Make Your Own Candy Canes

Candy canes have been around for about 350 years. In the beginning, candy cane recipes didn't include the traditional hook on the end of the candy cane. For the most part, a candy cane was simply a sugar stick.

When you make your own candy canes or make any other type of candy, eventually you add a personal twist or hook to the mix. That twist or hook is exactly how candy canes became associated with Christmas somewhere around the 17th century, and since then, candy canes have commonly been known as Christmas candy canes.

History of the Candy Cane
During the 17th century, Christians began using evergreen trees to help celebrate the Christmas holidays. To decorate their trees, they used simple decorations of cookies and candy. The red stripes appeared on candy canes around 1900, and along with the color came flavor variations, and the birth of the peppermint candy cane.

Candy Cane Recipe
When making this recipe, it's wise to work with another person as you coil the two different colored taffies together. This recipe will make about 12 small candy canes.

Ingredients You Will Need:
2 cups sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
10 drops food coloring

Mix the first four ingredients in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed kettle. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear. Place a candy thermometer into the mixture and continue cooking until the sugar solution reaches 265 degrees. Do not stir.

Once the correct temperature has been reached, add the peppermint oil and divide the contents into two like-size amounts. Add the food coloring to one pot. While waiting for the mixture to cool enough to be handled, grease three cookie sheets. One cookie sheet will be used for the colored coil, one for the white coil and one for the finished product.

Butter your hands, and, using a rubber spatula, remove enough taffy to form one colored and one white coil. (If each person takes one color, the process goes very smoothly). Using the cookie sheets as your working area, work the taffy until you have a thin, four-inch strip of glossy coil. Place the two colors side by side and coil them together, twisting three times. Set the finished candy cane on the third cookie sheet. Depending on preference, make the symbolic hook on the end of the candy cane or leave it straight.

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