I started out with these instructions. Just as a note, I think their picture is a little misrepresenting.
First, we got the sugar up to 280 degrees. (After doing this and reading several other recipes, I don't think that's hot enough.)
Note: Instead of following the eHow instructions, we put all the ingredients in one pan.
When the sugar reached the required temperature, I poured it out onto two heat safe cutting boards with raised edges to contain the sugar. We added a generous amount of red food coloring to one cutting board before pouring the sugar on.
Then we let the sugar sit until it formed a thin skin. At that point, it will be still be hot enough to work with, but cool enough to stick together. The husband and I each pulled a color. The white is actually clear until you pull it.
We figured out the trick to handling hot sugar. While I'm not proud to admit this, we stole the kids winter gloves then wore latex gloves over those. The knit gloves helped keep some of the heat off our hands and the latex gloves, sprayed down with Pam, made the sugar easy to work with without sticking to everything! If you can see in the picture, the husband is wearing the purple gloves with the pink hearts on them!!
Even I can admit that our candy canes certainly were not pretty. Many of them were almost unidentifiable as canes! In fact, after seeing these pictures on Facebook, one of my co-workers commented on how you could tell which ones the kids made. Blushing, I shamefully looked up and informed her the kids were the photographers in this adventure. All the candy was made by myself and the husband. We all had a good laugh!
All in all, they were tasty, but I don't know if we'll be doing those again anytime soon! I did figure out that a few pieces of candy canes dropped into some hot tea is excellent!
By the way, did you know Indiana ranks 4th in peppermint production? The soggy soils of northern Indiana are perfect growing conditions for mint.