These Candy Cane Cookies with crushed candy canes are a holiday favorite cookie that adds a festive touch to every Christmas cookie plate!
Soft with subtle peppermint flavoring these cookies are super easy to make and takes us back to wonderful holiday memories!
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There’s something about these Candy Cane Cookies that just makes us smile and are so hard to resist on a tray full of baked Christmas goodies isn’t there?
We enjoy our peppermint cookies candy cane a bit on the plump side and have made them like that on purpose.
A fun ‘twist’ on traditional sugar cookies that are perfect for a fun holiday baking project with the kids. Once you get the hang of twisting the dough together they are easy to make.
Always a hit at holiday bake sales and perfect for a cookie exchange. We have left them out for Santa Claus and they add a festive holiday cheer to Christmas in July!
Why you’ll love this holiday cookie recipe
- Easy to make once you get twisting the dough together
- Feature the iconic red-and-white stripes of candy canes, making them the perfect nostalgic treat to enjoy during the holiday season
- Kids and adults alike will love these candy cane cookies
- Customize them with your own creative decorations, such as icing or sprinkles, or flavors to make them even more special
Ingredients for cookies candy cane
- Granulated sugar
- Butter – use butter softened at room temperature. Take the butter out of the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before you start the recipe.
- Milk – You can use 1%, 2% or whole milk.
- Vanilla Extract – I recommend pure vanilla extract for best results.
- Peppermint Extract
- Egg – use large egg for this recipe.
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Red food coloring
- Hard Peppermint Candies (or candy canes)
Step by step instructions for how to make candy cane sugar cookies
You can find a full list of ingredients and instructions on a recipe card, located at the bottom of this page. I’ve added a few visual photo of what to expect along the way when making this recipe, with some tips to ensure a great bake!.
In a large mixing bowl, or bowl from stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of sugar, butter, milk, vanilla extract, peppermint extract and egg.
Start on low speed, then increase to medium speed once combined.
In a separate bowl, combine all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and stir just until combined.
Divide dough in half and stir red food coloring into 1 half.
Cover each half of the dough separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Crush peppermint candies and mix in a small bowl with 2 Tablespoons of crushed sugar. You will need this to be ready as soon as the cookies come out of the oven.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
From each half of the dough, measure out 28 to 30 pieces.
I like to make my candy canes thick and chunky. For smaller candy canes, you can make the pieces smaller.
Wash hands after handling the red dough. The color can easily transfer to the white dough.
Roll white dough into a 5-inch long rope by rolling back and forth on a very lightly floured surface.
Place on baking sheet and chill while you’re mixing the red pieces. Repeat with red dough.
Place one red rope and one white rope side by side and press them gently together. Carefully pick up and twist, starting from the top.
Place on prepared baking sheet and shape the curve for the top of the candy cane. Gently press the bottom of the candy cane ends together.
Bake in 375°F oven for 9 to 12 minutes. Cookies will be lightly set and light brown on the bottom.
Sprinkle immediately with crushed candy cane/sugar mixture. Transfer cookies to cooling rack. Cool before serving.
Variations for peppermint cookies candy cane
There is of course a Betty Crocker candy cane cookie and some people like to use a butter cookie base instead of a sugar cookie.
You can use almond extract to make almond candy cane cookies.
Mint can also be used with green food colouring to make a red and green mint candy cane cookie.
Shortbread candy cane cookies are another variation using a shortbread cookie base.
Using your favorite icing on top with sprinkles is another fun way to enjoy decorated candy cane cookies.
Sandra’s top tips for success in making cookies with crushed candy cane
- Room temperature butter and eggs is a must for best baking results
- Pure vanilla extract offers the best flavor for cookies
- Use parchment paper to line the baking sheets
- Always when baking measure the flour with the scoop and level method
- When you cut the dough measure the candy canes so they are 5 inches long each
Storage and freezing instructions for Christmas candy cane cookies
Storing candy cane shape cookies in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days or in the fridge for 7 days. Parchment paper between candy cane twist cookies is a good idea.
Freeze candy cane twists cookies in a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months using parchment paper between any layers.
Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
If you have iced or glazed candy cane cookies I recommend freezing the cookies not glazed. Thaw and then glaze them when ready to enjoy them. The icing can loose its consistency when freezing.