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Recipes with leftover candy canes

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Candy cane sweets & treats

Discarding candy canes with the ripped and torn wrapping paper almost seems anti-Christmas -- but what else can you do with the sweet canes of sugar and mint? Plenty! Before you toss your Christmas collection of sweet minty candy canes, put them to tasty use before and after the holiday finale has passed.

Hot Chocolate with Candy Cane

Candy canes are synonymous with Christmas -- festively striped red and white with a refreshing pepperminty cool taste, hanging from Christmas trees and in the mouths of most kids. Candy canes play candy icon of the holidays and are then set aside once the presents have been unwrapped and the tree is taken down. But with these fun ideas, you won't be throwing them away this year!

Creative uses for leftover candy canes

Candy canes are remarkably versatile, particularly if you love the cool rush of mint on your tongue. They can be used whole as a stir stick to infuse candy cane flavor in warm beverages and they can be crushed and added to a delectable array of everyday desserts.

Give it a peppermint stir

Candy canes are perfect for adding a hint of mint to your winter drinks. For your next hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea, swirl a candy cane in your cup -- as it slowly melts, it will release its lovely mint flavor. The longer you swirl, the stronger the minty taste.

When you need a bit of holiday spirit after the holidays, you can also use crushed candy canes to rim martini glasses for chocolate or minty martinis -- be sure to use a small candy cane as garnish on the glass.

Crushed candy canes are a dessert delight

Crushed candy canes effortlessly add signature flavor and festive color to holiday desserts as well as everyday sweets and treats. Here's how.

Candy Cane Brownies

Makes 8 brownies

Chocolate and mint, who can resist? Not only do crushed candy canes pair impeccably well with ooey, gooey chocolate, they also add a pretty contrasting color.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • A few drops peppermint oil (optional) 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup crushed candy canes, divided
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line the bottom with aluminum foil. Grease the aluminum foil and dust with flour.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate with butter, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture, vanilla and peppermint oil. Beat in the flour and salt. Add 1/2 cup candy canes and mini chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining candy canes.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert onto a plate and then onto a cutting board. Cut into 8 brownies and serve with vanilla ice cream and a single small candy cane.

No Bake Candy Cane Cheesecake Bites

Makes 24

These are unexpected yummy treats that are easy to make – no oven needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint chilled heavy cream
  • 3 (4 ounces each) packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Directions:

  1. Spray a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a stand-up mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently transfer whipped cream to a separate bowl and set aside.
  2. In the stand-up mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Fit mixer with the paddle attachment and gently beat cream cheese mixture until fluffy. Using a spatula, fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
  3. Divide mixture among the muffin cups and smooth tops with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle each bite with candy canes, gently pressing into cheesecake batter. Place in freezer for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, tap muffin tin on the counter to loosen cheesecake bites. Transfer each bite to a foil mini-muffin cup to serve.

Candy Cane White Cake

Serves 12

When you have the time, you can make a white cake and frosting from scratch. When you don't, whip up this easy candy cane cake recipe using boxed cake mix and store-bought frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white frosting
  • Crushed candy canes

Directions:

  1. Make cake according to package directions for bundt cake. Frost cake with frosting. Sprinkle with candy canes, gently pressing candy into frosting to stick. Slice and serve.

More creative uses for candy canes

Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Crackles
Easy cookie decorating without baking
Gluten-free candy cane brown bites

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