Sweet sugar- or chocolate-based confection. The Egyptians made candy from honey (combined with figs, dates, nuts, and spices), sugar being unknown. With the spread of sugarcane cultivation in the 15th century, the industry began to grow. In the late 18th century the first candy-manufacturing machinery was produced. The main ingredients are cane and beet sugars combined with other carbohydrate foods such as corn syrup, cornstarch, honey, molasses, and maple sugar. To the sweet base are added chocolate, fruits, nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, flavours, and colours. Common varieties include hard candies (crystallized sugar), caramels and toffees, nougats, jellies, fondants, marshmallows, marzipans, truffles, cotton candies, licorices, and chewing gums.
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In North America, candy is a broad category that includes candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, tart candies, hard candies, taffy, gumdrops, marshmallows, and more. Vegetables, fruit or nuts glazed and coated with sugar are called candied.
Outside North America, the generic name for candy is sweets or confectionery (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth countries). In Australia and New Zealand, candy is, in normal usage, further categorised as either chocolate or lollies (for all other non-chocolate candies).
In North America, the UK, and Australia, the word lollipop refers specifically to sugar candy on a stick. While not used in the generic sense of North America, the term candy is used in the UK for specific types of foods such as candy floss (cotton candy in North America and fairy floss in Australia), and certain other sugar based products.
|Stage||Temperature in °F||Temperature in °C||Sugar concentration|
|soft ball (e.g. fudge)||234-240°F||112-115°C||85%|
|hard crack (e.g. toffee)||295-310°F||146-154°C||99%|
|brown liquid (caramel)||338°F||170°C||100%|
This method is still used today in some kitchens. A candy thermometer is more convenient, but has the drawback of not automatically adjusting for local conditions such as altitude, as the cold water test does.
Once the syrup reaches 340°F or higher, the sucrose molecules break down into many simpler sugars, creating an amber-colored substance known as caramel. This should not be confused with caramel candy, although it is the candy's main flavoring.
Other ingredients commonly found in candy that are not vegetarian or vegan friendly include carmine, which is a dye made from the cochineal, and confectioner's glaze, which may contain wings or other insect parts.