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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
Show Full Nutrition Label
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 48g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 48g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Although homemade candy canes require some time and energy, everyone’s amazement and delight—including your own—will make the endeavor worthwhile. Candy canes from scratch look just as fun and festive as store-bought ones. They’ll have a beautiful glossy sheen, twisting, bright stripes, and that traditional minty taste.
Like most hard sweets, candy canes call for a few basic ingredients: sugar, water, corn syrup, along with some peppermint extract for flavor and food coloring. The challenge lies in boiling the sugar, then pulling the candy until it’s stiff but pliable, and finally, forming it into the right shapes. Because molten sugar requires careful attention, make sure to read the whole recipe thoroughly and set up your work station before you embark on this project. It’s definitely wise to invest in a candy thermometer as well as heat resistant plastic gloves, since burning your fingers is a real danger. However, as long as you use the right equipment and exercise caution, you should not have trouble with this foolproof recipe; in fact, it should be fun.
Cooking spray, for baking sheets
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon red gel food coloring
1 teaspoon white gel food coloring, optional
Gather the ingredients.
Spray 2 rimmed baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 F.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup of the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; stir with a heatproof spatula until sugar dissolves.
Pour remaining 1/4 cup water into a small bowl and use it to wet a pastry brush.
Using wet brush, wash any sugar crystals off side of pan. Do not stir syrup.
When syrup comes to a boil, insert a candy thermometer and continue to cook, without stirring, until thermometer registers 285 F. At this point, the candy will have reached the soft-crack stage.
Remove from heat. Let bubbles subside, then stir in peppermint extract.
Pour about half of the syrup onto a prepared baking sheet and place it in preheated oven.
Stir red food coloring into remaining syrup. If necessary, add more dye to achieve a vibrant shade.
Pour candy onto remaining baking sheet and allow it to sit briefly until it forms a “skin.”
Spray a bench scraper or metal spatula with nonstick cooking spray, and use the tool to “knead” the candy. Flatten the candy, then fold it back over itself. Repeat this process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the candy is significantly cooler.
Using heat-resistant gloves, stretch the candy into a long rope, then fold rope in half and twist candy until it melts back into itself.
Repeat this process for 2 to 3 minutes, until candy takes on an opaque color and a satiny finish. At this point, the candy will be warm—you should have some trouble pulling and folding it.
Stretch candy into a rope, about 2 inches in diameter, then return it to oven, where it will stay warm and pliable.
Remove other baking sheet from oven. At this point, you can knead white food coloring into the candy if you like.
Pull and fold the candy in the same fashion, until it becomes opaque, glossy, and difficult to manipulate.
Stretch it into a second log, about 2 inches in diameter.
Remove red candy from oven. Cut a 2-inch segment from white log and another from red log, then put remaining candy back in oven.
Squeeze 2 segments together until they form a two-toned log.
Stretch candy again. This step will determine the thickness of your candy canes—you can make thinner ones (with a 1/4-inch diameter) or thicker ones (with a 1/2-inch diameter).
When you’re happy with the candy’s width, twist rope to form those distinctive candy stripes.
Oil or use cooking spray on a pair of cooking shears and cut candy into smaller pieces. Again, you can choose to make long or small candy canes. A 7-inch piece of candy will yield a medium-sized candy cane.
Immediately form the hook at the top of the cane and place it on a clean surface to firm up at room temperature.
Cut off another segment from each log, returning the remaining logs to the oven, and repeat the twisting and stretching process until you have used up all the candy.
- Make sure you have a calibrated clip-on candy thermometer before you begin this recipe. The thermometer will tell you when to take the sugar syrup off the stove; if yours is faulty or incorrectly calibrated, then you may undercook or overcook the syrup.
- Invest in heat resistant gloves, which will protect your hands from the hot candy and the dye. They are available online.
- If the candy cracks or hardens, return it to the warm oven for just a few minutes. (Any longer and the candy will lose its shape.) At room temperature, your candy canes should be as hard as the store-bought variety.
- Be sure to wrap them in plastic wrap or cellophane to preserve their shelf life.
Candy canes are fun to eat on their own, but there are plenty of creative ways to use them in other recipes around the holidays.
Crush them up and use them in peppermint bark.
Make chocolate truffles and sprinkle them over the truffles like snow.
Melt white chocolate, crush up candy canes, and combine both with popcorn for a fun holiday treat.
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