Yo Mon Frozen Yogurt Press

History of da Candy Cane, Mon

Candy CanesWe’ve got it on tap at Yo Mon this time of year, and for good reason—da candy cane is Christmas’s favorite treat!  We love to fill da cup with it and add a little chocolate for an extra special treat—whether on top on right in da cup (Da Dark Chocolate).  As we often do when we sit down with our favorite fro-yo, we started to ponder (we don’t know about you, but we tend to relax and let our minds wander when we sit down to fill da soul): Where do candy canes come from?

Interestingly, we found a whole lot of wrong information right away.  Did you know that there is candy cane history spam?  Neither did we, but apparently, someone cared enough about sending a candy message to begin a few spam emails purporting all sorts of candy cane origin stories.  As we often do when we just aren’t sure who to believe, we turned to Snopes, and we found some answers.

The most popular story about the origin of the candy cane seems to be related to a German choirmaster.  According to legend, he was faced with a problem, namely children who couldn’t sit still during long church services, and so he commissioned a local candy maker to create these candies to keep the kiddies happy.  At the time, the candies would not have been flavored with peppermint the way we know them now.  They would have been plain white and sweet.  The choirmaster then asked the candy maker to bend the candies into the shape of a hook to remind the children of shepherds, and thus the Christmas story.  We like this little tale because we understand the power of the palette to soothe and quiet, but according to Snopes, it lacks validity.   Here’s why: There’s no documentation to tie it to the time period that claims it (the 17th century); in fact, there is no record of this story at all until the mid-twentieth century.  And the candy cane  isn’t associated with Christmas until the latter part of the 19th century (just for you math folks, that’s about 200 years difference in time).  The first historical reference to the candy cane in America is in 1847 when August Imgard (a German immigrant) decorated his Christmas tree with them.  It was about 50 years after that that stripes first appeared on candy canes, but no one is quite sure why or where they came from.  Incidentally, it was also around this time that candy makers started adding peppermint and wintergreen flavors to candy canes.

Over time, candy canes did nothing but grow in popularity, and in 1950, a Catholic priest, Gregory Harding Keller, invented the Keller Machine, that took the time and labor intensive process of bending candy canes and automated it.  His brother-in-law, Bob McCormack, owned a very successful candy company, and at the time, 22 percent of his candy canes were broken during production and had to be thrown away.  Father Keller’s machine saved Bob’s Candies a lot of time, money and materials and revolutionized the candy cane industry.

At Yo Mon if we break a candy cane, we toss it on top of da cup of candy cane frozen yogurt and keep going, but we understand that some people like to eat their candy canes whole.:)  How do you like your candy canes?  In cookies, on your fro-yo, flavoring everything?  Come in and see us for a holiday candy cane fix (or eggnog or cinnamon bun…).  We’ll be waiting  to fill da holiday cup for you.