Candy Cane Cookies
These cookies and I go way back. My mom used to make these cookies for my sister and me every Christmas that I can remember. The little cardstock cookbook the recipe comes from (curiously published by my city's gas & electric company and probably mailed out to customers) is at least 25 years old, somewhat tattered, and the page the recipe is typed on is stained with red food coloring.
The back of this cookbook features a paragraph on the gas and electric company's Home Service Department. It reads, in part, "Our Home Service Department is made up of a staff of Home Economists. They will be glad to help you with your homemaking problems. New recipes and suggestions are always available. Call us for help with freezing, baking, and laundry questions, too...Cooking demonstrations and talks are available to clubs, church groups, and other organizations."
All this, from the gas and electric company? Huh. Who would have thought you could call your gas company for recipes at one point in time. Anyway, moving on...
This little cookbook, and the recipes in it, have history and that's why I love it. My mom gave me her old Betty Crocker Cookbook from the 1960s when she moved to the Adirondacks, and this little cookbook was tucked within the pages.
1 cup butter
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup Splenda for Baking)
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla (I doubled)
1 tsp baking soda
Several drop red food coloring
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
rubber gloves (to avoid staining hands with food coloring)
Cut butter into flour using a pastry blender or food processor. Add salt.
Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl and beat well.
Combine milk, vanilla, and baking soda in another small bowl.
Add the milk mixture and the flour mixture alternately to the egg mixture and beat well.
Chill cookie dough for at least one hour.
Divide cookie dough in half.
Put on rubber gloves, and add a few drops food coloring and the peppermint extract to one half, and blend. Start with a few drops, and then add more to deepen the red color.
Shape a small amount of each dough into a long roll about 1/4'' inch thick. *(It really needs to be this thin. In a minute, you'll see why, so take out a ruler and measure if you need to.)*
Cut each rope into 4'' lengths.
Press one of each color strip lightly together, and twist like rope.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and curve the top down to form the handle of the candy cane. Press down both the top and the bottom of the cookie slightly.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Take out, and enjoy!
* And now for an important lesson. About five years ago, I attempted to make these cookies myself for the first time. I was having a Christmas party for some friends, and I thought these cookies from my childhood would make a nice addition. However, I neglected to roll the dough out thin enough before twisting. My husband and my friends referred to them as dog biscuits. While they still tasted good, they looked like a meat-flavored doggie treat. And my first batch today? Looked, once again, like dog treats. You can laugh. I won't mind!