When I was a kid, my mom used to go all out at Christmas. There was lots of baking and decorating.
This recipe was one of my favorites, and my daughter has always enjoyed it too. Its a lot of fun to do without being difficult, so as soon as your kids have a long enough attention span to work with you in the kitchen, this one is great.
The recipe makes about 4 dozen, and it doubles well.
Candy Cane Cookies
1 cup soft shortening (can't beat butter flavored Crisco sticks here!)
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 egg (or use egg substitute)
1 1/2 tsp almond
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food color (or more if you want really red looking canes)
Candy sprinkle: 1/2 cup crushed peppermint stick candy (a good use for broken canes from the decorating!) mixed well with 1/2 cup sugar
Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, almond and vanilla until smooth.
Sift flour and salt together. Add to creamed ingredients and mix well.
Divide dough in half. Mix the red food color with half of the dough.
To make cookies:
Roll 1 tsp of each color dough into a strip (remember clay "snakes") about 4 inches long. Lay a strip of each color side by side, press together lightly and twist like a candy cane. On an ungreased cookie sheet (parchment paper is wonderful), shape twist like a cane. (Note: do these one at a time. If you try to roll all the strips first and then form, the dough dries out too much and breaks.)
Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes or until lightly browned (don't over brown!).
Remove from pan and sprinkle with peppermint and sugar mixture while still warm.