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Candy Cane Fingerprint Cookies

Pixabay photo

By Barbara Beltrami

The candy cane, that red and white Christmas phenomenon, as emblematic of the holiday as Santa and his reindeer or bauble-festooned evergreens, is one of my favorite ingredients when creating holiday confections. Its cool peppermint flavor echoes the air outside and its  sweetness appeals to kids and grownups alike. Candy cane meringue kisses and fingerprint cookies make lovely treats for wrapping up as gifts or swapping at cookie exchanges while a candy cane cheesecake with a chocolate crust combines three winning flavors in one beautiful dessert. So go ahead, swipe a few candy canes from the tree and start baking.

Candy Cane Meringue Kisses

Candy Cane Meringue Cookies

YIELD: Makes about 3 dozen


2 large egg whites at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 candy canes, finely crushed


Preheat oven to 225 F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Put egg whites in large bowl and add cream of tartar and salt; beat until foamy. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition; continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Transfer mixture to piping bag and pipe 1 1/2” cookies 2 “ apart onto parchment; sprinkle evenly with crushed candy canes and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours until firm but not brown; transfer to wire racks to cool; store in airtight container.  Serve with peppermint tea or hot chocolate.

Candy Cane Fingerprint Cookies

Stock photo

YIELD: Makes about 4 dozen


48 candy cane kisses

4 – 5 candy canes, finely crushed

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg at room temperature

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS: Place candy kisses in a covered container and freeze for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg, milk and vanilla. In another large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into other mixture. Shape into one-inch balls and roll each one in crushed candy canes; place two inches apart on parchment and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately make an indentation with your finger and press a candy cane kiss into center of each cookie. Transfer to wire racks. Serve with egg nog or Irish coffee.

Candy Cane Cheesecake

YIELD: Makes 12 to 16 servings


2 1/2 cups crumbled chocolate wafers

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Six 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

10 ounces chocolate chips

12 ounces heavy cream, whipped

4 candy canes, crushed


Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9” springform pan, then tightly wrap the outside with two layers of aluminum foil. In a small bowl combine chocolate wafers and melted butter and press mixture into bottom and one inch up sides of pan; set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until set; cool on wire rack.  

In a large bowl beat 5 of the packages of cream cheese with one cup of the sugar until smooth; beat in sour cream, flour and extracts; add eggs and beat on low speed just until combined; fold in chocolate chips, then pour mixture into chocolate crust. Place pan in roasting pan to which one inch hot water has been added. Bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until center is set and top is no longer shiny. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes; run knife around edge to loosen cake, then cool one hour longer; refrigerate overnight, then remove sides of pan. 

For the topping, beat together remaining 8 ounces cream cheese and one-third cup sugar until smooth; fold in whipped cream and 3/4 of the crushed candy canes.  Spread mixture over top of cake; sprinkle remaining candy canes on top.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with peppermint schnapps.