If there’s an official flavor of the season it has to be peppermint. And if you’ve waited to the last minute to make holiday treats for your friends, don’t fret! Peppermint has got you covered. There’s a general rule of thumb that makes holiday gift giving much easier: When in doubt, go the foodie gift route.
That said, here are some favorite recipes starring the red and white cane. They’re easy, fun to prepare, inexpensive and make great gifts. The hardest part is getting the stupid plastic wrap off the candy canes.
CANDY CANE VODKA
6 full sized candy canes
750 ml vodka
First, don’t waste the good stuff. Buy inexpensive vodka. Use a food processor (or go medieval with a mallet) to render the candy canes into a chunky powder. Pour off a couple ounces of the vodka and reserve. Add the peppermint powder to the vodka and top off with reserved vodka to fill the bottle. Let it sit about an hour, shaking occasionally, until the candy canes are dissolved in the vodka. Admire the lovely pink color. Chill and serve. Easy peasy!
So what do you do with the peppermint infused vodka? You can sip it over ice, use it to adulterate hot chocolate or eggnog, make peppermint mochas with a kick, or make a martini.
CANDY CANE MARTINI
1 ounce peppermint vodka
1/2 ounce white creme de cocoa
Place vodka and creme de cocoa in a shaker filled with ice and shake. Serve in a martini glass with an optional float of cream or half and half on top. For extra points dip the rim of the glass in light corn syrup or honey and roll in crushed peppermint. Festive!
PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW POPS
12 small candy canes
12 large marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
5 small candy canes, crushed
Push a small candy cane in each marshmallow. Using the microwave, melt the chocolate. Dip each marshmallow in chocolate, letting all the excess drip off. Allow the chocolate to set up for a minute then roll in crushed peppermint. These are perfect for stirring into hot cocoa.
16 ounces vanilla candy melts or vanilla almond bark
1 cup crushed peppermint candy canes, divided
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt the candy melts according to package directions.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the peppermint and add remaining peppermint to the melted chocolate, stirring to incorporate.
- Pour the mixture onto prepared baking pan. Smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the remainder of the crushed peppermint over the top, gently pressing to adhere.
- Let cool and break into pieces.
CANDY CANE POPCORN
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (approximately 10 cups popped)
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) vanilla candy melts or vanilla almond bark
1/2 cup candy canes, finely crushed
1 tablespoon decorative sprinkles (optional)
- Prepare popcorn using your preferred method. Spread popcorn on a cookie sheet. Remove any un-popped kernels. Melt candy melts according to package directions. Working quickly, drizzle the white chocolate over the popped popcorn, add the crushed candy canes and mix.
- Let popcorn sit for 30 minutes to let the white chocolate set. This is best fresh but can store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
TIP: After Christmas candy canes go on sale for next to nothing. Buy now for next year. Store candy canes in their original packaging, in a cool, dry place, and they’ll last 2 to 3 years.
All of us at Divas on a Dime wish you a cool yule, a swell noel and a very Merry Christmas.
Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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