We use candy to decorate cookies and gingerbread houses. We add candy to our tree and use it in our holiday tablescaping, but we have one very special decorating tradition that involves candy canes. Each year we fill our “candy cane” house with candy canes.
My grandmother made the candy cane house for us when I was very young. My mom sent it to me after I had my first child, so it is one of my childhood traditions that I am able to share with my children. This time we used Spree candy canes because I liked the colors.
The Candy Cane House doesn’t stay full for long with my oldest son around, so this year I bought him his own box of candy canes. I didn’t tell him, but when he was helping me put away the groceries, he saw them, broke into them and thanked me for buying him “SweetTarts Candy Canes; the best candy canes ever!”.
I have traditional candy canes on hand as well, but I have been using them in barks like my Double Mint Holiday Bark:
And in my Easy Peppermint Bark:
Baking with Kids and Holiday Candy
My oldest kids are busy with finals, so we will wait until they are done with school to make and decorate sugar cookies. But I needed a fun activity for my little guy who is getting impatient and wants to “start holidaying”. I decided to use the Nestle Crunch Jingles in cookies. Jingles are bell shaped candies and I thought the shaped chocolate would be a fun alternative to chocolate chips. We found a recipe for Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Oatmeal Cookies at NestleSeasonalRecipes.com. I was intrigued by the combination of flavors and my little guy was excited about baking with me.
However, it doesn’t take long for stirring to become experimenting – It’s rain, it’s lava, it’s taken away by mommy and he is given a new task.
It doesn’t take long for helping to become eating. Only one Crunch Jingle on the cutting board, but two or is that three, empty wrappers and chocolate on the face.
I’m moving right along with my tasks and offer to help my son unwrap the jingles. He insists that he doesn’t need help and I wonder if that means he can unwrap them on his own or eat them on his own. Probably both.
I’m just waiting on the Crunch Jingles…
Oh, no. My son tossed them all in. I was going to strategically and artfully place some of the jingles on top of the cookies. Well, at least they will still taste good.
Can you see the bells? Me either. Do cookies with chocolate bells in them taste as good, if you can’t tell they are bells? They do if you use Nestle Crunch bells. My husband said the cookies “taste like an amalgamation of everything that’s good”. My son is pretty sure that they turned out so well because of all of his help. And I am sure he is right!
Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Oatmeal Cookies may be the best oatmeal cookies ever! And the addition of Crunch Jingles makes them a great treat to “ring in” the New Year, so I will be serving these cookies at our New Year’s party.
We leave our holiday decorations up until the Epiphany on January 6th, so I have bought extra candy to use in baking and decorating through our last party on Twelfth Night.
You can find the recipe for Mrs. Claus’ Favorite Oatmeal cookies here. If you make them, keep a few of the quartered jingles out of the dough and place them on top of the cookies, so everyone can easily see the bells.
You can find more baking ideas using candy at Nestle Seasonal Recipes.