History of the Candy Cane from About.com:
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The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar sticks into canes to represent a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The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when German immigrant August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy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.
1. CANDY CANE TRUFFLES
4 ounces soft cream cheese
2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 cup chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup crushed candy canes
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth.
Melt chopped chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over a saucepan over simmering water.
Add chocolate and peppermint extract to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth and combined. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Scoop chocolate with melon baller or two spoons and hand roll into balls.
Roll balls in crushed candy canes.
And, here's a second Candy Cane Truffles recipe that I really love. It's from Hungry Girl por Vida. What's cool about it, besides the fact that the Truffles are delicious, is that it's made into little cubes rather than balls. Perfect for dropping into a hot cup of milk or cocoa!
2. CANDY CANE TRUFFLES
4 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 candy canes, crushed
Line small loaf pan with parchment, set aside.
Put chocolate in medium bowl and set aside.
Heat cream in small saucepan over medium-low heat to scald (just before it boils, there will be little bubbles around the edges of the pan).
Pour hot cream over chocolate and cover for about 5 minutes.
Remove cover and stir until smooth.
Stir in vanilla and peppermint extracts until combined.
Pour chocolate mixture into loaf pan and smooth top. Sprinkle with candy cane pieces and allow to cool to room temperature.
Chill in refrigerator until firm, 30-60 minutes.
Remove from pan and cut into cubes.
Cubes can be added to hot milk to make Cocoa or eat as you would truffles..or give as a gift to friends!