Homemade Candy Cane Recipe

You'll twist and shout with the holiday spirit after making homemade candy canes.
Related To:
homemade candy canes

homemade candy canes

According to legend, in 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, frustrated by the restlessness of children during services, enlisted a local candy maker to help him resolve the problem for the upcoming Nativity pageant. The clever confectioner fashioned hard candy sticks with a shepherd’s crook to honor the theme of the day. The noisy children were mollified and a holiday tradition was born. Whether its origins are fact or folklore, the candy cane remains a beloved icon of the holiday season. At my house this year, armed with homemade peppermint extract and an abundance of holiday spirit, we embraced the season by making homemade candy canes ourselves. Gear up for the holidays by trying your hand at this festive classic.

A couple quick tips before you get started. Our first batch came out looking shaggy and more than a little glassy. A call to a candy making friend of mine drew quick advice. Start hotter, pull more. She wasn’t kidding. Get that candy in motion as soon as your gloved hands can possibly handle it. Pulling the candy thoroughly forces air into the mix, making it more pliant and less likely to break apart when shaping.

Don’t hesitate to use the oven to keep your candy from hardening. If it becomes to hard to handle, a couple of minutes in the heat will get you right back on track.

If you’re looking for a new twist on this already twisted treat, peppermint isn’t the only candy cane in town. Feel free to experiment with different colors and extracts. The red stripes and peppermint flavor flavor didn’t show up in candy canes until the early 1900s. Tradition is what you make of it.

Candy Canes

3 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
2 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red food coloring 

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Once sugar is boiling, stop stirring and allow to continue to boil until a candy thermometer reads a temperature of 290 degrees.

Remove from heat and stir in peppermint and vanilla extracts.

Pour half of mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet and place in oven.

Stir food coloring into remaining mixture and pour onto a second baking sheet.

As soon as it can be handled, scrape sugar from tray with a spatula or bench scraper.

Wearing rubber gloves, repeatedly pull and fold colored sugar to force air into the candy (work quickly, as it will cool fast.)

Roll into inch thick ropes and place back on baking sheet.

Place rolled ropes in oven and remove un-pulled sugar from the oven.

Repeat pulling and rolling process with second tray.

Remove red tray from oven and pair red ropes with white.

Using kitchen shears, cut paired ropes into 5” lengths.

Pull and twist paired lengths together until smooth and bearing the traditional “barber pole” stripes. If candy becomes too hard to twist, return to oven for a few minutes to soften.

Bend end to form a hook and let rest at least an hour on parchment paper before eating (or hanging on a tree!)

Keep Reading

Next Up

9 Homemade Cleaning Products

Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

Irish Nacho Dip Recipe

Serve this delicious dip — flavored with stout beer — for St. Patrick's Day.

Pink Snowball Cake Recipe

This cake is sure to be the center of attention at any spring or Easter gathering. Bake a dome-shaped chocolate cake, fill with marshmallow creme, frost with pastel pink icing and top with toasted coconut.

Lamb-Shaped Cookie Recipe

Use cereal marshmallows to turn chocolate sandwich cookies into fluffy little lambs!

Try This Island-Inspired Twist on a Classic: Pineapple Creme Brulee Recipe

Served in a freshly sliced pineapple and gently torched to perfection, this pineapple crème brulee is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

9 St. Patrick's Day Cocktail Recipes That Are Better Than Green Beer

Mix it up this year with a St. Patrick's Day-inspired libation...or two.

Candy Cane Cookies Recipe With Gift Wrapping

Whip up a batch of tasty holiday cookies from HGTV Magazine . Plus, you’ll find a festive way to wrap them as gifts.

Chocolate Mint Dessert Smoothie Recipe

Healthy ingredients with a smidge of something naughty make this smoothie a perfect after-dinner treat.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.