And every year, I have a gajillion candy canes leftover after Christmas, because nobody ate any of them.
I always think that everyone will snag a cane as they walk by the tree throughout the season. I like the idea of this sort of free-for-all, no-rules-against-candy-before-dinner candy hanging around, literally, for people to enjoy. Plus, they’re pretty.
Except no one ever eats them. Myself included. I know candy canes get a lot of flak from people for being boring or whatever, but I actually really love them. Yet I never eat them either. It’s a weird Christmas paradox. Maybe they’re just too pretty, hanging sweetly from the tree? Maybe there’s just too many other sweet treats, like cookies and brownies, to distract us from the candy canes?
Whatever the reason, I find myself with an abundance of minty candy crooks and no one who wants them.
So I made cookies with them.
And they were gobbled right up in no time flat, and all was right with the world.
I mostly used my candy canes to adorn some sweet peppermint sugar cookies, but they’re also excellent mixed into the cookie dough. Once baked, the cookies are speckled with little red bits of minty sweetness. 🙂
Soft and minty thick rolled cookies, a swirl of fluffy peppermint buttercream, and a sprinkling of crunchy crushed canes, and I finally gave my family a reason nibble away at all those Christmas candy canes.
- FOR THE COOKIES
- 5 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- ¼ to ½ cup crushed candy canes, optional
- FOR THE FROSTING
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb. (about 4 cups or 500 grams) confectioners' sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) peppermint extract, to taste (I prefer about 1½ teaspoons)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Crushed candy canes for garnish, optional
- To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or Silpat Mats; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Stir in the crushed candy canes, if using. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until it is all mixed in thoroughly. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
- Once chilled, roll the dough out on a floured surface, and cut to desired shapes with cookie cutters (if the dough is very cold and hard, allow to warm up at room temperature for about 20 minutes). I like to roll my cookies on the thicker side, usually around ⅜ of an inch thick.Place the cut cookies on the prepared baking sheet(s), about 1½ to 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes. Beat in the sugar and salt until combined. Add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Add food coloring, if desired.
- Frost each cookie generously with the peppermint frosting and garnish with crushed candy canes, if desired.