I first shared this recipe as a part of Keepin’ It Kind’s Cookie Swap in 2014. You’re going to love my vegan version of these classic candy cane cookies! Make these with your kiddos, or share with your co-workers. And don’t forget to take a picture and post it on Instagram, tagging it with #frieddandelions! I’d love to see your Candy Cane Cookies!
Hello Kind friends! I am excited to be sharing a recipe at Kristy’s cookie swap for the second year in a row—thanks Kristy! Last year I veganized my mom’s classic sugar cookies. They are one of my favorites, and I know I’ll be making them again in the coming weeks. This year I am excited to have a new cookie recipe in my back pocket. I’ve veganized the classic Candy Cane Cookie recipe—remember the fun twisty ones from your childhood? My 3 year old David (How is he almost 5 already?) and I had fun putting these together. He really liked rolling out the dough—just like play do! And I really liked eating them—I think I grab one every time I pass through the kitchen!
The cookies have a subtle peppermint taste—there’s peppermint candy right in the dough! I used the starlight mints from Trader Joe’s—they are made with natural dyes and no high fructose corn syrup. From a convenience standpoint, I think they are easier to unwrap than candy canes. If you choose to go the candy cane route, I really like TruJoy candy canes—again, no artificial dyes or high fructose corn syrup.
You can form these in all kinds of shapes—classic candy canes, simple rods to dip in chocolate, even cute wreath shapes! You can also roll the dough and cut it out with cookie cutters. Whatever shape you choose, have fun and enjoy! I hope these become a staple in your Christmas Cookie repertoire.
Candy Cane Cookies
½ c granulated sugar
½ c candy cane or peppermint candies, plus more for decoration (1 8 ounce bag yields 1 ¼ c crushed peppermint)
1 c (2 sticks) vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
½ c non dairy milk
1 t vanilla extract
1-2 t peppermint extract
1 ½ t Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 2 T warm water (follow box directions for 1 egg)
3 ½ c flour*
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
red food coloring (I like India Tree natural food dye and used 1/2 teaspoon)
½ c chocolate chips
1 t coconut oil
Using a food processor, crush unwrapped peppermint candies into the texture of a rough granulated sugar. Set aside.
Cream butter, sugar and crushed peppermints together. Add milk, vanilla, peppermint extract, and egg replacer and mix (mixture is a little lumpy at this point). Mix in flour, baking powder and salt and mix until smooth. Remove half of the dough and place in an airtight container. Add the red food coloring to the remaining dough in the mixer and mix until incorporated. Place in separate container. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
To assemble cookies:
Sprinkle a baking mat or piece of parchment paper with flour. Take 1 teaspoon of each color dough. Roll them separately into balls, and then squish them to form 1 inch log shapes. Set them together and squish again. Roll them together into a log by placing fingers of both hands on each side. (I found that rolling separately and then twisting together didn’t hold together very well.) Leave in a straight rod shape, or form into a candy cane. Alternately, the dough also rolled and cut with cookie cutters beautifully! Roll to ¼ inch thick and cut into desired shapes.
Heat oven to 375*. Bake until set and light brown, about 9-12 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet and cool on a rack.
Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Dip cookies into the chocolate, using a spoon to help scoop chocolate up the cookie. Set on a parchment lined tray and sprinkle with peppermint bits. To speed up chocolate setting place tray in freezer for a few minutes!
I found that these cookies were crunchiest on the day baked, but tasted great as they softened as well (although they are more fragile then). If you won’t be serving right away, place in an airtight container.
* You can also use gluten free flour mix. I used Bob’s Red Mill—follow package directions for adding xantham gum to the mix. The cookies look a little crackly, but I couldn’t tell a difference in the taste at all.