Candy Cane Cookies

These cookies are easier to make than they look. Make one simple dough, split it in two and add red food coloring to one half. Roll two different ropes of dough, twist them together, and shape into "candy canes."

A lot of recipes tell you to sprinkle crushed candy canes (real ones!) over the cookies right out of the oven. You can certainly do that, but I prefer to brush the cookies with an egg white wash and sprinkle them with sparkling sugar instead. The sugar sticks to the cookie because of the wash and makes the finished product more enticing than the average candy cane cookie.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 8 minutes
  • Chilling time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 36 cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 3/4 cup (385 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon liquid red food coloring

To finish:


1 Make the dough: Place the butter, sugar, peppermint, vanilla, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of stand mixer. Beat until a paste forms and clings to the side of the bowl.

Scrape down the side of the bowl and beat in the egg until it is absorbed. Add the flour and beat until just combined and no more dry streaks of flour remain.

Candy Cane Cookie Dough Ingredients in a Mixing Bowl Cookie Dough Mixed Together in Bowl Candy Cane Cookie Dough with added flour Dough Mixed Together Until It is Firm

2 Color half the dough: Divide and remove half the dough from the bowl. Carefully add the red food coloring to the remaining dough. Mix on low until the color is evenly distributed.

Candy Cane Cookie Dough In Bowl With Red Food Coloring Candy Cane Cookie Dough With Red Food Coloring Mixed in

3 Chill the dough: Pat each piece of dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Red and White Cookie Dough Separated in Plastic Wrap

4 When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.

5 Shape the cookies: The chilled dough should be firm, but still easy to shape straight from the fridge. If not, let it warm for just a few minutes until malleable. Don't let it warm too much or it will be too soft to work with again.

Pinch off a 1-inch round piece of the white dough and roll it out to a 5-inch rope. Do the same with a piece of the red dough (make sure the ropes are the same length).

Place the ropes next to each other and twist together. Transfer to the baking sheet and curve the top of the dough into a candy cane shape.

Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.

Red and White Cookie Dough Rolled into Balls Red and White Cookie Dough Rolled out like Equal Sign Red and White Cookie Dough Intertwined and Shaped Like Candy Cane

6 Top the cookies with sparkling sugar: Make the egg white wash by beating the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water until foamy. Brush the top of each cookie with the egg white wash and then sprinkle with the sugar.

Adding Sugar Topping to Candy Cane Cookies

7 Bake the cookies: Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are just barely brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.

These cookies will keep for a week or two in a sealed container at room temperature.