Candy Cane Heaven

There are certain foods that have a finite season where the price is perfect and the taste sublime. You rush to the store at the first advertisement and shop with the motto “shop till you drop” and stock up.  Most the time this kind of hunting for the perfect specimen is conducted in the produce aisle. However, at this time of year, when you’re talking prime time a specialty item, it’s all about the candy cane.

The candy cane is that once a year item that you can find in abundance until December 26th and then it disappears (except for the 75% off rack for about 30 seconds) until Thanksgiving the following year. I say, plan ahead, buy now, buy a lot (because they store very well and I ‘m going to give you lots of yummy recipes) and store them the extras until you need them.

So, what is the best way to store candy canes? The best way to store any hard candy for a length of time is to place it in a zip lock bag and store in a dry place.  Do not store them in the freezer or refrigerator, the moisture is too high and will cause them to get sticky.

CANDY CANE TIP: In the event of a candy cane emergency (can’t find any) you can always substitute those round peppermint candies that are always available.

WHITE CANDY CANE FUDGE

 

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 to 2 drops red food coloring (not too much)

 

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease the foil. In a saucepan combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk. And heat over a low flame, stirring frequently until almost melted. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir until totally smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and crushed candy canes. Mix quickly and spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerated (do not cover) for 2 to 3 hours and then cut into bite sized squares. Makes at least 24 pieces or more depending on how you cut the pieces.

 

Source unknown, my files

 

OREO ® MINT BALLS

 

1  12 oz package of Oreo cookies (plain not double stuff)

2/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces (not too big)

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 package Chocolate Almond Bark ®

Mini chocolate chips or sprinkles for decorating

 

Put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and set it aside. In the bowl of the food processor combine the cookies and broken candy canes. Process until combined and it’s totally crumbs. Add 1/2 of the cream cheese to the mixture and process to combine. Add the remaining cream cheese and process to combine. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture into balls and place it on the prepared pan. When you use up all the dough place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Melt the dipping chocolate in a microwave bowl.  Remove the pan from the freezer. Using a long bamboo skewer dip the cookie balls, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped balls back on the waxed paper and then sprinkle the chocolate or sprinkle over the balls. Makes 24 to 30 depending on the size of the balls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Modified from about.com

 

CHOCO MINT PIE

 

Crust

2 cups plain vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 1 8 oz box crumbled)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Chocolate Layer

3 tablespoons boiling water

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

 

Peppermint Layer

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/4 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes (7 to 8 canes)

whipped cream, for toping optional

2 or 2 candy canes chopped into small pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs, cocoa and sugar.  Add the butter and mix to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling combine the chocolate chips and boiling water and mix until the chips are melted. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mixture into crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. While the pie is cooling place the candy canes in the bowl of a food processor and process until it becomes a fine powder. Place the marshmallows and milk in a small pan and cook over a low heat until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat the 1 cup of whipping cream to form stiff peaks. Fold the crushed candy canes into the whipped cream and then fold that mixture into the marshmallow mixture. Cool for 10 minutes in the refrigerator and then spoon the mixture over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. You can also freeze this pie and serve it frozen. Top with sweetened whipped cream and chopped candy canes.

 

Modified from food.com submitted by Ronnie Cohn Chicago IL

 

CHOCOLATE AND SOUR CREAM CANDY CANE BARS

 

Crust:

20 chocolate wafer cookies

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling:

8 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

 

Frosting:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

2 tablespoons sour cream at room temperature

6 to10 candy canes, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan and then set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine the chocolate cookies, butter, sugar, coffee and salt and process until combined. . Press the crust into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling melt the milk chocolate in a microwave dish and set it aside. While it’s cooling, in the bowl of the food processer combine the sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese. Process until smooth. Add the eggs and process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and process until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly puffed but the center is set but still a little wiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature

 

In a microwave bowl combine the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup and cook for 1 minute or until the chocolate is melted. Add the sour cream and mix to combine. Spread the frosting over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped candy canes over top of the warm frosting .Cool slightly and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Modified from Cricketcakes.com

 

CANDY CANE CHEESECAKE

 

8 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1-1/3 cups white baking pieces

2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 8 ounce carton mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup finely crushed candy canes

2 ounces white chocolate or 1/3 cup white baking pieces

Crushed candy canes for garnish

 

For crust:

Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, stir together graham crackers and butter until combined. Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan (do not go up the sides of pan.) Bake for 10 minutes then cool to room temperature.

 

For filling:

In a microwave bowl melt the 8 ounces white chocolate and set it aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the melted chocolate and extract until smooth and combined, scraping sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup candy. Pour the filling onto the crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a 2 1/2-inch area around the outside edge of the cheesecake seems set when gently shaken. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 then using a sharp small knife, loosen the cake from the sides of pan. Cool for an additional 45 minutes. Remove sides of the spring form pan and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to serve place the cheesecake on a serving plate (keep the cheesecake on the bottom of the spring form pan.) In a microwave bowl melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the cheesecake and then sprinkle the chopped candy canes over the top. Cut in wedges with a sharp knife dipped in warm water. (To store any remaining cheesecake, cover and chill in refrigerator up to 2 days.)

Modified from Midwestliving.com submitted by Carin Silverston Chicago IL

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