Candy canes are a staple for many this time of year. They make festive coffee and hot chocolate stirrers and are a favorite addition to holiday treats. However, it can be challenging to find candy canes that aren't full of corn syrup, artificial dyes, artificial flavors, and other nasty chemicals. While I prefer a natural candy cane because of the iconic shape and colors, you can make a substitute yourself if you can't get your hands on a high quality candy cane.
makes approximately 1 cup
1 cup Sucanat/Rapadura sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 - 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (depending on how minty you like it)
- Line a metal baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Meanwhile, add the sugar and water to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. Stir water and sugar mixture with a spatula as it heats to dissolve the sugar.
- Continue stirring and heating until the sugar starts to bubble. Then, continue to stir the sugar frequently as it cooks for 15 minutes.
- Remove sugar from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract. Make sure to stand away from the pot as your do this, because the peppermint extract hitting the hot sugar can take your breath away if you're not careful.
- Stir the sugar to ensure the peppermint extract is incorporated and poor it out onto your chilled, parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Use your spatula to spread the sugar into a thin (but not transparent) layer. Allow the sugar to cool until it is hard and does not bend. You can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process if you like.
- Now it's time for the fun part: Breaking up your sugar! Cover the sugar with another piece of parchment and then use a mallet or rolling pick to break the sugar into pieces of your desired size. Use immediately or store in a thin layer to prevent the pieces from sticking together into a big mass. You can also put the pieces into a small blender and make a finely ground sugar for your coffee.