My RV oven and I have a tenuous relationship at best. I become overly anxious while trying to light it. I either undercook things or burn them to a crisp. The only thing I’ve perfected is frozen pizza, and by perfected I mean it’s not burnt and not cold. Last year my oven and I didn’t even bother attempting one of my favorite things – the holiday baking season. No piles of Christmas cookies. No monkey bread. It was a sad, sad time. That oven and I probably need couples counseling of some sort.
Since we are home this winter, I am baking all of the things. I also fully decorated my house for Christmas a couple of days after Halloween. Fight me if you’re one of those “every time a tree is lit before Thanksgiving, Santa kills a reindeer” person, because you’re wrong.
Today I made one of my favorite Christmas treats – candy cane cookies! I used to make them with my mom way back when I was a little kid in the 1970s. I remember how exciting it was to pull that recipe card out of the card box. The recipe was in my dad’s handwriting. It had a few grease marks and stains. My copy isn’t as fancy. It’s scribbled on a piece of paper. I’ve never actually owned a recipe box. I have a recipe ziploc bag, because I’m fancy like that.
Candy cane cookies are pretty easy to make. You mix the butter and sugars, add an egg and vanilla, toss in the rest of the dry ingredients, and boom! You have dough.
After the dough is mixed, I ball it up and then cut it in half. I punch a hole in each half and drop red food coloring in one half and green in the other.
Knead the dough until the food coloring is evenly mixed. Later you can admire your lovely red and green cuticles.
Once you have the food coloring mixed through the dough, wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. I actually chill it for only about 30 minutes, but the recipe says one hour, so that’s what we will go with officially.
Now it’s time for the fun part. I divide each dough ball into quarters, and then into quarter again, so that I have 16 pieces of each color roughly the same size. Roll the pieces into about eight inch strips (or snakes).
Twist red and green strips together and cut into thirds. There is a bit of a learning curve to twisting the dough without breaking it, and I admit to being pretty bad at the twist.
Place the cookies on a cooke sheet and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. My mom used to let me smack candy canes with a rolling pin to crush them. I cheat and use peppermint crystals I found at World Market.
Bake, taste, try not to eat the whole pile.
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- red and green food coloring
Cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract and mix. Mix in salt and flour. Divide dough in half. Knead red food coloring into one half and green food coloring into the other half. Tightly wrap dough and chill for one hour. divide dough into smaller pieces, and roll each piece into a rope. Twist the red and green ropes together. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.
What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Or even just your favorite cookie recipe – doesn’t have to be for the holidays. More importantly how is your relationship with your oven?