The Spangler Candy Company makes 400 million candy canes for each holiday season.
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Candy Canes for the Holiday Season
Male: If you eat it during the holidays, chances are we’ve got the secret about it. First off, a Christmas classic that performs in two arenas, the candy cane. Not only a great tasting holiday treat but a colorful ornament with the sweet twist as well. At the Spangler Candy Company in Bryan, Ohio supplying the world with candy canes is a year-round business.
Red stripes whirl around, its setting white center. Legends surround its crooking stripes and the president of the Spangler Candy Company knows that the candy cane is as important to Christmas as another red and white tradition.
Greg Spangler: Well, the candy cane is it’s almost synonymous with Christmas I mean there are few icons you can think of others and maybe Santa Claus that’s anymore Christmas than in the candy cane.
Male: The candy cane was created 350 years ago. A German Choir Master bend a straight sugar stick to look like a shepherd staff. But the American candy cane wasn’t born until the peppermint and stripes where added in the 1900s.
So, it must take a lot of peppermint to tempt kids of all ages to steal a cane or two of the tree, right? Wrong, for everybody 100 pounds batch of candy, there is only ½ ounces of peppermint flavor. The big numbers come from the number of canes.
Production Manager’s Steve Kerr is already making candy canes for next Christmas.
Steve Kerr: It’s something its hard to believe but we do and we starting out for next year’s Christmas. So, it’s always Christmas at Spangler’s.
Male: Talk about getting a jump on Christmas, the Spangler Candy Kitchen twist all year alone. Famous for their dam-dams, Spangler also creates more than 400 million candy canes for the holiday season.
Every candy cane starts off as a paddle of corn syrup and sugar water. The center of the cane gets the flavor and the stripes get the color. For the peppermint cane, the white center relies on air and a pulling machine to change from caramel brown to cool white.
It takes about 45 seconds of cooling to create the white color. After a brief roll through a batch warmer, the white candy is ready to be surrounded by a red stripes. Two sets of pin stripes and two large stripes are hand-placed on the outside of the log. That’s right, every candy cane starts as a 100-pound log. One log will create more than 3000 standard size candy canes.
Steve Kerr: It’s pretty surprising that you know you make that big of a candy cane and then it’s comes down into a small rope. Usually people are really surprised about that part of the process.
Male: Eight sets of wheels squeeze the candy into a peppermint rope. Before it’s cut into 10-inch sticks, the rope gets a twist that moves its closer to be coming a cane.
Steve Kerr: It’s what we called the twister and it’s basically two belts that run in opposite directions and the rope will feed through those belts and that gives it the twisting motion. We usually have five stripes or five twist to each cane.
Male: Even after the twister, the candy cane is still just a peppermint stick. You might be surprise to know that the next step is not putting the crook in the cane.
Steve Kerr: Before it gets crooked, it’ll actually go through a wrapper or actually gets wrapped at that point. And each wrapper runs about 180 canes a minute.
Male: Finally, the crooking machines transform the candy stick into a candy cane. A brief trip to the cooling tunnel is all that lies between the candy cane and the trip to Santa’s pack. With enough candy canes to stretch around the world, Santa Claus should have no problem finding his way to the Spangler Candy Company.