The past and present history of candy making

Knowing the different types and classifications of candies

One of the most popular foods in the world is candy. Children especially love the taste of this sweet fare. Candy is also important, however, for its food value and for its ability to give energy quickly.

There are hundreds of varieties of candies. They are classified by confectionery manufacturers into three basic types. This classification depends upon the ingredients used to make the candy.

The first type of candy is made entirely of sugars. Hard candies, stick candies, and crystallized creams are included in this class. The second type includes confections that are mostly sugar. SOme nonsugar ingredients (but more than 5 percent) have been added, however. Examples are pectin jellies, marshmallows, and nougats.

The third group is made up of candy which contains large proportions of ingredients other than sugars. Examples of such sweets are fudge, caramels, starch, jellies, and chocolates.

How Candy Is Made

Most hard candies are made by boiling sugar, water, glucose, and flavoring into a syrup. The mixture is dumped on a marble or steel slab to cool. When the candy is nearly hard it is cut and shaped into balls, sticks, slabs, or squares. To make taffy, the cooled mass is kneaded and pulled either by machines or by workers using hooks. The pulling makes the mass white and porous.

Brittle candies are made by melting sugar and glucose over a slow fire. Nuts or other desired ingredients are added and the mixture is cooled.

Soft, or cream candies have fondant as their base. This is prepared by cooking sugar, glucose, and water to a syrup. The mixture is then cooled and kneaded with long paddles until it becomes creamy and smooth. After being molded, the soft centers go to a coating machine, which covers them with chocolate or some other confection.

Early History of Candy

The earliest known records referring to candy are in Egyptian writings and paintings dating from 2000 B.C. Crude drawing on tombs of the 11th dynasty show the confectionery processes used. Baking and confection making took place in the temples. The treats were not available to everyone. They were offered to the gods or reserved for royalty.

The general public first associated sweets with medicine. Druggists used them to disguise the bitter taste of their pills.Not until the middle of the 16th century is there any reference to the manufacture of candy or the setting up of candy stores.

Early American Candymaking

The first candymakers in the American Colonies were the Dutch bakers of New Amsterdam. In the 17th century they made fancy creations for special events such as Christmas and New Year's parties.

The confectionery trade began to flourish in the 18th century. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were the early centers for the trade.

The lozenge was one of the first specialties. A machine which made it possible to put printing on the candies brought about the "conventional lozenges." These little colored confections, usually heart-shaped, were imprinted with sayings.

Grocery stores featured large wooden pails filled with candy. The proprietors scooped our pieces of rock candy, colored sugar candy, and the first lollipops. These were the simple dabs of sugar candy placed on the end of a slate pencil.

In 1851 the revolving steam pan was introduced in the United States. In the same year a mill for powdering sugar received a patent. Candymakers could then improved their products.

Popcorn balls and Turkish delights appeared. As manufacturers learned to use chocolate in confectionery the popularity of chocolate candies increased. The first chocolate factory in the United States was started in 1780. It was not until 1875. however, that chocolate was used as a coating, and then it was dark and bitter. The following year a sweet milk-chocolate coating was introduced, and the making of chocolate  candies as they are know today began.