Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies

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Featured Image for post Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies

These Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies are a lightly sweetened, lemon shortbread cookie studded with dried cherries. They’re an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat Christmas cookie with a sandy, melt in your mouth texture.

This recipe is adapted from a fun Christmas cookie magazine, Simply Sweet Christmas Cookies & Treats. Liz from Hoosier Homemade said she saw an ad for my cookbook, Simply Sweet Dream Puffs, in a Christmas cookie magazine. So when I was shopping at Costco recently, I couldn’t resist buying a copy.

Collage of Christmas cookie magazine, Simply Sweet Christmas Cookies & Treats

There were lots of great ideas and recipes I wanted to try in the magazine, but the Cherry Lemon Candy Canes really appealed to me because I love dried cherries and they were fun, festive, and easy to make.

To make shaping the cookies easier, be sure and chop the dried cherries fairly small. I like to use kitchen shears to cut the dried cherries into pieces rather than chop them with a knife.

Collage of making Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies

I rarely use store bought icing because homemade icing tastes so much better. But red icing can be difficult to make at home without it tasting like red food coloring. So I decided to use Wilton Cookie Icing to decorate the cookies.

I like that the Wilton Cookie Icing has a nozzle so it’s easy pipe the candy cane stripes without using a piping bag or tips. I also liked that it didn’t have a strong food color taste and it set up really nicely on the cookies. Just be sure and follow the directions on the bottle, and warm and knead the icing before using.

These Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies are a lightly sweetened, lemon shortbread cookie studded with dried cherries. They\'re an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat Christmas cookie with a sandy, melt in your mouth texture.

Don’t skip the dough refrigeration time. It’s a tender, crumbly, sandy cookie and needs the 2 hours of refrigeration so the dough is easy to handle.

This cookie would be fun to make with kids. It’s also perfect for anyone that prefers their treats lightly sweetened.

Featured Image for post Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Cherry Lemon Candy Cane Cookies

Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 27 minutes


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • Red cookie icing*


  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually add flour, beating until blended. Stir in cherries.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Shape dough into 30 (5- x 1/2-inch) ropes. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets; bend over tops of ropes to look like candy canes.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes.) Decorate candy cane cookies with icing.


*I used Wilton Cookie Icing but you can make your own. Whisk together 3 tablespoons cherry juice, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon red liquid food coloring in a small bowl until smooth.

More Christmas cookies you might like:

Lemon Glazed Christmas Wreath Cookies, Barbara Bakes
Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bars, Barbara Bakes
Fresh Cranberry Lemon Cookies, What Megan’s Making
Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies, Sally’s Baking Addiction
Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, Gimme Some Oven


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