As a kid, cinnamon oil toothpicks were our candy. We made them. We chewed them. Rinse and repeat. It wasn't until I had to cut gum out of my diet that I remembered these little goodies from the past. I wanted - needed - to be chewing on something, but apparently mindless eating isn't the best thing for you...
This is where flavored toothpicks come in. They can freshen breath (peppermint), curb your appetite (cinnamon), improve your mood (citrus), energize you, and distract you (the good kind of distract, like helping you to quit smoking or eating). And so many flavors? Yes! Moreover, these soft, tasty flavored wood picks could last for hours!
Many people use essential oils to make infused toothpicks. This is great; they can provide so many health benefits! You just have to make sure they are certified GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) to consume (so don't choose something that says "for aromatherapy use only"). However, I'm not looking for the health benefits; I just want the good flavors and something to chew on. That is why I use candy oils and flavors. They are specifically for ingesting, and there are so many fun flavors. I can still get my old-fashioned cinnamon oil, but I also can try cheesecake, bourbon, cake batter, or even coffee. Another reason I like candy oils vs. essentials oils is that they can burn less. For example, I have heard that people either dilute their essential oil cinnamon toothpicks with coconut oil or end up throwing them away because they burn your lips the moment they touch. The candy oils can get hot, but I haven't experienced anything where I would need to dilute with a carrier oil or have to dispose of them (and one time I forgot them in the infusing bottle for a week...).
Enjoy these blasts from the past!
Step 1: Materials
- Soft toothpicks: make sure you use soft-wood when make making oil-infused toothpicks. The "fancier" harder toothpicks have some sort of coating on them that doesn't allow the oil to penetrate as well. You will know a soft vs. hard toothpick because a soft toothpick gives a little when you bite into it; a hard toothpick is like trying to chew into a rock. NOT fun. Therefore, I recommend buying the cheap toothpicks for this project.
- Candy oils & flavors
- Paper towels
- Tall, sealed containers for infusing/storing: use a flask with a small base rather than wide so the toothpicks have to stand up in the oil rather than lay down in it. Using small bases is way less messy and uses less oil than a large base. I did a test in later steps to show what happens. The straw will soak up the oil either way, so don't worry about less flavoring!
Step 2: Soak Toothpicks
The first thing I do when making candy toothpicks is pour a dram (about a teaspoon) of the flavoring into a glass sealable container. If your bottle has a drip spout, go ahead and remove it, or you'll be here awhile. I add as many toothpicks as desired - sometimes 20, sometimes 100. Remember, you can re-use the oil, so it's not like you are wasting it if it's not all gone by the end of the soak. I seal the lid, lightly swirl the bottle, and let "marinate" for 12-48 hours in a dark place. This is a huge time span because different oils and flavorings act differently. If the oil is hot, like cinnamon bark, I might infuse for 12-24 hours; if it's a flavoring, like watermelon, I will soak closer to 24-48 hours to really infuse the flavor.
As I mentioned earlier, toothpicks act like straws, so you don't need to a wide-bottom dish to fully submerge your toothpicks. However, I wanted to show what happens when you do so. In the wide dish I added one dram (bottle) of bright pink watermelon flavoring. The next step will show the outcome.
Step 3: Dry Toothpicks
After the toothpicks are done infusing and marinating, I take the toothpicks out and place on a couple of paper towels to dry for 4-8 hours. With my Hobby Lobby bottles, I can take out the toothpicks easily with my fingers with little mess. When using a wide-bottom container, I'll use a fork or tweezers as a grabber, but there is more mess. If you are worried about the oils soaking through to table underneath, place the drying towels on a piece of wax paper or plate.
As you can see in the third picture, the toothpicks in the glass bottles didn't bring much oil with them to the paper towels. On the other hand, the wide-bottom jar toothpicks brought a lot of flavoring with them. So much waste! You can save quite a bit of oil/flavoring by sticking just the tips in oil.
Lastly, if I'm on a time crunch and want the toothpicks dry, I will put them in a baking dish and set in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally for dryness. They are dry when you no longer get oil on your fingers.
Step 4: Storage
After pouring the leftover oil back in the original bottles, I like to store the toothpicks in the same (washed) jars they infused in. They are super cute and small, they are less likely to get damaged, and make adorable gifts. Make sure yours are well sealed so the toothpick oils don't quickly evaporate and lose their flavor.
Furthermore, these flavorful toothpicks don't have to be used solely for teeth cleaning and chewing on; they would be great dessert carriers! Stick these puppies in a chocolate cake ball for a refreshing dessert finish.
Second Prize in the