History of the Candy Cane: During the 17th century, Europeans adopted Christmas trees as part of Christmas celebrations, and they often made cookies and sugar stick candy as decorations. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all white candy canes were given out to children during the nativity services. This tradition of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America.
The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when German immigrant August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.
About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.
For me, dipping candy canes in chocolate is brilliant! Here's a great recipe for Chocolate Covered Candy Canes (Stir Sticks) from Mrs. Fields. These are perfect with a cup of hot cocoa. Adds extra chocolate flavor and a hint of peppermint to each sip. You can also use these in your coffee.. instant peppermint mocha!
CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE STIR STICKS
12 peppermint candy canes, unwrapped
1 cup high quality dark chocolate (60-85% cacao), chopped
5 tablespoons heavy cream
vanilla candy wafers (optional)
In a small double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate with the cream, stirring frequently until the chocolate is completely melted with no lumps. Hold each candy cane over the pan and spoon a layer of chocolate over the bottom half of the candy cane. Give the candy cane a gentle shake to remove any excess chocolate. Lay each candy cane on a sheet of parchment paper to cool.
Optional: Melt candy wafers according to package directions and drizzle onto cooling candy canes. Allow chocolate and candy to completely cool and solidify before serving.
Photo: Mrs Fields