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.
- 1 cup shortening (I use half Crisco and half butter)
- 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Red food coloring gel (judge the amount that you want)
- Sifted powdered sugar to dip them in
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Bake about 9 minutes. While still warm dip or sprinkle in powdered sugar. Dry on wire rack.