Candy Cane Cookies

As I mentioned in this post, quite a few other posts and often in Beyond Bacon, the history of baking with my grandmother spans back as far as my memories can reach. It has been a long-standing tradition in our family that every Christmas my grandmother would make Christmas cookies for friends and family. Of course, my sisters and I often looked forward to sleepovers at mama’s, where she would sneak us coffee (with lots of sugar and cream) in the morning and then we’d spend the day baking the aforementioned and famous family cookies.

Just as I have taken up some of her traditions after her passing a few years ago, so have my sisters. My sister Jackie, in particular, has become the expert in recreating my grandmother’s Candy Cane Cookie recipe.  Of course, when Jackie moved into our home a couple months ago one of the rules was no gluten in the house.  And because I have an awesome sister who is loving and respectful, instead of moaning and complaining that she couldn’t make mama’s cookies here… she set about reading all the paleo cookbooks we own, inquiring about how all the different grain-free flours work, and testing recipes for weeks.

Christmas Tree Farm and Cutting by PaleoParents.comMatt, Stacy, Jackie, Wesley (3), Cole (8), Finian (5), Jeremiah (7) – yes, that math is right – 4 boys between the ages of 3 and 8.

Last week, after the we cut down our annual Christmas tree at a local farm but before the tree became a nightmare (read the story here – and subscribe so you don’t miss another issue, that’s where we’ve been communicating a lot lately!) it seemed the perfect opportunity and time to perfect the cookies and share the process with the boys.

Making Candy Cane Cookies at PaleoParents.com

I say process as a warning. This is not a quick-and-easy cookie. There are going to be ingredients you probably don’t have in your cabinet or ingredients you might not want to use. I’m going to tell you right now, we have tested these cookie a LOT. We have linked to the specific brands we recommend and offered substitutions where possible. Beyond that, you’ll have to experiment on your own.

Making Kid-Friendly Candy Cane Cookies at PaleoParents.comThe awesome news is that this dough, as instructed, is wonderful to work with and your children will have a BLAST rolling it out into swirls or braids and then forming their cute candy cane shapes. As we tested this dough the boys went through batches after batches of dough, never tiring of making cookies and often asking “When will you make more dough? We wanna make more cookies!”

Our long-standing family tradition is to make our now-paleoized Monkey Bread together on Christmas Eve. It’s looking like these cookies will become part of our Christmas Eve tradition as well, since the boys have informed me that Santa is going to love these cookies!

Paleo Candy Cane Cookies by PaleoParents.com

The color will change when you bake them, but without using a lot of red dye no.40 there’s not much you can do about that. As you can see (above) the boys (easy) versions still turned out cute and (frankly) delicious. They simply took pieces of each dough and rolled it out together, forming a swirly pattern. Jackie shows you the traditional method of braiding the doughs together below, if you wanna try to be fancy pants about the whole thing.

Making Paleo Candy Cane Cookies by PaleoParents.com

Roll out even-sized pieces of each color of dough, lay them beside each other and begin to fold one over the other, from the middle going outward, pinching the ends off when satisfied. Finally, bend your shape as you lay it onto the baking try. It might take a few tries to get it right, so maybe save the dough from the failed attempts for your littles to play with and roll out into the swirly kind.

Candy Cane Cookies at PaleoParents.com

 

Candy Cane Cookies

Rating: 51

Yield: makes 12 large cookies or 24 reasonable sized ones

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In an electric mixer, mix palm shortening and eggs together until combined, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add sugar, honey, vanilla extract, and almond extract and whip to incorporate until fluffy.
  3. Add sifted flours, starch, baking soda and salt and mix just until dough forms (do not over beat).
  4. Remove half of the dough from the bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in freezer for 20 minutes or fridge overnight.
  5. Add peppermint and food color to remaining dough and process until color is fully incorporated.
  6. Wrap remaining red peppermint dough in plastic and chill with almond base dough.
  7. Remove from fridge and pinch off small pieces of dough, about 2 tablespoons, and roll between hands to form about 4" ropes.
  8. Twist together a red dough rope with a white one for a braided affect, or simply roll together for a swirl affect and place on baking sheet, curling the end for the candy cane shape.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes* at 350 degrees, let cool before removing from tray. They become more stiff as they cool - are great next day!
  10. Store at room temperature for a few days, or chilled for a week or more. Freezes excellent!
  11. *OPTIONAL: blend together 1/2 granulated sugar, a smidge of natural red food color and 1/2 tsp peppermint extract together. Add as a topping to peppermint cookies for an added crunch after 8 minutes in oven. Cook for an additional 2 and remove.
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We hope you enjoy this super special recipe as much as little Wessie did!

Kid-Friendly Paleo Candy Cane Cookies by PaleoParents.com

About Stacy

Stacy Toth has written 362 post in this blog.

Stacy is the matriarch of the Paleo Parents family. After beginning a paleo diet and founding PaleoParents.com in 2010, she lost 135 pounds and found health and happiness for the whole family. The following three years have been a progressive journey with a mission to educate people about nourishing their bodies by eating real foods. Stacy can be found on all forms of social media as @PaleoParents as well as the top-rated The Paleo View Podcast and her two cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon.

  • http://www.worldclasslasik.com/cataracts/cataract-surgery-cost Cataract Surgery New Jersey

    Awesome!

  • http://www.thekoshercavegirl.blogspot.com/ Kosher Cave Girl

    What a wonderful way to carry on the tradition! I’m so happy that you found a way to Paleo-ify this treasured family recipe! It looks like the boys had a blast, too!

  • thethriftress

    You have rocked my world! I loved to make these cookies with my Mom when I was a child. Now I can make them again.

  • Nicole Marville

    Is it odd that I actually have all of this is my cupboard? I love this, I used to make these as a kid with my mom. If there is no school tomorrow these will be getting made!!

  • The Paleos

    I previously gave myself a pass on holiday baking recipes, using the typical excuse that wheat is completely acceptable on certain very-rare occasions like Christmas. But your post reminds me that there really is no reason to not be creative and make recipes that you can truly enjoy! We are doing our family holiday baking this Saturday and it will be fun to make these!

  • Sarah

    Those look amazing! I also have all the ingredients, and might have to give these a try when school gets out for the holidays!

  • Courtney McGregor

    These are SOOOOOO tasty! I made them during our snow day and they turned out so well! My non-paleo husband said they are better than their gluten-filled counterparts!

  • ticamom

    Since you say you’ve tested this recipe a lot, any preferences as to using potato, arrowroot, or tapioca starch? I actually have both arrowroot and tapioca on hand right now so was just wondering which one you’d lean to :) Thanks!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      We like potato best actually!

  • Brandae

    Made these tonight but skipped the red/peppermint split and just rolled the plain dough into cane shapes and then decorated. OH WOW YUM! The dough is soooooo good, and my five boys are all licking their fingers and loving the cookies. Thanks so much to your sister!