The ingredients for candy canes are sugar and corn syrup, which are stored in stainless steel tanks. These two ingredients are monitored and stored under strict environmental conditions, and are regularly tested in our laboratory to ensure a high quality product.
The sugar and corn syrup are pumped from storage tanks to the candy cane kitchens. The high temperature in the kitchens keep the candy from cooling too fast. The liquid sugar and corn syrup are mixed in pre-cookers and heated to boiling temperature.
The mixture is then pumped to a vacuum cooker, which cooks with a timer. Each batch is equal to one hundred pounds of candy.
After the candy is cooked, it is poured on a cooling table. While the candy is on the cooling table, peppermint or other flavors are added and a small amount of starch. Starch holds flavor in the batch during the mixing and prevents sticking.
The batch is then mixed on a kneader. The kneader mixes the flavor and candy. The kneading changes the color of the candy to a golden brown.
After several minutes, the candy is placed into a puller. Pulling causes the candy to turn a silky white color.
After the candy is pulled, it is placed into a batch former, which forms the candy into a log-like shape (about one foot by two feet wide).
To complete the candy cane, red, green, or other colored candy is used to form small stripes. Several small strips along with two wide stripes are formed on a heated table with the white candy. These stripes are placed on the white log of candy that was removed from the batch former.
The batch with the stripes is placed in a heated batch roller. The batch roller keeps the candy hot, forms it into a round cone shape, and allows the candy to be pulled into the sizing wheels. The candy is downsized through the wheels to the diameter of a candy cane.
After downsizing, the candy goes through a twister and onto the cutter. At the twister, the candy, which is now a long rope, is twisted so the stripes resemble a barber pole. The cutter snips the candy into sticks and places the sticks into a wrapper.
The candy is kept warm so it does not harden immediately. The stick is wrapped and the heat from the stick shrinks the wrapping film around the cane. After wrapping, the stick goes into a crooker. In the crooker, the straight stick gets it curved hook - known as a shepherd's crook.
After the cane is crooked, it goes via a conveyor belt where it is cooled and sent through a metal detector prior to being positioned in the cradle. The cradle (box) is inspected, over-wrapped with high-quality film, packed into cases, and shipped to the warehouse.
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