Twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, and holiday-themed cocktails are among the most welcomed delights of the season, no doubt! Oh, and let’s not forget candy canes—we love, love, love those! Which is why we stock up on the stuff the one time each year every store seems to carry them. But buying 10+ boxes of the minty, sweet treat has a downside: the leftovers. There are often buckets worth—even after they’ve been hung on the tree, stuffed in everyone's stocking, and fastened to all of your co-workers holiday cards. Sound like your yearly struggle? Rest easy; we’ve got you covered.
These fresh ideas for leftover and broken candy canes are sure to keep you in the holiday spirit all year long! Oh, and if you’re curious how candy canes compare to your other wintry indulgences, don’t miss our report The 50 Most Popular Christmas Candies—Ranked!.
Make Bath Scrub
Instead of eating your leftovers, stay on track with your New Year's weight loss resolution by using them to make a candy cane-infused scrub. To make a batch, pour four cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil (or another non-comedogenic oil with a similar consistency), a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and a quarter cup of finely ground candy canes into a mixing bowl. Then stir it up! Grab this concoction before you hop into the shower and scrub your way to silky smooth skin.
Up the Festive Factor of Your Desserts
Nothing marks the beginning of the holiday season better than the grocery store invasion of peppermint-themed treats. That’s why we’re loving the idea of decorating homemade holiday desserts with the crushed candy. Sprinkle the stuff on chocolate fudge brownies, top off your cupcakes with a minty dusting, or even use two candy cane arches to create reindeer ears on a cookie. We especially love the idea of making cake pops! Snag the recipe pictured above by heading on over to the blog, Bakers Royale. And for even more quick and easy desserts that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit, check out these 13 Amazing Last-Minute Holiday Desserts.
Wash Away the Dirt
In the mood to channel your inner Martha Stewart? Whip up some homemade candy cane soap! (It’s easy to make—promise!) Start by melting a block of clear glycerin and a block of white glycerin in separate bowls. Then, mix in red food dye and peppermint essential oil into the clear glycerin. (A few drops of each works.) After that, pour a thin layer of the melted white glycerin into a cake mold or small pan and let it set for about two to three minutes. After it’s somewhat solid, pour a layer of the red glycerin on top and then continue alternating with the red and white glycerin every few minutes until the mold or pan is filled. Then top off your soap with a generous coating of crushed candy cane, which is a great exfoliant. Just keep in mind that your S.O. may not be too jolly if you use up all the hot water so be sure to keep bath time short.
Throw Back A Candy Cane Cocktail
If you’re looking to up your bartending game, forgo serving up basic drinks like spiked eggnog and opt for surprising your guests with a round of candy cane vodka shots. Luckily, you only need three things to prepare this festive elixir: candy canes, a small bottle of vodka (about 25 ounces), and a coffee grinder or food processor. Here’s what you need to do: grind 12 candy canes until they’re eroded into superfine crystals. Then, pour the candy powder into the bottle of vodka, make sure the cap is tightly screwed, and shake away! (You can even save some of the crushed candy to rim the glasses with later on!) Then, let the vodka sit for a half hour, shaking every now and then. Once the liquid is candy-cane-red, serve it up in shot glasses or a sleek martini glass. Cheers!
Cozy Up To Peppermint Hot Cocoa
This winter, spruce up your favorite hot beverage with some minty goodness! To make a mug of decadent hot cocoa, add one cup of your milk of choice into a saucepan with two ounces bittersweet chocolate, and simmer over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add one tablespoon sugar and a ½ teaspoon peppermint extract to the pot and stir. Once it’s all dissolved, pour it into your fave mug, swirl on some whipped cream, and then garnish the top with crushed candy canes. If you prefer taking the easier route with premade hot cocoa mix, choose one of the better-for-you picks in our list of 19 Of Your Favorite Hot Cocoas—Ranked!.
Sweeten Your Movie Night
What’s better than binge-watching all of the Home Alone movies in one sitting? The answer: having a big bowl of peppermint popcorn beside you! Duh. Spike your popped kernels with a layer of melted white chocolate and some candy cane crumbles. Oh, and you might want to whip up an extra batch because you’re totally not going to want to share this! Want a step-by-step how to? We’re loving this yummy recipe by Cooking Classy.
Crack Some Peppermint Bark
Give your gingerbread cookie and peanut butter blossom recipes a break and concoct a batch of crunchy peppermint bark instead. The best part—aside from the taste? It’s beyond easy to make. All you have to do is melt dark chocolate (which happens to be the best chocolate for weight loss), slather it onto a sheet of parchment paper, and let it solidify in the fridge. Once it’s hardened, drizzle on a layer of melted white chocolate and then drop a handful or two (or three… no one’s looking!) of candy cane chunks for fresh flavor and a festive pop of color. Easy peasy!