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Candy Cane Cookies

Nancy McElwee and Jaki Soper make candy cane cookies and double cruncher cookies.TODAY, December 16th 2016.
Nancy McElwee and Jaki Soper make candy cane cookies and double cruncher cookies. TODAY, December 16th 2016.Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY


  • 1 cup shortening (I use half Crisco and half butter)
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring gel (judge the amount that you want)
  • Sifted powdered sugar, for dipping

Chef notes

Nancy McElwee, one of the 2016 TODAY holiday cookie contest winners, started her own tradition with these sweet candy cane cookies. She spotted the recipe in a Betty Crocker recipe book about 30 years ago and over the decades she’s altered it to her own tastes. Now her family enjoy them each holiday season.



Heat oven to 375°F. Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Mix flour and salt; stir into shortening mixture. Divide dough in half. Blend food coloring gel into one half.


Roll a 4-inch strip (using 1 teaspoon dough) from each color. Place strips side by side, press strips lightly together and twist like a rope. For best results, complete cookies one at a time. If all the dough of one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist. Place on un-greased baking sheet. Curve top to from handle of cane. 


Bake about 9 minutes. While still warm dip or sprinkle in powdered sugar. Dry on wire rack.