I had seen these cookies quite some time back on a couple of blogs and I knew I just had to make them with Christmas round the corner. Out here where we live, candy canes are just not part of the Christmas culture so cookies resembling candy canes were very unusual to us. It is however one of the things we connect to the Christmas we see in magazines from abroad, and the many American food blogs and sites I come across. I knew my daughter was going to love them, and that was a good enough reason for me to get baking them.
As it turns out, candy canes are not a modern invention but go back over 350 years! Apparently, it all started some time around 1670 in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The story goes that the choirmaster there wanted some way to keep the children quiet during the extra long services at Christmas time. So he asked a local candy maker to make some sugar sticks but wanted them bent into a hook at one end to resemble a shepherd’s staff, so the children might remember the shepherds who came visiting the infant Jesus.
The original candy canes were all white, and the first historical reference to the candy canes in America is in 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated his Christmas tree with them. It was only after 1900 candy canes started showing stripes and colours.
These cookies aren’t very difficult to make. The two things that took me time was blending the colours I had on hand to get a reasonably dark red (which I didn’t manage very well) and rolling out the dough and twisting them into canes. This is definitely not a cookie you want to make with a couple of other things going on.