Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Turn Candy Canes into Peppermint Syrup + a Giveaway for Gourmet Hot Chocolate from Cleo Coyle

Got extra candy canes? Then you can make this excellent pink peppermint syrup. It's delicious drizzled over cookies or stirred into hot cocoa. In fact, as a little Christmas gift to you, I'm giving away a canister of gourmet hot chocolate (classic or "wicked") from Jacques Torres

I'll tell you more about this tasty giveaway after the recipe below from my new culinary mystery, Holiday Buzz, now a Top-10 New York Times bestseller. Yes, we're popping champagne this week, and also sending thanks to you. Whether you're new to the Coffeehouse Mystery series or have been reading them since the first book was published (circa 2003), my husband and I extend our sincerest thanks for supporting our work.

Cleo Coyle, who is thrilled 
that she was able to add 
New York Times bestselling 
author to her Twitter profile 
without having to co-author 
a celebrity diet book. 
(Yeah, that felt good.)
Enjoy the recipe below, everyone, and have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

~ Cleo

(Friend me on facebook here.)

To see more of the recipes 
featured in Holiday Buzz,
click here to open the
illustrated Recipe Guide.
How to Turn Candy Canes into Pink
Peppermint Syrup

A recipe from... 

Cleo Coyle's
Holiday Buzz:
A Coffeehouse Mystery 

This sweet, potent syrup is delicious licked right off the spoon, but you may want to serve it over ice cream, drizzle it over sugar cookies, stir it into hot chocolate, or use it the way my amateur sleuth (Clare Cosi) does--to make delicious Candy Cane Lattes and Cappuccinos. Here's how to put your own leftover candy canes to good use...


1 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 large candy canes, broken up

Directions: Pour the water and sugar into a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the candy cane pieces to the mix and continue stirring and heating. When the candy canes begin to melt, the mix will turn a milky pink. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil and continue stirring for 3–4 minutes, until
 the mixture begins to thicken up. Test it by coating the back of a spoon (see my photos below). Remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool in the pan before transferring to a storage jar or plastic bottle. To speed up the cooling process, I pop my plastic squeeze bottle into an ice water bath (or the freezer). Unused syrup should be stored in the refrigerator. When chilled, this peppermint syrup will thicken up quite a bit. To re-use, simply put the squeeze bottle or jar of syrup into a warm water bath or microwave for ten seconds. 

F o o d i e 

p h o t o s

May your

holidays be bright!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

Holiday Buzz:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

Now a Top-10

New York Times

A Mystery Guild
Featured Alternate

Kirkus Reviews:
“Jingle bells, beautiful displays, scrumptious treats:
Holiday season in New York City has it all,
including murder…Coyle’s coffeehouse series
captures the New York experience,
from high-society parties to gritty back-street deals.
The fine mystery is followed by some holiday
recipes that will even pack the pounds on readers
who are only browsing them.”

RT Book Reviews
"A fun mixture of family, romance, cooking and...
a perfect Christmas mystery. A treat..."

Enter to win
gourmet hot chocolate
from Jacques Torres
(classic or "wicked")!

To enter, you must jump over
to Babs Book Bistro.

Babs is a follower of this blog and a longtime reader of cozy mysteries. She posted her thoughts on Holiday Buzz and was kind enough to run our Christmas giveaway this week. Enjoy her review and good luck on the giveaway!

Click here to jump
to Babs' blog and...

Check out a Holiday Buzz book 
giveaway at King's River Life,
(an online California magazine),
by clicking here.

Good luck, everyone! 
~ Cleo


  1. Cleo, what a fabulous idea!!! Love this and am making it the moment I get home from my trip today. So pretty, and tasty. And I adore the Torres cocoa. Met my editor there one day and also treated myself to some fabulous chocolate. Yum. Just got a sugar rush - cyber-wise. :)

    Daryl/ Avery

    1. Thanks, Daryl (aka Avery)! I know how busy everyone is at this time of year, and I truly appreciate your dropping by today.

      I know exactly what shop you're talking about, too. It's a great place to visit if anyone is planning a trip to NYC, down in the West Village. (Of course, this syrup will work on any old hot cocoa. To tell you the truth, my photo today is Swiss Miss!)

      Have a Merry Christmas, Daryl,
      the countdown to Santa is on!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Lovely comments over at King's River Life magazine, thank you! I'll reply to the comments early this evening...Join me there by clicking the link below...

    click here to jump to King's River Life and join the discussion...

    See you there!
    ~ Cleo Coyle
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Can I hire you to be my personal chef? Will be trying your peppermint syrup with those candy canes I've had! Happy Holidays :)

    1. I'll be right over. Hope you like coffee. Oh, and I have to photograph everything before you eat it. Other than that...

      No kidding, Helena, thank you sincerely for dropping in today (and making me smile). Cheers and have a wonderful holiday and a joyous New Year!

      ~ Cleo

  4. Absolutely luscious! Peppermint is my all time favorite any time of the year. The best thing about Christmastime is peppermint ice cream and peppermint bark. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe for peppermint syrup! I shall be making this and hoarding it. Shhhhh.....

    1. What I hoard is candy canes. This is a great time of year to buy them up! As long as they're factory sealed they keep forever, so you can make this syrup in July, and drizzle it over ice cream. And FYI, I love peppermint bark, too. Thank you so much for commenting, and may your holidays be merry and bright--and pepperminty.

      ~ Cleo

  5. Hearty and sweet congratulations form Chez Phillipe on hitting the New York Times Top Ten list!!!!

    Chef Connor is going to make the syrup for our Christmas morning coffee and hot chocolate...I imagine he will also be finding several other things to drizzle it on and in! He just put squirt bottles on my grocery list along with candy canes. I foresee it being like "squirt whipped cream"; open mouth and squirt in ;-)

    Holiday Buzz is the perfect book to curl up with in a favorite chair, next to the fireplace with a steaming beverage and a plate of goodies...I just need it from Santa!!!


    1. Thank you, Nanc! And thanks especially for taking time to drop by the Kitchen today... On the subject of candy cane peppermint syrup, I promise you'll be happy simply licking this stuff off the spoon. But def. try it in hot cocoa or even plain old warm milk. I haven't tried it yet in tea, but I'll bet it's delicious that way, too.

      Squirt bottles are indeed the best way to store it--of course, like I told Connie, hoarding candy canes is an even better idea so you can make it all year long.

      Love to you and your family, especially Connor, our junior Iron Chef. I would love to see him do a new recipe for us here in 2013. Merry Christmas to everyone at Chez Phillipe. I know Santa's on his way...

      ~ Cleo

  6. I have been doing some baking today and using the syrup recipe above.

    You can make a holiday cake look like a candy cane....just bake a sheet or small retangular cake and cut out an upside down J shape OR just let it be a Peppermint Stick by keeping is straight), then take vanilla frosting (or plain) add peppermint extract, the REAL kind to taste. Separate the frosting into a 2 /3 & 1/3, color 1/ 3 red. Frost the cake with the white frosting completely then carefully 'paint' the red in diagonal stripes ( where I used the syrup ). If you really want to go all out, crush some candy canes & sprinkle on top.

    Thanks for sharing Cleo and for sharing my link as well.

    ~*~ Babs ~*~

    1. Wonderful recipe idea, Babs. Thank you for sharing it! Marc and I are so pleased that you enjoyed our new Coffeehouse Mystery entry, and thanks again for the lovely review. We're lucky to have such wonderful readers, and we sincerely hope you'll continue to be one for years to come.

      Our warmest wishes for a
      happy holiday and bright new year,

      ~ Cleo (Alice and Marc)
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Oh so pretty! Did you ever see such a pretty shade of pink? Candy cane syrup - what a lovely idea!

    Oh, Cleo, your Pink Peppermint Frosting saved my reputation today - I used it on top of a batch of Red Velvet Swirl Brownies that didn't swirl, just looked weird. Turns out all they needed was some of your pretty icing.

    The only trouble with Holiday Buzz is that I've read it. It's over, and I want more! Might just have to read it again before Christmas.

  8. Laine! - Belated reply to your lovely comment. LOL on the swirl brownie story. We all have stories like that! I'm so glad candy cane frosting saved the culinary day for you. For anyone who would like that recipe, you can pick it up by clicking this link: Candy Cane Pink Peppermint Frosting

    Thanks for the nice words on Holiday Buzz. Marc and I are delighted to know that you enjoyed it.

    Our very best to you for a
    festive holiday and a bright new year!

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter