Here we are: just over two weeks away from Christmas. This year I feel like I’m not ready. Or maybe it’s because I’m keeping things very basic this year: no guests, minimal presents and almost no baking. I mean it – as much as I love my favorite Christmas goodies, I know it won’t get eaten and it’ll sit in my freezer while I sneakily steal them out when my Hubby and/or kids aren’t looking. All I made were a couple of batches of cookies and my beloved Cornflake Squares, all of which I gave half a batch away to a bake sale. And for some reason I got it in my head to try these Candy Cane Sugar Cookies.
I love my sugar cookies. I love that they’re so simple, and delicate and taste of a delicious combo of vanilla and almond. But instead of just making them look festive with sprinkles or colored sugar, this year I wanted them to taste extra festive too. So I added the undeniable flavor of Christmas – candy canes.
I wanted them to taste only slightly minty – like sugar cookies crossed with the candy cane cookies that my mom made (and I loved) when I was a kid. I wanted them to be as easy as my sugar cookies, without the hassle of rolling, cutting and decorating. So I decided that the easiest way to do this was to simply roll in crushed candy canes. I actually cut the candy canes with a little granulated sugar to keep the flavor subtle. If you want full on peppermint, go with all candy cane crumbles.
I loved how they turned out – but you do have to keep your eyes on these ones. They can get overcooked very quickly. My first batch was a little browner around the edges than I would like, but the centers were still soft and chewy. To keep them nice and soft and to prevent spreading, you really need to chill the dough before you cook them. And still keep your eye on them in the final minutes of baking. And remember, they will continue to set and firm up on the baking sheet as they cool. Merry Christmas!
- 4 full sized candy canes, unwrapped and broken into pieces
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Place candy cane pieces in food processor, and pulse until crushed, about 5 pulses. Mix with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and spread onto a plate. Set aside
Stir together flour, baking power and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter, remaining 1 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar together using a stand mixer at medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix until well combined. Stir in flour mixture at low speed until dough forms.
Scoop 1 Tbsp portions of dough and form into balls. Roll dough balls into candy cane-sugar mixture until fully covered. Refrigerate dough balls until firm, at least one hour.
Heat oven to 375°F, with the racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
Place balls onto prepared baking sheet about 2" apart. Slightly flatten balls with the palm of your hand or bottom of a drinking glass.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown. Don't overbake.
Remove sheets from oven, and let cool on sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze. Candy cane coated dough balls could also be frozen and baked later.