Incredibly Clever Things You Can Make With Candy Canes

There are many origin stories about the traditional Christmas candy cane. A staple in the roster of Christmas symbols, the candy cane started out as a pure white stick of sugar candy. One version of the story states the canes were handed out by a German choirmaster to keep children quiet during Christmas mass, the crook in the stick of candy designed to remind them of the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. Another explanation interprets the shape as a representation of the letter "J" for "Jesus." Eventually, red stripes were added to the candy, which some say reflects of the purity of a virgin birth and the bloodshed of Jesus' suffering.

Click here for the Incredible Candy Cane Creations (Slideshow)

The candy cane's introduction to United States was due in part to a German immigrant in Ohio named August Imgard, according to Smithsonian Magazine. He hung candy canes, little cakes, gilded nuts, and paper decorations on his tree which got the attention of his neighbors and friends. However, in an article cite din 1936 Imgard and his family were honored for another one of their contributions to the Christmas tree décor: brown sugar cookies the Imgards places on the branches.  

No matter the origin of the candy cane, the sweet treat is a recognizable staple of the Christmas season. The traditional red and white color scheme isn't the only option anymore; candy canes now come in various colors and flavors, as well as various sizes.

Whether they appear hanging on the tree, in plastic form lining driveways, or sparkling in giant light displays, candy canes are everywhere. Nearly two billion edible candy canes are sold each year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. They can be incorporated into gifts, decorations, and desserts to amp up holiday flair. We've rounded up some pretty incredible uses for the traditional peppermint-flavored candy here to help you add some pep to your holiday preparations.

Swirled Peppermint Bark

Peppermint bark is one of the easiest recipes you can make with candy canes. It is a refreshing and decadent dessert that makes a great gift or party dessert. This recipe for peppermint bark combines the best of both worlds in a white and milk chocolaty swirled take on the traditional holiday treat. Simple, tasty, and an instant holiday classic!

Click here for the recipe.

Candy Cane Crunch Ice Cream Pie

Though the weather outside is frightful, this pie is so delightful! Snuggle up closer to the fire and enjoy this easy-to-make frozen dessert that's sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.

Click here for the Recipe.

This article was originally published on December 11, 2014.