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Candy Cane Cookies for Santa

christmas cookies, cookies for santaIf Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree.
~ Charlotte Carpenter

It’s Christmas Eve, perhaps the most exciting day of the year for junior Santa fans. Amid the flurry of all that is Christmas, we always find time to bake a batch of cookies. There’s lots of time – and no better way to spend those last few exciting hours before bed. And as all parents know, there’s nothing Santa appreciates more on a long Christmas eve than a warm plate of cookies.

The boys saw these on a cookbook cover and insisted we make them. You could use any rolled sugar cookie dough – try this lower fat version - make one batch plain, and another with plenty of red food coloring added along with the wet ingredients.

Candy Cane Cookies

Make one batch of plain dough, and another batch with red food coloring added.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla or peppermint extract
2 tsp. red food coloring
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat for a minute, until smooth and light. For red dough, add the red food coloring.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and stir by hand just until you have a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or until chilled.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll walnut-sized pieces of dough into ropes, then twist one red and one white piece together to make something that resembles a peppermint stick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet (curled at the end like a candy cane or not). Bake for 15 minutes, or until set and pale golden on the bottom and around the edges.

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