Saturday, December 20, 2008

Candy Cane Cookies and More Santas

When Mr. Cactus and I got married many, many years ago, we received a "Betty Crocker" cookbook as a wedding present. We were married in November, and I remember for our first Christmas together I wanted to bake him something special. I made him "Candy Cane Cookies", and they have continued as a tradition in our family every year since.

I usually have all the children help me with making these cookies. With only Paul left at home, today he was the elected "helper". I'm glad he likes to cook, and appreciates even as a teenager, the importance of keeping traditions. Christmas just wouldn't feel like Christmas with out making candy cane cookies.

First you mix the shortening and butter with the egg and sugar. One of the best part of these cookies is the almond extract flavoring. It adds a very distinctive taste that we all love.
Then add in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in 1/2 and mix red food coloring into one batch.

Take a small ball of each dough and roll each into the shape of a rope.

Twist the ropes into the shape of a candy cane.

An optional idea is to sprinkle peppermint candy on the top. We tried doing it before we baked the cookies today, although the recipe says to do it after they are out of the oven.
Paul is my creative one, who likes to do something different when he cooks. Because the recipe says make in the shape of the candy cane, he always has to include other shapes and designs. The cookies taste good this way too!

Bake and let cool. When the kids were small, we always put a plate of these out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. shortening
1 C. powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
*Optional: crushed peppermint candy mixed with even amounts of granulated sugar
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter, shortening, powdered sugar, egg and flavorings. Blend in flour and salt. Divide the dough in half, blend food coloring into one half.
Shape small amount of dough from each half into a 4 inch rope. For smooth, even ropes, roll them back and forth on lightly floured board. Place ropes side by side. Press together lightly and twist. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form handle. Bake about 9 minutes or until set and lightly brown. **Can mix candy and sugar and immediately sprinkle cookies with mixture.
Belinda of Brown Dirt Cottage requested I share more of my Santa Collection.
My most favorite Santa comes from a set of Russian Matryoshka Nesting Dolls. We purchased these when we were fortunate enough to go to St. Petersburg, Russia.
Only the largest Doll (the Santa) looks very Christmasy. The others that nest inside look a little more like winter, especially the penguin at the end.

I'm still using Mr. Cactus' old archaic digital camera that is giving me fits. (Remember I lost my camera in Disneyland a few months ago?) I've requested a new camera for Christmas and until then will keep grinding my teeth while trying to appreciate that at least I have a camera to use. Sorry so many of these are blurry and react poorly to the different settings I tried to use with the flash.

I made this Santa a few years ago when doll making was the latest thing to try. He makes me think of an Old World Santa.


Abby and Stephanie said...

Oh my favorite is the blue and white porcelain Father Christmas.

Aubrey said...

Please tell me you are bringing some of those cookies with you to Arizona. They look great!!

Browndirtcottage said...

good nedra.....more santas! i LOVE all of these....i might be partial to the blue and white one like stephanie....he would look good in my kitchen......yummy cookies too....i used to make candy cane ones a long...long...time ago...........thanks for sharing your santas!!

Amy Dayton said...

I've been thinking about these candy cane cookies!! Thanks for posting the recipe.

Di~ said...

Paul is still cute, even in the kitchen cooking! Thanks for your great posts!

Material Mary said...

You are having much too much fun with the Little Red Hen quilt (I picked that up this summer at the reunion at Daisy Cottage but have yet to make it hahaha). I also made candy cane cookies on Saturday. They were yum yum.
Have a Merry Christmas!!

Nanette Merrill said...

The nesting doll/santa/winter people is something I need to get. I love them!