Candy cane cookies

November 2023

Pat Rodgers has many fond memories about her childhood Christmases but the candy cane cookies her mom baked are definitely one of her favourites, and for several reasons.

Her mom found the recipe on the cover of a Christmas card she received from a friend and put it up on the fridge, promising Pat and her brother that they would make the cookies that weekend before Christmas. Every day that week Pat looked at the recipe and drooled. “We didn’t have many sweets in the house, so it was a real treat to make cookies,” Pat recalls.

When the day finally came, Pat and her brother woke up earlier than their usual Saturday morning time and got the ingredients and utensils out before their mom got out of bed. “I remember that morning. My brother called out the ingredients and I searched through the fridge and cupboards. We didn’t know what size of mixing bowl to use so we put them all out! My mom just laughed when she saw us, waiting in anticipation.”

After making the cookies, Pat and her brother were given one each and the rest were put in a cookie tin for Christmas day. “We watched my mom put the tin in the freezer and just sighed. Christmas can’t come soon enough when you’re a kid!”

On Christmas morning, waiting anxiously to open their presents, their mom pointed out two candy cane cookies hanging on a bough of the Christmas tree. Each had a ribbon tied to it with
a note. “My mom gave us each a candy cane and we opened our notes and read. My mom had written a special memory from the year, something that each of us had done that she was proud of. Maybe it sounds corny, but she told us that we were her favourite gift at Christmas. I’ll never forget that.”

If you want to make the cookies and continue Pat’s family’s tradition, by all means, please do. “It’s a special part of Christmas, something that we do, no matter how rushed Christmas can get,” Pat says. “It’d be nice to know others are doing it too.”


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons peppermint candy crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food colouring


      Cream together butter and sugar and add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.

      Sift the flour and salt together and beat into butter mixture until well mixed.

      Divide the dough in half. To one half, add 1/2 teaspoon red food colouring. Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll a 4-inch strip of each colour (no fatter than a pencil). Place the two coloured rolls side-by-side and press lightly together. Gently twist like a rope and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

      Curve the top like a candy cane and bake in a pre heated oven at 350F for about 15 minutes. Do not brown.

      Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. Enjoy! Makes 20-30 medium candy cane cookies

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at

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