These are not the most dainty or elegant of cookies, but they’ll please those who favour quantity over looks and the kids can definitely help make them. You’ll need to make up a rolled cookie dough that can stand up to a lot of handling. I like the one in the Joy of Cooking but use the one you’re most familiar with. I suggest you use butter for the fat, not only for the flavour but because the dough will handle better.
Once you’ve made up the dough, divide it in half and tint one half with red food colouring. This will take a lot longer and a lot more food colouring than you think. You can also add a few drops of peppermint flavouring to the red dough if you like. Then wrap both halves in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours. Bring the dough back out of the fridge an hour or so before you want it so it can warm up to a pliable temperature. I generally squeeze it in my hands until it’s a good texture for rolling—think of it as a stress ball, always useful this time of year.
Once the dough’s easy to handle, divide each ball into an equal number of pieces. For each cookie, you will need to roll out a rope of white and a rope of red dough—just like the plasticine snakes you used to make in kindergarten. If you do this on a silicone cookie sheet liner, you shouldn’t need any flour to stop them from sticking. Don’t make them too thin or they’ll fall apart on you.
Then twist the ropes into a cane shape and place on a cookie sheet to be baked.