You have all seen them, you can’t miss them this time of year. They are eaten, gifted and used as decorations. They have different colors, sizes and shapes. They smell delicious and are either eaten quickly or savoured slowly over time to maximize the enjoyment. It’s the Candy Cane, an undeniable symbol of Christmas and the holiday period.
Candy canes are a type of confectionery that are traditionally shaped like a cane or staff with a curved top. They are typically made of hard white candy that is peppermint-flavored, although other flavors such as strawberry and chocolate also exist. Candy canes are often associated with Christmas and are often hung on Christmas trees or given as gifts during the holiday season. They are also sometimes used as decorations for other winter holiday celebrations, such as Hanukkah.
The exact history of candy canes is somewhat uncertain, as the origins of many traditional foods and customs are lost to time. However, it is generally believed that candy canes were invented in the 17th century, possibly in Germany or France.
One legend suggests that candy canes were created by a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany who wanted to come up with a way to keep his young choir members quiet during long church services. He commissioned a local candy maker to create a type of candy that could be hung on the Christmas tree and shaped like a shepherd’s staff, symbolizing the shepherds who visited baby Jesus in the manger. The candy was made of white sugar and was flavored with peppermint to represent the pureness of the Christmas season.
Another legend suggests that candy canes were invented in France by a candy maker who wanted to create a type of hard candy that could be easily broken into small pieces and shared with others. He flavored the candy with peppermint and shaped it like a cane or staff to symbolize the staff of a bishop, as bishops were often depicted carrying a staff in religious artwork.
Regardless of their exact origins, it is clear that candy canes have been a popular holiday treat for centuries and have become an iconic symbol of the Christmas season. And you could buy them just about anywhere, but why when you can easily make your own batches right at home. Look below the recipe for lots of other places to use candy canes in beverages and other treats you might make.Print
Homemade Candy Canes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12-15 Candy Canes 1x
Here is a simple recipe for making homemade candy canes
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- Food coloring (optional)
- Peppermint extract or other desired flavor extract
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir the mixture while it boils.
- Using a candy thermometer, continue to cook the mixture until it reaches the hard ball stage (260-290°F).
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a few drops of food coloring, if desired, and several drops of peppermint extract or other desired flavor extract.
- Pour the mixture onto a greased surface and let it cool until it is cool enough to handle.
- Knead the mixture until it becomes pliable and smooth.
- Roll out the mixture into a long, thin rope. Cut the rope into small pieces and shape each piece into a cane or staff shape.
- Allow the candy canes to cool completely before serving.
Making candy canes requires some precision and patience, as the candy mixture needs to be cooked to the correct temperature and handled carefully during the shaping process. If you are new to making candy, it may take some practice to get the hang of it. Some things to keep in mind:
- Use a candy thermometer to ensure that the candy mixture reaches the correct temperature. If the mixture is not cooked to the correct temperature, it may be too soft or too hard when cooled.
- Work quickly when shaping the candy canes, as the mixture will become harder to manipulate as it cools.
- Use a greased surface to roll out the candy mixture and shape the canes. This will prevent the candy from sticking to the surface and make it easier to shape.
- If the candy becomes too hard to shape as it cools, you can try warming it up slightly by placing it in a warm oven or microwave for a few seconds.
- If you are using food coloring, be sure to use a small amount, as the flavor of the coloring can be overpowering.
- Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the candy mixture into small pieces and shape them into canes.
- If you are having trouble shaping the canes into smooth, curved shapes, you can try using a rolling pin to roll out the mixture into a thin, even layer, and then cutting it into thin strips before shaping them into canes.
- Be sure to allow the candy canes to cool completely before serving or storing them. If the canes are not completely cool, they may become soft and lose their shape
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: Candy Cane
There are many flavors that can be used to make homemade candy canes, in addition to the traditional peppermint flavor. Some alternatives include:
- Strawberry: Use strawberry extract or a small amount of strawberry-flavored drink mix to flavor the candy mixture. You can also add a few drops of red food coloring to give the canes a pinkish color.
- Chocolate: Add a small amount of cocoa powder or chocolate extract to the candy mixture to give it a chocolate flavor. You can also use dark chocolate or milk chocolate to flavor the canes.
- Lemon: Use lemon extract or a small amount of lemon zest to give the canes a refreshing, citrusy flavor.
- Cinnamon: Add a small amount of cinnamon extract or ground cinnamon to the candy mixture to give it a spicy, warm flavor. You can also use a combination of cinnamon and other spices, such as nutmeg or allspice, to create a unique flavor.
- Gingerbread: Add a small amount of ginger extract or ground ginger to the candy mixture, along with a pinch of ground cinnamon and allspice, to give it a gingerbread flavor. You can also add a few drops of brown food coloring to give the canes a more authentic gingerbread color.
- Mint chocolate: Combine peppermint extract with a small amount of cocoa powder or chocolate extract to give the canes a mint chocolate flavor.
These are just a few examples of the many flavors that can be used to make homemade candy canes. Be creative and experiment with different flavors to find the perfect combination for your taste buds.
Candy canes can be a delicious addition to a variety of hot and cold drinks. Some drinks that go well with candy canes include:
- Hot chocolate: Crush a candy cane and stir it into a mug of hot chocolate for a minty twist on a classic winter drink.
- Coffee: Crush a candy cane and stir it into a mug of hot coffee for a sweet and minty flavor.
- Tea: Crush a candy cane and stir it into a mug of hot tea, such as peppermint tea, for a refreshing minty flavor.
- Milk: Crush a candy cane and stir it into a glass of cold milk for a sweet and minty treat.
- Smoothies: Crush a candy cane and add it to a smoothie for a refreshing minty flavor.
- Cocktails: Crush a candy cane and add it to a cocktail, such as a mojito or a mint julep, for a minty twist.
Candy canes can also be used in a variety of baked goods to add a sweet and minty flavor. Some ideas for using candy canes in baking include:
- Candy cane cookies: Crush a few candy canes and mix them into the dough for a batch of sugar cookies for a minty twist. You can also top the cookies with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkle of crushed candy canes for a decorative touch.
- Candy cane brownies: Crush a few candy canes and mix them into the brownie batter before baking for a minty twist on a classic dessert.
- Candy cane cheesecake: Crush a few candy canes and mix them into the filling for a cheesecake, or top the cheesecake with a layer of crushed candy canes before serving.
- Candy cane bark: Melt chocolate and spread it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Top the chocolate with crushed candy canes and allow it to harden before breaking it into small pieces.
These are just a few examples of the many baked goods that can be made with candy canes. Be creative and try using candy canes in your favorite recipes for a sweet and minty twist.