My grandchildren just finished helping me make these cookies. They are a family tradition that started with my own two sons when they were in grade school. Such traditions are the makings of Christmas, aren’t they? These cookies are rather plain, almond-flavored butter cookies, actually, but so full of memories. Nearly always the last half of the cookie dough turns into blobs of pink and white dough, rolled then smashed with grubby little hands and bearing no resemblance to candy canes. Perhaps it is the kids’ way of insuring no adult will eat their free-form creations.
This recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book that is at least as old as my adult sons. I have never tried dusting them with crushed peppermint candy as shown in the book, but it looks pretty in the book picture.
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red food coloring
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add room-temperature butter, shortening, and confectioners sugar to a large mixing bowl. Mix until fluffy.
- Add egg and extracts to butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Add flour and salt to bowl. Turn mixer on Low and mix until flour disappears. Remove half of the dough to a smaller bowl.
- Add food coloring to dough remaining in the mixer bowl and mix well. Add more food coloring drop by drop to get the red color you want.
- To form cookies, make two 4-inch cylinders, one from the white dough and one from the red dough. I use a scant tablespoon (I just eyeball it) of dough for each cylinder, then roll them back and forth on a floured surface to form smooth and uniform strips. Lay white cylinder and red cylinder together and twist to form swirly pattern. Curve one end to look like a candy cane. Move onto prepared cookie sheet that you previously greased or covered with parchment paper. Repeat until you run out of dough (or patience).
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. I hesitate to give you an exact time as it depends on the thickness of your cookies. If they are not all the same size (and they most certainly won't be if kids are helping you) remove the smaller cookies from the tray as they brown and return the larger cookies to the oven to finish baking. Remove cookies from tray while they are still warm.
On a personal note….
My husband and I are celebrating our 40th anniversary tonight. Can you believe I got married this close to Christmas? My sister also got married on this day 52 years ago. Congrats to E and K. My brother got married December 18th 53 years ago. My parents started this whole craziness when they married on Christmas Day back in 1940.
I’m looking forward to 2017. For starters, we have a new grandbaby on the way. I also have some new recipes to share with you so I plan to show up here a little more often.
Merry Christmas to all of you from me and my grands as we honor Jesus, God’s Son.