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What to Do With All Those Candy Canes?

Seven ideas from candy cane martinis to peppermint fudge.

'Tis the season of the candy cane. Those red and white striped sticks of peppermint goodness are one of my favorite holiday treats. Oh man, I love those suckers.

But no matter how much you love them, there comes a time when you just don't want to suck on your fourth candy cane of the day. Whether your Christmas tree is decorated with them, you have a bowl filled with them, or a friend scores a batch at Costco, it's time to get creative with your supply. Here are seven ideas to help you shovel through that candy cane blizzard:

  1. Candy Cane Martini: Vanilla vodka, white crème de menthe and a touch of grenadine make for a festive martini, but it wouldn't be complete without a mini candy cane garnish in the glass.
  2. Chocolate Covered Candy Canes: Dip two-thirds of the candy cane in melted dark chocolate or white chocolate (with a little bit of shortening) and stand upside-down in a cup or mug to allow the chocolate to set.
  3. Pepped Up Hot Chocolate: Candy canes make perfect stirrers and garnish for a cup of steaming hot chocolate. As a bonus, pierce the candy cane through a store-bought—or better yet, a homemade—marshmallow.
  4. Peppermint Fudge: There are a number of quick "five-minute fudge" recipes out there. Snag one of those and throw in some crushed candy canes for a delicious and festive fudgey treat.
  5. Candy Cane Sandwich: Coat a graham cracker with vanilla or chocolate frosting, add candy cane pieces and cover with another graham cracker for a sinfully delicious sandwich, perfect for those lazy, casual days between Christmas and New Years. It's okay, you can go to the gym for your New Years resolution.
  6. Candy Cane Bark: Melted white chocolate, crushed candy canes and peppermint extract are all you need! Pour the mixture onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and chill. Break into pieces and I guarantee it will be gone before you know it.
  7. Peppermint Brownie Sundae: Okay, so you'll need to have a strong constitution to enjoy a frosty treat in the middle of winter, but this is not to be missed. Warm up a gooey, fudgey, delicious brownie. Top with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream (homemade is easy and best!) and lots of candy cane chunks.

Candy canes are one of the most festive treats of the season. They go hand in hand with holiday music: sure, you run the risk of overdosing, but enjoy them while you can because you'll soon be without them for another 11 months.

Savor your candy canes and get creative. An unexpected candy cane garnish puts a smile on my face and makes me want to spontaneously break out into Christmas carols.

Mattie December 27, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Put them into a gallon size zip-lock baggie and save them for the Christmas tree next year, and the year after, and the year after. You can get a good 4-5 yrs out of them, before they even start to fade or get broken from storage. I buy a small box of 'fresh' ones for the grandkids to eat, so the ones on the tree stay where they are. The ones you buy every year *could be* a few years old as well. No sell by date on candy canes, anyhow.

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