HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Candy canes have been around for about a century in their current form, but have you ever wondered how the seasonal treat is made?
CBS2’s Lou Young visited Lucas Candies on Main Street in Haverstraw to find out.
There was a fire in the furnace downstairs there for the first time in more than 20 years, as the cook made a Christmas treat with corn syrup, water and lots of sugar, Young reported.
The mixture bubbled up, took a ride in the century-old elevator then hit a one-ton cooling table.
“I’m mixing in the peppermint and Debbie is mixing in the red coloring, and we have to get it to the right temperature where we can pull it and manipulate it into the canes,” co-owner Nick Loucas explained.
Lucas Candies makes candy canes the old fashioned way, and they aren’t like the skinny ones you buy by the dozen.
“They don’t do red sugar, it’s pure white and then they paint the red stripe on it, we’re going to twist the red and white together,” co-owner Debbie Betrand said.
There’s a trick to making it pure white.
“You take the candy and you stretch it, and every time you stretch it you capture little air bubbles, and that’s what makes it white,” Loucas said.
As the candy cooled, they made a sort of red and white sandwich, pulling the candy, twisting it, cutting it and giving it the hook that makes it a cane.
“It’s very labor intensive and it’s dangerous, you know we’re cooking sugar to 320 degrees,” Betrand said.
“I didn’t know what to expect actually. It’s worth paying,” customer Diane Maddeo said.
“I never thought of how they made it, I just enjoyed it,” another customer Mary Ann Bulson said.
The store will host candy cane demonstrations at noon and 3 p.m. this weekend and next. The demonstration is free and the candy canes are $3 each.
As Young reported, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a warm peppermint candy. It’s something worth seeing this season.