I was looking back at past Bake Club meetings, and this image from one of our Christmas sessions in 2018 seems like a lifetime ago. I thought I’d share this recipe, as they’re fun to make and you may be looking for something the children can do while they’re waiting for the big day to arrive (Xmas 2023).
Here are a few tips to help you with this one
- If using a Thermomix use small cold cubes of butter at the start and bring the dough together by hand. It will help prevent turning it into a paste after mixing.
- If at any time the dough becomes too soft to work with, chill it before continuing on.
- When adding the red food colour, use gel not liquid. The colour is more intense and you won’t have to use as much, preventing your dough from being too soft.
- Wear food-handling powder-free kitchen gloves if you don’t want to be caught “red handed”.
- When you bake them, you want them to stay pale in colour but cook through. So if your oven runs hot turn it down another 10°C.
- This makes quite a bit of dough, so you might want to freeze some for another time. It will last 3 months in the freezer.
- Don’t want to make them all as candy canes? What about Santa Cookies? They’re easier than you think, just roll the dough into balls.
Candy canes have an interesting history that dates back over 350 years. While the exact origins are a bit murky, they are believed to have originated in Europe. One popular story suggests that in 1670, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany bent sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd’s staff and handed them out to children to keep them quiet during the long Christmas Nativity service. These early versions were likely all white and didn’t have the peppermint flavour or the red stripes that are characteristic of modern candy canes.
The red-and-white striped candy canes that we’re familiar with today, probably evolved in the early 20th century in the United States. The peppermint flavour and the addition of the red stripes became standard by the mid-20th century. The iconic J-shape, red stripes, and peppermint flavour of the candy cane have made it a symbolic and popular treat, especially during Christmas.
Candy Cane biscuits
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- 1 Thermomix (optional)
- 230 g Butter softened
- 135 g Icing Sugar sifted
- 1 Egg lightly beaten
- 1 tsp Natural Peppermint Extract optional
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 480 g Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Red Food Colouring Gel
- Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix together the butter, icing sugar, egg, peppermint extract (if using), and vanilla extract. Once combined, stir in the flour and salt to form your dough. TM: weigh in the butter, icing, egg and peppermint (if using) and mix for 30 seconds/speed 3.5 then weigh in the flour and salt and set to knead for 30 seconds, scrape down and repeat if necessary.
- Divide & Colour the Dough: Split the dough in half, weighing it for equal portions. Add the red food colouring gel to one portion, kneading until evenly colored. Tip: Wear a food-grade glove to avoid staining your hands. Shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Shaping the Cookies: When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 160°C (fan-forced). Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Pinch off a portion of each dough and roll them into ropes of equal length. Place the ropes side by side, then twist or braid them together. Cut to your desired length, and form the classic candy cane hook. Place on your lined baking tray.
- Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until done. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack.
- If the dough becomes too soft while shaping, chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.