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.
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
1/2 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.
Need more Christmas Cookie Recipes? Check out my Christmas Cookie Pinterest Board.