Sunday, December 18, 2011


As we talked about last month, certain months have certain flavors that are associated with them. I definitely crave pumpkin in November...and when December hits, I just can't get enough peppermint! So, this post is devoted entirely to peppermint goodies. These make fun desserts or beautiful gift ideas for the Christmas season. Just make sure you give some of it away, because if you keep all of these goodies at home, you're going to eat too much...and you're going to gain a little more Christmas spirit (or body) than you were planning on.

These recipes are all a lot of fun to make too--whether by yourself or with friends. So, enjoy one of the best flavors of the season and have fun making these treats too!

Peppermint Ice Cream


2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 25 candies)


Combine 1 1/4 cups 2% milk and egg yolks in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture is slightly thick and coats the back of a spoon (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly (do not boil). Cool egg mixture slightly.

Combine egg mixture, 1 1/4 cups 2% milk, vanilla, and condensed milk in a large bowl. Cover and chill completely. Stir in crushed candies. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.

Source: Cooking Light, December 2001. You can find it here.

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup per serving)

Nutrition information: 268 calories, 2.9 g fat, 7.6 g protein, 52.2g carbohydrate, 0.0 g fiber, 62 mg cholesterol, 0.3 mg iron, 99 mg sodium, 238 mg calcium.

Above: It is great in the summer too!

Notes: I doubled this recipe, but I think in the future, I would at least triple it...because I usually make this for a crowd. One year, I quadrupled it and it made plenty (with some nice leftovers as well). this is a very soft ice cream. The peppermint keeps the ice cream softer and makes it take a little longer to set up. So, definitely plan on some time for the ice cream to ripen in the freezer. The recipe suggests an hour, but I would say that it should stay in the freezer overnight or longer. If it gets too hard, you can always let it thaw a little. But if you don't freeze it long enough and it's too soft, there's not a lot you can do to fix it--except drink it through a straw!

Candy Cane Cake



1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
Water, vegetable oil, and egg whites called for on cake mix box
1/2 teaspoon red food color
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

White Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, if desired


Crushed candy canes or crushed hard peppermint candies, if desired


Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 for dark or nonstick pan). Generously grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube cake pan. Make cake batter as directed on box. Pour about 2 cups batter into pan. In small bowl, pour about 3/ cup batter; stir in food color and peppermint extract. Carefully pour pink batter over white batter in pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over pink batter.

Bake and cool cake as directed on box.

In small bowl, mix white icing ingredients. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and spreadable. Spread over cake. Sprinkle crushed candy on top. Store loosely covered.

Makes 12 servings

Source: Betty Crocker website. You can find it here.

Nutrition information: 240 calories, 8 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Notes: I used about 1 cup for the red portion of the cake. I was super skeptical about how it would work out. It just didn't make sense how pouring a different color of cake batter in layers could make for such a cool design in the finished cake. But it definitely worked and it was a super easy cake to make!

Peppermint Cake


1 angel food cake (homemade or store-bought)
2 cups whipping cream (or whipped topping)
1/2 cup sugar (not necessary if you use whipped topping)
2 tsp vanilla (not necessary if you use whipped topping)
1 cup crushed peppermint


Whip the cream and add the sugar and vanilla as it begins to thicken. Frost the cake and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Hint: Sprinkle crushed peppermint just before serving. If it sits too long, the peppermint will begin to dissolve.

Source: I have now seen this in two different places. First, a cookbook entitled "The Gathering of Friends: Volume One" by Michelle Hustable and Alyse Christensen. ISBN: 978-0-9816986-0-1. The above recipe is taken from that book (with my changes in parenthesis).

Or, you can find it on here. They call theirs "Candy Cane Cake."

The two recipes are very similar. The MyRecipes (Sunset) recipe includes a recipe for a homemade angel food cake if you would like to make one from scratch. That recipe also uses almond extract instead of the vanilla (which I'm sure would be fantastic).

To make my cake, I opted for much, much easier and much, much lighter. So, I used a store-bought cake and fat-free whipped topping. That way, it makes for a very light and fluffy dessert. Very refreshing at this time of the year when one is often eating very heavy and calorie-laden foods.

White Chocolate Popcorn with Peppermint


10 cups popped and buttered popcorn (I prefer my popcorn plain and un-buttered for this recipe)
24 oz white chocolate chips (or white chocolate candy coating)
1 dash of salt
2 candy canes, crushed (or to taste)


Pour already popped popcorn into a large bowl. Add a dash of salt and set aside. Melt white chocolate slowly in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until smooth (a minut to a minute and a half). Spread popcorn out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle warm chocolate over popcorn until evenly coated. Add crushed candy cane; let cool.

Source: "The Gathering of Friends: Volume One" by Michelle Hustable and Alyse Christensen. ISBN: 978-0-9816986-0-1.

Notes: I first tried this recipe at one of my jobs. A co-worker's wife made it for him to bring in for the office. I was pregnant at the time and simply couldn't get enough of it. I saw this recipe and decided to try it. I've made changes to it to fit it to my tastes. I prefer to use white chocolate candy coating. Let me tell you why.

First, unless you temper the chocolate, melted chocolate chips tend to get soft and melty again unless you keep it in the refrigerator. Candy coating stays hard at room temperature. Plus, I like the color of the candy coating better. White chocolate chips are kind of off-white in color. Whereas, white chocolate candy coating is pure white. Finally, I kind of prefer the taste of the candy coating in this recipe.

Oh, and I used a lot more peppermint than just two candy canes' worth.

Peppermint Bark and Variations


1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 cup crushed peppermint (or to taste)


Line a jelly roll pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. I prefer to do this in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals (stirring between each interval). It takes about a minute to a minute and a half to melt the chocolate.

Spread melted semi-sweet chocolate onto the jelly roll pan covered in foil. Spread chocolate over the pan to create an even layer. Place pan into a refrigerator or freezer to allow the chocolate to set.

Melt white chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Remove hardened semi-sweet chocolate and spread the melted white chocolate chips over the first layer. Be careful when you spread the white chocolate. The warm white chocolate can melt the semi-sweet chocolate and can create swirls (instead of a pristine white layer). Once the white chocolate has been spread in an even layer over the semi-sweet chocolate, sprinkle immediately with crushed peppermint. Press the peppermint into the white chocolate layer (this just helps make sure that the peppermint sticks to the bark once it is set).

Put the pan back into the refrigerator or freezer until the bark is completely set.

Once the bark is set, use the foil as a barrier between the bark and your hands while you break the bark into bite size pieces with your hands. Using the foil keeps things less messy. If you try to break the bark with your hands (without the foil), the warmth of your hands might melt the chocolate a little. Not only will your hands be a chocolatey mess, but it might make your bark look messy as well.

Store in the refrigerator (otherwise, it will become soft and melty).

Source: You can find recipes for peppermint bark just about everywhere. But I really like the step-by-step instructions found on You can find it here. She also includes instructions for how to temper your chocolate, which you can find here.

Notes: The process of tempering chocolate is a pretty lengthy one (one which I don't currently have time for). If you don't have time to temper your chocolate, here are your two options: first, melt chocolate chips in the microwave and store the finished candy product in the refrigerator to avoid melting or; second, use candy coating instead. Candy coating is formulated to stay hard at room temperature after being melted, so you don't have to temper it and you don't have to keep it in the refrigerator either.

Peppermint Bark Variations:
  • Use milk chocolate in place of the semi-sweet chocolate.
  • Skip the milk/semi-sweet chocolate altogether and only use white chocolate.
  • Use two or three parts of candy coating. You can have fun with colors. You can use food coloring to dye one or two parts of the candy coating. So, you could have peppermint bark that is white on the bottom and green on the top. Or, white on the bottom and red on the top. Or, white on the bottom, green in the middle, and red on the top. The color possibilities and combinations are endless. This actually looks super cute. You can find a picture of this example here. This version is absolutely adorable. It looks so cute having the white layer, the green layer and then the red and white peppermint on top. Very Christmas-y.
  • If you don't like it layered, stir the peppermint into the melted chocolate and spread it out and let it set up. Then break into pieces like normal. You would only use one type of chocolate for this version. So, either you would have dark or milk chocolate with peppermint spread throughout or white chocolate with peppermint spread throughout. This one is the fastest version (though it isn't as pretty as the other versions). It's only one layer, so you save yourself the time of waiting for the first layer to set up, etc. If you want to make this version a little prettier, you can sprinkle some additional crushed peppermint on top of the chocolate before it hardens.

Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake
2 cups chocolate wafer cookie or sandwich cookie crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
Red food coloring (optional)
Smucker's® Chocolate Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping, if desired


Combine cookie crumbs and sugar. Add butter; mix well. Line 9-inch round cake or springform pan with foil. Press 2 cups crumbs firmly on bottom and part way up sides in prepared pan. Chill.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk until smooth. stir in extract and food colorings, (optional); mix well. Fold in whipped cream. Pour filling into pan. Cover; freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish with topping. Store leftovers covered in freezer.

Source: Eagle Brand recipe. You can find it here.

Notes: The only change I made to this recipe was to add one more 8 oz package of cream cheese (for 16 oz total instead of just 8 oz). I just wanted it to have a little more body to it and more cream cheese flavor. I also added crushed peppermint candies to the top as a garnish. I forgot to add the chocolate ice cream topping. It tasted great without the chocolate ice cream topping, but it would be yummy with the topping too.

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels


White chocolate (or white candy coating)
Pretzels (I like to use the twists, but you could use any shape)
Crushed peppermint


Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

Melt the white chocolate (or white candy coating) in the microwave at thirty second intervals (stirring between each interval).

Dip each individual pretzel into the melted chocolate, turning to coat. Lift out of the chocolate with a fork and shake or tap slightly to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Set the chocolate coated pretzel onto the foil-lined jelly roll pan. Repeat with additional pretzels. Top with crushed peppermint before the chocolate has hardened (otherwise the peppermint won't stick). You'll have to do this in batches because you won't be able to dip all of the pretzels before topping them with peppermint--they would harden before you got to the peppermint step.

Place cookie sheet or jelly roll pan into the refrigerator and allow the chocolate to set up. Using your fingers or a spatula, gently remove the pretzels from the foil. Store in a zip-top bag.

If using melted white chocolate, store in the refrigerator.

Source: Again, too many sources to cite. I just made up this recipe to match a store-bought version I had been craving.


  1. Tell me you've been stock piling peppermint photos for years....otherwise dang girl! That's A lot of peppermint goodies in one month! They all look divine!

  2. The candy cane cake recipe looks amazing! That's one you could take to a party and wow everyone. The peppermint cheesecake was very good, not too rich. Pete loved the angle food cake, but didn't like the texture of the mints in the frosting, but that's Pete.

    These are great recipes and a lot of them would make wonderful gifts.

  3. Having been a recipient of your peppermint bark and tasting of it's pure awesomeness, I can't wait to try the pretzels and the popcorn! Looks like I will be making a trip to the store today.