I love the idea of Cookie Exchange parties. An entire event centered around cookies? Now that’s my kind of party. I was invited to two parties this year, but unfortunately, because I close most nights of the week, I had to work through both of them, so I didn’t get to go. *sad face* But that hasn’t stopped me from scouring all the Cookie Party cookbooks at work for ideas to keep in mind when I finally do get to attend one! Probably one of the best books I’ve found this year is Very Merry Cookie Party by Barbara Grunes and Virginia van Vynckt. Everything’s so pretty! As soon as I came across these Candy Cane Cookies, I knew, party or no party, they were too cute not to try.
When I first saw these, I thought, “These would be great cookies to make if you have kids in the house!” The cookie dough is amazingly simple to throw together, and kids would have fun rolling out the dough and making the candy canes. The only problem? This probably isn’t the best recipe to use. The dough was incredibly soft, making it sort of hard to handle. It stretched and smashed and smooshed with the slightest touch, which was frustrating for a perfectionist like me. I ended up with a lot of ugly cookies. They taste fine, especially if you’re a fan of the sandy kind of cookies, but for such an easy looking recipe, I ended up spending a whole lot of time cursing the dough and smashing it into a big pink blob. I’ll definitely make them again, but I’ll be searching for a better recipe first. But the rest of the recipes in the book look great!
Adapted from Very Merry Cookie Party by Barbara Grunes and Virginia van Vynckt
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon red food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in egg, almond extract, and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined and a medium-firm dough forms.
3. Divide the dough in half, placing one half in a medium bowl to set aside. Add red food coloring to remaining half and beat until color is blended thoroughly.
4. Pinching off 1 teaspoon of red dough, roll with lightly floured hands to form a 4-inch long rope. Pinch off 1 teaspoon of plain dough and roll with lightly floured hands to form a 4-inch long rope. Press the ropes to each other at one end and twist together to create the stripes. Roll lightly to smooth ropes together. Shape one end of the cane into a hook and place on an ungreased nonstick cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 1/2-inch apart.
5. Bake until just firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.