Make your holiday sweeter with homemade candy cane hearts! Our easy to follow recipe shows you how to melt and shape peppermint candy into adorable candy cane hearts to hang on your tree or give as gifts!
Make Cute Candy Hearts for Christmas
These Candy Cane Hearts are a fun and easy Christmas recipe, perfect for making with the family.
Actually, “recipe” might be too strong a word – they’re more like a craft, or maybe even a magic trick! Just heat candy canes, twist them into heart shapes, then fill them with chocolate and peppermint bits for a minty, chocolatey treat.
Here are 4 things we love to do with these hearts:
- Add them to Christmas cookie plates – just a few tucked here and there add a pop of holiday magic.
- Omit the chocolate filling and just make the candy heart shapes, then hang some on your Christmas tree or garland.
- Use them as cute cupcake or cake toppers.
- Package them in cellophane and give them with a nice mug and some gourmet coffee or cocoa as gifts.
Table of Contents
🧾 What You’ll Need
- Candy canes: you can use either small or large candy canes (or a mix of both!). If you’re doing a mix of sizes, I recommend baking them on different sheets since the small ones take less time in the oven. Note: this technique works best with fresher candy canes, so don’t use old ones you found in the back of the cupboard – buy new ones for the best results.
- White and dark chocolate chips: The chocolate inside is optional, but if you use it, you can use your choice of white chips, chocolate chips, or a mix of both! Alternately, you can use candy coating, which I tend to prefer because it sets well at room temperature and doesn’t get soft and sticky.
- Candy cane bits: You can decorate the chocolate with crushed candy canes, but those tend to get sticky quickly. If you want to make these in advance and have them last longer, I recommend candy cane bits instead.
- Baking sheets
- Parchment or silicone mat
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Ready to make these? Get the recipe below, then scroll below the recipe card for a video, step-by-step photos, and Tips and FAQs!
Leave a Review!
If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!
Candy Cane Hearts
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (120 C), and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Spray the parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
- Unwrap the candy canes. It's okay if some of them break during this process, because they can be fused back together—just place the broken pieces next to each other as if they had not broken. Arrange the candy canes on the baking sheet in pairs, with 2 candy canes facing each other like a heart shape. I recommend doing these in batches and baking about 4 hearts at a time.
- Bake the candy canes in the 250 F oven for 5-8 minutes, checking them every few minutes. They will gradually soften as they heat up, and the trick is to soften them enough so that you can bend and shape them, but not to let them get so warm that they start to melt and get misshapen. The exact time will vary depending on your canes and your oven, so keep a close eye on them.
- Remove the trays from the oven. Work carefully, because the canes will be warm, and gently form them into a heart shape. Firmly press the points of the heart together, where the two candy canes join, to fuse them together. Set it aside to cool as you move on to another warm candy cane.
- If at any point the candy canes get too cool and become too difficult to shape, return the tray to the oven to soften for a few additional minutes. Once all of the hearts are formed, let them cool completely at room temperature before proceeding.
- Melt both types of chocolate or coating in separate microwave-safe bowls, heating them in short bursts and stirring frequently to prevent overheating.
- To make single-flavor peppermint bark, spoon white or dark chocolate into the center of a candy cane heart and smooth it into an even layer. Top the bark with a generous sprinkle of candy cane pieces while the chocolate is still wet.
- To make swirled bark, fill a heart with one color of chocolate. Drizzle another color across the top, then drag a toothpick through the chocolates to create a swirled pattern, and top the swirls with crushed candy canes. Repeat until all of the hearts are filled.
- Refrigerate the trays to set the chocolate completely. Once set, you can serve the candy cane hearts, or package them to give as gifts. The candy canes will become soft and sticky as they are exposed to moisture or humidity, so it is best to package them in individual bags and store them in an airtight container if you're making them in advance. They will keep for up to a month.
- This recipe yields 12 large hearts, or up to 120 miniature hearts if you only use small candy canes. You can also make a mix of large and small, and use all dark or all white chocolate to suit your tastes.
- I recommend making a few extra candy cane hearts with each batch, in case any of them break during assembly.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.
Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?
📋 Photo Tutorial
Here’s an overview of how to make Candy Cane Hearts. You can get printable instructions in the recipe card, and while you’re there, watch the full-length tutorial video!
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Unwrap your candy canes, and arrange them in a heart shape on the baking sheet. I recommend doing a few at a time – if you try to do too many, the canes will just harden before you can shape them.
- Bake the candy canes at 250 F for 5-8 minutes. Watch them carefully – you want them to be soft and pliable, but not so warm that they start melting. The exact time depends a lot on the oven and the candy itself, so this is one recipe where you want to stay close by during the process.
- Let the candy canes cool completely. If you want to fill them with peppermint bark, heat dark and white chocolate chips (or candy coating). Fill the center of a heart with the melted coating, gently pushing it all the way to the edges of the heart.
- While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle candy cane bits on top and gently press them in.
- Refrigerate the tray to set the chocolate, then enjoy!
💡 Tips For Success
- Buy new candy canes for this recipe. Older canes are more brittle and prone to breaking, so pick up a fresh bag before you begin.
- The exact baking time can vary quite a bit from oven to oven, so it’s best to watch these closely (especially for your first batch) to learn what timing works best for you.
- If some candy canes break while you’re unwrapping them, don’t throw them out! They can be fused back together. Place the broken pieces next to each other on the baking sheet, as if they had not broken, and once they’re out of the oven, press the pieces together.
- The candy canes cool quickly, so heat them in batches of 3-4 at a time.
Make-ahead and storage information
These hearts will keep for 2-4 weeks, depending on packaging and humidity.
The candy canes will become soft and sticky as they are exposed to moisture or humidity, so it is best to package them in individual bags and store them in an airtight container if you’re making them in advance. Keep the container at cool room temperature – do not refrigerate or freeze it.
If you live in a humid climate, these will most likely only keep a week or so, even if you package them very well. Moisture is the enemy of sugar, and candy canes are aaaaalllllll sugar! You can get some silica gel packets (I have and recommend these food-safe ones) and store a bunch in with your candy. They will help absorb extra moisture and prolong the life of your candy canes.