The holiday season is always just around the corner, and before you know it you'll be up to your ears in light strings, wrapping paper and candy canes. Looking for a fun way to put those tasty peppermint candies to use this holiday season? There are all sorts of imaginative things you can do with the iconic red-and-white striped sweets you have lying around, from baking to decorating to making Christmas-themed accessories for displaying in your home. All you need is a clever idea to get you started!
[Edit]Cooking With Candy Canes
- Make peppermint bark. Everybody's favorite Christmas confection is also one of the easiest ways to incorporate candy canes in the kitchen. Just combine melted white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate morsels and a little peppermint extract, then top with crushed candy cane pieces. This timeless treat is guaranteed to please when given as a gift or served as an after-dinner delight.
- Line your baking dish with wax paper to keep the melted chocolate from sticking as it cools.
- Send out baggies of homemade peppermint bark along with your Christmas cards this year.
- Dip them in chocolate. Make candy canes more yummy by coating them with a rich chocolate shell. Dunk the stems of the candy canes into a container of melted milk, dark or white chocolate, then drizzle with another variety of chocolate for a little visual contrast. Pairing smooth, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate with zesty peppermint is sure to make these sweets even sweeter.
- Whip up a lollipop variety by sticking chocolate-dipped candy canes into marshmallows covered in chocolate, or rolled in nuts or crushed candy pieces.
- Crush them up for a crunchy topping. Put a few candy canes in a plastic bag and pound them to break them up into small pieces. These can then be used to lend a little minty flair to almost any drink, dessert or sweet treat. The red and white pattern will also instantly make your baked goods more holiday-appropriate.
- Use crushed candy cane pieces to top anything from marshmallows and brownies to cakes and homemade candies.
- Serve eggnog in shot glasses with crushed candy canes around the rim.
- Use them to stir a toasty beverage. The next time you serve a steaming cup of coffee, hot cocoa or spiced tea, simply slip a candy cane in the mug. As it dissolves, it will infuse the beverage with sweet peppermint flavor. What could be better on a chilly winter day?
- Try adding candy canes to a pot of hot cocoa the way you would simmer cinnamon sticks for apple cider.
- Give gifts of coffee, tea or cocoa by stuffing them into an oversized coffee mug and taping a candy cane to the outside.
[Edit]Using Candy Canes as Decorations
- Convert them into Christmas ornaments. If you run out of ornaments while you're decorating the tree, or you just want to fill in the gaps, loop a few candy canes onto the branches here and there. They're the perfect size and shape to hang from the tree, which is a delightfully unexpected place for them to turn up. If you're looking for something fresh to supplement your collection of traditional ornaments, an ordinary box of candy canes may be just what you need.
- Best of all, you don't even have to remove the candy canes from their plastic wrappers, which means they won't make a sticky mess as they sit out and can be reused year after year.
- Look for candy canes striped with different colors to make your tree more visually interesting.
- Put them together to make a wreath. Arrange the candy canes in a circle and secure them with hot glue. The result is an inexpensive, eye-catching wreath that you can use to spruce up any door in your house. Get as crafty as you please, beautifying your wreaths with ribbon, tinsel, or evergreen garlands.
- It may help to have some sort of backing for your wreath, like a circular wire frame that will hold the candy canes in place.
- Hang the wreath using a thumbtack, hook or detachable wall strip.
- Turn them into napkin rings. This is a simple way to get into the Christmas spirit when throwing a dinner party. Attach a candy cane to each folded linen around the table using a length of ribbon or a strand of twine, then tuck the silverware in underneath or lay the napkins directly in the center of each plate. Your guests will love the festive touch.
- Be careful not to break the candy canes while you're tying them down.
- Encourage your guests to leave with their candy canes or enjoy them after the meal.
- Accent a centerpiece. Take a bundle of candy canes and line them up in a row around the outside of a lackluster bowl, vase, candle holder, or serving dish to transform it into a brilliant display. Secure the candy canes using a layer of double-sided tape or ribbon, or make it a permanent addition to your holiday decorations by gluing them down.
- Work slowly and carefully to make sure that the candy canes are even and symmetrical around the surface of the item you're decorating.
- Enhancing old, humdrum pieces with candy canes is much cheaper than buying all new Christmas accessories for your home.
[Edit]Making Candy Cane Crafts
- Make candy cane reindeer. For a fun arts and crafts project you can do with your younger kids, gather some simple materials and turn ordinary candy canes into adorable, zany reindeer faces. Stick on googly-eyes, tie a ribbon around the middle like a bow tie and twist a brown pipe cleaner onto the top to serve as the antlers. Hang the candy cane reindeer from the Christmas tree or display them as separate decorations.
- Let your kids or students personalize their reindeer with string, pipe cleaners, glitter, glue, ribbon, construction paper and other materials.
- Pick one reindeer to be Rudolph and glue a red fuzzy felt ball onto the end of the hook to make a shiny nose.
- Piece together miniature sleighs. Place two candy canes side-by-side with the hooks facing up, layer fun-sized candy bars on top from largest to smallest and tie it all together using multicolored ribbon. Mini candy sleighs are perfect for presenting a bundle of loose sweets. You could even use them as a creative way to present gift cards or other offerings that are too small to wrap.
- Hand out candy sleighs as unique party favors, or use them as stocking stuffers.
- Use them to display your business cards. Holiday cheer isn't just for the homestead. When tied together and stood on their hooked ends, two candy canes can make a nifty seasonal business card holder. Switch out the normal card holder on your desk or service counter with this easy DIY Christmas-themed version.
- Run a thin line of glue between the shafts of the two candy canes to help hold them together.
- When stood upside down, the hooks will be just wide enough to hold a stack of regular business cards.
- Create a framed photo ornament. Another way to make room for candy canes on your Christmas tree is by using them to craft handmade frames for a photo ornaments. Glue the ends of two candy canes together to form a heart shape. Then, find a photo of a loved one or special memory, trim the edges to fit the frame and stick it to the backside of the candy canes. Your fondest memories will be preserved forever when hung proudly from your tree.
- The candy cane frame will be tall and slender, making it a perfect fit for most wall-sized picture portraits.
- This is a thrifty way to use candy canes while also finding a purpose for any old photos you've got lying around.
- Work carefully to avoid breaking candy canes when crafting or decorating. Discard the ones that are already broken.
- You can find candy canes in other colors than just white and red. They're also available in different color combinations and stripe patterns.
- Leave the candy canes in their plastic wrappers to keep them from melting or getting sticky.
- Keep candy canes out of the reach of small children and pets. Broken pieces could present a choking hazard.