chocolate candy cane snowflakes

As I type this, Danny has three of these treats in his hands. He’s back from work, after being on his feet for over 12 hours, and we ate a big dinner of red beans and rice. Very good, he said. Very good. Still, I think he was being polite. Really, he just ate dinner so he could get to these.

“They’re like rice krispie treats with a zing, a taste of milk chocolate and white chocolate. Can I have another one?”

(Danny’s my taster for everything right now, since I still can’t chew. Nearly two weeks ago I had my wisdom teeth out — at 45! — and unfortunately, there was some nerve damage. I can’t feel much of my chin or lower lip. I’m in pretty constant pain. The surgeon thinks it should reverse itself, slowly. I can feel that, luckily. Two more months and I should feel my chin without that burning ice sensation, when I’m lucky. The hardest part has been the no-chewing rule. Since the surgery is still healing, and I can’t feel my teeth — do you know how weird it is for your teeth to be numb? — the surgeon doesn’t want me eating anything I have to chew for a total of three weeks. That means the first time I can have anything besides soups, smoothies, and peanut butter off a spoon? Christmas Day.)

I’m going to hide most of them from him tonight, however, since I made a batch of these for Lu’s preschool’s holiday party. There will be nearly 15 darling children, their parents, food, and a lot of dancing. These treats should go over well.

(Okay, I took one chew of them. I can’t go on until I tell you that truth. These looked so good that I could not resist. I nibbled at one, like a rabbit, with my two front teeth. And then I let it melt on my tongue until I could swallow it. And oh, it was so good.)

Honestly, I can already tell these are going into the annual rotation. Thanks to the good folks at Food52 and their wonderful new holiday iPad app.

Do you own an iPad? We bought one last year. At first, I felt a little guilty about it. Did I need one more computer? Now, however, I am so firmly in love with it that I cannot imagine life without it.

My iPad is always in the kitchen. I love that I can bring it in, place it in my cookbook holder, and look at a recipe easily. This is much easier than when I found a recipe online, scrawled it on the back of an envelope, and cooked while the spilled milk on the counter slowly seeped through the letters. Once I have the recipe cooking away, I use the iPad to listen to RadioLab or Fresh Air, or check my email while I listen to music. It’s astonishing to me to have everything in that one place. And it feels like it belongs in the kitchen.

Danny and I both hope that we can write cookbooks for the rest of our lives. But will each of those cookbooks, or gathering of recipes, be in hardbound form? I don’t know. The state of publishing is in an interesting place. I love the idea of doing smaller gatherings of recipes, for the holidays, or just about breads, or a cookie compendium. iPad apps feel like the future for those ideas.

This is why I was so eager to check out the Food52 app. Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs are so damned smart. They’re not only fascinated by food, but they really know it. With their experience, they could have easily started a food site based solely on their knowledge. However, what I love about Food52 is that they reached out to good home cooks around the internet and asked for their ideas. At first the website was an interesting idea: hold weekly contests like “Give us your favorite pear recipe” or “Summer soup,” choose the best ones, and then make a cookbook out of it.

Well, The Food52 Cookbook:140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks is out now. I highly recommend it, especially if you love food, feel confident in the kitchen, and aren’t intimidated by great ingredients. Note that the book was created by home cooks, with the key word being “exceptional.” Open the cookbook and you’ll probably find 20 new recipes to try within a few moments. I know I did.

However, as much as I like the cookbook, it’s the new holiday iPad app that really has my attention. You see, with an iPad app, you can do so many things besides having a recipe inert on the page. Within a recipe, there might be a directive to “roast the hazelnuts.” Click on the highlighted passage and you’re taken to a little video of Merrill demonstrating how to roast the hazelnuts. Another recipe might call for you to melt chocolate in a double boiler. You don’t have one. Click on the line and you’re taken to an online store where you can order one. If you’re not sure what fine sea salt is, click on it in the ingredients list and see a picture immediately.

Cookbooks in book form are wonderful. We have hundreds and more arrive every week. But having it all in one place like this, interactive and all visual? It’s pretty incredible.

This app not only contains recipes for the holidays like Le Bernadin’s Crispy-Skinned Fish, Kale with Pancetta, Cream, and Toasted Rosemary Walnuts, and Tipsy Maple Corn, but it also has a photographic guide to the most basic cooking techniques, baking 101, and prep for drinks. There’s also a holiday tip sheet for how to survive these crazy weeks. And, if I were more adventurous and had more time this year, I’d make the gingerbread house according to the specifications they provide.

You want to know what else is cool? There’s a special recipe category: condiments, gifts, vegetarian, individual holidays. And gluten-free. There’s an entire gluten-free options category and it’s full.

That’s where I found the original version of these treats. This afternoon, I made them.

I’m going to stop writing now, however, and join Danny on the couch. When I posted the photo of these on Instagram this afternoon, some of you were shouting at me for the recipe. I’m going to stop talking so you can start making these now.

P.S. Amanda and Merrill have been kind enough to give away one copy of the iPad app. Naomi Devlin, you are the winner! Please contact me at 

CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE SNOWFLAKES, adapted from the Food52 iPad app

 The original of these called for white chocolate, rice krispies cereal, and peanuts. Well, our store was out of the healthy brown rice cereal I planned for. Heck with that — let’s use chocolate crisp rice cereal instead! We’re not big peanuts fans, but we sure love sliced almonds. And since Lu is crazy about Christmas this year, she has been talking nonstop about candy canes. Crush those up and go. 

When it comes to melting chocolate, you have a few options. (Here’s where I wish you could click on each of these and see us demonstrating them in a video!) 1. Use your double boiler to melt the white chocolate. 2. Use your microwave. Set it for 30 seconds, stir the chocolate, and keep going until it’s nearly melted. Stir. 3. Do as I do. Put one pan on top of a pot of boiling water. As the steam rises, it heats the bowl on top. Stir the melting chocolate with a rubber spatula until it’s ready to go. 

That’s the most time-consuming part of this recipe. The rest? Stirring and waiting until they are hardened in the refrigerator. 

Chew one for me, will you? 


2 1/2 cups chocolate rice crisp cereal (we’re big fans of Nature’s Path cereal around here)
6 candy canes, crushed into small pieces
1 cup sliced almonds
22 ounces white chocolate chips  (or a block, if you chop)

Combine the chocolate cereal, crushed candy canes, and almonds into a large bowl. Toss around the ingredients until they are well combined.

Melt the white chocolate until it is entirely smooth, using one of the methods described above.

Pour the melted white chocolate into a large bowl. Pour the chocolate-candy cane-almond mixture into the melted chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, and moving quickly, combine all the ingredients together until everything is coated well.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of the mixture in little mounds onto a parchment-paper covered baking sheet. (Don’t worry about being too careful about how they look. The more splattered, the more real, I think.) You can put a lot of these spoonfuls onto the baking sheet because you’re not baking them. You don’t need to leave room for spreading. Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator (you’ll probably have another one filled too) to allow the treats to harden, about 30 minutes. Store the snowflakes in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Makes about 40 snowflakes.

67 comments on “chocolate candy cane snowflakes

  1. Bren

    Oh my – I’m not even a sweet eater, and these sound divine. I’m thinking maybe a Texas version with local pecans – coarsely chopped & maybe spice roasted, with some orange zest & a drizzle of dark chocolate?? Thanks for sharing this! I hope your poor mouth is healing soon.

  2. Trish

    These look and sound wonderful, can’t wait to try them! Hope you heal quickly and can enjoy more of these special treats.

  3. Buffy

    These sound tasty and super easy to make for a cookie exchange I am hosting on Sunday. I’m not a big fan of white chocolate however, so maybe I’ll swap for dark chocolate and use plain rice crisps (organic of course)? Guess they won’t look much like snow flakes but would taste good? Other concern is dark choc may turn white w/ refrigeration, so will they harden at room temp ok? Thanks for planting some ideas to play around with. Going to check if that recipe app is avail for iPhone.

    1. Jen Oliver

      Buffy, I made these yesterday with dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand) and gluten-free Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, since we were taking them to a party with a dairy-allergic child in attendance and I couldn’t find dairy-free white chocolate. I stuck them in the fridge on the cookie sheets for about an hour, then took them to the party where they sat in the bowl at room temp for the evening. We kept a few and those haven’t turned white at room temp. And yes, they taste very, very good. I got a lot of rave reviews on them. Thanks for posting the recipe, Shauna. I think these will go in our annual rotation as well.

  4. Kate

    Looks wonderful and easy for my kids to make together . We are big in our house on kids directing the Christmas activities. N

  5. Kate

    These look great! My kids will be making them tomorrow and they will likely join our rotation of cookies. I am still making ones with
    Gluten but am slowly converting the best recipes to gluten free. Shauna , you should teach a class on just thiS- converting recipes you love into a safe version…
    Feel better soon!

  6. Monica Keehn

    Looks good!
    I had that happen to me once, with not being able to feel my chin and part of my cheek for a long time. Vitamin B helps, as well as St. Johns Wort Oil. Heal well!

  7. Geri

    How big are the six candy canes? They come in multiple sizes. Also, where does one find known-for-sure-to-be-GF candy canes?

  8. Naomi Devlin

    Oh Shauna, I really feel for you! I had my wisdom teeth out a few years ago and the pain was second only to childbirth… You might like to try taking some homeopathic hypericum – it’s fantastic for healing nerves and may help with both the pain and the numbness.

    I look forward to some great soup recipes! x x x

  9. rawesome goddess

    Im so sorry to hear about your mouth!!! This is no good!…so im praying for you right now in Jesus’ name that his healing touch will soothe your mouth and give you the ability to chew pain free! I dont love anythong more than i love jesus….and food:) thanks for leading me to my PERFECT christmas dessert! Cant wait to make them and so glad i wont have to slave in the kitchen for hours!

  10. lauren@spicedplate

    I hope you feel better soon, Shauna — I want you to be able to chew and experience the food you make, pain free! These snowflakes look so dear — I like how it’s okay to be messy with them. Heal fast and be merry!

  11. kathyfannon

    I used to make something similar to this, but with pretzels, M&Ms (which I no linger eat), and Chex. I would just spread it out on a cookie sheet then break it into pieces once it hardened. Easy!

    I love chocolate and mint. I can’t wait to try these! 🙂

  12. Jenn Sutherland

    I’m making these this afternoon…but will sub out rice for puffed quinoa or millet – I’m hooked on both, lately – I was just looking for a fun treat to share with my team this week, and these will be perfect!

    …And your wisdom tooth saga scares me just a little…I have to have mine out in February. Eeek. Wishing you swift healing!

  13. Sam @ The Second Lunch

    These look delightful! Also, I’m on a big RadioLab kick right now, listening to the archives from the very beginning (I’ve made it to the end of season four so far). I listen mostly while on long walks, but i shall definitely listen in the kitchen now!

  14. Anile | Girlfriday

    Talk about redefining the countdown to Christmas – what a celebratory day that will be. Sending healing thoughts to you, Shauna! I hope you improve quickly. Thanks so much to you and Food52 for posting this recipe – it’s so timely, we moved this summer and our new place has no oven. We’re hoping to get one by next Christmas but I can’t tell you how trying it is to bake 9 cookies at a time in my little toaster oven (although I’m still doing it, because I’m determined to have Christmas cookies!) Will definitely be making a batch of these this week. Can’t wait!

  15. Prairiewinds

    Hey Shauna,

    Curious. Can you clarify what “aren’t intimidated by great ingredients” means?

    Thanks for any clarification and wishing you a speedy recovery from your wisdom teeth trials.

    1. shauna

      Sure. I noticed that one of the reviews on the book complained that she couldn’t use the book because it called for ingredients such as saffron or cardamom. The reviewer even said that the list of ingredients left her puzzled and scared. There’s a strain of thought on cookbooks that in order for it to be good, it has to correlate directly to what we do in our kitchens, otherwise it’s not good. So I thought I’d let people know that this is a book for people who love to play with every kind of ingredient.

      1. Prairiewinds

        Thanks for the clarification. I was hoping that “great” didn’t mean expen$ive as in how Ina Garten uses “great”. When she uses “great” what she really means is expensive. Just about anything would taste good with $100 olive oil cold pressed by virgins on it. I have the utmost respect for cooks who can take simple, affordable to the masses ingredients, and make something that tastes “expensive”. Anyway, the book looks interesting and so do your cookies.

        Take care.

  16. Catherine

    Wow! I’m making those! I can’t tell you how sorry I am for you. Mouth pain is so miserable. I remember getting my wisdom teeth out about 28 years ago. My dentist was old school and did it with plyers! He wrenched my head back and forth and was sweating when it was finally over. He said “I think I should have sent you to an oral surgeon”. The roots were curled.
    I asked for pain meds and he said I didn’t need them! Whew! It was horrible!
    The good old days……
    Anyhow, hope you are feeling better soon. As my sweet mother always said “This too shall pass”.

  17. Margaret

    Any suggestions for us nut allergy folks? Can we just omit the almonds or what would substitute?

    1. Wendy

      We used regular crisp rice cereal with broken candy canes and white choc. They were fantastic! Called them peppermint snowflakes for years. Thanks for posting this Shauna. So sorry for the tooth experience. Not a funthing to deal with, but that is what soup and mousse is for! Panna cotta! Russian Creme! Sorbet! melt in your mouth dumplings that you don’t have to chew! What? you don’t have a recipe for the dumplings? Time to play!
      I find that some people just can’t help but complain about something. If not the fact that they have to use safron then it is the fact that something takes so long to make or we won’t eat that or we don’t like this or whatever. Tis the most often unannounced Complainers Tongue that discourages. What a shame.

  18. Connie

    Nerve damage takes FOREVAH to heal. Sorry you are dealing with that. Amen to the iPad, my sidekick, always!

    Downloading that app right now…….thanks.

  19. Kristen Miglore

    Shauna, what a beautiful write up and cheers to those lovely minty, nutty snowflakes! Killer adaptation — I’m sure the preschoolers will agree. I’m tapping this comment out on my new iPad (a Christmas present!) and I’m 100% with you — I was a skeptic too initially, but it’s been a life-changing, in the kitchen especially. Can’t wait to see what you build for it!

  20. leela

    so sorry about your mouth troubles!
    i feel like i need an ipad now, particularly since i am also an inveterate scribbler of recipes on the backs of envelopes. just yesterday i was found one and actually could not remember what it was intended to make – it was a list of ingredients and some extremely sketchy directions (basically just oven temperature and time) and now i have no clue what the final product was supposed to be. oh well, hopefully it was good. best wishes for lots of good bites on christmas.

  21. CTJen

    Shauna, have you thought about acupuncture for the nerve pain/damage? I have a congenital neuropathy which causes pain in my lower legs and feet. After several acupuncture treatments, my pain was gone neurologist was surprised that I actually had improved nerve function (which never happens). It might be worth looking into.

  22. Shelly CooksGF

    Looks great! As a chocoholic, I think white “chocolate” is an imposter so I’ll substitute dark or semisweet chocolate. 🙂 I might sprinkle some powdered sugar on top to make it snowy.

    As for recipe sites and apps, my friend hooked me on which she says is also available as a free app for iPhone and iPad. Pepperplate lets you keep all your favorite recipes in one place — you can import recipes directly from over a dozen sites or type in your own. It even lets you mark favorites, plan menus, and create customized grocery lists. Addictive!

    I hope you are feeling better and healing soon.

    1. shauna

      You know, I generally disdain white chocolate. But here, it really works. I don’t know why, but I think dark chocolate wouldn’t have the same effect.

  23. Ali

    We’ll be making these today! Cannot wait! And I have to say, I second the recommendation to look into acupuncture. Last year, I had head/neck radiation treatment for Lymphoma and lost my sense of taste. It’s a common side effect, but wow! It was one of the most challenging things I’d dealt with. I went to 3 sessions of acupuncture in 7 days, and by the end of the week, I had 90% of my taste back. (I had been a little nervous about it, but the acupuncture points were all in my toes and legs, and I fell asleep during the sessions. It was like 3 really good naps, and I was healed!) Good luck, and thanks again for such a good recipe!

  24. Maris

    These are adorable. Where did you adapt the recipe from? I’ve been making a version of this since I was a kid, but don’t know the original source.

  25. Jenn Sutherland

    Made these this afternoon – they are delightful. I tweaked them a bit – added a cup of toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, 3.5c rice cereal, and added 1/2 tsp peppermint extract to the white chocolate, for a little extra zing. These are delicious, and I’ll be glad to take them home to share with the family this week.

    And thanks for the tip on the Food52 app – I downloaded it, and it is WONDERFUL! I hope to see many more authors play with the app medium, it’s great for reading and referencing in the kitchen.

  26. Lara

    These look amazing. I may have to make them next week for Christmas treats!
    I hope your nerve damage heals quickly. You have my sympathy.

  27. Rebecca

    Fun! As a devoted dark chocolate fan I am not as fond of the comparatively unhealthy white chocolate version, but it does look tasty. Cranberries would be fun as an addition or substitution, too.
    I haven’t had my wisdom teeth removed because they came in straight; but now they are decaying-breaking, so this is near in my future, too, as an adult…and I am still frightened by the concept. Feel better soon, and those are good ideas that have posted. Also, you can use small amounts of clove oil for dental pain.
    Thanks for all you do!

  28. Maggie

    Oh Shauna, I feel you about the chewing! I’ve had two major bone graft surgeries (to have enough bone to place dental implants – 9 front teeth were lost after a drunk driver collided head-on with my car in 2007) and my wisdom teeth out in the last 4 years. I’m 27 now. I know ALL about the liquid and soft foods, and even the nerve damage and numbness. My chin is still numb in spots, and I still get the sensation of cool spit/water trickling down my chin when everything is IN my mouth, not on my face. Very weird. But it has gotten better. Nerves do recover. It’s slow, it may drive you crazy, but it will come back and in the meantime you will figure it out. I’ve been there. I feel for you. A little nibbling never hurt anybody 😉

  29. Amber

    These sound yummy but am a little confused about the cereal. I love Nature’s Path (plus nice that it is a local company for me!) but I can’t find anywhere on their website that lists a chocolate rice-crisp cereal and I’ve never seen one. Am I missing something?

  30. Nancie McDermott

    These are big yes for me, too. Just a grocery store run away. Love something to just stir up while baking-sessions are in progress, and cool addition to the cookie plate mix. Feel better soon and thanks for putting this before my distracted-holiday-season eyes.

  31. Michele

    Speedy recovery Shauna! Same thing happened to me @ 40. Had nerve damage that (gulp) lasted 6 mos. I am betting your recovery will be much faster! These candies look so yummy! I made some bars from the Serious Eats site today for my kids school secerataries. Sadly, they didn’t hold together that well but tasted great! It’s the thought that counts.. Right?

  32. Sarah

    Oh, Yum. Rice crispy treats have to be right up there on my list of favorite foods, not only because they are gluten free without any effort, but also because they are a food that is simple, gooey and crunchy, and makes me feel small again. (Okay, so I’m only 15, but still. I think they would even make an 8 year old feel nostalgic.) And then to change them, and make them chocolatey and pepperminty? Oh, could there be anything better? Thank you Shauna for another wonderful idea! Good luck with the teeth, and I am hoping to be making some soup this week, and will post it up just for you! I hope you heal quickly, and in the meantime, think jolly holiday pudding!

  33. Nicole

    I just found your blog and I can’t to try and share recipes for my gluten free friends (and myself and family:) These look wonderful. Have a wonderful holiday!

  34. Susie

    Just found this site today and already made these (delicious!), shortbread, and have the dough in the fridge for sugar cookies… I’m so excited I found you! I love food… Specifically GOOD, healthy, flavourful food… I’m so excited to try out some main courses from your collection of recipes! Thank you a ton…

    (The shortbread tastes lovely, too… Although it’s EXTREMELY flaky. I think I must have done something wrong… Oh well!)

    1. Susie

      So after storing the shortbread in the fridge for a few hours, it is PERFECT, and the sugar cookies couldn’t have turned out better… You’d never know any of it was gluten free.

      1. shauna

        Fantastic! that’s part of the process. It may not look the same going in, but it usually ends up just fine!

  35. jas @ the gluten free scallywag

    ummm…. yummm!!! I’ve got some brown rice puffs at home, I think I’ll be making these tonight Shauna, along with some gluten free fruit mince pies! I hope the feeling and chewing capabilities return to you soon, especially in time for christmas, however, don’t worry if it’s a little delayed as you can still enjoy the warm custards and hearty red wines and the leftovers are better anyways as all those flavours have had a chance to really stew away!

    Wishing you and the family all the best.

  36. Kathy

    If I may recommend… the homeopathic remedy Hypericum perf (St. John’s wort) is often used after dental work. My husband finds it work well. Be well.

  37. annielaurie

    just to be funny, i was thinking of what to call the dark chocolate ones, and i feel like dirty snowflakes is the clear winner. these are so versatile you could mix all kinds of stuff in them. i love the idea of Texafieing them with pecans and spices…peppermint…oh my! great simple recipe my boys (8,5,3,1 doesn’t count tho) can help with. thank you!!

  38. Laurie Schmidbauer

    I just made these, but thought of another yummy way to make them. Dark chocolate and orange zest with the almonds. I think I have to make them this way for our Christmas Eve dinner. Thank you for posting this. I hope my GF husband likes them more than I do.

  39. Marissa

    Waiting for these to harden in my fridge right now. Cannot wait to be a hit at the cookie swap party I am attending later today!! Always fun to make something uber yummy and dispel people’s opinions of gluten free. Yay!!

  40. Tami C

    Hi Shauna,
    Thanks for turning me on to RadioLab. I had never heard it before but it is definitely on my listening list now.
    Happy Holidays!

  41. Brianna

    This was a perfect treat to bring for the in-laws. I love making your recipes to prove that Gluten-Free doesn’t mean flavor-free. Plus, the no bake was so convenient for “getting it all done,” for the holidays. Thank you for sharing!

  42. June

    I made these for the family on Christmas day and the loved them! I couldn’t find the chocolate rice cereal from Nature’s Path so just went with their regular GF rice cereal. No one seemed to mind!

  43. Anne

    I just found this post by Apartment therapy and thought yum! Then I read about your wisdom teeth, ouch. My stepmother had the same thing from a tooth extraction and I she used St. Johns Wort tincture(it might have been a skullcap/St. Johns mix) She took it internally and rubbed it on the area and with in 2 days it was better. St. Johns wort is very safe. I just thought I would pass on the info just in case you are still hurting. Take care

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