The Christmas Candy Cane originated in Germany about 250 years ago. They started as straight white sugar sticks. A story says that a choirmaster, in 1670, was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet! As he wanted to remind them of Christmas, he made them into a 'J' shape like a shepherd’s crook, to remind them of the shepherds that visited the baby Jesus at the first Christmas. Sometime around 1900 the red stripes were added and they were flavored with peppermint or wintergreen. Sometimes other Christian meanings are giving to the parts of the canes. The 'J' can also mean Jesus. The white of the cane can represent the purity of Jesus Christ and the red stripes are for the blood he shed when he died on the cross. The peppermint flavor can represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible.
"Did you know?"
1. National Candy Cane Day is celebrated December 26th in the United States.
2. The world’s largest Candy Cane was created by Paul Ghinelli & measured 58 feet & 2 1/4 inches.
3. Each year 1.76 billion Candy Canes are made enough to stretch from Santa Clause, Indiana to the North Pole, Alaska and back again 32 times.
4. Candy Canes on the Christmas tree symbolize the Shepherds in the fields on that first Christmas night.
5. Peppermint is recommended to enhance memory. It improves blood flow to the brain and is believed to increase your concentration power.
|(Grandma Julia & Grandpa Louis with me when I was very young)|
“Candy Cane Cookies”
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
1 box sugar cookie mix
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for surface
Red or Green food coloring
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract (you can also use vanilla instead of peppermint)
Preheat oven to 325° F. In bowl, combine sugar cookie mix, melted butter, egg, cream cheese, and flour; mix together to form dough. Separate dough into 2 equal portions and place in 2 different bowls. Add red/green food coloring gradually to one bowl of dough, kneading together until desired shade is created. (Small drops at a time) To second bowl of uncooked dough, add peppermint or vanilla extract and knead together. On a floured work surface, shape each dough into balls and then roll each ball into 1/4 inch wide ropes, each about 6 inches long. For each cookie, carefully twist some of the red /green and white ropes of dough together and shape into a Candy Cane. Spread Candy Canes out on cookies sheets and bake on top shelf of the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool before serving. Yield: Serves 25 cookies depending on your candy cane size.
"Peppermint Bark" is a classic Christmas treat. Can you resist chocolate with crisp cool bits of Candy Canes mixed together? I know I can’t. This delicious, easy “Peppermint Bark” makes a wonderful holiday gift, wrapped in a pretty box with a big red ribbon. Anything with chocolate, screams, “Christmas heaven!”
Crushed Candy Canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white chocolate
Peppermint flavorings, optional
Place Candy Canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. (I would suggest covering the plastic bag with a towel, so if the bag breaks, the candy doesn’t go all over the place. I know from experience) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Combine candy chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.) Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.) You will need to refrigerate the bark if there are any leftovers.
There are some occasions that call for an elegant cocktail, and this smooth drink can fit any celebration. This “Candy Cane Cocktail” is fitting for any winter festivity, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, or New Years. Option: Garnish with a small candy cane or create a candy cane rim with either colored sugar or crushed candy canes.
“Candy Cane Cocktail”
Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee
1 shot of vanilla rum
1 shot white chocolate liqueur (recommended: Godiva)
1 shot of peppermint schnapps
1 Candy Cane to garnish
Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with Candy Cane. Yield: Serves 1 person
****I know it is a time for merriment, but please Drink Responsibly!*******
Till Next Time………
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