Peppermint is giving cinnamon a run for its money as the stand-out spice of the season this year and even has a special day dedicated to the flavor. National Candy Cane Day is coming up on December 26th and the perfect day to celebrate the sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks found abundantly during the holidays. Whether you pop a minty marshmallow in your hot cocoa or snack on scrumptious star mint meringues, peppermint makes the perfect way to end an evening in front of a warm fire. Gather yours up from your stocking or pluck one from the tree and dig into these peppermint inspired recipes to whip up in your NEMA kitchen:

Peppermint Bark Popcorn: This Christmas Eve, curl up with a Christmas classic and nom on this peppermint-inspired popcorn. Drizzle it with melted chocolate for extra sweetness.

Double-Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti: One of the yummiest flavor combinations - chocolate and mint - come together in this biscotti recipe. Crushed peppermint candy makes a pretty and crunchy topper.

Slow Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Thick and creamy with peppermint schnapps, this dark chocolate treat pairs well with fires and caroling.

White Chocolate Candy Cane Fortune Cookies: Use restaurant fortune cookies to make these easy treats at the last minute.

Candy Cane Martini: Amp up your cocktail game with this recipe, loaded with flavorful "festive spirit"!

Peppermint Swirl Fudge: Indulge in candy-shop flavor with these rich swirled squares. For a touch of holiday color, add crushed peppermint candies.

Candy Cane Cocktail With Homemade Candy Cane Infused Vodka: Crème de cacao and homemade candy cane infused vanilla vodka — along with a couple dashes of bitters for depth and balance — combine for a classic (not cloying) chocolate-peppermint cocktail.

Peppermint Mocha Pie: From the mountain of whipped cream dotted with peppermint candies to the rich mocha ganache filling, this pie is like a present to your taste buds.

Peppermint Nanaimo Bars: Turn this nostalgic treat into a fancy holiday dessert with this simple recipe. A chewy cocoa graham base is topped with a creamy custard filling, a chocolate glaze hit with a splash of peppermint, and dotted with crushed peppermint candies or candy canes to complete the festive look.

Candy Cane Mini Donuts: Store-bought donuts plus store-bought icing plus crushed candy canes equals these terrific frosted cake donuts.

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread Cookies: Buttery shortbread cookies are a holiday favorite. You can make them even more celebration-worthy by dipping them in chocolate and crushed candy canes.

Fun Candy Cane Facts:

- The average candy cane is 5 inches tall.

- Striped red and white candy canes were first introduced in 1900.

- The longest candy cane measures 51 feet long.

Has your candy cane crush kicked in yet? Next time you see a candy cane hanging from a tree, your mind will be spinning with ideas on how to bring these peppermint swirled magic treats into your holiday traditions lineup. Want to make your own, try this recipe. Happy Holidays!

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