Adorably festive candy cane kiss cookies come together with a handful of basic baking ingredients. These are drop-style cookies (no rolling pin needed!) with plenty of colorful Christmas sprinkles and candy cane-flavored Hershey’s Kisses pressed in the center. They’re the nut-free, peppermint version of classic peanut butter blossoms!
What’s red and white and sweet all over? Well, a puppy in a holiday sweater, obviously. But also: THESE COOKIES! Similar to these Christmas cookie sparkles, but with a peppermint twist and a candy cane kiss!
I originally shared a recipe like this back in November 2013, before I published any cookbooks and right before I started my annual Christmas cookie countdown known as Sally’s Cookie Palooza. (Have you been following that long?!) Bad news, the original recipe was finicky and the cookies often over-spread. Good news, I reworked the entire recipe, took some shiny new photos, and now they’re joining my annual Christmas cookie countdown. No holiday cookie tray should go without a batch!
Candy Cane Version of Peanut Butter Blossoms
These “blossom”-style cookies are like a candy cane-sugar cookie version of classic peanut butter blossoms. Same easy-to-make process, but instead of peanut butter and chocolate, you get a sugar cookie and candy cane flavor combo. They’re an excellent nut-free alternative if you need one, but also, who says you can’t make both?! *whispers* You should make both.
In fact, you can leave out the peppermint extract, swap the flavor of Hershey Kiss, choose your sprinkle color, and make these sugar cookie blossoms for pretty much any holiday! Have you tried these red velvet kiss cookies, or these Valentine’s Day sparkle sweetheart cookies? All so much fun.
Here’s Why You’ll Love Them
- Very easy to make
- Simple ingredient list
- Change flavors by omitting the peppermint extract and swapping type of Hershey’s Kiss
- Soft and chewy cookie with a little crunch from the sprinkle coating
- Sparkly, colorful, striped, and so so festive!
Grab These Ingredients:
- Butter: A sugar cookie staple! Butter adds creaminess and delicious flavor. Make sure you have proper room temperature butter before beginning.
- Sugar: We use all granulated in these sugar cookies.
- Egg: An egg binds everything together. If you’re ever looking for an egg-free holiday cookie, these snowball cookies are my top choice.
- Vanilla + Peppermint Extracts: Flavor! Be sure to use peppermint extract and not mint extract. I find the latter tastes more like toothpaste, and less like dessert.
- Flour: Sturdy all-purpose flour is the base of these cookies.
- Baking Powder: So the cookies rise.
- Salt: To balance the sweetness.
- Sprinkles: The FUN part! I recommend using either nonpareils (the teeny-tiny balls) or sparkling sanding sugar for rolling these cookies. Both add a delightful crunch when you bite into the soft cookies. Note: I forgot them in the ingredients photo above!
- Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses: These red-and-white-striped candy cane-flavored chocolates appear in American grocery stores around the holidays. If you can’t find them, you can swap them for another flavor/color.
Can I make a chocolate cookie version? Yes, absolutely! See recipe Note below.
Best Way to Make Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
I love that these are simple drop-style sugar cookies—no rolling out cookie dough like we have to do when making traditional sugar cookies.
After the dough comes together, you’re going to roll the cookies and chill them just like we do when making brown butter sugar cookies.
Roll in Sprinkles & Chill
Measure 1 scant Tablespoon, or 20g, of dough per cookie. Roll into a ball. If the dough feels too sticky to roll in your hands, chill it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then try again.
Roll the dough balls in a dish of sprinkles—nonpareils or colored sparkling sugar—and place on a lined baking sheet or a plate. You need to chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before baking, so if you don’t have room in your refrigerator for a baking sheet, you can chill them on a plate.
Arrange chilled dough balls on your lined baking sheet. Add the candy cane kisses after they’re done in the oven.
Avoid Candy Cane Kiss Puddles
Now let’s talk about candy cane kiss puddles. (Something I’m sure you woke up thinking about today.) Sometimes melted candies are what we are after, like when we make Andes mint chocolate cookies. However, melty-bottomed Hershey’s candy cane kisses are not pretty. Let’s keep those kisses from melting when you add them to the warm cookies…
Here’s how to prevent candy cane kiss puddles: While the cookies are baking, clear a space in your freezer, get out a small baking sheet (or plate), and unwrap the candy cane kisses.
After the cookies bake, let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then carefully transfer them (I use a metal spatula/turner for this) to a smaller baking sheet or a plate. Press a candy cane kiss ever-so-lightly in the center of each cookie. Immediately transfer the cookies to the freezer for 10 minutes. The warm cookies help the candies adhere, and the cold freezer temperature keeps them from melting.
No more candy kiss puddles. Phew! We can sleep soundly tonight. 😉
3 Success Tips
- Add 1 random extra Tablespoon of flour. 2 cups + 1 Tablespoon of flour seems like an odd amount to print in a recipe, but, in testing, my team and I found that the extra spoonful of flour really made a difference. The dough is easier to handle/roll.
- Chill the dough balls. To prevent cookie puddles.
- Freeze the cookies for 10 minutes. To prevent Hershey’s Kiss puddles.
Everything holds shape nicely using these 3 success tips. Enjoy!
Sally’s Cookie Palooza
This recipe is part of my annual cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of Christmas cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies
- Stained Glass Window Cookies
- Butter Cookies
- Coconut Macaroons
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
and here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.
Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
- Prep Time: 45 minutes (includes chilling)
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Yield: 32-36 cookies
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
These are festive sugar cookies stuffed with a candy cane-flavored Hershey’s Kiss. Soft, chewy, and easy to make! Don’t forget to place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to prevent the candy from melting.
- 2 cups + 1 Tablespoon (260g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons (145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract*
- 1/2 cup (about 90g) nonpareil sprinkles (I use these)
- 32–36 candy cane flavor Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl until combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until fully combined. The dough will be very thick.
- Roll dough into balls, 1 scant Tablespoon of dough each (each dough ball should weigh about 20g). The dough may seem dry, but the warmth of your hands will allow it to come together in a ball. Roll each dough ball generously in the sprinkles. If the sprinkles are not sticking to the dough balls, the dough may be too firm. Try pouring the sprinkles onto a plate and pressing the dough balls into the sprinkles. Or continue rolling the dough balls, as the warmth from your hands can help get the sprinkles to stick. If this still isn’t helping, beat 1 teaspoon of water into the dough to help make it a bit stickier, and then try again.
- Place sprinkled dough balls on a baking sheet or plate (whatever will fit in your refrigerator). Chill them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, and up to 1 day. If chilling for longer than 1 hour, cover them.
- While the cookie dough balls are chilling, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Place the chilled dough balls about 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges appear set. The cookies may look under-baked in the centers; that’s ok—do not over-bake. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
- Set the Hershey’s Kisses: Press a kiss candy into the center of each, then, using a thin spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to a large plate or a few smaller plates (gently—they’re soft). Place the plate(s) of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly set the candy in the cookie.
- Remove from the freezer and serve.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough, roll into balls, roll in sprinkles, and then chill them in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. It’s important to coat the cookie dough balls in sprinkles right after it’s been made because otherwise the sprinkles will not stick. Unbaked (and sprinkle-coated) cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Stand Mixer or Handheld) | Holiday Sprinkles | Baking Sheets | Silicone Baking Mats | Thin Spatula/Turner | Cooling Rack
- Peppermint Extract: Feel free to omit, or replace with almond extract, for a classic sugar cookie flavor.
- Sprinkles: I recommend using nonpareils (the tiny balls), sparkling sanding sugar, or regular jimmies-style sprinkles for coating these cookies.
- Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses: If you cannot find candy cane-flavored Hershey’s Kisses, you can use regular chocolate Hershey’s Kisses or another flavor of your choice.
- Chocolate Version: Want to try a chocolate version? My chocolate peppermint thumbprints recipe is a great place to start. Feel free to roll in granulated sugar as that recipe says, or roll in confectioners’ sugar, or sprinkles. Follow those recipe instructions and instead of indenting the cookies for a thumbprint, bake as regular dough balls. Cool for 5 minutes, and then continue with step 7 above. You can also use these extra fudgy chocolate crinkle cookies. Cool for 5 minutes, and then continue with step 7 above.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips, and these are my 10 favorite cookie baking tools.
Keywords: candy cane kiss cookies
Reader Comments & Reviews
These are festive looking cookies and will make an attractive addition to my Christmas cookie tray. I subtracted a star because I had some difficulty with them, as did others. This is the 2nd cookie recipe of Sally’s that was dry, not sticky as described and shown in pics. I live in the desert SW, don’t know where Sally is based but would guess it’s in a more humid climate. The extra tsp of water helped. Also had to work the cookie balls with my hands to get the sprinkles to stick and I think that plus the dryish dough is why they turned out kind of tough. Used. Tbsp to measure the dough and ended up with 26 cookies
My cookie dough was flaky but I persisted and the cookies are perfect. I followed the recipe to the letter. They are delicious. I felt these cookies were time consuming with chilling the dough and putting in freezer when done but they are worth it.
This cookie was time consuming but it was fun to make. Had no problem with the sprinkles staying on either. My 6 year old granddaughter helped with the sprinkle part and she had fun.
I followed the recipe and timing exactly, and these turned out perfectly! They are a huge hit! Thank you for a clear, easy, and delicious cookie recipe!
I really want to like these cookies, but as I read the comments many people have stated that their dough was dry and the nonpareils did not stick. I also had that same issue. What is causing this to be the situation?
Hi Marie, if the sprinkles are not sticking to the dough balls, the dough may be too firm. And I’ve seen some readers have this issue as well, so I added specific notes to the recipe. You can definitely work around this, if you ever try the recipe again. Try pouring the sprinkles onto a plate and pressing the dough balls into the sprinkles. Or continue rolling the dough balls, as the warmth from your hands can help get the sprinkles to stick. If this still isn’t helping, beat 1 teaspoon of water into the dough to help make it a bit stickier, and then try again.
Amazing. You always do such an amazing job explaining everything and make it so easy to follow. Thank you Sally! This recipe is a home run, you hit it out of the park!
I did have some issues with the nonpareils sticking, and found that if I rolled them up a bit more the nonpareils stuck better, maybe heat from hand made them more sticky?
Hi Brad, so glad you enjoyed these! Yes, the warmth from your hands can make the dough a bit stickier and allow the sprinkles to stick more. Thank you for giving these a try!
These were perfect! I couldn’t easily find the candy cane kisses so I bought the sugar cookie ones and replaced the peppermint extract with almond extract. The chilling/freezing times worked great and assembly was a breeze. Another Sally recipe hit!
I made these cookies as part of a hot chocolate bar for my coworkers. I followed the recipe, made sure to use room temperature butter and eggs and of all things, the sprinkles wouldn’t stick!!!! Holiday baking on Friday night after a long week at work is not always advisable so out of sheer frustration, I dumped the sprinkles in the batter and beat them in! Cookies turned out just fine and it certainly was a lot easier and less mess. They maybe aren’t quite as pretty as the pictures ones but plan B worked out in the end!!
I made this recipe, followed the instructions to the letter, ordered green, white, and red nonpareils online since they weren’t available in the grocery store (they had only the long sprinkles) and the cookies came out perfect! “Twenty minutes in the refrigerator, five minutes cooling on the baking sheet, ten minutes in the freezer” times four (eight cookies on one baking sheet) is a bit tiresome, but well worth the effort. Really pretty, delicious candy cane taste, and I’ve never seen a cookie as Christmas-y! I highly recommend anyone who sees this recipe to try it.
I loved this recipe so much!!! I really enjoyed the taste. Just enough peppermint, they look so pretty. It will be a part of my baking from now on.
These were delicious but I also have an old recipe of yours and it aso gave instructions for making the chocolate ones and there was no mention of Baking powder, so they were flat, and really lacked any flavor of chocolate. The regular ones I will make again and your instrutions were spot on regarding how to maintaint the Hershey Kiss so that it didn’t puddle….those instructions were spot on!
Hi Jo Ann, thanks so much for giving these a try! Should you want to make a chocolate version again, we include newer details and recommendations in the recipe Notes which utilize the cookie doughs from our chocolate peppermint thumbprints or chocolate crinkles.
Why did my cookies come out flat? I followed all directions about chilling, etc. taste good but disappointed that they’re not round like yours.
Hi Linda, here’s our best tips for preventing cookies from spreading.
I won’t be making these cookies again. The dough was dry and the non perils didn’t stick at all. I wet my hands before putting them in the nonperils but they still hardly stuck to the cookies. My hands are now all red and green! What a total pain to make. I only got 24 cookies out of them. So disappointed. I make the peanut butter blossoms all the time, come out perfect & much easier to make.
I had the same problem Audrey, what a disappointment!
I agree! Mine didn’t stick either. What a disaster. Waste of time.
We did not like the crunch from the sprinkles at all.. last batch I switched to colored sugar and they were perfect. That’s the only reason I gave it 4 stars. We felt that it took away from the cookie and the peppermint taste. Also READ THE DIRECTIONS… I was so eager to put the kisses on, I did it right away and didn’t know we were suppose to put in the freezer so the kisses all melted. BUT they are still a BEAUTIFUL, swirly puddle. LOL will definitely make again. Thanks!
Definitely A Keeper
These turned out great! They have a nice peppermint flavor that is not overpowering or artificial tasting. I love that they are so easy to make and look so festive. The cookies are pretty with colored sugar instead of the nonpareils.
These turned out great. I can see where there may have been an issue with cracking, so couple of tricks. I used a small 1 Tbsp scoop and got 35 cookies. Still rounded them in my palms to warm them up so sprinkles would adhere. Froze the chocolate kisses for an hour and pushed into cookies after two minutes and then put in fridge. No problem. No cracking and no melting! Honestly, I’m not a great baker but these are very impressive!
I made these with my 4 and 7 year old granddaughters. They loved putting the candies in. I bought candy cane hershey kisses, Dove dark chocolate mint and Andes Mints. They were beautiful and delicious. My friend who is a great baker tried one and immediately requested the recipe. TY!!
My cookies are beautiful …just like yours. Perfectly round, slightly domed. I’m so proud to send these on my cookie tray to friends. I could not find the peppermint kisses so I used Hersey hugs. They still looked festive with the sprinkles. Thank you. Headed back into kitchen to make another one of your cookie recipes.
Great recipe. I forgot to give it 5 stars below in my review.