4 tasty ways to use all those leftover candy canes

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4 tasty ways to use all those leftover candy canes

If you’re like me, you stock up on candy canes before the holidays. The kids love to hang them on the tree, use them for their gingerbread house décor and make them into reindeer with some googly eyes and felt. They represent the holiday season. Problem is, once the holiday is over, you’re left with too many candy canes to eat. However, if you get creative, those hard, minty candies can be used in a zillion ways.

First, I unwrap them and place them in a big Ziploc bag. Then, I get out all my post-holiday angst and bang them into tiny shards. This bag of broken candy canes becomes my go-to sprinkle, garnish and minty booster for so many recipes. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Once you get the gist, you’ll be using them on everything. Except maybe your meatloaf.

1. Hot chocolate

I love making a big batch of hot chocolate for the kids for an after-sledding treat. After I add a dollop of whipped cream, I sprinkle the candy shards on top for a pretty and minty addition. My son likes to add some to the drink to make a peppermint hot chocolate.

2. Sprinkles

I love making a beautiful cake for New Years. Simple, white cake with a pure white frosting. Then I press the candy cane bits up the side of the cake for a beautiful red and white décor. It’s a winter cake with a crunchy minty touch.

3. Mint ice cream

I always have vanilla ice cream in the freezer. For a punched-up sundae, add some candy cane shards to a slightly softened vanilla for a homemade mint ice cream. Simple and delicious.

4. Cookies

Keeping with the sprinkle theme, I also make a batch of Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies. Instead of flaked salt, I substitute my chopped candy cane. The chocolate mint combination is wonderful. I hope Dorie would approve.

Want another cookie recipe? You probably have all the ingredients you need for these Italian sprinkle cookies.

Image: Anna F. Gass