A traditional (left) and a Nestlé Spree version (right)
|Sugar, flavouring (often peppermint)|
|Recipes at Wikibooks:|
|Media at Wikimedia Commons:|
A candy cane is a cane-shaped hard candy stick associated with Christmas. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint; but is also made in a variety of other flavors and colors.
According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus. In addition, he used the white colour of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus. From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity.
Snopes.com – a web site that researches urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin – deems the account false, citing its "significant historical problems" and the inability to provide conclusive evidence that verifies the account.
A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The candy cane has been mentioned in literature since 1866, was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874, and as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees.
Candy Cane Production
Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed the one of the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s. Meanwhile, in 1919 in Albany, Georgia, Bob McCormack began making candy canes for local children. By the middle of the century his company (originally the Famous Candy Company, then the Mills-McCormack Candy Company, and later Bobs Candies) had become one of the world's leading candy cane producers. But candy cane manufacturing initially required a fair bit of labor that limited production quantities. The canes had to be bent manually as they came off the assembly line in order to create their 'J' shape, and breakage often ran over 20 percent. It was McCormack's brother-in-law, a seminary student in Rome named Gregory Harding Keller, who used to spend his summers back home working in the candy factory. In 1957, now ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, Keller patented his invention, the Keller Machine which automated the process of twisting soft candy into spiral striping and then cutting them into precise lengths as candy canes. Fr. Keller and his machine gained national fame in the 1960's when he was a contestant on the popular TV show What's My Line. 
- R. O. Parker (19 October 2001). Introduction to Food Science. Delmar. Retrieved 17 December 2011. "In 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral gave sugar sticks to his young singers to keep them quiet during the long Living Creche ceremony. In honor of the occasion, he had the candies bent into the shepherds crooks. In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decorated a small pine tree with paper ornaments and candy canes."
- Helen Haidle (2002). Christmas Legends to Remember. David C. Cook. Retrieved 17 December 2011. "Around 1670, a choirmaster of a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, handed out sugar sticks to his young singers. At Christmas, in honor of the birth of Jesus, the choirmaster bent the sugar sticks at one end, forming the shape of a shepherd's crook. These white candy canes helped keep the children quiet during the long Christmas Eve Nativity service. From Germany, the use of candy shepherds' staffs spread across Europe, where plays of the Christmas Nativity were accompanied by gifts of the sweet "shepherds' crooks.""
- Ace Collins (20 April 2010). Great Traditions of Christmas. Zondervan. Retrieved 17 December 2011. "Church history records that in 1670 the choirmaster at Germany's Cologne Cathedral was faced with a problem that still challenges parents, teachers, and choir directors today. In ancient Cologne, as well as in thousands of churches today, the children in the choir often grew restless and noisy during the long services. He sought out a local candy maker, and after looking over the treats in his shop, the music leader paused in front of some white sweet sticks. Yet the choirmaster wondered if the priests and parents would allow him to give the children in his choir candy to eat during a church service. The choirmaster asked the candy maker if he could bend the sticks and make a crook at the top of each one. The candy would not be just a treat; it would be a teaching tool. The choirmaster decided that the candy's pure white color would represent the purity of Christ. The crook would serve as a way for the children to remember the story of the shepherds who came to visit the baby Jesus. The shepherds carried staffs or canes, and with the hook at the top of the stick, the candy now looked like a cane."
- It's Christmas Season: My, How Sweet It Is!. The Milwaukee Journal. 13 December 1968. Retrieved 20 December 2011. "In 1670, a choirmaster at Germany's Cologne cathedral bent the ends of some sugar sticks to represent shepherds' crooks, and distributed them to youngsters. The practice spread."
- "Origin of the Candy Cane". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- The complete confectioner, pastry ... – Eleanor Parkinson – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Ballou's monthly magazine – Google Books. Books.google.ca. 1977-04-29. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- The Nursery – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Babyland – Charles Stuart Pratt – Google Books. Books.google.ca. 2004-06-30. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- "Patent US1680440 – CANDY-FORMING MACHINE – Google Patents". Google.com. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- "Origin of the Candy Cane". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Media related to Candy canes at Wikimedia Commons
- The dictionary definition of candy cane at Wiktionary
- Candy Canes and Silver Lanes: The Invention of a Holiday Favorite
- Origin of the Candy Cane - Snopes.com