Homemade Candy Canes

I’ve wanted to make candy canes ever since I watched an episode of Unwrapped on the Food Network several years ago showing the process.  It seemed easy enough, so I invited a friend over to try it with me. Luckily, she had just made a HUGE batch of lollipops and was familiar with how to handle poured sugar.

We made two batches; our first was a good learning experience, yielding lots of misshapen (but yummy) lumps of peppermint candy; our second attempt was a bit better, but still not so professional looking. Let me tell you – it is surprisingly hard to make candy canes! Although we were wearing rubber dish-washing gloves, the sugar was WAY too hot to handle after its prescribed cooling period – but once it cooled enough that we could actually touch it, it was too hard to manipulate. So we had to work though the intense heat on our hands to pull, dye, twist and shape the sugar before it hardened.

Here are some pictures of my attempts (the white & green canes were from try 1, while the red and green were from try 2) – please excuse the picture quality:

We both saved our misshapen lumps from the first batch (in the blue dish) to crush up for use in other holiday treats:

Here’s a closeup of some of the better canes:

My friend and I both agreed that we could have done a better job with gloves that more effectively insulated us from the heat of the molten sugar. We also recommend working with a very small batch size for your first one or two tries, and using Pam on everything that touches the sugar mixture so that cleanup isn’t as bad.

Here’s a version of the recipe pretty similar to the one we used, while this YouTube video illustrates the process (notice they use welding gloves to work with hot sugar).

If you decide to make some – have fun, but be careful!


4 Responses to “Homemade Candy Canes”

  1. 1 Stina 2009 December 14 at 9:00 pm

    You are a braver woman than I. I wimp out with popcorn balls because those are too hot; I won’t even go near molten hot sugar!

  2. 2 rosemary 2009 December 15 at 11:29 am

    You’d be fine – it’s all in the gloves 🙂

    Hmm, popcorn balls sound yummy. I’ll have to look into those…

  3. 3 Meghan 2009 December 16 at 5:15 am

    Wow! They don’t really do candy canes here (and if you can find them they are ridiculously expensive!). So the next time I am here for Christmas I’ll have to try it! I think your green and red ones look lovely 🙂

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I love hearing from my readers! Feel free to contact me via comments or at this address:

rambleonrosemary [at] gmail [dot] com

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December 2009
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