Candy-Stripe Cookie Sticks

I tend to get a little carried away during the Christmas season.

I read the Christmas edition of the Martha Stewart magazine cover to cover several times over before December even begins.

I go over-budget on Christmas gifts.

I send way too many Christmas cards.

I spend hours perusing department stores and catalogs for the perfect gift for each of my family members and friends.

I listen to Christmas carols 24/7 the whole month of December.

I look forward to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church more than I look forward to my own birthday.

And I always bake way too many Christmas cookies.

We’re spending Christmas in Pensacola this year. Just the two of us. While I’ll miss being close to family and friends, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with just my husband. He’s been away on TAD since October, so I’m just a little anxious to have him back. (Okay, chomping at the bit is probably more accurate.)

I’ve seriously had to cut back on my Christmas cookie production this year. My husband can put away baked goods like it’s nobody’s business, but even he needs a well-balanced meal once in a while.

So this year, I’m going for quality over quantity.

I decided that this is the perfect Christmas to tackle Martha’s candy-stripe cookie sticks. These little lovelies are¬†quite possibly the most time-consuming cookies that I’ve ever baked. But they’re definitely worth every minute and every burnt fingertip.

Don’t they just beam Christmas cheer?

Candy-Stripe Cookie Sticks
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

Active time: 1.5 hours
Start to finish: 1.5 hours
Makes 30 cookie sticks

8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of coarse salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Red gel-paste food coloring

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; beat on medium until foamy. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt; mix until just combined. Add butter, cream, and vanilla; beat until combined.

Transfer 1 cup batter to a small bowl; set remaining batter aside. Stir in red coloring until desired color is reached. Transfer tinted batter to a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip. Secure end of pastry bag with rubber band; set aside.

Place a 3-by-6 inch rectangle (cut out a stencil to use as a guide) on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat baking mat. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of plain batter into the rectangle; spread with a small offset spatula. The thinner you can make your layer of batter, the better. Repeat. Pipe diagonal tinted stripes onto each rectangle. Bake cookies until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from oven. Immediately loosen edges with a spatula, and flip cookie over. Starting from one long side, roll cookie into a stick. Place seam side down, on a clean work surface; let cool until set. Quickly repeat with second cookie.

Repeat process, tinting and baking 2 or 3 cookies at a time. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in air-tight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

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