Christmas Craft: Homemade Candy Canes
My friend Heather taught me how to make homemade candy canes. Ours are so quirky and delicious, hand-twisted into all sizes - fat and stubby, tall and spindly. I love them.
Have you ever wondered how they are made? It has never crossed my mind. Here's a little peek at how it works:
Candy Cane Recipe
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Peppermint flavoring (or whatever flavor you have on hand. We made pink and cream striped creme de menthe and rainbow striped cherry.)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon food coloring
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
powdered sugar, for dusting
vegetable oil, for greasing pans and utensils
*You'll need a candy thermometer, latex gloves and a pair of tight-fitting knit gloves.
*Make sure you have read the instructions before you start. Also, set out all your ingredients, measured out and ready to go. You'll want to move fast!
*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees before you start. If the candy starts to cool while you are forming the canes, it will break easily. No problem, just set your candy in the warm oven for a couple of minutes and it will become pliable again.
- Combine sugar, water, syrup, and cream of tartar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved very fine (medium heat).
- Bring to boil, but don't stir until it reaches 280 F.
- Pour globs of mixture onto oiled sheet pans - you want a separate glob/pan for each stripe color. We made white the prominent color, so it was the larger portion.
- Drip 1/2 tsp of flavoring on each pile and add the coloring to the non-white portions.
- Put on your knit gloves and layer the latex gloves over them. The candy is hot and you don't want to burn yourself! Tight fitting knit gloves work best because your fingers have more freedom to move and work.
- With an oiled Teflon or silicon spatula, gently lift the edges of the candy, folding it over itself a few times. Scrape it off the pan, and start working it with your hands. Like taffy, you stretch and pull and form it into ropes. The more you work it the lighter the color becomes, so if you are making white, you will have to work a little longer on the uncolored portion until it turns from yellow to white. However, if you are working on a colored section, don't pull it too much or the color will fade.
- After you have formed 8" ropes of each desired color, it is time to form a log. Set the main color (in our case white, the largest section) on an oiled surface. Press the remaining colors onto each side of the log. When you press and rub the ropes with your hands, they should melt into one smooth log.
- Working on one end, gently pull the candy outward, twisting to form the striped candy cane pattern. This part is a little tricky and takes a bit of hand strength. It's like you are jerking off an enormous candy dick, actually. Crass! I'm so crass! I'm sorry. But seriously.
- When you have pulled a section of your desired thickness, cut the rope and shape into a cane. Set aside on a surface dusted with powdered sugar to keep the canes from sticking. Repeat this process until you run out of candy.
- Allow your candy canes to set out overnight to cure before eating them. Otherwise, they will stick to your teeth.
*If your candy gets too cool at any time during this process, set it in the oven for a moment and it will become easier to work with.