History of Candy Canes

Ah…that peppermint flavored treat that takes the candy spotlight during the holidays. From how it looks to how it tastes, it may very well earn the “taste of Christmas” award hands down. Here we give it some well-deserved attention.

Where do candy canes come from?

There are a wealth of stories about how long candy canes have been around and who invented them, but it is fairly well accepted that they got their start about 250 years ago in Germany. They started as just straight white sticks and sometime around 1900 the red stripe was added along with the peppermint flavor.

In 1920, Bob McCormack from Georgia started making candy canes for his family and friends. He started his own candy company, called Bob’s Candies. His brother-in-law invented a machine to curve the straight candies into canes and in 1958, the candy canes as we know them today began to be mass-produced. By the end of the 1950s, Bobs Candies was producing 1.8 million sticks of candy each day.

According to the National Confectioner’s Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made each year, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

How do you make a candy cane?

Take a break from the usual holiday cookie baking fare and try your hand at making your very own candy canes. It only takes a few ingredients — think sugar, butter and peppermint extract, to start. And you will definitely need a candy thermometer to be sure to cook your candy to the right temperature.

Looking for more do-it-yourself ideas for the holidays? Try our take on 7 Easy Steps to Make Candy Wreaths for Christmas.

 Peppermint Chocolate Bark

Peppermint Chocolate Bark

Popular Candy Cane Desserts

While they are, of course, delightful on their own, candy canes can be a fantastic ingredient in many a holiday treat. Look for them crunched up in such popular holiday treats as peppermint chocolate bark, candy cane tort or candy cane cake balls. For a fun treat, try snapping off the ends of a candy cane and plunge them into a small hole cut into an orange. Kids can use the candy cane as a straw to sip the juice out of the orange. It’s a great treat to hand out at your next caroling party!

Candy Cane Facts

  1. The average candy cane is about five inches long and contains only 50 calories.
  2. Candy canes have no fat or cholesterol.
  3. The candy cane was first associated with Christmas in 1874.
  4. The world’s largest candy cane was created in 2011 and was 63 feet tall.
  5. National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on the 26th of December in the U.S.

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