Sometimes I have trouble sleeping at this time of the year. As I lay awake (praying I’ll be sprinkled with sleep-dust!), I’m often reminded of an age-old holiday story. Can you guess which one?
If your hunch was “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, you win the prize!
Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse
The stockings all hung
By the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there
The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
With visions of sugarplums
Dancing in their heads
That’s me! I’ve been having “visions of sugar plums dancing in my head” lately when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Except, I’m not a child. Actually, far from it, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what “sugar plums“are!
But I do lay awake some nights with a zillion sweet ideas for the upcoming holidays flooding my mind. That’s how my Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies came into being. I saw these delightful Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patty Thumbprints on Pinterest the day before and thought they were just too fun and pretty for words. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, thinking about them (I know, crazy, right?) and started dreaming up my own variation.
I decided to go a little different route and, instead of a chocolate base, I used an old faithful, never-fail shortbread recipe. It’s from Land O Lakes and I’ve made it untold times over the years. It’s always a hit, and the simplest recipe ever. It comes together with four basic ingredients: butter, sugar, flour and vanilla. In the original recipe, the dough is rolled into little balls, the center is indented and a little scoop of jam is added before baking. The result is an irresistible, melt-in-your-mouth thumbprint cookie with a jewel-like center. I’ve had fun adapting this recipe lots of different ways; including these Raspberry Peach Thumbprint Cookies.
This time, I simply formed the same dough into small balls then rolled each one in Christmas-hued sprinkles before baking. As soon as the colorful, whimsical little cookies rolled out of the oven, I nestled a Hershey’s Candy Cane Kiss right in the center of each and could hardly wait for them to cool enough to try one.
Delish! The wonderful, buttery shortbread pairs beautifully with the white chocolate mint kisses, and makes a fun, super pretty presentation with the multi-hued sprinkles and candy cane striped kisses. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d like a cookie with all those sprinkles but, if you use the tiny ones called non-pareils*, it’s similar to a sugar coating and adds a nice little crunch to each bite.
Need a fun holiday project to do with your kids? How about a sweet treat that will bring oohs and aahs at the cookie exchange? A fun gift for a friend, neighbor, co-worker, teacher, etc? Perhaps an easy, festive, make-ahead dessert to serve with a bowl of good vanilla ice cream? Gotcha covered! And while I can’t promise they’ll elicit “visions of sugar plums”, I’m quite certain these Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies will be sure to please children of all ages!
P. S. * If you’re looking for the exact sprinkle colors in my cookies, I used the kind on the far right in this variety package of sprinkles.
Oh, and if you’re in a cookie baking mood, here’s another holiday cookie we love to make this time of year. It seems to be going crazy over on Pinterest right now! Just click on the picture or link below for the recipe.
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- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup color nonpareil sprinkles
- 1 10-ounce bag Hershey's Holiday Candy Cane Kisses
- Heat oven to 350°F. Pour sprinkles into shallow bowl. Unwrap Candy Cane Kisses
- Combine butter, sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.
- Add flour; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
- Shape dough into small 1-inch balls (I use a small ice cream scoop).
- Roll balls of dough in sprinkles, patting sprinkles gently onto any areas where sprinkles have not adhered. You want to have the little balls covered with sprinkles.
- Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 14-18 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from oven and quickly place a kiss in the center of each cookie, pressing down barely (about ¼ inch or less!) into the cookie. Don't be tempted to press the kiss too deeply into the cookies as they will crack at the edges. If you do have any cracking, gently push the crack back together while the cookies are still warm.Let stand 5 minutes on cookie sheets, then carefully remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before moving or touching. The kisses will take a while to firm up. If you try to move them too soon the kisses will collapse or distort in shape.