Saturday, December 15, 2012

Candy Cane Cookies

Freshly-baked Candy Cane Cookies
      Every Christmas during my childhood my mother baked Candy Cane Cookies and Starlight Mint Surprises. My sister and I would demand these two favorites, and we helped with the baking and testing. These were classics of their era (the 1950s) and in a recent search of the web I found so much nostalgia for these delicious morsels that I realize my family was joined by a nation of Candy Cane Cookie-lovers. By all accounts, they are still admired and included in Christmas baking lists. The preparation is a bit time consuming, since you have to divide the dough, color it, braid it and form it, but that was part of the childhood ritual and totally fun. Miraculously, I still have my mother's old metal file and her original recipe, clipped from who-knows-what magazine. This is the very copy we used to bake cookies  every holiday season. She covered it in a plastic sleeve, so there are no smudges. Talk about nostalgia!

The original clipping from my mother's recipe file
     Since it is difficult to read the yellowed original Betty Crocker recipe (above), I advise clicking on the link below for a clear and legible recipe. Many websites offer this, but interestingly, the current Betty Crocker website prints a version using peppermint instead of almond extract, which would disrupt the perfect balance of flavors and ruin the cookie for me. I advise sticking with the original. Be sure to read the helpful comment below the recipe.   RECIPE FOR CANDY CANE CANE COOKIES

     As well as recipes, one can find specific cooking videos on the Internet. Above, you can access a terrific demonstration from the Joy of Baking website which takes you step by step through the baking process, ensuring that you will create a perfect batch of Candy Cane Cookies. As my mother's copy says, "So different, yet so easy!"


  1. I might have to try making these! If I don't have a stand mixer, do you think it'll work if I mix it by hand?

  2. In the video, she says you can do it by hand with a wooden spoon (or hand mixer) because you don't have to incorporate a lot of air. Go for it1

  3. If you look closely at the picture from the old magazine, you can see that there is a sprinkling of something sugary -- or peppermint-y -- on top of the cookies. I promise I remember the crushed candy canes!

    1. The best part of these cookies is the peppermint sugar sprinkled on top as soon as they come out of the oven. Made these every year since the 50's

  4. You're right! Rereading the success tips at end of recipe they recommend sprinkling crushed peppermint candy on top of baked cookies. Good eye!!!

  5. This is a beautiful and cheerful blog. Your pictures are full of joy and Christmas spirit; thanks for sharing your happy memories.