There aren’t many times in the year when peppermint flavors are more popular than around Christmas holidays. It’s almost impossible to miss the sales of candy canes and gingerbread houses since everyone is bombarded with them wherever they go during this time of year! Every year they come out with new flavors of candy canes: butterscotch, fruit flavors, chocolate mint and even root beer. But the most traditional and familiar taste is always the red and white peppermint flavored candy cane, which is always sure to delights any taste bud and bring back fond memories.
I have a soft spot in my heart for seeing how the city transforms while getting ready for the Christmas season. Seasonal delights appear on every menu, street lamps are decorated, buildings have more color at night, windows are painted, prices are adjusted, and an excitement during the countdown to Christmas is in the air. Everything gets me into the Christmas mood and I am inspired to come up with new recipes!
I always have a container of peppermint sticks in the pantry all year round just waiting for some inspiration. These peppermint cream and candy cane bites are almost like a Christmas version of my Nanaimo Bars, and they provide anyone with a sweet tooth perfect satisfaction with a gentle reminder of Christmas flavoring in each bite. I was thrilled with how these bars turned out, and I may just have to add them to my list of traditional cookies for next Christmas!
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (or any chocolate sandwich cookies with white filling)
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 candy cane or peppermint stick
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp shortening
Preheat the oven to 350oF. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil extending the foil over the sides of the pan; set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the peppermint stick into pieces of desired size.
In a medium bowl, combine the crushed Oreo cookies and the melted butter.
Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake for 8 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the confectioner’s sugar and the softened butter. Beat on low to medium speed until butter is evenly distributed.
With the stand mixer running, add milk and peppermint extract through the feed tube until a paste forms.
Stir in the crushed peppermint stick. Spread peppermint mixture evenly over the prepared crust. Freeze for 45 minutes.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and shortening. Microwave on high power for about 1 minute or until chocolate is melted, stirring halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes. Pour chocolate over peppermint layer, spreading evenly.
Using the edges of the foil, lift the block of bars out of the pan. Put on a cutting board and cut into bars or any desired shape.
TO STORE: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.