Fruit canes, striped or plain
These candy canes get their fresh fruit flavor and color from
concentrated fruit purees or juice. They are attractive plain, but if
you prefer them striped, follow the sequence pictured on pages 80 and
To make the color concentrates (they can be made days ahead), boil
fruit puree or fruit juice to greatly reduce its volume. Of the many
fruits that we tried, the following worked well. (Many fruits scorch
and lose their color and flavor at the high heat required for making
For intense colors, start with frozen raspberries or blackberries
or cranberry juice cocktail. Canned drinks of peach, guava, and passion
fruit reduce to make delicate shades. You can also use pomegranate concentrate; it’s sold in some stores.
Fruit Taffy Canes
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup Water
1/2 cup fruit concentrate (directions follow)
Butter or margarine
In a 1 1/2-to 2-quart pan, combine sugar, syrup, and 2 tablespoons
water. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a rolling boil over high
heat. Position a thermometer in the boiling syrup and cook, without
stirring, until candy reaches 310| to 315|; this takes about 5 minutes.
As the syrup cooks, wash off spatters of syrup as they accumulate
inside the pan, using a stiff brush dipped frequently in water; if
crystalline bits of sugar are not washed away, the taffy may harden
before it is pulled.
At once add fruit concentrate; if using a metal-mounted
thermometer, use it to mix concentrate thoroughly into the bubbly syrup
(if thermometer is removed and allowed to cool slightly, it will not
respond quickly enough when returned to pan). Stir constantly until
temperature returns to 270|. If using a glass thermometer, leave it in
pan but stir syrup with a spoon.
Immediately, pour hot syrup onto a well-buttered 10- by 15-inch
rimmed pan. With a buttered wide spatula, push syrup from one side of
pan to the other (butter exposed pan and spatula often to reduce
sticking) until taffy is cool enough to handle quickly, but still hot.
Coat hands with butter. Working quickly, pull and stretch taffy
until it begins to turn opaque, lighter in color, and stiffer but still
malleable; at this point, it should be cool enough for children to
Divide taffy into 4 equal portions, cutting with buttered scissors.
To keep taffy malleable, put pieces well apart on a freshly buttered pan
and put in a 150| oven up to 1 hour (taffy will flatten as it rests).
To make plain canes, pull a portion of taffy at a time until it
turns opaque and satiny. Then, pulling and squeezing, shape taffy into
a rope that is the thickness you want. You have to work fast; the taffy
is easiest to manage if you work in a warm part of the kitchen.
Cut taffy rope into desired lengths with buttered scissors. Leave
ropes plain or twist for a textured finihs; curve tips to make canes, if
desired. (To make striped fruit taffy canes, see page 80.)
Put canes flat in a single layer on buttered pans and chill until
hard. Serve; or wrap individually, airtight, in plastic wrap or small
plastic bags. Refrigerate or freeze up to 4 month; on longer standing,
the canes may become crumbly or sticky.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 pounds taffy, or about 2 dozen
Fruit concentrates. Choose from the following fruit for the color
you want. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, boil the fruit puree or juice on
medium heat, uncovered, until it is reduced to 1/2 cup; stir
occasionally. Use hot or cool; to store, cover and refrigerate as long
as 3 days, or freeze.
Red. Thaw 1 bag (12 oz.) frozen raspberries with sugar. Puree
fruit and juices in blender or food processor; rub through a fine wire
strainer and discard seeds.
Bright pink. Use 3 cups cranberry juice cocktail.
Pale orange. Use 2 cans (12 oz. each) peach nectar, guava nectar,
or passion fruit drink.
Burgundy. Thaw 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen unsweetened blackberries.
Puree fruit and juices in a blender or food processor; rub through a
fine wire strainer and discard the seeds.
Toast. Use 1/2 cup bottled pomegranate concentrate. Do not cook;
add directly to hot taffy syrup.
Photo: Tuck individually wrapped fruit canes into Christmas
stockings–or pass them around as tasty treats