• 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint or almond extract
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • food coloring



  1. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until fluffy and frosting-like. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and peppermint or almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour and salt just until no more visible flour remains.
  2. Use a stiff spatula to mix the dough a few times by hand to work in any last bits of flour. Divide the dough in half and remove half of the dough. Add 1/2 teaspoon of red food coloring to the remaining dough in the bowl. Work the color into the dough with the spatula, kneading by hand, or in the mixer on low speed, whichever method seems easiest to you. Add additional food coloring as needed until the dough is a bright, vibrant red.
  3. Pat both pieces of dough into 1-inch thick circles and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. This will make the cookies easier to roll out and shape.
  4. When ready to bake the cookies, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
  5. Unwrap both pieces of dough. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of the doughs (about 2 tablespoons each). Roll each into a thick rope about 6 inches long. Pinch a red and white rope together at the top, then gently twist them together. Repeat wtih the remaining dough. If the dough starts to break as you roll it or become hard to work with, put it back in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Transfer the twisted ropes to the baking sheets and gently “hook” the top to create a candy cane shape.
  6. Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheets for 15 minutes before baking — this helps the cookies hold their shape during baking.
  7. Bake until the bottom edges and the tips of the cookies are just barely starting to turn golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks and cool completely.