1cupunsalted butter(softened to room temperature (Note 1))
1large egg(room temperature)
2 ½cupsall-purpose flour
3-4dropsred food coloring gel(or ½ teaspoon liquid red food coloring (Note 2))
Mixing cookie dough
In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg and almond and vanilla extracts until well combined. Mix in flour and salt until just combined.
Remove half of the dough and set aside. To the remaining half of dough, add red food coloring and mix until incorporated.
Separately wrap the plain dough and red dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Shaping the candy canes
Portion the plain dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls. A cookie scoop is useful for this. Repeat with the red dough.
Roll a red dough ball into a log about 5-6 inches long. Repeat with the plain dough. Place the logs side by side and gently roll each end in opposite directions to create the classic twist shape.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 8 minutes, but do not brown. Cool completely on the baking sheet. (Note 3)
If desired, dust the cookies with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.
This recipe has been updated to be made with all butter. The original recipe used equal parts butter and shortening. Butter has superior flavor, but this dough does require chilling. Don't skimp on the chilling time, since this is important to help prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape.
Use food coloring gel for more intense color.
Cool the cookies completely before removing from the baking sheet. These cookies are tender and break easily if moved while warm.