO TIP:

Don’t skip chilling the dough, as this will help minimize the spread of the cookies while baking and preserve the candy cane shape.

STEP SIX: Add the ½ teaspoon red gel color to the dough that is left in the mixing bowl. Using the mixer on low speed, mix the red coloring into the dough until it has a uniform color and no white streaks are visible.

food coloring added to the dough and mix until white remains

STEP SEVEN: Place the red dough in a medium-sized bowl and cover the red dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

STEP EIGHT: Just before removing the chilled dough balls from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

STEP NINE: Using a ½ tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out two dough balls, one from the white and one from the red. Roll each into a tight round ball.

STEP TEN: Cover your counter or a cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper. This is to keep from staining the counter or cutting board red. Use your hand to roll the red and white dough balls into 5-inch long ropes. It is very important that your hands stay cool while you are rolling the ropes.

STEP ELEVEN: Lightly press the bottoms of the 2 ropes together. Carefully and with light pressure, twist the ropes together. Be sure to keep the ropes rounded and do not flatten them out.

twist the ropes together lightly

STEP TWELVE: Place the twisted rope onto the prepared baking sheet and curve the rope tops into the candy cane shape. Repeat the dough ball and twisting process with the remaining dough. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

dough being twisted together into the shape of a candy cane then placed on a baking sheet

STEP THIRTEEN: Bake cookies for 7 minutes.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cookies as the suggested baking time approaches.

STEP FOURTEEN: Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

How To Serve

These adorable candy cane cookies will be the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie trays. Add our gingerbread cookies and Grinch cookies for two more festive treats.

In need of a couple more sweets to add to your holiday baking list? Look no further. These Christmas pinwheel cookies and our Christmas pretzel hugs would make for the perfect cute and colorful additions.

IN THE FRIDGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will last for up to 2 weeks.

IN THE FREEZER: For longer storage, you can place the cookies in the freezer for up to 6 months.

close up shot of candy cane cookies on a plate

You’ll Love Candy Cane Twist Cookies

We love trying out fun new Christmas cookie recipes every year. Whether it’s for our annual cookie exchange, a family gathering, or a gift for a friend. These buttery cookies, with their delicious minty flavor, are the perfect treat for the holiday season.

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies FAQ

Do I have to chill the dough before baking this candy cane cookie recipe?

It’s best not to skip the chilling step, as it will help keep the candy cane shape when baking.

Why is my dough crumbly?

If you didn’t measure your flour precisely, you might end up with dry, crumbly cookies. Make sure when you measure the flour, you level it off in the measuring cup.

Can I freeze the cookie dough and bake these Christmas cookies later?

The unbaked dough can be frozen for up to two months before you bake and enjoy these delicious cookies.

Are these cookies hard or soft?

These candy cane sugar cookies are soft in the middle with a slight crispness on the outside.

What makes sugar cookies soft or hard?

The best sugar cookies are soft and tender, and one of the keys to great sugar cookies is mixing the dry ingredients only until they’re just incorporated. By overworking the dough, you will end up with a harder cookie as a result.

Why is candy cane red and white?

There are many stories as to why candy canes are red and white. One common belief is based on the Christian faith, with the red-and-white stripes representing Christ’s blood and purity. Other stories indicate that candy canes were originally just white and a candymaker added the red stripes to give them some color.

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close up overhead shot of Candy Cane Cookies on a cooling rack

Candy Cane Cookies

5 from 1 vote
These peppermint-flavored candy cane cookies are sweet festive treats for the holiday season, don’t forget to add them to your baking list!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 37 minutes
Servings 24 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • teaspoons pure peppermint extract
  • teaspoons clear vanilla flavoring
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon red squeeze gel color

Instructions
 

  • Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed, cream the unsalted butter for 1½ to 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the mixing speed to low. Add the granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Increase the mixing speed to medium and continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shortening mixture is fluffy.
  • Reduce the mixing speed to low and add the egg. Mix until well incorporated. Add the peppermint extract and clear vanilla flavoring.
  • Keeping the mixer speed low. Slowly add the baking powder and all-purpose flour a ½ cup at a time. Continue mixing just until the flour is well incorporated and no visible streaks of flour are showing.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 2 equal dough balls. Return 1 dough ball to the mixing bowl to be colored red. Cover the dough ball that is to be the white part of the candy cane cookie and place it in the refrigerator.
  • Add the ½ teaspoon of red gel color to the dough that is left in the mixing bowl. Using the mixer on low speed, add the red coloring to the dough until it has a uniform color and no white streaks are visible. Place the red dough in a medium-sized bowl and cover the red dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Just before removing the dough from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using a ½ tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop out the white and red dough balls. Roll each into a tight round ball to make sure the dough rope holds its shape.
  • Cover your counter or a cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper. This is to keep from staining the counter or cutting board red. Use your hand to roll the white and red dough balls into 5-inch long ropes. It is very important that your hands stay cool while you are rolling the ropes.
  • Lightly press the bottoms of the 2 ropes together. Carefully and with light pressure, twist the ropes together. Be sure to keep the ropes rounded and do not flatten them out.
  • Place the twisted rope onto the prepared baking sheet and curve the rope tops into the candy cane crook. Repeat the dough ball and twisting process with the remaining dough. Place the cookies 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 7 minutes.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • Don’t skip chilling the dough, as this will help minimize the spread of the cookies while baking and preserve the candy cane shape.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cookies as the suggested baking time approaches.

Nutrition

Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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