Dec. 26th National Candy Cane Day
The flavor of the candy cane has been with us for a long, long time… probably ever since candy was first invented. The candy cane, with the red stripe was first believed to appear in 1844 and is first referred to in literature in 1866. It became associated with Christmas in 1874 and was known to have been used to decorate trees since 1882. That’s more than we know about a lot of other candies but then again, ever since it became a symbol of Christmas, how could it’s popularity not have been increased. The original candy candies did not have the hook and it may have been added when the association with Christmas was added, resembling the Shepherd’s walking sticks. The world’s largest candy cane was made by Alain Roby in Geneva, coming in at a little over 51 feet.
How to celebrate – Get some candy canes for the holidays.
Make your own candy canes. Decorate your Christmas tree with candy canes this
So some holidays are a little difficult to find something to write about. For me, this is one of those days. We are celebrating chocolate, a good thing, and mint, a good thing as well, and the mixture of them combines. The mint does make chocolate more refreshing, kind of cleansing the palate while eating something that covers up the taste of nearly everything else.
So, anything that can include, be made of, or calls for chocolate can have mint added to it. Ice creams comes to mind first, then hot chocolate. Andes Mints are all about the mint and chocolate of course.
Thus, adding mint to chocolate seems to be a natural progression or extension of something most of us think is pretty good anyway. Don;t question it, try to figure it out or even think too much on the subject… just accept it.
How to celebrate – Add some mint to your chocolate. Add some chocolate to your mint. Why isn’t peppermint made out of pepper?
Hard Candy has been with us for years, though originally it was only available to the wealthy and privileged. It is simple enough to make, simply put it is 100% sugar boiled at 320 degrees F and then poured into molds allowing it to dry into what ever shape the mold is made of, and adding whatever flavors and colors you want to add.
The very first known hard candies to be made were lemon drops, and they are still popular today. Obviously the original recipe called for sugar and lemon juice, and that was about it. Over the years we have learned to add all sorts of flavoring to candy making it available in nearly any flavor you can imagine.
Peppermint came next and has been a favorite particularly around the holidays in shapes of candy canes and peppermint fluff balls. Until the late 17th century, the candies were too expensive for the everyday person. As sugar became less expensive the price of the candy dropped, making it affordable to nearly anyone. It actually probably made life better for the nearly 400 companies that opened producing candy, expanding the industry by leaps and bounds.
For years Werther’s Originals led the list of candies as the most popular, and also earning the highest paycheck. In 2015, Jolly Rancher took the crown away from Werther’s. Other popular hard candies include, Dum Dums, Life Savers, Tootsie Roll Pops, and Charms Blow Pops. In Japan it is now very popular to put insects inside the hard candy giving you something to look at while enjoying the tasty treat.
How to celebrate – Find your favorite hard candy and enjoy it. Buy, or make, some molds and try making your own candy (be careful though as the boiling sugar is very sticky and can burn really, really badly). Make sure you leave a candy bowl out during the holidays.