Seven Reasons to Not Make Homemade Candy Canes:
One: If, like a “certain someone,” you’ve never made candy before, the forty-five minute process of bringing sugar to 295 degrees F will likely cause doubt and restlessness. Apparently, the sugar mixture has a high specific heat capacity.
Two: If, like a “certain someone,” you don’t have a Silipat mat and choose to utilize parchment paper instead, you are likely to have a kitchen disaster. A “certain someone” resorted to clawing at their parchment paper with a plastic spatula. The parchment promptly ripped and stubbornly stuck to the ever hardening wad of candy.
Three: If, like a “certain someone,” you choose to not heed the recommendation of wearing gloves during the handling process, you are likely to obtain a big blister or two. Or, in “certain someone’s” case, a gaping blister that has developed into an unsightly flap of dead skin. Ouch.
Four: If, like a “certain someone,” you happen to have someone assisting you, you will find yourself wishing for yet another pair of hands. Two pairs of hands is certainly better than one. But, using the same logic, three pairs of hands is much better than two.
Five: If, like a “certain someone,” you enjoy cooking at a leisurely pace, be prepared to put some pep in that step. Candy-cane-making gives new meaning to the phrase, “HURRY UP!”
Six: If, unlike a “certain someone,” you have a heart or blood pressure problem, don’t attempt this endeavor. Even a “certain someone,” who runs every day and maintains a healthy heart, almost had a heart attack.
Seven: If, like a “certain someone,” you’ve always taken store-bought candy canes for granted, you never will again. Candy cane reality as you know it will completely change.
If you still feel compelled to attempt this candy-cane-making nonsense, be my guest. Who am I to tell you otherwise? I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat! There’s nothing quite like bonding with your loved ones over a session of hysterical sugar pulling.
Homemade Candy Canes
Slightly Adapted From The Stir
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup (light in color, not sugar content)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-3 teaspoon peppermint extract or other flavoring oil, to taste
- red gel paste food coloring
- Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees, for helping keep the sugar warm later. (You can use a heat lamp for this step if you’d rather.) Line three baking sheets with Silipat or parchment paper. Melt the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a double boiler over high heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved, then do not stir anymore until the sugar reaches 295 degrees.
- Remove from heat, add peppermint or other flavoring, and pour half of sugar mixture into a nonstick (or parchment-paper-lined) pan. Place pan in oven until ready to use. Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Stir red food coloring into remaining mixture, then pull the sugar.
- Once red sugar has been pulled, form into thin sticks of desired length. Place all sticks on a cookie sheet and switch out the pans in the oven - red candy goes in, white candy comes out.
- Working quickly (so your red sticks in the oven soften, not melt), pull white sugar and form into the same sticks you made with the red sugar.* Then, remove red sticks from the oven and twist one stick of each color together to form candy cane. Don’t forget to make a hook on top!
*Note: If you find your candy gets too hard to form into the candy canes, you can place one red stick and one white stick next to each other on your cookie sheet, and place back in the oven just until the candy gets soft enough to twist the sticks together. This should give you enough time to twist all of the sticks and make the hooks.