Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Countdown 22 ... Candy Canes

A Christmas favourite food of  children - candy canes.
Next week ( the second week of December)  is allegedly the most popular time for candy cane sales... here are some other "facts" about candy canes
• National Candy Cane Day is celebrated in the United States on Dec. 26.
• Each year about 1.76 billion candy canes are made. 
• Ninety percent of candy canes are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
• Candy canes are the number one selling non-chocolate confectionery in the month of December.  ( from candycanefacts.com) 
There are quite religious connections with candy canes and even simple poems have been written as a reminder of the significance of the colour and shape of candy canes. 

I like the story of the choir master in Cologne ( about 1670) who commissioned a confectioner to make some sweets for his restless young singers to eat during the long Christmas church service. It is said that they were white for the purity of Christ and shaped like a shepherd's crook so they were considered to be teaching tools in church rather than simply treats.  There is some doubt about the veracity of this story but to read more about this story and other historical links, please  see a blog post from last year's Christmas Countdown  - here's the link.  
I have never made candy canes but believe that getting the exact temperature with a sugar thermometer is  essential... 
Making candy canes involves boiling sugar, then pulling the warm sugar until it is stiff but pliable and forming it into shapes. Because it is a long, slightly tricky process that involves hot sugar, I recommend you read the recipe thoroughly ahead of time, make sure you have the right ingredients and tools, and give yourself plenty of time to make the candy canes.  

INGREDIENTS
·         21 oz (3 cups) granulated sugar
·         11 oz (1 cup) light corn syrup
·         2 oz (1/4 cup) water
·         1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
·         Red food colouring (gel colouring recommended)
·         White food colouring (optional, gel colouring recommended)
·         Food-safe plastic gloves
·         Candy thermometer
·         Prep Time: 75 minutes
·         Total Time: 75 minutes
·         Yield12-18 candy canes


purchased candy canes, fabric decoration by Liz Ferry and embroidery by Fay King 

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