Swapping Gigs with Sterling Riggs: Candy Cane Puller
Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- At Schimpff's Confectionary in downtown Jeffersonville, Indiana, they love to raise cane--candy cane that is.
"There are not many companies that hand pull candy canes anymore," said Walt Murphy, Schimpff's Manager and veteran candymaker. "Most are made in processing plants. We do everything by hand."
The Schimpff family has been cranking out the Christmas staple for 120 years. When owner Warren Schimpff is making candy, he is in the zone. So he left it to Murphy to walk Sterling Riggs through the process.
"And the flavor is wonderful," he said. "We have some of the best tasting candy canes you will ever see."
To make a batch of the holiday treats, Schimpff's starts with a combination corn syrup and 25 pounds of sugar. That batch will make 300 candy canes. Then they continuously massage the mix while adding a little flavor and color. "A candy maker has to feel the candy to know when it's ready to move on to the next stage," he says.
The Schimpff's has added a little modern technology to the process over the years with a mechanized candy puller. The constant motion pulls air into the mix, which turns the candy white.
"All of the flavorings are hand mixed. So we like to say that no two pieces are the same," Murphy said. "No two pieces are the same because the flavors are not evenly distributed throughout the blanket." When the blanket is ready, the red stripes are put in place.
It's then moved to a canvas roller where the stripes are rolled in. From there the candy maker pulls and cuts the mix into smaller pieces. And finally, the hook is put on the cane.
"That one is going to sell right there. I'm telling you!" claims Riggs.
So if you want a local hand made candy cane this Christmas, stop by the shop at Schimpff's in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Who knows, you may buy one hand crafted by yours truly.
To find out more about Schimpff's Confectionery, click here.