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HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN #10: Candy cane cooking

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Sunday, December 21st, 2008 at 8:05 am in Christmas.

KN CANDYCANES 5 DESomehow, every year we end up with at least two or three boxes of miniature candy canes. They seem to mutate like single socks. I didn’t even buy any this season, and we still ended up with 3 1/2 boxes. With so much excess, my stepdaughter and I had only one choice: get cooking.

We have three candy-canes-included recipes that have become favorites. Each one is simple enough that the kids can help. My stepdaughter, Dana, loves to pound the candy canes with a meat mallet. So, instead of crushed candy canes, often we end up with candy cane powder.

The easiest recipe is one we came up with ourselves. Buy a package of Keebler Grasshopper chocolate covered mint cookies (or bust the Girl Scout Thin Mints out of the freezer). Line them up on plates or cookie sheets. Melt two bars of white baking chocolate in the microwave (about 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes). Put a dollop of melted white chocolate in the center of the cookie. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes or until set. Store them in an airtight container. (For other recipes, read on:)

barkCandy Cane Bark Chocolate: Ingredients — 1/3 cups milk chocolate chips, 1 pound vanilla almond bark and 3/4 cups finely crushed candy cane. Instructions — 1. Line cookie sheet with wax paper. 2. Melt chocolate chips. 3. Heat bark until melted. 4. Stir crushed candy canes into almond bark and pour mixture into pan. Drizzle with melted chocolate chips. 5. To create swirled effect, make circular patterns with a metal spatula. 6. Chill 30 minutes or let stand at room temperature for several hours. Break candy into pieces and store in airtight container.

fudgeCandy Cane Fudge: Ingredients — 2 (10 oz.) packages vanilla baking chips, 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes, 1 dash red food coloring. Instructions — 1. Line 8-inch square baking pan with wax paper, grease or butter the wax paper. 2. Combine vanilla chips and sweetened condense milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from heat. 3. Stir in extract, food coloring and candy canes. 4. Spread evenly in bottom of prepared pan. 5. Chill for about 2 hours and then cut into squares. (You may need to let the fudge sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before cutting.)

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