This is a wonderful cookie, but I find it a bore to make. Each and every year I drop this one from my list, and each and every year my daughter asks, hopefully, "Are you going to make those candy cane cookies this year?"
Each and every year I reply, "Well, all right, but ONLY if you'll help me!"
The reason for this devotion is obvious from the first taste. These cookies are distinctive and wonderfully flavored--and they look, smell and taste like Christmas! These are for you, honey!
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix powdered sugar, margarine, shortening, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt.
Divide dough into halves. Tint one half with food color.
For each candy cane, shape 1 teaspoon dough from each color into a 4-inch rope. For smooth, even strips, roll back and forth on lightly floured board. Place 1 red and 1 white strip side-by-side; press together lightly, and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; curve cookie top down to form a candy cane shape.
Bake until set and very light brown, about 9 minutes. Mix crushed candy and granulated sugar; immediately sprinkle over hot cookies. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack.
One final note: this cookie gives you a great way to get rid of last year's old candy canes! As long as they're not sticky, they'll work fine!