Christmas is finally here! With the flurry of the season’s hustle and bustle rushing by, we at the Purple Fig want to wish you the happiest of holidays with a simple, easy, and organic recipe for Christmas’s most heralded tradition: homemade candy canes!
This recipe comes from Mary Janes Farm, using farm fresh ingredients without any toxic dyes or artificial preservatives:
2 1⁄2 cups organic granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 tbsp organic distilled white vinegar
1⁄2 cup + 1 tbsp beet juice (can be replaced with undiluted pure pomegranate or cranberry juice)
1 tsp organic peppermint extract
Homemade Organic Candy Canes
PREP TIME: 1 HOUR / COOK TIME: 35 MINUTES / MAKES: 18 STICKS
1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
2. Place a silicone non-stick baking mat onto a rimmed metal baking sheet and put in oven on top rack to warm it. Remove the baking sheet from the oven a few minutes before the syrup is done cooking and turn the oven off.
3. Combine sugar, vinegar, and beet juice in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring syrup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes, until syrup reaches 285°F on a candy thermometer, or until very minimal browning is noticed on top of bubbles. Remove from heat and quickly stir in peppermint extract.
4. Immediately pour syrup slowly into the center of the Silpat. Wearing your gloves and working very carefully, quickly lift and hold the edges of the baking mat to keep syrup in the center of the pad while it cools.
5. When syrup has cooled enough not to run off the baking mat, begin pressing and folding the syrup into itself, using the edges of the mat. Continue this kneading process for about 25 minutes. The syrup will become a glossy mound of candy.
6. After 25 minutes, the candy should be cooled enough to shape, but if it is still too hot or sticky to mold, it is not ready. Test with a small piece. Grease your hands to prevent sticking. Divide candy in half and place one half on another baking sheet with a silicone baking mat in the oven to keep it pliable while you work with the first part of the mixture. Pull off a smaller- than-golf-ball-piece of candy and pulling hands in opposite directions, stretch the candy into a rope. Bring the ends of the strands together, and then twist the strands together. Place your twisted rope on the baking mat and bend top into candy cane shape. Use kitchen scissors to trim or to cut into bite-size pieces.
7. Occasionally turn your finished candy canes on the baking mat until the candy has completely hardened to keep them from flattening. Store them out of the sunlight to keep them from melting or losing color and luster.
For the Organic Beet Juice Dye:
- Wash beets, leaving tails and crowns intact and beets whole.
- Place in large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover with lid.
- Whole beets will take 11⁄2–2 hours to cook, until tender when pierced with a fork. You’ll be left with a pan of bright red beet juice and beets whose skins slip off easily when partially cooled.
(For those of you who prefer pre-made candies, go to Tru Joy Sweets for your organic fix!)
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays from the Purple Fig!