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Festive Gluten Free Candy Cane Cookies

Festive Candy Cane Cookies are the perfect treat to add to your gluten free Christmas cookie platter! Lightly flavored with peppermint and a slight crunch pairs perfectly with a warm mug of hot cocoa.

Gluten Free Candy Cane Cookies on a Christmas plate with a bowl of crushed candy canes and a glass of milk

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My kids love peppermint flavored desserts and treats, especially during the holiday season. Who could blame them? It’s one of my favorite holiday flavors too!

My mom made candy cane sugar cookies for us a few times when I was a kid and I loved them. The shape, the smell, the taste, the look – I literally loved everything about the cookies. 

Candy Cane Cookies are a recipe I’ve wanted to make for the girls but for some reason, they just never made it onto the list. Until last year, that is.

I decided I just need to get into the kitchen to do it, so I did. However, they took a little longer to make than expected so instead of making dinner, we made cookies. #holidays

gluten free candy cane cookies cooling on a round metal wire rack

You guys, give yourselves enough time to make these cookies. Don’t try to quickly whip up a batch of these for some weeknight baking, this is one of those recipes you want to save for the weekend or when you have an hour or two.

FYI, I adapted this recipe from my Cherry Pinwheel Cookies. It’s a great slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough that worked so well to make these candy cane cookies.

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Key Ingredients for Candy Cane Cookies

  • Gluten Free Flour – I use my Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe. It’s excellent in cookies!
  • Sorghum Flour – I love the addition of a small amount of sorghum flour in cookie recipes. It gives them more depth of flavor and makes them taste like they’re made with wheat flour.
  • Butter (see below for dairy free) – for best results, use a butter with at least 84% butter fat.
  • Eggs– this recipe uses 1 large egg in the dough and one egg white for the egg wash. I haven’t tried this recipe with an egg replacement but a flax egg made with golden flaxseed meal would most likely work well.
  • Red Food Coloring – I prefer using gel food coloring over liquid food coloring. For this recipe, I used AmeriColor Super Red.
  • Peppermint Extract – for the best flavor, use a high-quality peppermint extract. I like Nielsen-Massey Organic Pure Peppermint Extract.

a pile of gluten free candy cane cookies on a round. metal wire rack

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.


Dairy Free Candy Cane Cookies

To make dairy free candy cane cookies, use Nutiva Shortening in place of the butter.


Equipment Needed to Make Gluten Free Cookies

  • Stand Mixer – I find using a stand mixer is the easiest and fastest way to mix up a batch of cookie dough.
  • Half Sheet Pans – Nordicware Half Sheet Pans are my favorite.
  • Silpat Silicone Baking Mat or Parchment Paper

gluten free candy cane cookies in a buffalo plaid cookie tin


How to Make Candy Cane Cookies

Step 1. Add the gluten free all purpose flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Then set aside.

Step 2. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium low. When the butter/sugar is smooth and creamy, add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until completely incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.

Step 3. Divide the dough in half. Form half of the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, keep the remaining half of the dough in the mixing bowl. For best results, use a digital kitchen scale to weigh your dough to divide it evenly.

Step 4. Add the peppermint extract and red food coloring to the dough in the bowl and mix until all of the red food coloring is evenly distributed and no white streaks remain in the dough.

Step 5. Line 2 rimmed half-sheet pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.

Step 6. To form the candy canes, take 1 teaspoon of red dough and 1 teaspoon of plain dough. Roll each piece of dough into an even, 5-inch long rope. Place the ropes side-by-side and gently twist them together. Then place the twisted dough on a prepared baking sheet and form into a candy cane shape. Repeat with all remaining dough, you should end up with about 36 cookies.

Step 7. Once the cookies are formed, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

a gluten free candy cane cookie hanging on the side of a glass of milk

Step 8. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 9. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. In a separate bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and candy cane bits.

Step 10. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet so that they’re 2 inches apart. Brush each cookie with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the sugar/candy cane bits.

Step 11. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 12. For best results, bake a single sheet of cookies at a time on the center rack.


Tips for Making Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

  • Give yourself enough time to make these cookies without having to rush. Making the dough is a quick process but forming the cookies is a little time-consuming. It’s a great baking project to do with kids!
  • Cool the cookie sheet completely before re-using it. A warm cookie sheet will make the cookies spread more than they should.
  • Handle the cookies with care. These cookies are very delicate and can break easily. Transfer the cookies carefully and store them with wax paper or parchment paper between layers.

gluten free candy cane cookies on a white Christmas plate with a bowl of candy cane bits and a glass of milk in the background


Other Gluten Free Christmas Cookie Recipes To Try

a gluten free candy cane cookie hanging on a glass of milk


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a pile of gluten free candy cane cookies on a round. metal wire rack

Gluten Free Candy Cane Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 38 minutes

Festive Candy Cane Cookies are the perfect treat to add to your gluten free Christmas cookie platter! Lightly flavored with peppermint and a slight crunch pairs perfectly with a warm mug of hot cocoa.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (275g) gluten free flour (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup (32g) sorghum flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (160g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

For Topping

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon candy cane bits

Instructions

  1. Add the gluten free all purpose flour, sorghum flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Then set aside.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium low. When the butter/sugar is smooth and creamy, add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until completely incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Form half of the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, keep the remaining half of the dough in the mixing bowl. For best results, use a digital kitchen scale to weigh your dough to divide it evenly.
  4. Add the peppermint extract and red food coloring to the dough in the bowl and mix until all of the red food coloring is evenly distributed and no white streaks remain in the dough.
  5. Line 2 rimmed half-sheet pans with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
  6. To form the candy canes, take 1 teaspoon of red dough and 1 teaspoon of plain dough. Roll each piece of dough into an even, 5-inch long rope. Place the ropes side-by-side and gently twist them together. Then place the twisted dough on a prepared baking sheet and form into a candy cane shape. Repeat with all remaining dough, you should end up with about 36 cookies.
  7. Once the cookies are formed, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. In a separate bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and candy cane bits.
  10. Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet so that they're 2 inches apart. Brush each cookie with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the sugar/candy cane bits.
  11. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. For best results, bake a single sheet of cookies at a time on the center rack.

Notes

  1. I used my Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend in this recipe. If your flour blend contains xanthan gum, omit what's called for in the recipe.
  2. Use 1/4 cup of the same gluten free flour you used to replace the sorghum flour if necessary. However, the sorghum flour adds flavor to the cookies so if you substitute it, they won't have quite the same flavor.
  3. I used AmeriColor Super Red Gel Food Coloring in this recipe.
  4. For dairy free candy cane cookies, use Nutiva Shortening in place of the butter.
  5. Store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. These cookies are delicate so be gentle when storing. They can also be frozen, defrost at room temperature before serving.
  6. To freeze the un-baked cookie dough, place the chilled cookies (already on the baking sheet) in the freezer. Once frozen solid, transfer the cookie dough to a freezer-safe bag up to 3 months. Bake from frozen for 9-10 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 69

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs. Calories are for 1 cookie.

 Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

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