Yields 50 coated canes

NOTES: To avoid a white "bloom" on cooling chocolate, be careful not to overheat it. If you need to re-melt chocolate, add a little fresh chopped chocolate. About 1/2 the chocolate or candy coating will be left after dipping canes, but you need the volume to get a smooth finish. Use leftovers to make another simple confection: Dunk dried apricots into the extra and lay fruit on wax paper. Chill until firm. Package airtight; keep cool.

About 1 C. finely chopped semisweet chocolate
50 (2 1/2 inch long) peppermint candy canes or sticks
Cellophane or clear plastic wrap

In a 1-cup glass measure or small, deep microwave-safe bowl, heat 3/4 cup chocolate in a microwave oven at 50 percent power until chocolate is soft, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir chocolate until smooth. If needed, return to microwave and heat for 20-second intervals, stirring often. Add 1/4 cup chocolate and stir until smooth. Set container in a small bowl of hot water (water should come halfway up sides of cup) to keep chocolate soft; don't get water in chocolate or it will harden.

Cover a 12 x 15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking paper, baking parchment or waxed paper. Dip straight ends of candy canes into chocolate, coating 1/2 to 3/4 of the canes; use a spoon to pour chocolate over canes if needed. Lift out canes and lay slightly apart on the baking sheet.

If desired, drizzle a ribbon of chocolate from spoon over coated sections of the candy canes. Chill 3 to 4 minutes, then return canes to room temperature until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes. Wrap each cane in cellophane or clear plastic wrap.