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Monday, December 17, 2012



Candy Canes

Christmas is the time for families and laughter and presents and peace on earth. And of course those candy filled stockings. After all, what would Christmas be without the sticky goodness of Candy Canes?

Birth of the Candy Cane

Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy.

The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.

The clergymen's custom of handing out candy canes during Christmas services spread throughout Europe and later to America. The canes were still white, but sometimes the candy-makers would add sugar-roses to decorate the canes further.

Candy Cane Recipe

Be careful! It will be very hot. Once it is just barely cool enough to handle, the candy must be pulled and turned on itself over and over until it is no longer clear.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring


Cook sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar to a very hard ball stage (use candy thermometer: 250 to 265 degrees F.). Remove from heat and add peppermint. Divide into two parts and add red food coloring to one part and mix well.

Pull pieces of each part to form ropes and twist red around the white to make candy canes.

Yield: 1 dozen
Recipe Source: "From my Great-Grandmother Maggie's cookbook..." --Jonni McCoy

Candy canes have always been one of my favorite Christmas treats, and in my m/m erotic romance MERRY CHRISTMAS, SHELTON, these sweet confections quickly become one of Shelton's favorites as well!

Prize Time! I'd like to give away a PDF copy of any one of my 'Shelton' books to a commenter who tells me what their favorite holiday candy/cookie is. Don't forget to leave your contact info! The winner will be picked on Dec. 23rd by

Can Shelton and Nevil overcome the obstacles of a blizzard, a baby, and one hot redhead and find their way to a merry Christmas?

Shelton and Nevil have rented a cozy cabin in the mountains in which to spend the Christmas holiday. Tree is lit. Presents sparkling. Shelton anticipates a very merry Christmas indeed. But then a blizzard springs up, landing a sexy redhead on their doorstep looking like trouble in a pretty package.

Tommy brings a message for Nevil, but when he first hits on Shelton in the shower, then offers to drive Nevil to his sister's side while she has her baby, Shelton begins to wonder just how this mixed up Christmas is going to end.
About the Author: After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, Dianne now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms her hands which kindles her imagination. Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage. Blog: Facebook:!/diannehartsock Twitter:!/diannehartsock Goodreads:


diannehartsock said...

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Do you know if humidity affects candy cane-making? I've had such a checkered candymaking past that I wonder if I should wait till the weather improves. Still good at eating candy, though!


elaing8 said...

Thanks for sharing that recipe. I don't know if I could pull that off though.Might be safer if I just stuck to buying them :)
The book sounds really good.
Merry Christmas

Penumbra said...

My favorite huh? Well, I like chocolate fudge with nuts and peanut brittle :)


diannehartsock said...

The trick with candy canes is making sure you hit that hard ball stage! (can't help smirking when I say that) :)

Urb said...

My favorite holiday cookie is gingerbread. I once had an organic sweet potato gingerbread thing. Wow, it was delicious! I like to stick candy canes in my hot ginger tea.

brendurbanist at gmail dot com

nancy said...

Chocolate covered cherries and pfeffernusse say Christmas to me, childhood memories you know. Would love to win Shelton.

Debby said...

Candy canes have so many hidden meanings.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Mountain Laurel said...

You went right to the heart!! What is the holidays with out our sweets? Thanks for sharing the recipe and the history!

gigi said...

Thanks for the recipe. I love making candy, walnut drops are my favorite.


diannehartsock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rush said...

I'm not a hard candy eater but when I was a kid I used to love sucking on the Old Fashioned Candies that came in a canister. Different colors, some with stripes, some without. My favorite was the one that resembled a raspberry and it had a soft center. Plenty of times I cut my tongue on the sharp ridges they form after sucking for a few minutes.
Happy Holidays!


diannehartsock said...

Gigi's my winner!!!! Thanks everyone for stopping in! :)