The Mailbox: Candy cane cookies

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Candy cane cookies

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 9 to 12 minutes per batch

Makes about 3 dozen

Gina Yancey of Vancouver has fond memories of the candy cane cookies her grandmother used to make at Christmastime. The cookies were made by twisting red cookie dough ropes with regular cookie dough ropes to look like a candy cane. They were then sprinkled with crushed candy cane. She was hoping someone had the recipe.

This recipe is a Betty Crocker classic. Have the kids help with rolling and twisting together the dough ropes.

Tip: Before rolling dough pieces into ropes, roll pieces into balls and refrigerate for an hour, keeping the red balls in one bowl and the uncolored balls in another. Take balls out a few at a time, roll into 4-inch ropes, twist together and place on cookie sheet before pulling more balls from refrigerator. This will help keep the dough from getting soft and sticky.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg

1  1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

6 to 7 drops red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy canes

1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and almond extract.

In another bowl, mix together the flour and salt and gradually add to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix well. Divide the dough in half. Add red food coloring to one half, kneading it well until uniformly colored.

On a lightly floured surface, roll a tablespoonful of each color of dough into a 4-inch rope. (See Tip above.) Place a red rope side by side with an uncolored rope; lightly press ends together and twist. Place on ungreased baking sheet, curving the top to resemble a candy cane. Repeat process with remaining dough, flouring surface as necessary.

Bake at 375 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

While cookies are baking, in a small bowl, combine crushed candy canes with 1/2 cup sugar. Immediately sprinkle this mixture over baked cookies. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

Per cookie: 108 cal.; 1 g pro.; 14 g carb.; 5 g fat (3 sat.); 19 mg chol.; 104 mg sodium; trace fiber; 41 percent of calories from fat.