What to Do with Leftover Candy Canes

After the holiday festivities wind down, you might find yourself left with an overabundance of candy canes. While they are a delightful treat during the season, too many candy canes can pose a sweet dilemma. Rather than letting them go to waste or eat them all in one go, consider the variety of ways you can repurpose these peppermint treats.

Incorporating leftover candy canes into your cooking is a creative way to use them up. They can be crushed and used as a topping for ice cream or mixed into cookie dough for a minty twist. Their distinct flavor lends itself well to several dessert recipes, from peppermint brownies to a crunchy topping on a warm mug of hot cocoa. Beyond just desserts, candy canes can also be transformed into a festive garnish for holiday drinks or even used in crafting homemade peppermint bark.

If you’re not keen on consuming all the extra sugar, candy canes also have non-edible uses. They can be melted down to create homemade peppermint scented candles or soaps. With a little imagination, leftover candy canes can be a surprising source of inspiration for both your kitchen endeavors and crafting projects, ensuring nothing goes to waste.

Creative Candy Cane Desserts

Transform leftover candy canes into delightful desserts that bring a festive twist to your holiday sweets. From infusing cakes with peppermint flair to crafting decadent truffles, your confections will be the talk of the season.

Peppermint Bark Perfection

To create Peppermint Bark, you’ll need just a few ingredients: chocolate, candy canes, and a touch of oil to smooth out the mixture. Follow this simple process:

  1. Crush candy canes into small pieces.
  2. Melt your choice of chocolate (dark, milk, or white) with a bit of oil.
  3. Spread the melted chocolate onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with candy cane pieces.
  4. Let it set until firm, then break into shards.

This treat merges the cool bite of peppermint with the richness of chocolate, making it an irresistible holiday snack.

Festive Candy Cane Cookies

For Festive Candy Cane Cookies, mix crushed candy canes into your cookie dough and form into fun shapes. Here’s a basic guideline:

  • Combine cookie dough with finely chopped candy canes.
  • Shape into cookies and bake according to your recipe’s instructions.
  • Drizzle with icing or dip in chocolate for an extra layer of sweetness.

Candy cane pieces add a surprising crunch and a minty freshness to each bite of these festive cookies.

Cheerful Cheesecake Twists

Incorporating candy canes into Cheesecake can elevate this classic dessert. Begin with these steps:

  • Prepare your favorite cheesecake batter and crust.
  • Swirl crushed candy canes into the batter for a peppermint twist.
  • Once baked, garnish with additional candy cane pieces or even incorporate them into a homemade icing.

This dessert merges the velvety texture of cheesecake with the invigorating zest of peppermint, offering a cheerful addition to your dessert table.

Beverages and Cocktails

Transform your leftover candy canes into delightful drinks, whether you’re in the mood for a warm beverage or a festive cocktail. Utilize these candy stripes to add a peppermint twist to your favorite drinks.

Warm Up with Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

Immerse yourself in the comforting warmth of Candy Cane Hot Chocolate. Stir your hot chocolate with a candy cane to infuse peppermint flavor, or melt candy cane pieces into your hot cocoa mix. For an indulgent touch, top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy canes.

  • Ingredients:
    • Hot cocoa mix
    • Milk or water
    • Candy canes
  • Steps:
    1. Prepare hot chocolate as directed.
    2. Add a candy cane stirrer until melted or desired flavor is reached.
    3. Garnish with whipped cream and candy cane pieces.

Candy Cane Cocktails

Get creative with Candy Cane Cocktails by incorporating a peppermint twist into your mixology. Create candy cane-infused vodka by steeping candy canes in vodka for a unique homemade candy cane vodka. Use this as a base for a refreshing candy cane martini or a festive spiked hot chocolate.

  • Candy Cane Vodka:
    • Submerge broken candy canes in vodka.
    • Let sit until candy is fully dissolved.
  • Candy Cane Martini:
    • Mix candy cane vodka with a hint of white chocolate liqueur.
    • Serve in a martini glass with a candy cane garnish.

Non-Alcoholic Candy Cane Beverages

Those preferring non-alcoholic options can enjoy a Candy Cane Milkshake or add a dash of peppermint simple syrup to tea or coffee for a refreshing peppermint flavor. For simple syrup, dissolve sugar and candy cane pieces in equal parts water until smooth, then add to your favorite beverages.

  • Peppermint Simple Syrup:
    • Combine sugar, water, and candy cane pieces.
    • Heat until dissolved, cool, and store.
  • Tea/Coffee:
    1. Brew your preferred tea or coffee.
    2. Stir in peppermint simple syrup to taste.
  • Candy Cane Milkshake:
    1. Blend milk, vanilla ice cream, and candy cane pieces.
    2. Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped cream and a candy cane.

Seasonal Crafts and Decorations

With leftover candy canes, you have the unique opportunity to transform them into festive embellishments for your home and thoughtful holiday gifts for loved ones. The following ideas put your surplus sweets to creative use as they become the centerpiece of your seasonal decorations and gift-giving.

Candy Cane Decor for the Home

Candy canes can be integrated into your home decor to add a touch of whimsy and traditional holiday charm. Consider these two decorative uses:

  • Wreaths and Garlands: Upgrade your greenery by tying candy canes into your wreaths or garlands with a festive ribbon. Ensure they are spaced evenly to create a visually appealing pattern.
  • Table Centerpieces: Create a standout table centerpiece by filling a clear vase or jar with candy canes. For an extra festive touch, nestle a candle in the center or surround the vase with holly and evergreens.

Homemade Holiday Gifts

Candy canes make for delightful homemade gifts that show you care. Below, find two gift ideas that are simple to make and sure to be appreciated:

  • Candy Cane Reindeer: Glue a pair of googly eyes and a small red pom-pom nose to a candy cane to create a charming reindeer. A short piece of brown pipe cleaner can be twisted around the top as antlers. Place them in stockings or attach them to gift wrapping for a festive treat.
  • Candy Cane Sugar Scrub: Mix crushed candy canes with equal parts sugar and coconut oil to create a sweet-smelling candy cane sugar scrub. Pour the mixture into small mason jars, finish with a decorative ribbon, and include a label. It’s a personal gift that is also practical.

Employ these suggestions, and your leftover candy canes will not only avoid going to waste but will also become an integral part of your festive season, either adorning your home or delighting others as thoughtful, handcrafted presents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Candy canes don’t just enliven the Christmas season; they have versatile uses in the kitchen. Discover interesting ways to give your leftover candy canes a delicious second life.

How can I incorporate candy canes into a dessert recipe?

You can crush candy canes and sprinkle them over ice cream or mix them into cookie dough for a minty twist. They add a festive crunch and flavor to many desserts.

Is it possible to repurpose candy canes for a Valentine’s Day treat?

Yes, you can use candy canes to create a Valentine’s Day treat by shaping them into hearts before they soften and harden or by using them as stirrers in hot chocolate for a romantic touch.

What are some creative ways to use crushed candy canes in baking?

Crushed candy canes can be used as a topping for cakes, folded into brownie batter, or used as a decorative rim for holiday-themed cocktails. They infuse a peppermint flavor and a delightful crunch.

Can leftover candy canes be melted down for other uses?

You can melt candy canes in the microwave or on a stovetop to create peppermint syrup or to pour into molds and make new candy shapes.

Are candy canes long-lasting enough to be used for next year’s holidays?

Candy canes are quite shelf-stable and can last up to three years if they’re kept in a cool, dry place and are still sealed in their original packaging.

How can I use candy canes to make homemade peppermint kisses?

Melt candy canes and combine them with white chocolate. Drop the mixture onto parchment paper and let it set to create homemade peppermint kisses.

Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.