These buttery Christmas sugar cookies are studded with peppermint bits and melt in your mouth for the perfect two-bite holiday cookie. My family requests them every year without fail. Originally published December 2016. Last updated February 2022.
I adapted my candy cane cookie recipe from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book back in high school. The book is a keepsake of mine that I hope to give to one of my future children who will, ideally, share my love for cooking and baking. Our version of the cookbook was printed in the year my Mommy was born and passed down from my late great grandmother, Pearlie Mae, so it's very special to me. Keep reading to learn how to make vintage Christmas cookies with a fun twist!
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Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, let's get into what makes my candy cane Christmas cookies so damn delicious. Anyone in my family and friend circle will tell you that they're addictive. I mean shocked-to-look-down-at-your-plate-and-only-see-crumbs addictive. I guarantee you can't eat just one! These classic peppermint Christmas cookies are highly requested every year and I don't hear the end of it if they don't appear in dozens and dozens. And I've baked up batches of these to give away in Christmas cookie boxes to my neighbors as well as for edible party favors for guests at my holiday shindigs.
What's in My Candy Cane Cookies?
These little 100 calorie Christmas cookie bites come together easily in under 20 minutes and with simple ingredients. Here's what you'll need for this recipe.
You might be wondering how these are different (better, in my opinion) than the Betty Crocker candy cane cookies. The almond extract is the first change. I swap it in for the peppermint extract to bring in classic sugar cookie vibes. That and the vanilla extract provide the perfect balance to the cool, refreshing bite from the crushed peppermint.
The original recipe also calls for separating and dyeing half the dough red then making twists using bits from each half to form truly candy cane shaped cookies. I did that the first couple of times I made them but always had leftover uncolored dough for some reason and would make simple little round cookies out of it. A bit of laziness and a desire to minimize my usage of artificial food coloring meant that I eventually just stuck with the simple round versions and kept it moving. So my candy cane cookies actually look more like peppermint drops than candy canes.
Tips for Making Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
This heirloom holiday cookie recipe is unique but so easy. Take note of these tips to make sure yours turn our perfectly.
- You can use pre-made peppermint crunch or crush up candy canes or peppermint candies of your own if you have the time to spare. This is also a great stress reliever. 🙂
- Soften but don't melt the butter. Otherwise, you'll wind up with loose cookie dough, which means your cookies will spread out too much. I use this trick to soften butter quickly.
- Don't over-mix the dough. This will result in tough batter.
- Check the notes below before attempting to freeze candy cane cookie dough.
As far as tools for this recipe, grab a couple of mixing bowls and a silicone spatula for scraping down the sides while making the dough. You can use a lot of elbow grease to mix or a stand mixer. Either way, you'll need a cookie sheet, cookie dough scoop, and a big cookie spatula, as well, for best results.
Freezing Christmas Cookie Dough
Wondering can I freeze candy cane cookie dough? I don't blame you. My candy cane cookies are so delectable, you'll definitely want to have them on hand all year. Well, the answer is yes. Here's how to freeze cookie dough for the best results.
- I recommend scooping the dough into balls with a cookie scoop and flash freezing them on a cookie sheet in the freezer.
- Then transfer them into an airtight, freezer safe container.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to about 355 degrees instead of 375, as indicated in the recipe card below.
- Pop however many dough balls you want out of the freezer and onto a lined cookie sheet. Add about five minutes to the baking time below and you should be good.
Writing this post brings back so many memories of making a mess in my parents' kitchen during winter breaks from school. I hope you'll bake a batch or two of these peppermint crunch sugar cookies with your family this year and make memories that last. And sharing is caring so pin this easy Christmas cookie recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Make my Candy Cane Cookies for Christmas
Easy to make and lightly sweet, these cookies are Christmas classics with delicious vanilla, peppermint, and almond flavors.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup peppermint crunch crushed peppermints or candy canes
- 1 cup butter softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In one bowl, mix together flour, crushed peppermint, and sea salt.
In another bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, and extracts.
Combine wet and dry mixtures and mix until a dough forms. This can be done by hand or with a mixer. Do not over-mix dough.
Scoop out dough using a cookie scoop or tablespoon and roll each into a ball before placing onto prepared baking sheet. Leave at least one inch between each ball of dough as cookies should not spread much while baking.
Bake for about 9 minutes. Tops will not brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from the original candy cane cookie recipe, found in Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.