Diaper Bags

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

  • recipe photo
  • Two pieces of dough in different colors are twisted together to create adorable candy cane-shaped cookies. I usually color half of my dough red and leave the other half uncolored, but you can certainly get creative with your color combinations.

Santa Claus would love a plate of these on Christmas Eve, or they can be strung on your tree in place of traditional candy canes.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free baking flour (such as Cup4Cup*)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon or orange zest
  • Red food coloring

*Gluten-free flour works really well in this recipe, resulting in cookies that are buttery and flaky. If you choose to use the gluten-free flour, simply lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees and check for doneness a minute or two early.


  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

  • In the base of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and citrus zest. Beat until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until the dough becomes smooth.

  • Divide the dough in half and add a few drops of food coloring to one piece of dough. Using the mixer or your hands, knead just until the color is evenly distributed throughout. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls to form 1-inch-thick disks, then wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Before shaping your candy canes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften for 10 minutes. (If using gluten-free flour, you may need to let it soften a bit longer.)

  • When ready, pinch off a piece of dough and use your fingers to roll it out into a long snake about 1/4" thick. Repeat with the other color of dough. Place them side by side on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then cut the dough so each piece is the same size. Pinch the dough together at the top then twist until you have the desired look. Shape into a candy cane. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  • Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until barely golden, about 8-10 minutes or 6-9 minutes for gluten-free.

Makes between 3 and 6 dozen cookies, depending on the size