I love all of the fresh, healthy (often dairy-free) recipes that are featured in January. However, they don’t help me use up the holiday leftovers that have taken over my kitchen counter: cookies, dried fruit, nuts, fancy crackers, chips, and candy. Oh, the candy. Allergen-free treats can be expensive! I don’t want them to go to waste. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make the old leftover holiday snacks and treats seem new again. Hopefully they’ll work for you, too, so that you can find your countertop.
Cookies to Cookie Butters
As I’ve mentioned before, I love trying seasonal Oreo flavors such as Peppermint Bark. But I went a little overboard buying them, and now I’m left with some extra. This three-ingredient Instant Dairy-Free Oreo Cookie Butter recipe is the perfect way to use up Oreos or similar dairy-free sandwich cookies, such as Trader Joe’s Joe Joe’s or Aldi Benton’s Chocolate Sandwich Cremes.
I like to provide store-bought dairy-free cookies for the kids’ social events so that people can check the ingredients on the label. I have some Aldi Winternacht Spekulatius Spiced Cookies leftover from a church youth group party that will be perfect in this Gingerbread Cookie Butter.
Three Sweet Candy Cane Ideas
I learned that I could keep candy canes in the freezer to enjoy them all year round from Grateful Foodie. She also introduced me to the idea of dipping a candy cane in a lemon half–a treat I have yet to try. This might be the year!
My family’s favorite seasonal hot chocolate mix recipe, Candy Cane Cocoa, has crushed candy canes in it. We like it so much that I double the recipe any time I make it. Add crushed candy canes to any dairy-free hot chocolate mix or serve them alongside dairy-free crockpot hot chocolate.
A few years ago I made Candy Cane Syrup with leftover candy canes. This easy recipe is just simple syrup plus candy canes. Candy Cane Syrup is a nice addition to coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and it makes a great ice cream topping.
Raise the Bar
If you were fortunate enough to receive some fancy granola as a gift, use the last of it to make Chocolate Chip Soft-Baked Granola Bars. These tasty bars make an easy breakfast or school snack.
Use the nuts Santa left in your stocking and your favorite dried fruits to make portable Fruit and Nut Bars. Catherine Newman provides a lot of fun flavor combinations for her Raw Energy Bars that can help to use up leftover holiday snacks. Her Peanut Butter Snap Bars and Chocolate Cherry Macaroon Bars are two of my favorites.
Toss leftover nuts, seeds, and other crunchy snacks in crunchy or crispy bars lie these Trail Mix Bars. Then melt down leftover chocolate for a drizzle on top.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!
If you invested in some Santa-shaped dairy-free chocolate that didn’t get eaten, simply melt it down and use it in chocolate bark or as a topping on a special treat.
Looking to use up other dairy-free chocolates? Press them into Brownie Minis for bite-sized treats. This works great with mini dairy-free peanut butter or Sunbutter cups, chocolate squares, or chopped dairy-free candy bars. Or chop the chocolates and mix them into your favorite dairy-free brownie mix or brownie recipe to make candy-infused brownies. Then invite the neighbors over to help polish off the pan.
Brownies also make a good medium for those leftover holiday pretzel shapes. Press them into the batter before baking, and then drizzle with melted chocolates for a rich, sweet, and salty dessert.
Leftover Holiday Snacks Snack Mix
You really can’t go wrong with this snack mix. It’s the perfect way to use up all of your savory leftover holiday snacks (or any day snacks!). In the picture, I used:
- 3 cups Aldi Clancy’s Holiday Shapes Pretzels (broken into bite-size pieces) from Christmas
- 1 cup homemade dairy-free popcorn leftover from a movie night
- 1 cup crumbled Aldi Savoritz Olive Oil and Pepper Crackers leftover from Christmas Eve
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts leftover from New Year’s Eve (crunchy chickpeas are a great nut-free alternative)
- 1/2 cup of cornflakes from the end of a box
But the sky is the limit with this easy formula …
Special Diet Notes: Leftover Snacks Snack Mix
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, optionally nut-free, optionally peanut-free, optionally soy-free, optionally vegan, and optionally vegetarian.
- 6 cups leftover crunchy dairy-free snacks, cereal, etc (see what I used in the post above)
- ¼ cup dairy-free buttery spread, melted (I use Smart Balance)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan, if needed)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF.
- Pour the crunchy snacks into a 1-gallon freezer bag, breaking up any large pieces into bite-sized pieces.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttery spread, Worcestershire, nutritional yeast, and garlic powder.
- Pour the buttery mixture into the bag and shake to evenly coat the crunchy snacks.
- Dump the mixture out onto a baking sheet and evenly spread it out.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring it every 15 minutes.
- Let it cool before noshing away.
Geez, I had no idea about freezing candy canes or any of those other ideas for using them! I was just thinking couple of days ago that we have quite a few in the pantry, and they are the natural colored/flavored ones – so not inexpensive. This is great, thanks Alisa!
I’m glad you like the ideas! I was so surprised to learn about freezing candy canes from Caroline.