I have fond memories of making Candy Cane Cookies as a kid. But whenever I tried making them as an adult, they never worked out very well - until this year!
The recipe we made came from my mom's 1960s or 70s Betty Crocker cookbook which fell apart ages ago. Yes, it may be a stretch that I call these "historical", but since the recipe came out before I was born, I'm going with it. Luckily, you can easily find the recipe online still! Here's the link.
A few notes though. Once the dough is all mixed up, and before you add the red dye to half, if your dough looks more like soft chocolate chip cookie dough (i.e. drop cookie consistency), then you definitely need more flour - or it won't work no matter how long you chill it! We ended up having to add an entire 1 1/2 cups more flour until it had some more body to it. Then we chilled it over night.
Once the dough is chilled, you have to work quickly while handling it, because it warms up in your hands pretty fast. My kids and I had a fun time making the candy cane shapes, candy cane sticks, wreaths, and knots. And when we ran out of white, we made a couple red chickens cookies. haha!
The recipe is a bit of an ordeal, but so iconic for the season, and definitely worth eating and sharing!