Using Up Candy Canes

by Elizabeth Skipper | January 20th, 2015 | Ask the Chef

candy-cane (400x400)Candy canes! I have too many of them left. Is there anything I can do with them besides trying to pawn them off on every person that visits our house?  I am open to a creative recipe or idea.

Ha – once Christmas is over, things like candy canes are a glut on the market. Williams Sonoma has their “nostalgic peppermint bark” on sale now, for example. It sounds good, though. It’s described as “handmade from custom-blended Guittard premium chocolate, infused with natural peppermint oil, layered with creamy white chocolate and finished with a snowfall of crisp handmade peppermint candy bits.” I love the way it’s all handmade – what does that mean, exactly, as surely it’s made in a factory?

Anyway, the idea of peppermint married to white or dark chocolate seems like a natural. So cookies, especially a bar cookie like a brownie, would be good paired with candy canes. You’ll want to break them into little pieces for that purpose. The easiest way to do that would be to break them into large pieces by hand and then put the pieces into a heavy duty Ziploc bag to crush into smaller pieces with a rolling pin or similar blunt object. Then you could add the pieces to your favorite brownie batter or sprinkle a layer on top of the batter before baking.

To turn the pieces into dust would better be done with a food processor. Just put the broken-up pieces into the food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until it’s the texture you want.

Candy cane dust would be a lovely coating to roll truffles in; and truffles made with a ganache base are easily turned out at home. Or, as you now have peppermint-flavored sugar, try adding some to sweeten and flavor a milkshake or smoothie.

Candy canes are nothing more than cooked flavored sugar, so they’ll dissolve if put into hot liquid. Try using one as a stirrer, maybe to bump up the flavor of a peppermint tea, or to add nuance to a cup of hot chocolate.

Peppermint ice cream is a perennial favorite. You could soften a container of your favorite chocolate or vanilla ice cream, stir in some peppermint pieces to taste, and refreeze. Or start from scratch and make your own.

There are certainly uses for leftover candy canes beyond consuming them as is, so use your imagination and have fun repurposing the wealth.

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