Do You Know How Candy Canes are Made?

The holidays are filled with iconic images, items, and traditions - things that you can't look at without immediately associating them with Christmas. A perfect example of this is the candy cane. And while they're no doubt a treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year, it's Christmas time that really is connected with them more than anything else.

Chances are you've enjoyed one or two of these treats, but have you ever really thought about how they're made? It's an interesting, fascinating process that can make you appreciate and enjoy the candy cane even more. Here's a rundown of the basic steps that take place.

  • Candy canes are made from two ingredients - sugar and corn syrup. These two ingredients are mixed into pre-cookers where they are then heated up to a boil. This blends the two together and removes impurities from the mixture.
  • Next, the mixture is pumped into a vacuum cooker where it is cooked for a set number of minutes. In major candy cane production factories, one batch of candy cane mixture equals about one hundred pounds of finished product.
  • Once cooked, the mixture is poured onto a cooling table. As it cools, the peppermint or other flavor is added to it. A small bit of starch is added as well to help hold in the flavor and prevent sticking from occurring.
  • Once the flavoring and starch are added, the batch of candy is put into a kneader. This kneader mixes the flavor and starch into the candy completely and also changes the color of the candy to a golden-brown hue instead of the white it is when it initially comes out of the cooking vat.
  • Once it's mixed for several minutes, the candy is then put into a puller. This returns the candy to its white color.
  • Next, the candy is placed into a batch former. This machine turns the candy mixture into a long shape resembling a log. It's about one foot by two feet wide at this point.
  • Now it's time to add the stripes. Several colored strips of candy are placed on a heated table. Generally, several small strips and two wider strips are used. The colors will depend upon whatever type of candy cane is being made. Once the strips of colored candy are in placed onto the table, they are then placed on the log of candy.
  • Now the candy cane log is placed into a heated batch roller. This keeps it hot and also gradually turns the candy cane into a round cone shape. From here, the machine pulls the candy cane through sizing wheels that transform it into the smaller sizes that we purchase every year.
  • Next, the candy is sent through a twister that twists the long ropes of candy cane so that they get their distinct barber pole style stripes.
  • The candy is sent through a cutter that snips the candy into the right length and then moves the sticks into the wrapper.
  • After wrapping, the stick is still warm enough to be shaped. It moves to the crooker which gives the candy cane the hook shape.
  • Finally, the candy cane is sent through a conveyor belt where it is cooled, examined for contaminants, and packaged for shipping.
Now you can explain to others how the iconic candy cane is made! If you would like to see each step in action, check out the Insider video below.