This Viral TikTok Reveals How Candy Canes Are Made

The holidays have a sense of magic about them, especially for kids. Children — and adults — are left to wonder how the menorah was able to stay lit in the holy temple in Jerusalem for eight days, with just a one-day supply of oil (via NPR). And scientists are just as baffled as everyone else about the Star of Bethlehem that led three wise men to baby Jesus (via Live Science). And with elves making all those PS5s up at the North Pole, so that a man in a red suit can bring them to well-behaved children all across the globe in a flying sleigh — well, that's a lot of magic and miracles to absorb this time of year.

So we're grateful to Hammond's Candies for enlightening us about yet another great holiday mystery: How are candy canes made? It turns out that no elves are involved in the process, as revealed in the TikTok video Hammond's posted on December 6. It has since been viewed 12.7 million times.

Soft sheets of syrupy sugar are cut, mixed, shaped into long cylinders, cut again, and finally given the classic shepherd's crook candy-cane shape. Hammond's employees do almost all the work by hand, including the final bend while the red, green, and white-striped sticks are still warm.

Hammond's makes candy canes by hand

The candy company's viral TikTok showed workers making cherry candy canes, but Hammond's makes a wide variety of the holiday candy, from classic peppermint to more unusual flavors such as apple pie, organic butterscotch, and rainbow fruit punch.

Not all candy-cane makers give their products that personal, handmade touch. Spangler Candy has machines that do the cutting and the bending in their factory in Bryan, Ohio. Spangler cooks 100-pound batches of sugar and corn syrup, then adds peppermint or other flavors, and a small amount of starch.

If you want to see a little more behind-the-scenes action at Hammond's Candies, a TikTok the company uploaded in August shows workers making traditional candy canes, Christmas-tree shaped candy canes, and other candies. Even though 90 percent of candy canes are purchased between Thanksgiving and Christmas (via Gourmet Gift Baskets), this older TikTok shows that Hammond's was getting a head start on its candy-cane production during the summer. That August TikTok has been viewed 46.3 million times, probably because it opens with a highly satisfying pour of some sort of molten sugar concoction from a vat onto a large cooling pan. This TikTok also shows how workers twist long, striped tubes of candy to give their canes that barber-pole look. All in all, it still looks a little magical.