It’s that time of year again! Warm drinks, ugly holiday sweaters and way too much food are only the tip of the iceberg for the holiday season. Each and every year, our kitchens accumulate more and more sweets from friends, family and holiday parties. And each and every year, the chocolate always disappears within a week, while the poor candy canes sit in a pile, waiting to be used. But do not despair–even these seemingly useless candy canes be made into something awesome.

1. Using the whole candy cane

It seems difficult to find a use for these oddly shaped candies, but they have a few good uses on their own.

  • Use as stir sticks for hot tea, chocolate, coffee or other warm beverage of choice to add a minty-fresh flavor.
candy cane

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

  • Skewer marshmallows and other relatively skewer-able candies, like York patties, onto the candy cane. Then, you can roll the kebabs in melted sugar or flavored syrups and top them off with sprinkles or nuts.
  • Skewer some fruit or candy onto a candy cane, melt some chocolate for chocolate fondue and dip skewers liberally into chocolate.

2. Crushing the candy cane

Crushed candy cane is the candy cane’s most versatile form. Similar to sprinkles, you can add crushed candy cane to almost any dessert it will stick to.

candy cane

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

  • Roll ice cream sandwiches in crushed candy cane or simply sprinkle on top of ice cream sundaes.
  • Sprinkle on frosting or whipped cream.
  • Mix in cake batter, cookie dough or brownies for bursts of color and flavor.
  • Roll marshmallows in it and add those marshmallows to desserts like hot cocoa or s’mores.
  • Finely crush the candy cane and use it as sugar in desserts and drinks.
  • Press into chocolate peppermint bark.

Need more help with crushing? Check out these instructions: eHow: How to Crush Candies.

3. Melting the candy cane

Just like hard candy, candy canes can be easily liquified in a sauce pan with some water or in the oven on a pan.

candy cane

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

  • Make frosting with the melted candy cane in a saucepan.
  • Use cookie cutters on a pan to melt candy cane into fun shapes for gifts. Here’s a good time to think ahead to future holidays, like Valentine’s Day.

Need more help with melting? Check out these instructions: eHow: How to Melt Hard Candy

Want more ideas? Check out these recipes: