Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
With shiny red and white stripes and a crystaled sugar finish, these Candy Cane Sugar Cookies are whimsical, yet elegant; they're guaranteed to impress the crowd at your holiday cookie swap. The design is simple enough for amateur cookie decorators to try out, but still results in a professional-looking finish. The white sanding sugar works twofold—not only does it make the cookies look shiny and add a layer of texture, but it also covers up any sloppy piping where the red meets the white. I used larger sanding sugar crystals, but you can use finer sprinkles to achieve a sleeker look.Red is probably one of the most difficult colors to dye your icing—it can take a lot of dye to lift it out of pinkish-orange territory and achieve that rich, deep shade of red. Keep in mind is that it takes time for the food coloring to fully develop, so after mixing in a few initial drops of red food coloring, cover the icing with a wet paper towel (to keep it moist) and let it sit for an hour or two, even if you haven't quite achieved the shade of Christmas red you're hoping for. Allowing the icing to rest will let the color fully develop—when you return to the icing an hour later, you'll find that it's a bit darker than before! From here, you can mix in more food coloring if desired, but this trick will help ensure that you only use as much food coloring as you really need.These impressive, homemade decorated sugar cookies look straight out of a bakery window. (In fact, a few cookie swap participants jokingly accused me of buying my cookies from a bakery instead of baking them myself.) Pair them with my Snowflake Sugar Cookies and you've got a festive themed set. Plus, I can almost guarantee that these sugar cookies taste better than the minty candy canes of your childhood.For more cookie decorating tips and some insight into the vocabulary and techniques mentioned in this recipe, check out this guide to cookie decorating. Conveniently, you can purchase tipless piping bags on Amazon (you'll want the 12-inch size for cookie decorating).