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It’s peppermint flavored everything time

If there’s an official flavor of the season, it’s peppermint. But the question begs to be asked – why is peppermint associated with the holidays? I have my own theory. I secretly suspect there is a vast stash of mint that candy manufacturers are required to use up by the end of the year, and that’s why everything will be peppermint-flavored from now until January. Judging by how the tiny specimen of mint I planted in a container has taken over my entire garden, I stand by my surplus idea.

If you have an abundance of candy canes (or enjoy how they are practically free the day after Christmas) I’ll show you what to do with them besides decorating the tree. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of peppermint so for me there’s a thin line between enjoying minty treats and eating toothpaste.

That said, here are some of my favorite recipes starring the red and white cane. They’re easy, fun to prepare and make great gifts. The hardest part is getting the stupid plastic wrap off the candy canes.

CANDY CANE VODKA

What You’ll Need:

6 full-sized candy canes

750 ml vodka

Here’s How:

Use a food processor (or mallet) to render the candy canes into a chunky powder. Pour off a couple of ounces of the vodka and reserve. Add the peppermint powder to the vodka and top off with reserved vodka to fill the bottle. Let it sit, shaking occasionally, until the candy canes are dissolved in the vodka, about an hour. Admire the lovely pink color. Chill and serve. Easy peasy.

What do you do with the peppermint infused vodka? You can sip it over ice, use it to adulterate hot chocolate, eggnog or make peppermint mochas with a kick.

Candy Cane Martini РAlways a hit at parties, this peppermint martini is made with one ounce peppermint vodka, a half-ounce white cr̬me de cocoa and a drop of vanilla shaken with ice, served in a martini glass with an optional float of cream or half and half on top. For extra points, dip the rim of the glass in light corn syrup or honey and roll in crushed peppermint. Festive!

PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE MARSHMALLOW POPS

What You’ll Need:

Small candy canes

Large marshmallows

Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Crushed peppermint candy

Here’s How:

Push a small candy cane into each marshmallow. Using the microwave, melt the chocolate. Dip each marshmallow in chocolate, letting all the excess drip off. Allow the chocolate to set up for a minute then roll in crushed peppermint. These are magnificent for stirring into hot cocoa.

PEPPERMINT BARK

What You’ll Need:

White chocolate chips or candy coating

Crushed peppermint candy canes

Parchment paper

Here’s How:

Melt chocolate in the microwave. Add most of the peppermint to the melted chocolate stirring to incorporate. Pour the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking pan. Smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the remainder of the crushed peppermint over the top of the chocolate gently pressing to adhere. Let cool and break into pieces. Great for gifting! You can use milk or dark chocolate for this, too.

Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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