The thing I love most about these gluten free candy cane cookies is that they’re sweetened with real candy canes! Oh, and they’re so fun to shape!
And they’re pepperminty through and through. And so festive at the holidays. And who doesn’t love candy canes!? … I guess any one of those attributes would be enough to sell me on making these super cute candy cane cookies — how about you?
There’s also no wrong or right in making them: they can be as big or as small, as thick or as thin as you like. Bake them longer and make them crunchier if you like. Sprinkle more crushed candy canes on top after baking, or not. They’re your gluten free candy cane cookies, after all!
As for crushing the candy canes you’ll need for this recipe, use a food processor or a coffee grinder for best results. Otherwise, you can always just store up all the day’s frustration and put coarsely broken candy canes in a large zip-top freezer bag and seal, then lay flat on a counter and repeatedly roll (or beat!) a rolling pin over the candy canes until they’re evenly crushed into fine pieces.
The finer the better for crushing the candy canes needed for these cookies so they don’t melt and break the dough apart. Measure out ½ cup of crushed candy for this recipe. Sprinkle any remainder over cookies after they’re baked, if desired.
Make sure the candy canes you’re using do not contain gluten though! It goes without saying that you should always read labels … even on candy canes.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this traditional recipe, made gluten free. It’s a keeper!
I have LOADS more gluten free cookie and holiday cookie recipes here at gfJules.com — just use the search bar at the top of every page! But I’ve also gathered some other delicious gluten-free holiday cookie recipes from food blogger friends for a Virtual Gluten-free Cookie Exchange!
Gluten-free Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies by My Gluten-Free Kitchen
Gluten-free Gingerbread Kiss Cookies by Gluten Free Palate
Snowball Cookies by Allergylicious
Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Mint Cookies by Meaningful Eats
Cinnamon Stars by Life After Wheat
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies in Jar by This Vivacious Life
Crock Pot Bark with Salted Peanuts by What the Fork
Coffee Flour Cookies by Flippin’ Delicious
Snickerdoodle Cookies by Veggie Balance
Lemon Cranberry Cookies by Vegetarian Mamma
Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Pinwheel Cookies by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free
You can even make this dough and bake them out as regular round cookies — no need to braid them if you’re in a hurry or craving peppermint cookies at other times of the year (it’s a thing).
1 cup butter or vegan alternative (e.g. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, softened) OR ½ cup butter + ½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
½ cup finely crushed gluten-free candy canes or peppermints (Hammonds or Spanglers are GF)
1 large egg or substitute
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2½ cups (337.5 gr) gfJules™ Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1-2 Tbs. milk of choice (if using shortening)
Red food coloring (optional) India Tree makes good natural food colors
½ cup extra crushed gluten-free candy canes, optional
Place butter (and shortening, if using), confectioners’ sugar and crushed candy canes into a large mixing bowl and cream until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Slowly stir in the gfJules Flour and salt, mixing until completely combined.
Divide dough into equal halves. Place one half into a separate bowl. Add red food coloring to remaining half in the mixing bowl, mixing color into dough until it’s the desired color red.
Prepare the cookies or wrap each half of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to make the cookies.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Dust a clean countertop or pastry mat with a small amount of gfJules Flour.
Pinch off approximately one tablespoon-sized pieces of red and white dough and roll them into thin logs of equal length. (Logs should be about 5 inches long and no more than ¼-inch in diameter. The exact length isn’t important, only that they’re about the same size.) Don't roll in too much flour or they will not roll well; too little flour and they will stick to the surface.
Create pairs of joined red and white logs by pinching their ends together (wet the ends with a touch of water if they are too floured to stick together). Gently “braid” each red and white pair by laying one over the other, repeating until the 2 logs are twisted around each other up their entire length. Pinch ends to seal.
Using a spatula, gently place each twisted pair onto prepared baking sheets. Curl the top of each cookie down to form a candy-cane shape.
Place cookies in preheated oven and bake 9 to 10 minutes. Do not let cookies brown.
Remove from oven and sprinkle hot cookies with crushed candy, if desired. Remove to fully cool on a wire rack before serving.
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