I know there are people in this world who can look at something like a half full package of candy canes in January and just throw them away.
But I am not one of those people.
I have a streak of frugality in me that was forged in the many years when we had to stretch every penny as far as it would go. Larry is a carpenter, which in Upstate NY can sometimes mean very lean winter months when there may not be a lot of building going on. I was, for the most part, a stay at home Mom, though I did work part time jobs in restaurants when the girls were in school. No one ever got rich working days in small town restaurants.
I certainly will never regret staying home with my kids, and I’m actually really glad that we are able to live pretty well on a relatively low income. As you can probably guess, we aren’t terribly interested in having a lot of material stuff. Well, except for camera lenses, garden tractors and the occasional re-purposed greenhouse. You know – the important things!
So, this frugal outlook means that I look at a half a package of candy canes and think that there must be some yummy way of using them up. And for that, you should be really glad, because these Leftover Candy Cane Brownies? Freaking amazing.
In fact, next Christmas, I am pretty sure that I will not be waiting for the candy canes to actually be leftover to make these brownies. They will almost certainly find their way to my regular holiday baking in the years to come.
- 4 ounces butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking poowder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup crushed candy canes [divided - some will be used in the frosting]
- 2 ounces soft butter
- 3 ounces soft cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 & ½ cups 10X sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons cream or milk, if needed
- 1 -2 ounces semi sweet chocolate, melted
- Generously butter an 8 x8 or 7 x 10 baking dish and set aside
- Preheat oven to 350º
- In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 ounces of butter.
- Mix in the granulated sugar and cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tablespoons of the crushed candy canes.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, just until combined.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish and place on middle rack in the oven.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs.
- Cool completely.
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together.
- Slowly beat in the sugar.
- Beat in the vanilla, and then if needed, the milk or cream until a spreadable consistency is reached.
- Stir in 1 & ½ tablespoons of the crushed candy canes.
- Spread the frosting over the brownies and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Sprinkle the reserved ½ tablespoon of crushed candy canes over the top. Cut into squares to serve. Store in the refrigerator.
Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, you should keep these refrigerated, but for the best flavor, let them come back to room temperature before serving.I doubt you will have to worry about them getting stale though, because they will be gone in no time at all. You might to buy extra candy canes next year, to be sure you have some “leftover” to make plenty of these!