the original candy cane. plus: candy cane cookie recipe!

[1 Dec 2012 | By | 6 Comments]

Ever wondered when and why candy canes were invented? I am not talking about this candy cane cookie recipe, but about how the original candy cane—all wrapped in cellophane—got its start.

The story goes: in 1670 the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral (Germany) wished to minimize child’s chatter during their Christmas Eve service. He asked a local candy maker for sweet sticks to give the children (to keep their mouths occupied). Since candy-in-church wasn’t entirely acceptable, the choirmaster cleverly requested a ‘crook’ on top of each stick—to represent the shepherds who visited infant Jesus. Further, the red and white were to indicate Christ’s shed blood (red) and purity (white). It became tradition to hand out candy canes during nativity plays across Europe.

A recipe for peppermint candy sticks—with colored stripes—was first published in 1844. In literature, candy canes are mentioned in 1866 and as early as 1882, hung on Christmas trees. The earliest patents for candy cane making machines appeared in the 1920’s.

candy cane cookie recipe @talkoftomatoes

Though not original candy canes (though if you do have some on hand, consider making my famous EASY peppermint bark or peppermint ice cream), this candy cane cookie recipe is bound to keep children happy and coming back for more!

Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 pound butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp red food coloring

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla, peppermint, salt, flour. Remove half of dough and set aside. Beat red food coloring into remaining dough. Refrigerate for several hours. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment. As you would with play dough, roll hunks of dough into long skinny snakes. Put a red and white snake side by side and roll/twist them together. Then shape into candy canes and bake 8 minutes.

candy cane cookies @talkoftomatoes

Need more Christmas Cookie Recipes? Check out my Christmas Cookie Pinterest Board.

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  • bellini said (1 December 2012 at 6:02 pm):

    Enjoyed the story of the candy cane one of our symbols of Christmas. I sm sure kids and kids at heart would enjoy these cookies.

  • Jen said (2 December 2012 at 5:25 pm):

    Oh my goodness. My grandmother used to make these—piles of them to eat throughout the season, then Christmas night, she’d send us all home with a box FULL of her cookies, and these were among them. We lost her 20 years ago—and heartbreakingly, Grandpa just a month ago. So as you can imagine, I cannot wait to try and de-gluten these to make them to share with the family come Christmas day. Thank you!

  • Donna Vander Griend said (2 December 2012 at 7:47 pm):

    I remember doing this snake-twisting-cane thing. Once. You don’t remember by any chance….
    How fun to be creative at Christmastime…that choirmaster in Cologne was creative, as was his candymaker.

  • carrian said (4 December 2012 at 8:42 am):

    I totally tried making these years ago, they were horrid! I accidentally doubled the peppermint. Ugh, it was just awful!! Can’t wait to give it a go with the kiddos again.

  • Your Christmas Cookie Plate | Living better at 50+| Online Womens Magazine said (17 December 2012 at 11:31 am):

    […] candy cane cookies (think shortbread dough, half tinted red, rolled and twisted into candy cane shapes!) […]

  • Christie {Pepper Lynn} said (21 December 2012 at 12:30 am):

    I love that you shared the story of the candy cane, Janelle! I had heard about the symbolism of the colors and the shape before but never with the explanation of keeping the kids’ mouths’ occupied. :)