Some Christians prefer not to have Santa Claus as part of their Christmas traditions because they feel that this is a pagan practice. We never felt convicted of this and have always presented Santa as a fun Christmas myth based on the real St. Nicholas. At our house, the presents under the tree are from family members, but the mythical Santa leaves the presents in the stockings and also hangs candy canes all over the Christmas tree after the children go to bed on Christmas Eve.
The children love finding and collecting the candy canes on Christmas morning, but they only end up eating a few of them, leaving us with several dozen leftover candy canes still hanging around at the end of January.
Sometimes I just pitch them in the trash, but this year I used them to make peppermint sugar. Here is what you do:
- Peel off plastic wrap, break candy canes in half, and drop into blender.
- Blend in short bursts on medium speech until ground to a granulated-sugar consistency.
A quick sidebar conversation on the superiority of old, American-made products – my blender, which I found in my in-laws’ basement when I was around 23, is older than I am (I’m 45 now):
It was made in the pre move-all-manufacturing-to-China days and weighs a good 7 or 8 pounds. The container is made from thick, heavy glass and after 50 years, the blender still functions perfectly with all its original pieces. Contrast that with my made-in-China plastic piece of crap but expensive food processor; the pieces were so poorly engineered that they never fit together quite right from day one. My advice: raid your elderly relatives’ basements and attics with their permission and root out any old appliances like this; if they work, even though they may be ugly, KEEP THEM!
But back to those candy canes that you’ve turned into peppermint sugar…
- Store in a plastic container in your pantry and use to flavor desserts, coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.
After making peppermint sugar, I tried it out in some homemade brownies.
Sunshine’s Peppermint Sugar Cocoa Brownies Recipe
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup peppermint sugar (ground candy canes)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Line bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- Mix together white sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium glass bowl. Add butter and microwave until melted. Mix.
- Add eggs and beat well. Beat in peppermint sugar. Add flour and beat well.
- Spread in pan.
- Bake 20-30 minutes until set.
- Lift parchment paper out and set on wire rack to cool.
- When cool, peel away parchment paper and cut brownies into 16 or 24 squares, depending on how big you want the brownies to be.
And finally, here are a few pretty pictures after a recent snow and icing of the trees in our woods. The sun shining on the frosted trees made everything sparkle like fairy-land: