My grandma did Christmas well.
Each year the tree was decked out with ornaments that she had made herself. I remember fires in the fireplace and a living room full of family. I'm sure those times at my grandma's house have taken on that kind of rose-colored quality that can sometimes come over our childhood memories, but that's ok. They were good times.
I can still close my eyes and remember the taste of my Grandma Martin's beef stew, goulash, or buttery noodles despite all of the years that have passed since I was last able to actually eat them. Alas, I don't remember what my grandma's candy cane cookies tasted like in that same way.
Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic and decided it was time to make a batch for myself. Unfortunately, I don't have her recipe but I think these were pretty close- and absolutely delicious to boot!
The dough is simple, and a little delicate- I found that I definitely had to roll out the ropes between my hand and a flat surface rather than between my palms to ensure they didn't break apart. I also incorporated as little additional flour as possible while I was rolling the ropes to make sure the dough stayed light. I baked them on those Cookie Baking Sheets Reynold's sent me to try out a couple of months ago- I'm still in love with them!
These cookies remind me a little of spritz cookies with their light texture and delicate almond flavor. I'm so glad I found this recipe- they're definitely going to be part of my own Christmas season routine moving forward!
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2. Mix well the shortening and butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt and add to shortening mixture. Divide dough in half.
3. Blend red food coloring into one half. Roll 1 teaspoon of the red dough and 1 teaspoon of the white dough on lightly floured board into 4 inch strips. Place strips side by side and press lightly together and twist like a rope. Curve top of rope down to look like the handle of a candy cane.
4. Bake 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove while still warm. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup crushed peppermint stick candy and 1/2 cup sugar (optional).