Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies

Buttery and crisp, these festive cookies will leave a lasting impression.  Little ones will love their fun shape and everyone will love their sugary, buttery flavor.  A great project to get the kids to help with!

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies | The Suburban Soapbox

I had the opportunity to, once again, participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  If you’re not familiar with the cookie swap you’re in for a real treat!  The swap is sponsored by two food bloggers, Lindsay and Julie, along with California Olive Ranch, OXO, Sheila’s Brownie Brittle and Dixie Crystals.  Food bloggers from all over the world (YES, the WORLD!) sign up to participate and make a small donation.  All donations go to Cookies For Kid’s Cancer and this year the program has raised over $12,000!  There are 566 participants in 7 countries this year. What better excuse is there to whip up some fun and tasty cookies….because I’m always looking for and running out of excuses. 🙂

calioliveranch2 oxo2 dixiecrystals2  browniebrittle

Plus….cookies, then, magically appear in my mailbox from three other bloggers that participated in the swap as well.  Win, win, win!  And at the end of the week, there will be a huge cookie roundup that I will share with all of you.  I know everyone becomes a baking machine this time of year whether they love it or not and it always helps to have a little cookie inspiration thrown in your inbox….don’t you think?  So, watch out for the roundup ’cause I’m slinging it your way in a few days.

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies | The Suburban Soapbox

This year, I wanted to bring back something from my childhood.  And since we’re baking for kid’s, I decided to do something WITH kids.  Well, my kid.  One toddler (the teen was hiding in a mountain of clothes…aka, her room).  And if you’re a freak about messes in the kitchen….I’m sorry but you’re just going to have to let it go this one time.  Because this cookie needs little hands.  It’s just so much fun for them and if you don’t have any little hands around….it’s fun for you too.  A glass of wine would be nice too but someone will have to pour it in your mouth…unless you have an extra arm.  This is a two handed cookie making task.  Wine can wait.  Maybe.

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies | The Suburban Soapbox

My mom made these every year (I remember every year but it may have only been once….however, they are forever etched in my brain.)  I never made them because they just seemed too complicated and….I couldn’t find the recipe.  Then, once upon a time…I was cleaning out my recipe box (yep, still have one) and low and behold….the Candy Cane Cookies!  They weren’t called shortbread cookies but I felt that needed to be added to the description for you all….just so you know what you’re in for, taste-wise.  They’re not a traditional shortbread but the flavor and texture is all there.  So, to me….shortbread.  You can call them whatever you like…I will never know.

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies | The Suburban Soapbox

If you’re a food blogger and  interested in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap you can sign up for an email notification to participate next year HERE.  Julie and Lindsay are on top of things and they get the notices out waaaay early.  This is my second year participating and it was, again, an awesomely tasty experience.  Thank you, Julie and Lindsay for organizing such an amazing program!

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies | The Suburban Soapbox

Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies

A Christmas tradition, these Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies are a must from my childhood.
3.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course cookie
Cuisine American
Servings 32
Calories 119 kcal


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Christmas red food color I use Wilton's the best in my opinion
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, almond extract, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add the flour into mixture in small amounts, beating until just combined.
  • Remove half the dough from the bowl and blend red food coloring into the half remaining in the bowl until the coloring is even and bright red. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out as you work. Using a floured teaspoon to measure 1 teaspoon each of white and red dough for each cookie and roll into 4-inch ropes on a lightly floured surface. Place a red and white rope side-by-side, press together lightly and twist to form a spiral. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and curve the top down to form the handle of the candy cane. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies, carefully, to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.


Serving: 1gCalories: 119kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 89mgPotassium: 20mgFiber: 0gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 185IUCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword christmascookies, holiday
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

28 comments on “Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies”

  1. These are so pretty! What a wonderful gift these would make for our neighbors, and I’ll bet my kids would have a ball helping me make them.

  2. Oh, these are just too much fun. You could even get away with blue, instead of red, for Hanukkah. Love them!

  3. Holy cow. Some of y’all went all out with your packaging! SO nice looking. 🙂 And what fun candy cane cookies!

  4. These are so cute! And the packaging! 🙂

  5. Such a gorgeous cookie package! I’ve got to make these this year with my kiddos! SO much fun!

  6. Such a perfect cookie for the Cookie Swap…love these1

  7. So adorable and love the packaging!

  8. Your cookies are adorable!! You can tell how much love went into making these 🙂 Lovely packaging, too!!

  9. Oh my, look at those cookies and the boxes!! I just love the The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.! I would have been so happy to have gotten these in the mail! I participated in the The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for two years and had to put it on the back burner. I may have to join again next year!

  10. These are some of my absolute favorite Christmas cookies…have been as long as I can remember. Beautiful packaging!

  11. These are so cute! Totally perfect for the holidays.

  12. How super fund and cute are those cookies. Love them and love the cookie swap!

  13. Those are so cute! I’d have a hard time eating them all… NOT! 🙂

  14. These are perfect for home and gifts! First, I love shortbread cookies and second, you made darling candy canes. Thanks!

  15. So sweet and festive. I just love this recipe! Perfect for a cookie swap.

  16. These are so adorable! And I love your packaging!

  17. How cute are these candy cane cookies! I definitely would LOVE to receive these wrapped up in cute packaging as a gift.

  18. How cute are these cookies! Perfect for gifting!

  19. I made these this morning and they’re so cute! I just have one question regarding the 1/4 cup of sugar at the bottom of the ingredients. What are you supposed to do with it?

    • Thank you so much, Ruthie! My goodness….I’ll update the recipe, but you’re supposed to sprinkle it over the candy canes prior to baking to give them a little sparkle. (if desired) Thank you again and have a very Merry Christmas!

  20. I was so excited about this recipe and to make them but for some reason my candy canes kind of melted and flattened out. Do you have any idea why this might have happened?

    • You may have needed to add more flour to the dough. Please read the response to your previous comment. I’m sorry they didn’t work as you expected, this is a recipe I make every year without fail and never have a problem.

  21. Sorry to say but this is a horrible recipe and the directions are horrible. First of all you failed to mention that the door should be refrigerated and chilled before you work with it as I did not do that and my cookies just spread out when I bake them and had very little flavor.the fact that the door should be chilled prior to working with it is key to successfully making these. Very important!

    • I think you mean to say the “dough” should be refrigerated…..which it does not. I make these without chilling the dough ever and have never had an issue. If your dough was too sticky or falling apart then I mention to add more flour in the notes. Chilling the dough would help a bit but it could also dry out the dough and lead to cracking. Also, because hands are warm, the dough can warm while you’re rolling it out. Perhaps a 10 minute chill in the fridge AFTER they’ve been assembled would help with your issue in the future.

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