How To: 6 Incredibly Quick Ways to Use Leftover Candy Canes

6 Incredibly Quick Ways to Use Leftover Candy Canes

Somehow, we end up with a pile of leftover candy canes at the end of every December. Yet just because the enthusiastic holiday commercials are gone and the Christmas cards are on discount doesn't mean you have to let the minty sweets go to waste.

Here are our favorite quick, fuss-free recipes that'll give these peppermint sticks a second life. Note: all recipes refer to standard-sized candy canes about 5½ inches tall.

#1: Candy Cane Coffee Creamer

For this recipe, you don't need to pulverize the candy canes completely. The peppermint chunks will dissolve in your hot coffee as you stir it in.

If you have peppermint latte fanatics among your friends and family, the creamer makes a thoughtful stocking stuffer. Just place them in mini jars and tie them with a bow.

Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

You'll Need:

  • ½ c. of half and half
  • ¼ c. of sugar
  • ¼ c. of crushed candy canes
  • a sealable jar

To Make It:

  1. Pour sugar, half and half, and crushed candy canes into jar.
  2. Cover jar with lid. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are evenly mixed.
  3. Add to your morning coffee for a toothsome, peppermint flavor.

#2: Candy Cane Syrup

Drizzle this sweet stuff over ice cream or stir into tea, coffee, or a cocktail for a subtle peppermint taste. Just make sure to heat it up slowly over medium heat and to stir it constantly. If the candy canes stay too long on the pan's hot surface, they'll burn before they get a chance to melt. You can even crush the mints beforehand, which makes them more soluble (the smaller a particle is, the more quickly it dissolves).

Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

You'll Need:

  • ½ c. of water
  • 6 candy canes, broken into pieces
  • a sealable jar

To Make It:

  1. Place candy canes in a small sauce pan with water.
  2. Stir constantly over medium heat as canes dissolve. If the water begins to boil, lower heat.
  3. Once canes are fully dissolved, set aside until the syrup cools completely, then pour into jar.
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

#3: Candy Cane Rimmed Glass

While water works great when rimming a glass with sugar, it doesn't work so well on crushed candy canes since the pieces are heavier and fall off. So, we used the candy cane syrup (above) to rim the glasses instead and the peppermint bits clung right onto the sticky liquid. If you have chocolate syrup or something else sticky like honey on hand, those will work just as well.

Yes, that's a Chimay glass in the picture. Don't judge us. Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

You'll Need:

  • 1 crushed candy cane per glass, depending on the circumference of the rim
  • Syrup, chocolate sauce, or any sweet, sticky liquid

To Make It:

  1. Place sticky liquid and crushed candy canes in two separate dishes.
  2. Rotate the outer-edge of the glass rim in the liquid, rotating it for an even coat.
  3. Repeat the process in the second dish with the crushed candy canes.
  4. When ready, pour in drink of choice.

#4: Peppermint Hot Chocolate

You can also use this recipe for hot tea!

Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

You'll Need:

  • 1 candy cane
  • A mug full o' hot chocolate
  • Marshmallows, (not) optional

To Make It:

  1. Stir candy cane in hot cocoa.
  2. It will slowly dissolve and give it that signature peppermint taste.

#5: Candy Cane Vodka

If you have a bottle of vodka lying around, repurpose it by adding crushed canes canes. It'll give your liquor a minty fresh kick minus the overbearing sweetness.

Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

You'll Need:

  • 1 candy cane for every 1 c. of vodka

To Make It:

  1. Break up candy cane into smaller pieces and place in a food processor.
  2. Grind candy canes until they are a fine pink powder.
  3. Throw candy cane powder into a jar of vodka or straight into the bottle.
  4. Shake. According to Yumi's guide, you can steep the flavorings for up to two weeks. Be sure to taste it along the way.
  5. Strain using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.
  6. Keep chilled in fridge.

#6: Candy Cane Sprinkles

Still have leftover candy canes? Crush them into small bits and sprinkle onto cookies, cupcakes, and brownies.

Image by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

Psst: You can substitute the candy canes in these recipes with almost any other hard candy. Warhead vodka, Werther's Original coffee creamer, jawbreaker-rimmed martini glasses... tell the dentist we sent you.

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Cover photo by Charisma Madarang/Food Hacks Daily

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