Mimsy Were the Borogoves

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Candy cane oatmeal crispies

Jerry Stratton, April 5, 2023

These candy cane cookies are a great way to use up post-Christmas candy canes. You might even want to hit the after-Christmas sales just to get canes to make these with.

Servings: 48
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Eva Layson


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-½ tsp vanilla
  • 1-⅓ cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 7-½ ounces candy canes, about 16


  1. Grease and flour the cookie sheet(s) or lay parchment paper on them.
  2. Coarsely crush or grind the candy canes until you have ¾ cup to 1 cup of candy cane bits.
  3. Set aside ½ cup of candy cane bits for sprinkling over the top.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
  5. Mix in the vanilla.
  6. Mix in the flour, oats, and salt, until well blended.
  7. Stir in the candy cane bits.
  8. Roll into about four dozen ½ ounce balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet(s).
  9. Flatten cookies with a wet fork, leaving a criss-cross pattern.
  10. Sprinkle about ½ tsp of the reserved candy cane bits on each cookie.
  11. Bake about 18-20 minutes, at 325°.
  12. Let cool a minute or so until removable, and transfer to racks to cool completely.
Candy Cane Crisps: Candy Cane Crisps, from Eva Lawson’s 1985 Homemade Cookie Book.; cookies; peppermint

Lacy peppermint taste explosions.

I have a tradition that I thought I’d shared on this blog before, but I can’t find any reference to it. I save some of my Christmas candy canes to make something bright and celebratory for Easter Sunday. Literally, celebrating Christ’s resurrection with something saved from the celebration of his birth.

These cookies come from Eva Layson’s eclectic The Homemade Cookie Book, a 1985 volume of recipes she’d collected over years entertaining in the Foreign Service. She advertises it as having “only those I think unusual and exceptionally good”.

I myself am unusual and… never mind. Wrong quote. Apparently there were several volumes in the series, for One-Dish Meals, for Chocolate, and possibly others. None seem to be as available as the Homemade Cookie volume, which itself is pretty rare. This is the first (and at the moment only) cookbook I bought in 2023. I’m trying to focus more on using the cookbooks I have than on accumulating more. But I couldn’t resist when I saw this book at a local Goodwill. Randomly opening it several times, it really does deliver on providing unusual and exceptional ideas.

These cookies are a very good example. They are, in my experience, unique candy cane snacks. All of the other snacks I’ve made that call for candy canes, use them as decorations on top. Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey’s spiced peppermint crisps in their Spice Cook Book are great cookies, but they’re cookies, and then decorated with crushed candy canes before baking. Similarly, the moron brownies in The Deplorable Gourmet are great brownies, but they’re brownies, and then decorated with crushed candy canes before baking.

Candy cane crisps and ice cream: Eva Layson’s Candy Cane Crisps, with Ice Cream from Helen and George Papashvily’s Russian Cooking.; cookies; ice cream; peppermint

They’re also very good with ice cream, even fruity ice cream.

In the latter case they’re explicitly optional. In the former, it goes without saying, but they could easily be replaced with any topping, because that’s all they are, a topping.

Layson adds the crushed candy cane directly into the batter and sprinkles them over the top. This makes for, as you can see from the photos, a very close to lacy cookie. Unlike lacies, they’re easier to both make and remove from the baking sheet. And the canes form an integral part of the whole, contributing not just to a crunchy topping but to a crunchy and chewy dough.

They’re crunchy and chewy not by virtue of being crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, but by crunching first and then turning chewy in your mouth. The slightly longer baking time with the slightly lower temperature allows the candy cane bits sprinkled over the top to melt without fear of burning.

My recipe is slightly different from the recipe in Layson’s book. I was experimenting1 with amounts of candy cane bits and discovered that more candy cane means chewier and crunchier. So if you want Eva Layson’s recipe, make ¾ cup, and if you want my recipe, make 1 full cup, of candy bits.

This is an excellent cookie for Christmas baking.

It is also an excellent cookie for Easter baking. If, as is likely, you no longer have any candy canes left over from Christmas, “you may use red & white peppermint candies” as a substitute. Green ones should also work, and might be an even better Easter color depending on any table decorations you have.

If, as I used to, you keep candy canes in your Christmas bins in the basement or closet, as decorations rather than as food, candy canes don’t go bad.2 At least not on their own. When I first started this tradition, my candy canes were about five years old. I couldn’t tell the difference. So if you have some in storage, and it bothers you keeping food where mice or rats can get in undetected for a year, consider pulling them out and using fresh candy canes at Christmas from now on.

In response to Holiday food: From Christmas to Easter to Independence Day and more, holidays are times for sharing great food.

  1. This is a lie. I was halving the recipe, and forgot to half the crushed candy canes that go into the dough. Oh happy fault!

  2. This is a slight exaggeration. I have had bad candy canes, but they were on the order of decades old, not years. And it’s easy to tell: they don’t snap when you break them, they bend. So if you go to crush them and they don’t crush but just deform, don’t use them. Or find another use for them rather than for these cookies.

  1. Bicentennial meal ->