Add 4 tablespoons of water to the fondant icing sugar and stir until combined, as per the packet instructions. Gradually add the essence to the fondant for a flavour boost.
Put 400g of fondant aside as your white base. Divide the remaining 100g into four 25g pieces, then knead your chosen colour into each piece, until you reach your desired tone.
Dust the fondant with cornflour, covering any which is not being used with clingfilm to stop it drying out. Roll 100g of the white fondant into a 15cm log. Split the coloured fondants in half, then roll each piece into a 15cm log.
Sandwich the white fondant between two coloured ones. Roll the fondant over a work surface with your palms until long and thin.
Take both ends between your fingertips and twist them in opposite directions to create a swirl effect.
Cut the twisted fondant into five lengths and curl one end of each around your finger to form a cane shape.
Transfer to a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Repeat with the rest of the fondant.
Leave the candy canes to harden for 24 hours, then attach ribbons or personalised name tags.