Put those spare candy canes to good use

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It’s hard to celebrate Christmas without candy canes.

Whether you eat them or decorate with them, they’ve been a Christmastime staple for centuries.

Each year our two elves leave candy canes as presents on our tree for Lizzie and Bradlee.

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By Christmas, a couple dozen canes are hanging from the tree, ripe for the girls to pick and eat.

Next week, you may find yourself with more candy canes than you care to eat, or you may be looking for a good way to put them to use for the big day Sunday.

Here are a few suggestions:

• Use them as stirring sticks for hot beverages. You can dip them in chocolate, too, for this same purpose.

• Add crushed candy canes to vanilla cake frosting and make cookie sandwiches. You can use graham crackers, vanilla wafers or just about anything. You can also add crushed pieces to rice crispy treats or as an ice cream topping.

All of those are a great way to dispose of your candy canes, but if you’re really wanting to wow your holiday company, give this one a whirl:

Candy Cane Fudge

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla flavored baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 dash red or green food coloring

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the vanilla chips (vanilla chips are just like chocolate chips, only they’re vanilla flavored. You can find them on the same aisle) and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. When chips are completely melted, stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and candy canes. Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

This isn’t a traditional fudge recipe. It’s much easier and with only five ingredients, it’s a great way to bring your children into the kitchen.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine and owner of 2ate9 Bakery and Catering in Demopolis. She can be reached via email at tiffany@2ate9.com