So I’ve never been a big Christmas person. Growing up, my family always did a big, loud, over-the-top, expensive Christmas, that was more stressful than fun. So as an adult, I never decorated, or was into the Christmas spectacle. I bought my very first Christmas tree at the big age of 37, because it was, quite literally, my mother-in-law’s dying wish.
However…HOWEVER…my love language is food. More specifically, feeding the people that I love. So every single year, I bake hundreds of cookies, and I spend Christmas Eve driving around to deliver all of my friends giant tins or baskets of fresh baked Christmas love. I even bought myself a Grinch costume for the occasion.
Always chop by hand or grind add-ins (chocolate chips, candy, nuts, cookies, or dried fruit) in a food processor to the consistency of coarse sand. Large add-ins will leave you with jagged edges when you cut out your cookies.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also place candy canes in a freezer bag and roll over them with a rolling pin to crush them. I used mini candy canes, and it took about 10-12 of them to get ¼ cup.
Are these technically shortbread or sugar cookies?
They’re kind of both. It’s fine to call these either “decorated sugar cookies” or “decorated shortbread cookies.” But I’m going to refer to any of my cookie recipes that can used as a base for cookie decorating as “shortbread sugar cookies.”
- 2 parts flour to 1 part fat
- No eggs
- No leavening agent
- Dense and crispy
- 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat
- Contains eggs
- Contains a leavening agent
- Light and Chewy
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes don’t rise or spread, can be used for cookie decorating, have egg, but no leavening agent, and have a 2 ¼ parts flour to 1 part fat. Which makes them fall somewhere between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. They’re both shortbread and sugar cookies, and neither shortbread or sugar cookies, at the same time. They’re Shrodinger’s cookies!
All of my shortbread sugar cookie recipes can be used for slice-and-bake cookies as well!
If you would like more info on my preferred ingredient brands, tips and tricks, FAQs, and a little cookie science, I cover all of that in my No-Spread Lemon Shortbread Sugar Cookie Recipe.
Candy Cane Shortbread Sugar Cookies
- measuring spoons and cups
- mixing bowls
- cling wrap
- cookie cutters
- large knife
- Process candy cane in food processor until the texture of coarse sand.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, and crushed candy cane) together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugars with paddle attachment, on medium-low speed, until fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes).
- Add egg, extracts, and red food coloring (if using), and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the paddle with a spatula, and then continue to mix on low speed for another 30 seconds to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, all at once, and mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together and no dry bits remain. Do not overmix.
- Turn dough out onto cling wrap, tightly wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- Knead, roll, cut out cookies, and return to fridge or freezer until firm. Leave a couple inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 1-5 minutes until edges are starting to darken.
- Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet before handling.
- Whenever you are baking with mint, be careful when you open the oven door, so you don’t get a face full of steamy mint extract!
- The reason for adding 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to your dough is to prevent your cookies from shrinking or spreading during baking.
- You want to grind all add-ins (candy cane) as fine as possible, comparable to the texture of almond meal or coarse sand. Larger pieces will leave you with jagged cookie edges.
- If making slice-and-bake cookies, split dough in half, roll into logs, wrap tightly in cling wrap or parchment paper, and refrigerate before slicing and baking.