Hard Candy: A Quick History and Recipe
Assorted Hard Candy
Hard Candy: A mixed bag for everybody
When I was young I'd go over to my grandmother on my fathers side quite a lot. My grandmother was old school; she spoke Polish and her family was from the old country. They were poor and didn't have much to spend on basic necessities let along things like candy so she bought a lot of hard candy since it is predominantly cheap. How cheap? Go to Wal-Mart and take a look in the candy aisle. A bag of those trial size snickers will set you back almost five bucks. A mixed bag of hard candy? Maybe a buck and a half. You can fill a bean bag full of them for under $15.
More Hardcandy. Cheap and Sweet
Where did Hard Candy Come From?
Was hard candy always the low end of candy treats, always meant to be a fill-in for people who are looking for a poor breath mint substitute or to use as filler in Christmas stockings and Halloween bags? No, hard candy is ancient, and even as little as 60 years ago was treated as just that; a treat.
The oldest records of hard candy such as candy canes goes back to the late 1600's. The Germans, god love 'em, were one of the first people to put hard candy on the map in the new world. While Germany may have blazed the hard candy trail for us Westerners, it's not hard to imagine that ancient cultures such as the Greeks, and probably the Egyptians, made hard candy since the recipe is relatively simple.
Hard Candy is Relatively Simple
So Whats it Take to Make?
Here's a simple recipe:
1 cup of corn syrup
1 cup of water
4 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of flavoring (mint, honey, syrup, fruit, whatever)
Cook the syrup, water and sugar all together until it boils. Turn the hear down and cook the mixture until it you see a hard crack stage beginr. Remove from heat and pour in the flavor of your choice.
Pour the mixture in sections onto a baking sheet and let it cool. That's it, you have some hard candy.
As you can imagine, such an easy recipe would make hard candy available to just about anyone, so pinpointing an exact history would almost be impossible.
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