While coming up with dessert ideas for a Christmas potluck, I reached inside my purse for a pen and instead pulled out the pieces of a broken, partially unwrapped, crunched-up candy cane. As I dumped peppermint dust from my purse, I thought: There has to be a better way to use candy canes than to let them go to waste in the bottom of a brand-new bag. So I found a number of easy recipes that use candy cane crumbles, for this season when they are ubiquitous.
Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent
Candy Cane Brownie Trifle
Bake 1 box store-bought brownie mix according to package instructions and let cool. After the pan has cooled, rake through the brownies with a fork to crumble them up. Coat the bottom of a trifle bowl (or, for individual portions, a mason jar) with the brownie chunks and layer with 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips, 4 or 5 tablespoons whipped cream and 3 tablespoons crushed candy cane. Repeat layering twice more and freeze until time to serve. Recipe adapted from jodezehomeandgarden.com.
Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate
Into a 5-quart slow cooker, add a half gallon of whole milk, 2 (4-ounce) packages white baking chocolate broken up into small pieces, ½ cup crushed candy canes and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Cover and cook on high for 1 ½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Serve in festive glasses and top with whipped cream and candy cane crumbles. Recipe adapted from realhousemoms.com.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup peppermint mocha coffee creamer with 1 (3.4-ounce) package cheesecake instant pudding mix and let sit for 5 minutes or so. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 8 ounces softened cream cheese with ¼ cup sugar. Add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat until combined. Next, fold in 1 ½ cups whipped cream and refrigerate until it's time to serve. Top with crushed candy canes and serve with chocolate cookies. Recipe adapted from anightowlblog.com.
Candy Cane Biscotti
Heat oven to 350 degrees and combine 1 stick of softened butter with ½ cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. When thoroughly mixed, add 3 large eggs and whisk them in, followed by 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda and 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour. When all of the ingredients are combined, add ⅔ cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes (roughly 9 or 10 sticks). After folding them in, lightly dust a baking sheet with flour and dump the mixture onto the pan. Mold it into a 9 ½-inch log and cook for 20 minutes. When the edges of the batter turn a light golden brown and the outside just starts to crack, remove the log, cut it into 1-inch-wide slices and turn the slices on their sides so that the insides are face-up. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking the slices for another 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Recipe adapted from savory-bites.com.
White Chocolate Chip Scones
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup sugar, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon baking soda. Once combined, mix in 1 stick cold, cubed butter. Add ¾ cup milk, 1 egg, ½ cup crushed candy cane and 1 cup white chocolate chips. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Cut the scones into desired shapes and sizes before placing on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with 1 beaten egg. Bake for about 10 or 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and drizzle with melted white chocolate. Recipe adapted from closetcooking.com.