A lot of things have their own day dedicated to them; one you may not have known about is the candy cane. Yes, this veritable symbol of tasty festivity has a dedicated day, so if you ever needed an excuse to stockpile them or indulge, now you have one. So let the deliciousness begin!
The History of Candy Cane Day
Candy canes are so ubiquitous during the holiday season that they are practically considered part of Christmas itself. However, very few people know when, where or how candy canes came into existence, though it is a very interesting story. According to German folklore, the first candy canes were made in the 17th century when a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, needed to find a way to keep the children quiet during the exceptionally long Christmas Eve Mass.
So he ordered peppermint-flavored candy sticks from a local confectioner, but with a few twists of his own, steeping them in religious symbolism. Firstly, he requested the sticks to be on the shape we know them so they could be a visual representation of sorts of the canes that the shepherds coming to visit the baby Jesus might have had. Some also say that when turned upside-down, the candy cane becomes the letter J, which stands for Jesus.
Furthermore, the choirmaster asked for the sticks to be white (to represent the sinless, pure life Jesus lived) and red (to represent the blood Jesus lost when he was crucified for the sins of mankind). Of course, there is no solid evidence for this, and modern candy cane historians, or whoever looked into it, have disputed the ideas presented here. Luckily, however, you can enjoy the candy cane on its special day with or without this kind of expert knowledge.
How to Celebrate Candy Cane Day
It is quite hard to make your own candy canes if you are not an experienced confectioner and chances are that attempts will result in more of a mess than anything else. That’s why we’re not going to give you a candy cane recipe, but rather a recipe for something that can be easily made using candy canes, that is both pretty and delicious, and will be the perfect addition to your holiday desserts table.
Peppermint Bark recipe
- 1 cup crushed red and white candy canes
- 2 pounds white chocolate
- Peppermint extract
Put the candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. Melt the chocolate slowly in a double boiler until completely melted, thich and creamy. Add most of the candy cane chunks (set a few aside) and peppermint extract to the chocolate. Pour your mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper, top with the remaining candy cane chunks, and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Lastly, remove chocolate from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle). Enjoy the taste of Christmas!
Leftover holiday candy canes can also be used to decorate a variety of cakes and cookies, either as larger chunks or crushed finely and used as sprinkles. They can also be used as classy stirrers, should you decide to make some rich, mint-infused hot chocolate. Basically, the possibilities are endless, all you have to do is accept Candy Cane Day into your heart and the rest will come!