Candy Cane Cookies

Would it even be Christmas without these traditional candy cane cookies? Their retro look coupled with the fact that they make any tin of cookies smell amazing makes them an indispensable component of the holiday season. Here, I’ve used King Arthur’s Sugar Cookie as a base and flavored it with peppermint extract. Then, I tinted half the dough with red food coloring and began forming small ropes of dough. Plain and red ropes are then twisted together and bent at one end to form a candy cane. Sanding sugar gives them a gorgeous sparkling effect. 

Candy Cane Cookies

Serves: 32 cookies

Adapted from King Arthur’s Sugar Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold if making in a food processor, room temperature if making with an electric mixer)
  • ¼ cup (2 oz.) cream cheese (cold if making in a food processor, room temperature if making with an electric mixer)
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 3-4 drops red liquid food coloring
  • Sanding sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make in a food processor: Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to blend. Cut the butter and cream cheese into tablespoons. Add to food processor, along with the sugar, and blend until butter and cream cheese are in small pebble-size pieces. Add the egg and peppermint extract. Blend until a ball of dough comes together. 
    1. Or, make with an electric mixer: Allow butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and peppermint extract and mix on med-speed until incorporated. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until flour is absorbed. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes. 
  3. Separate the batter into two bowls and add the red food coloring to one of the bowls, mixing together with your hands until the desired color is achieved.
  4. Scoop the dough into tablespoon size balls and roll into a thin 6-inch rope. Combine one white and one red strand of dough and twist together. Shape the rope into a candy cane. Repeat with remaining dough. Place candy canes on baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with sanding sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies still look a bit soft and before they start browning. The cookies will harden as they cool. 

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