These were a favorite of mine from childhood. I think it was my sister Miriam who would make them. I always remember thinking they were so pretty and festive. I have always loved peppermint flavor, so these were one of my favorites. The girls had been asking if they could make some Christmas cookies so I surprised them with these.
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
Now you can waste your muscles if you want or if you need a workout then by all means mix the dough by hand, but mixing the dough is a breeze in the stand mixer. Just add the first six ingredients and mix. Then add the dry ingredients 1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time until the dough is well mixed.
Remove half the dough. I placed in it wax paper to refrigerate overnight. Then add the food coloring to the remaining half and mix. Refrigerate about four hours or overnight. I made the dough after I put the kids to bed in the evening and then took it out for them to make the cookies the next day.
I sat the kids all down, did a demonstration, and then gave the kids balls of dough for them to shape into cookies. The key is to handle the dough as little as possible because the butter melts quickly, and it becomes difficult to shape. Quickly rolling the plain dough in the palms of their hands until making a four inch rope then doing the same with the red. Take both ropes, twist them gently and then shape into a candy cane on an ungreased cookie sheet. It took the kids a couple of tries before they got the hang of it. They had so much fun making the cookies! Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until very lightly brown around the edges.
But of course eating them is the best part. The children have taken after me and love all things mint flavored so these were a huge hit. They said they are better than chocolate chip! Personally, that might be taking it a bit far. Not much gets better than a chocolate chip cookie in my book, but these are pretty good!