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Can one soften purchased candy canes?

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I know Thanksgiving is the current focus for many, but I need to plan Christmas tree decorations. I work in research so would like to shape candy canes into question marks for our theme tree. Can that be done? I'm thinking about just softening purchased candy canes just enough to adjust their already crooked shape into the question mark and then squishing the end enough to a ball. Would this be best done in a low oven? a low wattage on the microwave? Has anyone tried this?

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  1. I would think if you warmed them in a warm oven and watched closely so they don't melt, you could do this. Maybe lay them on parchment paper.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wekick

      A greased sheet would be preferable to parchment I think. I'll grant you I never tried it, but you never see it used in commercial hard candy factory videos. I know wax paper won't work. Sticking and burning up issues. Found that one out by accident while making old fashioned hard tack candy, which we make every Christmas in mass quantities.

    2. From my experience cleaning up after making hard candy, I think sugar is pretty hard to manipulate once heated to the hard crack stage and cooled. I think you'd have to get them very, very hot to bend them. Even if you did, I'm not sure it would work. Maybe someone who's tried it can tell you better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jvanderh

        Have you ever made decorations with cut rock candy? I used to do it with the kids. You arrange either cut rock candy or life savers on foil or in the bottom of a small pie pan. I think it is greased a little. Put it in a 325 oven and it will soften and eventually melt. I'm sure you could do it with candy canes. Maybe use a kelly clamp to manipulate the candy cane.

      2. I think warming them in the oven would make the whole thing too hard to handle. I would get/borrow a plumber's torch or a cook's torch (the kind used to caramelize the sugar on top of creme brulee). Then you can heat and bend only the parts you want to work on at any one time. I've seen them do this on Food Network's Sugar competitions. And on lampwork beads too.

        Think about getting the larger candy canes, not the small ones. It will be a lot safer.

        1. This link purports you can by heating them in the oven at relatively low heat. http://www.makeandtakes.com/love-shap...

          1. You can melt down those candy canes & spoon the mixture into a question mark shaped candy mold or make hard candy to use in the molds. This link will take you to a candymaking site where you could buy a mold with a ? on it if you were making chocolate but perhaps with a little more browsing online, you'll find one for making hard candy; this is just to give you an idea: http://www.getsuckered.com/Product/Y-...