This make-ahead Peppermint Candy Cane Tart is a super festive crowd pleaser. It’s also melt-in-your-mouth delicious and easy to put together!
Everyone needs a simple yet sensational dessert recipe for holiday celebrations. With an easy graham cracker crust and a short ingredient list, this make-ahead Peppermint Candy Cane Tart will be a huge hit at any party or family get-together!
Did you know it’s illegal to go through the holiday season without some type of peppermint/chocolate dessert or confection? You’ve never heard this law before? Well, maybe it’s only true in North Carolina where I live. Or perhaps it’s just a Raleigh ordinance. No? A neighborhood covenant rule in my little neighborhood?
Okay, maybe none of the above are true, but I know one thing for sure; I have a hard time resisting this heavenly flavor combination and find that chocolate peppermint desserts are always holiday crowd-pleasers. This Peppermint Candy Cane Tart has been a favorite of ours this season and I know it will be on the holiday “must make” list in the future.
The delicious filling is made with marshmallow creme, cream cheese, heavy cream and finely crushed candy canes. There’s also a splash of peppermint extract (or peppermint schnapps) for an added layer of flavor. For garnish, a pretty topping of crushed candy canes is added before serving.
This Peppermint Candy Cane Tart is wonderful just as it is, but if you want to be a bit decadent, whip up a batch of this Best Ever Hot Fudge Sauce. Oh my! Schmakalaka (that’s what my mom would say if something was particularly delicious)!
One day, earlier this month Emmy and Hayes, our two youngest grandchildren were spending the night. After dinner, I gave them the choice of a lollipop or a piece of “Gigi’s cake” (this Peppermint Candy Cane Tart). They both chose a lollipop but after a minute or two, Emmy said: “Could I just see the cake, Gigi?” The tart was in the freezer so I pulled it out. As soon as Emmy saw it, her eyes got big and she changed her mind. And after taking the first bite, she blurted out: “This is really, really good for the blog!”
Hayes gobbled up his piece and then picked up the plate and licked it!
So there you have it! Find some way to sneak this delicious Peppermint Candy Cane Tart into your holiday recipe repertoire. I can assure you, it will be enjoyed by family and friends of all ages!
Tips for making this Peppermint Candy Cane Tart
- This dessert can be made ahead as it’s stored in the freezer. I like to freeze it in the tart pan, uncovered. Then, when it’s completely frozen, I cover it with plastic wrap. The tart will keep well in the freezer for up to a week.
- You might be tempted to add the candy cane topping before freezing this tart. I found that it’s better to add the topping just before serving. The candy tends to “melt” into the filling and doesn’t look as pretty if you add it right away. Just sprinkle the topping over the tart before serving.
- To chop the candy canes, I put them in a large ziplock bag and use a meat mallet to crush them. You could also use a small heavy saute pan. I do it on the floor in the garage, to prevent damaging my kitchen counter or floors with the pounding. It helps to enclose the ziplock bag in a kitchen towel when crushing the candy canes.
- Chocolate graham crackers are available at most groceries stores right next to the regular graham crackers. If you can’t find them or live in another country where they’re not available, you could use regular graham crackers, increase the sugar to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of cocoa.
- Feel free to use either peppermint extract or peppermint schnapps in the filling. I’ve tried both with delicious results!
- If you don’t live in the U.S. you might not be familiar with marshmallow creme. Marshmallow creme is an American confectionery. It’s a marshmallow-like substance that’s spreadable. If it’s not available, you can make your own! It takes about10 minutes. Here’s a link for Homemade Marshmallow Creme.
This make-ahead Peppermint Candy Cane Tart is a super festive crowd pleaser. It's also melt-in-your-mouth delicious and easy to put together!
- 12 whole chocolate graham crackers not chocolate-covered finely ground, crushed (should be about 1 1/4 cups)
- 7 tablespoons butter melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 8 5-inch candy canes crushed (3 1/2-ounces)
- 1 7- oz jar marshmallow creme
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 cups heavy cream whipped till stiff peaks form
- ¼ cup peppermint schnapps or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract or 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2-3 drops red food coloring if desired
- Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle position.
Combine crushed chocolate graham crackers (see Café Tips above), sugar and butter in a medium-size bowl. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up the sides of an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
- Crush candy canes (see Café Tips above) into fairly small pieces (don’t completely pulverize). Pour candy cane pieces into a medium hole strainer and shake to separate the superfine powder from the pieces of candy cane. Place the larger pieces in a small airtight container and reserve till just before serving. Set aside the finely crushed powder.
- Combine marshmallow creme and softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Mix until smooth.
Fold in whipped cream, finely crushed candy cane and peppermint schnapps (or peppermint extract) until everything is well combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared crust and place in the freezer until firm. Just before serving, top with reserved crushed candy cane pieces. Serve frozen.