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Food Timeline FAQs: candy .....Have questions? Ask!

What is candy?
candy bar prices
candy butchers
candy packaging
colonial confectioners
colonial chocolate makers
early American candy
modern American candy
Candy catalog (1949)
brown sugar
confectioners' sugar
corn syrup
granulated sugar
high fructose corn syrup
maple sugar
refined sugar
sugar beets
sugar cones & loaves
bologna candy
bridge mix
Buckeye candy
candy canes
candy corn
chocolate covered ants
chocolate covered pretzels
chocolate truffles
conversation hearts
cotton candy
dolly mixtures
Easter candy
fruit leather
Gibraltar rock
Halloween candy
horehound candy
icing & frosting
jelly, jams & preserves
jelly beans
jordan almonds
lemon drops
motto rock
opera fudge & creams
penny candy
Pop Rocks
potato candy
rock candy
rum balls
salt water taffy
sauerkraut candy
sponge candy
stuffed dates
sugar plums & comfits
toffee apples
Turkish delight
Valentine's Day candy
white chocolate

What is candy?
While we Americans tend to think of candy in terms of supermarket and convenience stores displays, this sweet culinary family offers a much broader and complicated lineage. Food historians propose the first sweets were consumed as a sort of medical treatment for digestive troubles. Today's cough drops and peppermint sticks descend from this tradition. As time and technology progressed, so did the art of confectionery. The English word "candy" derives from Arabic "qandi," meaning something made with sugar. Indeed, the first candies were sugar coated nuts, seeds and fruits.
Jujubes, licorice and marshmallows are a prime examples of ancient medicine becoming modern candy. Conserves and preserves (fruit preserved in sugar) eventually became their own type of food; typically paired toast or spread between cookies and cakes.

"All of the peoples of antiquity made sweetmeats of honey before they had sugar: the Chinese, the Indians, the people of the Middle East, the Egyptians and then the Greeks and Romas used it coat fruits, flowers, and the seeds or stems of plants, to preserve them for use as an ingredient in the kind of confectionery still made in those countries today. Confectioner and preserves featured in the most sumptuous of Athenian banquets, and were an ornament to Roman feasts at the time of the Satyricon, but it seems that after that the barbarian invasions Europe forgot them for a while, except at certain wealthy courts were Eastern products were eaten...At the height of the Middle Ages sweetmeats reappeared, on the tables of the wealthy at first...In fact the confectionery of the time began as a marriage of spices and sugar, and was intended to have a therapeutic or at least preventative function, as an aid to digestive troubles due to the excessive intake of food which was neither very fresh nor very well balanced...guests were in the habit of carrying these sweetmeats to their rooms to be taken at night. They were contained in little comfit-boxes or drageoirs...."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble Books:New York] 1992 (p. 565-6)
[NOTE: This book has an excellent chapter on the history of confectionery and preserves. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

"Candy...The ancient Egyptians preserved nuts and fruits with honey, and by the Middle Ages physicians had learned how to mask the bad taste of their medicines with sweetness, a practice still widespread. Boiled "sugar plums were known in the seventeenth-century England and soon were to appear in the American colonies where maple-syrup candy was popular in the North and benne-seed [sesame seed] confections were just as tempting in the South. In New Amersterdam one could enjoy "marchpane," or "marzipan," which is very old decorative candy made from almonds ground into a sweet paste. While the British called such confections, "sweetmeats," Americans came to call "candy," from the Arabic qandi, "made of sugar," although one finds "candy" in English as early as the fifteenth century...Caramels were known in the early eighteenth century and lollipops by the 1780s..."Hard candies" made from lemon or peppermint flavors were popular in the early nineteenth century...A significant moment in candy history occured at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, where "French-style" candies with rich cream centers were first displayed...But it was the discovery of milk chocolate in Switzerland in 1875 that made the American candy bar such a phenomenon of the late nineteenth century."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 54-5)
[NOTE: This source has much more information than can be paraphrased. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy. It also contains separate entries for specific types of candies.]

Recommended reading

Sponge candy
The general concensus of newspaper articles and Web sites place the origin of "sponge candy" in upstate New York. Buffalo appears to be the epicenter. We find much information about the current product but scant details regarding the history of the recipe. Many sources (including company Web sites) vaguely date the recipe in the 1940s. The origins are family secrets.

Apparently this product (or similar products) is known in other parts of the country by different names: fairy candy, fairy food, sea foam, angel food and honeycomb toffee. An examination of old confectionery texts confirms recipes with these names. Some of these may approximate sponge candy, others might produce very different products. One of "signature" ingredients in sponge candy is baking soda. This ingredient is generally omitted from the other recipes.

"Those who know about it come in with mouths watering, cast their gaze across the rows of chocolate creams and molds to see if they'll taste any today. You see, to get sponge candy at Stone Brothers Home Made Candies, conditions have to be jsut right. And that means candy junkies are sometims left wanting for a delicacy seldom found outside upstate New York. "It's something I don't think exists in other parts of the country," said William Long...Other than Stone's a nine-worker enterprise...Long knows of only three small companies in Buffalo that make the melt-in-your-mouth mixture of corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, baking soda and chocolate..."Usually the only place you see it in Central New York is in a retail shop,"...While whipping up a batch shortly before Christmas, Stone's owner...said, "Some people comapre the taste to malted milk balls, but it's not quite like that...Stachowicz and candymaker Tom Wall make 1,000 pounds of sponge candy from early November through April. They make about 150 pounds at a time in a painstaking two-day process. "Weather conditons have to be perfect,"...Atmosphere pressure must be above 30 pounds per square inch and humidity must be below 50 percent in the back shop. Without those conditions, warm, moist air sucks too many bubbles out of the sponge and takes away the scratchy chewiness that defines the product...It starts with a 60-pound copper bowl, coarse sugar, thick corn syrup, water, a long wooden stick and a tall thermometer. When the mixture bubbles to 293 degrees, the copper bowl is removed from a gas-fired stove and gelatin is added. In exactly 90 seconds, baking soda is added, turning the mix from a dark tan to a light gold...the mixture [put] "to sleep" overnight in 2-foot-by-4 foot metal boxes...called "coffins." [the candymaker] covers the boxes with blankets. Next morning, the "heart" of the mix is coated with a 1/45-inch thick swirl of wood-hard candy..."It's impossible for someone to make a small batch at home because the tough hide would swallow the tender core...[the candymaker] cuts the core int o 1-by-1 inch squares...[and them] takes the squares to the "enrobing room," where they are dressed in either light or dark chocolate...Sponge candy is one of 33 recipes Raymond Stone passed along with the store, Stone, who started making candy in his basement in 1940, died several years ago."
---"Move Over, Candy Bars: Sponge candy 'Eats like a Million Bucks'," Scott Scanlon, Post-Standard (Syracuse NY), January 8, 1992 (Accent, P. 1)

Buffalo Sponge Candy/ Barry Popik
Sponge Candy FAQs

There are plenty of recipes for sponge candy on the Internet. This is the only one we found with "fairy" in the title. It is similar.

"Fairy Candy
Light, airy chocolate-covered candy.
1 c. sugar
1 c. dark corn syrup
1 T. vinegar
1 T. baking soda
1 T. vanilla
Sweet chocolate for dipping.
Mix sugar, syrup, and vinegar in a large saucepan. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Uncover and place thermometer in pan. Without stirring, cook over medium heat to 300 degrees F. Gradually lower heat as mixture thickens to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla. Turn into a buttered 9 X 13-inch pan. Do not spread as candy will spread itself. Cool. Break into pieces. Dip pieces into prepared sweet chocolate. Place on waxed paper to harden. Makes about 35 pieces."
---Ideals Candy Cookbook, Mildred Brand [Ideals Publishing:Nashville TN] 1979 (p. 44)

Why are confections sometimes called "sweetmeats?" Laura Mason, British confectionery history expert, explains:
"The anamolies in our own language are due to the origin of sweets or diminutives of sweetmeat. This word, still not entirely obsolete, was in common use for over 400 years to the end of the nineteenth century. The suffix-meat has an archaic meaning of food in the widest sense (surviving in the phrase 'meat and drink'), so sweetmeat simply means a sweet food...To the inhabitants of Tudor and Stuart England, sweetmeats were sugary foods in general, including pieces of flavoured candy and sugar-covered nuts and spices, products of medieval theories on the medicinal value of sugar, as well as dishes which used sugar as one ingredient amongst many, for structure, sweetness and an air of the exotic...Medieval feasts had provided several roles for sweetmeats."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 22)

Definitions, please. A thorough study of this topic requires comparing/contrasting dictionary definitions, literary references and cooking texts through time. Martha Washington's Booke of Sweetmeats, circa mid 18th century, is an excellent middle ground/starting point for studies in time. This comprehensive catalog with instructions exemplifies the time when British and American confectionery were one in the same. This book is readily available; published as Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess, Columbia University Press ISBN 0231049315. Your local public librarian can help you obtain a copy.

The Oxford English Dictionary dates first the print reference to sweetmeats to the 16th century and defines it thusly:
"1. collect. pl. (and sing.) Sweet food, as sugared cakes or pastry, confectionary (obs.); preserved or candied fruits, sugared nuts, etc.; also, globules, lozenges, drops, or sticks made of sugar with fruit or other flavouring or filling; sing. one of these.
a1500 Chester Pl. (Shaks. Soc.) I. 143, I knowe that in thy childehoode Thou wylte for sweete meate loke. 1584 J. Lyly Sapho & Phao v. ii. 9 Giue him some sweete meates. 1593 (1505) R. Henryson Test. Cresseid (Charteris) 420 in Poems (1981) 124 The sweit meitis seruit in plaittis clene With saipheron sals of ane gude sessoun. 1597 Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet i. iv. 76 Their breathes with sweet meats tainted are." (2nd edition, accessed online 15 April 2011)

American English definitions generally mirror the British:

"Sweetmeat. 1. a sweet delicacy, prepared with sugar honey or the like, as preserves, candy, or , formerly, cakes or pastry. 2. Usually, sweetmeats, any sweet delicacy of the confectionery or candy kind, as candied fruit, sugar-covered nuts, sugarplums, bonbons, or balls or sticks of candy."
---Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, fully revised and updated [Barnes & Noble Books:New York] 1996 (p. 1922)

"Sweetmeat. 1. a food rich in sugar as a: candied or crystallized fruit b. candy, confection."
---Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary [Merriam-Webster:New York] 1988 (p. 1192)

Related confections: Sugarplums & Comfits.

Candy butchers
The term "Candy Butcher" has two meanings. The primary definition is a concessionaire hawking sweets on trains, circuses, state fairs, and movie theatres. It was a popular profession for young boys, who were strong (they had to carry their wares in a large carton/tray hooked around their neck), outgoing (they had to actively promote their wares to make money) and savvy (spot potential customers, make change on the spot). Young Thomas Edison was a candy butcher servicing railroad passengers.

We also find references to "Candy Butcher" shops. These are less common. Some confectioners crafted cheap novel candies shaped in meat forms (bologna and sauerkraut) in the Philadelphia area during the early 1920s. We have no details regarding how these shops operated or what they looked like. Were they, in fact, set up to emulate traditional butcher shops selling novel "meat" shaped confections? Or were "Candy Butcher" shops simply capitalizing on a popular phrase, selling penny candy of all sorts?

About the candy butcher profession
"263. Concessioner, butcher, September 19, 2004 - I have a question as to why a concessioner is called a butcher, at the circus. Is there a historic reason or story?... Reply: September 19, 2004 - Here's what Joe McKennon has to say about it in Circus Lingo - "Candy Butcher: Concession salesman who sells concession items on the circus seats before and during a performance. The story is that the first person to do this was the animal meat butcher on the Old John Robinson Show sometime before the Civil War. He was so successful, he was able to quit his job as meat butcher. When others started selling items on the seats they were called butchers also. When the new railroads allowed men to sell confections and newspapers on their trains they were also called butchers, 'news butchers.'" J. Griffin. Reply: September 19, 2004 - Joe McKennon's definition of "Candy Butcher" in Circus Lingo about a concession salesman who sells to the crowd is exact. The Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language defines "Candy Butcher" as selling confections and newspapers on trains. As for being attributed to a butcher hired between 1856 and 1860 on the John Robinson Circus, it is a matter of conjecture. Hawking merchandise such as candies, peanuts, drinks, etc., is like butchering meat. Cutting a carcass into pieces and putting it on a tray. We must consider that before the advent of pink lemonade and cotton candy they did sell sausages at the circus. The etymology for salesman in the 19th Century was "Drummer" which gave us the expression "To drum-up business." Appropriating a word to give it a different meaning is part of the American tradition in the use of slang. Giovanni Iuliani."
SOURCE: Circus Historical Society message board.

Candy packaging through time
Food historians confirm confectionery packaging through time is a complicated issue. Not only is packaging period-dependent (technologically possible options), but venue (penny-candy street vendors vs shops catering to wealthy clients), occasion (
Valentines gift, everyday candy bar) and product (chocolate bars are packaged quite differently from gumdrops) factor in as well Laura Mason, confectionery history expert, offers these notes:

"Containers are essential; they help maintain low humidity, hold sweets together, and protect them during transport. Before the nineteenth century, options were limited. Fruit in syrup was mostly stored in earthenware gallipots, and small sugar confections and pastes in oblong or round boxes made of thin sheets of matchwood...'Jar glasses' (small, cylindrical glass containers) were in use by the seventeeenth century but they are rarely mentioned. They were expensive, limited to wealthy households or enterprises. Glass jars probably did not become common until the late eighteenth century when, though used as storage containers, their emphasis had switched to a means of display. They include straight jars presumably for conserves or jams, small, stemmed glasses for jellies and larger ones with lids for sweets and comfits. Tall straight-sided and later ones with lids are also shown. Glass was used more and more to show off the bright colours and clarity of newly fashionable, transparent acid and fruit drops to brilliant advantage in the 1830s and '40s...Another imporant innovation, from the 1850s onwards, was the airtight tin--especially for toffee. Functional yet decorative, these became coveted in their own right. Commemorative versions were produced for national events, or the patterns designed so that a set of tins with themed pictures was avaialble. Transparent wrapping is a product of our own age. Cellophane was introduced in the 1920s and plastics followed later."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 202-3)

"Wrappers, although treated as so much waste paper, account for much of the colour perceived in confectionery by the modern observer. This is a phenonemnon of the last hundred years. Before, a scrap of paper wrapped round a sugar stick or twisted into a cone (the origin of the triangular paper bag) was the most one could expect when buying sweets in the street. These wrappers were themselves waste paper. Henry Mayhew recorded how one street-seller of sweet stuff bought paper from stationers or secondhand book shops, including the Acts of Parliament, 'a pile of these a foot or more deep, lay on the shelf. They are used to wrap rock &c. sold.' Smarter confectioners used paper wrappers with cut or fringed ends twisted around sweets. A French custom of making these up as packets of bonbons for presents at New Year is metioned by Jarrin. The London confectionery Tom Smith is said to have commercialized the idea in Britain. His bonbons consisted of several sweets wrapped together in tissue paper, with mottoes enclosed. They were first introduced as a Christmas novelty in the late 1840s. Shortly afterwards, Smith added a 'bang', evolving the modern Christmas Cracker. The theory is that the idea was provided by a spark leaping out of the fire one night. However, exploding 'cracker bonbons' were apparently known some years earlier."
---ibid (p. 205)

"Initially, chocolate was packed as unwrapped bars in wooden boxes with paper labels, displayed on the shop counter. Individual paper wrappers developed soon afterwards. Gold printing and metal foils repeated this luxury message which gold leaf had given to sweets in earlier centuries. Designs used the latest images, and graphics publicized the desirability of chocolate. Even more status was attached to special boxes, decroated with pcitures, lined with tissue and paper lace. As the package, not the contents, occupied more and more of the foreground, so advertising has shifted almost entirely from the taste of confectioenry towards style by association."
---ibid (p. 207-8)

"Most companies concentrated on indivudally wrapped toffees as opposed to bulk tray toffee sold by weight. They were popular, kept well, and sold at a lower price than chocolate while maintaining a luxurious image. This was done partly by advertising and packaging. Robert Opie examined the role of packaging, especially tins, in marketing confectionery, and commented on toffee: 'splendid and glamorous tins abounded with bright colours and decorative patterns. The use of a tin also enhanced the status of the toffees, making them a more acceptable gift in comparison with the prestigious box of chocolates'."
---ibid (p. 191)

Penny candy
The term "penny candy" is an interesting one. Generally, "penny candies" were small, inexpensive, unwrapped pieces sold by weight. They were scooped by the store owner and sold in bags or boxes. Because different candies were sold for different prices, a penny could buy several pieces of small hard candy or one peppermint stick. These candies appealed to children and poor working people, who did not have much money to spend.

"A significant moment in candy history occurred at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, where "French-style" candies with rich cream centers were first displayed. These caught on immediately in America, and within a few years there were more than 380 candy factories in the United States, many turning out candy that cost one cent (called "penny candy"), a price that extended well into the twentieth century. Most of these candies were sold in batches or by the pound and displayed behind glass cases."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 54)

"Penny candies, the first goods children spent their own money on, were also the first confections to reach a mass audience in America. By the late 1830s sugar's increasing availability and decreasing price enabled confectioners to profitabaly produce sugary drops without the medicine typically found in druggists' stocks. Unlike exclusive confections marketed to elite adults, these "penny candies," often sold ten to a dozen for a penny, were aimed at the palates of working-class children, for whom a penny was in reach. By the early 1850s individual candy men could readily obtain the machinery and raw materials necessary to profit from making batches of candy in greater quantities. ..Penny candies introduced nineteeth-century children to the world of consumption by teaching them to how to be good consumers...Brightly colored and often displayed in shop windows in glass jars, penny candies...often came in the shape of familiar consumer products, such as shoes, boats, hats, and purses...By the early 1870s penny candies were ubiquitious, appearing not only in candy shops but also in tobacco stores and five-and-dimes, and at newsstands and movie theatres. By the mid-twentieth century the penny candy no longer existed except as more expensive nostalgic root beer barrels, cinnamon-hot fireballs, and flavored candy sticks." ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 177)

While candies were sold for pennies in the 19th century, the term "penny candy," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, first appears in prinnt in the New York Times, April 2, 1893 (p. 12): "The personal peace of mind and the contentment of my small fry which I have purchased with the outlay of a single cent are little short of collosal. I had to draw the line at the penny candy of the goodnatured German woman who presides over the treasures of the establishment and insist upon the children buying their occasional goodies at the drug store."

"Mayor La Guardia has ordered the police to put an end to the penny candy 'racket' it was announced yesterday. This 'racket,' it was explained, is the practice of selling penny candy or gum to children through the lure of prizes to lucky purchasers. The prizes range from pennies to pennants. The Mayor, upon learning of the candy gambling, said to be specially prevalent in the vicinity of public schools, wrote to Police Commissioner Valentine, instructing him to put an end to it. The police, by the Mayor's direction, will issue warnings for a week. After that, shopkeepers found to be selling candy and gum of the gambling variety, will be arrested...In his letter the Mayor charged that this method of candy selling especially 'exploits children who are unable to protect themselves.'...'It is clear that the practice is of a reprehensible sort which the commmon law and criminal statutes have long deemed to be contrary to public policy.' One method of candy gambling...consisted of the display of a number of pieces of candy, a few of which have a penny concealed inside their wrapping. Another gives prizes for pieces of candy with colored centers, white centers bringing no return. Lucky purchasers of colored gum balls also receive prizes, usually pennants... Another type of candy has its purchase price, ranging from 1 to 3 cents, inside the wrapper. Candy sold in this way, the Mayor charged, is either smaller than that sold legitimately or is of inferior quality. 'I have conferred with educational and social welfare authorities on this subject,' said the Mayor, 'and they are in agreement that this practice encourages and engenders gambling in children."
---"Mayor Orders End of Penny Candy 'Racket'; Encourages Gambling in Children, He says," New York Times, April 4, 1937 (p. 1)

About sugar & sweeteners

Refined white sugar

"...the Chinese claim to have been the first to make cane sugar, among their many other inventions. The craft may have been practised from very ancient times in the region of Ku-ouang-tong (Canton), but it seems more likely and more logical that they learned it from the Indians. In fact there is a clear statement to that effect in the Natural History of Su-king, of the seventh century AD...Sugar cane, a giant grass, is native to India and in particular the Ganges delta...Indian tradition--and tradition often bears out scientific theories--places the origin of sugar cane a very long way back. According to legend, the ancestors of Buddha came from the land of sugar, or Gur, a name then given to Bengal. The Sanskrit epic of Ramanyana (c. 1200BC) describes a banquet with tables laid with sweet things, syrup, canes to chew'...Seven centuries later, when Darius made his foray in to the valley of the Indus, the Persians in their turn discovered a reed that gives honey without the aid of bees' and brought it home with them...Eventually invasions, conquests and trading caravans, most notably those of the Assyrians, spread sugar cane all through the Middle East, from the Indus to the Black Sea, from the Sahara to the Persian Gulf...It syrup, considered a spice even rarer and more expensive than any other, was used in medicine by the Egyptians and Phoenicians even before the Greeks and Romans; it is this pharmaceutical use that gives sugar cane its species name "officinarum."...Until modern times...sugar was an expensive medicine to Europeans, or a luxury reserved for the rich and powerful, a fabulous food brought from beyond the deserts by caravans than ended their journeys in the ports of the eastern Mediterranean...The Arabs installed the first industrial' sugar refinery on the island of Candia or Crete--its Arabic name, Quandi, meant crystalized sugar'--around the year 1000."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat,Translated by Anthea Bell [Barnes & Noble Books:New York] 1992 (p. 549-554)
[NOTE: This book has much more information than can be paraphrased here. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

"In medieval times the growing of sugar had gradually spread westwards. By the year 1000 it had reached the Middle East and the coast of east Africa. Around 1500, sugar plantations were begin in the new colonies, notably in the Canaries and the West Indies. Thus, from the sixteenth century onwards, we can read first-hand descriptions by Europeans of how to grow the cane and how to refine the sugar cane...Investment in the planting and manufacture of sugar continued unchecked until, in the seventeenth century, the world market collapsed. The price of sugar dropped like a stone. In the West Indies, around 1700, there were far too many sugar plantations and far foo much sugar being produced...This low price was a good reason to experiment with sugar confectionery, which had already become complicated, varied, multi-flavoured and much loved in seventeenth-century Europe. The making of rum was another use for sugar, or rather for the refuse and by-products of the sugar industry."
---Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices, Andrew Dalby [University of California Press:Berkeley CA] 2000 (p. 28-9)

" would not be Columbus of the Spanish but rather the British who would succeed in realizing this [establishing sugar cane in the New World] goal, and in spectacular fasion. British colonies established on Barbados in 1627 and on Jamaica in 1655 came to be devoted almost exclusively to sugar production, with the requisite labor provided by slaves imported from Africa. For centuries sugar had been made by pressing short lengths of sugarcane stalks through a roller mechanism until syrup was exuded. The syrup was then evaporated by boiling--one, two, or several times depending on the degree of refinement desired--and pourd into loaf-shaped vessels to cool and harden. During the cooling stage, 'the emerging 'raw sugar' [would leave] behind it molasses, or treacle, which [could not] be crystallized further by conventional methods," but which could be consumed. Proving to be a great deal cheaper than crystallized sugar, molasses was in fact consumed in vast quantities...In New England sugar appears in the records from an early date...In the eighteenth century sugar was regularly advertised in Boston newspapers, and it was on sale in other communities as diverse as coastal and mercantile Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and interior and agricultural Deerfield, Massachusetts... Seventeenth-century immigrants to the colonies "were advised to defer their sugar purchases" until reaching their destinations, because sugar would be cheaper there than it had been at home."
---America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking, Keith Stavely & Kathleen Fitzgerald [University of North Carolina Press:Chapel Hill] 2004(p. 214-216)

Recommended reading

Sugar cones & loaves
From Medieval times to the 19th century, refined sugar was sold in solid form, often in cones, blocks or loaves. The standard unit of measure in the United States and United Kingdom (also used in recipes) was the pound and increments thereof.

"Sugar finally came to the sixteenth- and seventeeth-century consumer in blocks or cones, in varying degrees of refinement. This accounts for the elaborate directions for clarifying sugar, and the reiterated instructions to searce (sift) or powder it. (Powdered sugar was only finely sifted sugar, not confectioners' sugar). Block sugar also accounts for the strewing of scraped sugar that made for a charming textural and taste contrast that we have all but forgotten.The presence of sugar in so many of our meat recipes, almost in conjunction with fruits and part of our heritage from medieval cooking, which, in turn, had come from the Arabs. It is virtually impossible to give precise amounts of sugar It is virtually impossible to give precise amounts of sugar required..."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats, Transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1995 (p. 11)

"Large and prosperous households bought their white sugar in tall, conical loaves, from which pieces were broken off with special iron sugar-cutters. Shaped something like very large heavy pliers with sharp blades attached to the cutting sides, these cutters had to be strong and tough, because the loaves were large, about 14 inches in diameter at the base, and 3 feet high [15th century]...In those days, sugar was used with great care, and one loaf lasted a long time. The weight would probably have been about 30 lb. Later, the weight of a loaf varied from 5 lb to 35 lb, according to the moulds used by any one refinery. A common size was 14 lb, but the finest sugar from Madeira came in small loaves of only 3 or 4 lb in weight...Up till late Victorian times household sugar remained very little changed and sugar loaves were still common and continued so until well into the twentieth century..."
---English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Elizabeth David [Penguin:Middlesex] 1977 (p. 139)
[NOTE: Mrs. David has much more to say on the subject of sugar than can be paraphrased here. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy of this book.]

"Conical molded cakes of granualted sugar, wrapped in blue paper & tied, as customary for maybe centuries in Europe, & in US in 18th - early 19th C. This one is from Belgium, but form is the same. About 10"H x 4 3/4"diam...The blue paper wrapped around sugar loafs was re-used to dye small linens a medium indigo blue...Sugar nippers were necessary because sugar came in hard molded cones, with a heavy string or cord up through the long axis like a wick, but there so that the sugar should be conveniently hung up, always wrapped in blue paper...Conical sugar molds of pottery or wood were used by pouring hot sugar syrup into them and cooling them until solid. They range from about 8' high to 16" high. These molds are very rare, especially those with some intaglio decoration inside to make a pattern on the cone...Loaf or broken sugar-A bill of sale form Daniel E. Baily, a grocer of Lynchberg, VA, dated 1839, lists two types of sugar sold to John G. Merme (?). "Loaf sugar" and "Broken sugar," the latter cost half as much...Loaf was 20 cents a pound, and broken it was only eleven cents a pound. For cooking, the broken would have been more convenient by far...Perhaps the fear of adulturation...made people want the Loaf."
---300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, Linda Campbell Franklin, 5th edition [Krause Publications:Wisconsin] 2003 (p. 100-101)
[NOTE: other sources say blue paper was employed because it made the sugar appear whitest/most pure.]

"Various kinds of sugar were available in the 18th century, with names indicating either the extent of the processing which they had undergone or the manner of presentation for sale. It normally came in a loaf', of a conical shape...Some of these terms are self-expalnatory, while others are readily understood in the light of early methods of refining sugar. There were succinctly described by the great Swedish naturalist Linnaeus [1741]...Here the coarse and unrefined raw sugar was pulverized and boiled in water, diluted with lime-water, mixed with ox blood or egg white, skimmed and poured into inverted cone-shaped moulds, perforated at the tip; from these a syrup trickled down into a bottle; this was repeated, and then the mould was covered with a white, dough-like French clay in Sweden, but it has to be imported.' What Linnaeus witnessed was sugar refining...Lump sugar was just lumps broken off the loaf, whereas powdered sugar had been grated from the loaf'"
---The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, facsimile first edition, Introductory Essays by Jennifer Stead and Priscilla Bain, glossary by Alan Davidson [Prospect Books:Devon] 1995 (p. 200)

"Colonial cooks used many grades and kinds of sweetening, both solid and liquid. Virtually all were derived from sugarcane...At earliest settlement in America, sugar was used both medicinally and to season dishes lightly. By the beginning of the nineteenth cnetury, it was called for in a substantial number of recipes for baked goods, puddings, and pies...To supply this increasing demand for sugar, the Caribbean islands and the American South became ever more involved in growing canesugar and refinings its juice for export. A labor-intensive crop and process, the production of sugar consumed the lives of many African slaves without whose unpaid work it would not have been so profitable. The primary forms in which sugar was sold during the Colonial period were white refined sugar in loaves; soft, brown sugar; and molasses. All sugar was boiled out of the juice extracted from the crushed sugarcane. The juice was cooked until granules of sugar began to appear in the thick molasses, whereupon it was packed in barrels. Molasses was allowed to drain out, and the barrels were sent to the refiners or sold as raw, or muscavado, sugar. Refining was another complicated process, and there were several refining methods used in the Colonial era."
---Food in Colonial and Federal America, Sandra L. Oliver [Greenwood Press:Westport CT] 2005 (p. 77-8)

" would be useful to review the various grades of whole-sale sugar as they were designated in Pennsylvania during the nineteenth century. The following list is taken from Hope's Philadelphia Price-Current for October 5, 1807:
Havana white
Havana brown (like Brasilian Demarara)
Muscovado 1st quality
Muscovado 2nd quality
Muscovado ordinary
West India clayed white
West India clayed brown
Calcutta white
Batavia white
Of these, ordinary muscovado was the cheapest, just about half the cost of Havana white, the most expensive sugar then available and the one most like the white granulated sugar of today. Cheap, black, sticky moscovado or brown Demarara-type sugars were the most common table sugars used by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Like molasses, moscovado sugar was always in great demand, even in the eighteenth century, for it was one of the first sugars to be advertised in the Philadelphia America Weekly Mercury of 1719. Regardless of grade, sugar was imported in large cones or loaves...Once the loaves of sugar reached the United States, they were usually purged or refined again and converted into smaller loaves for retail sale and wrapped in blue paper to preserve the whiteness. In spite of this precaution, none of the retail loaf sugar was usable until it was boiled again in water to remove insects and other extraneous material. This irksome process involved egg whites, charcoal, and constant skimming. The syrup was then strained through a cloth bag until clear, returned to the fire, and boiled down."
---Sauerkraut Yankees: Pennsylvania Dutch Foods and Foodways, William Woys Weaver, 2nd edition [Stackpole Books:Mechanicsburg PA] 2002 (p. 152-4)

"Nothing further requires to be done to the loaves except to dry them. The next stepj therefore, whether in the case of loaves, lumps, or titlers, consists in wrapping them in paper. The sugar cones in their paper envelopes, so as to prevent them from getting dirty, are then deposited on trellised shelves in a room capable of holding about 4000 loaves, called the stove, and heated by steam to about 54 C. (130 F.). The loaves are kept in the stove for a period of four to six days, after the expiry of which time they are equalised at face and apex, wrapped in paper, tied, and are then ready for sale."
The Technology of Sugar, John Geddes McIntosh, January 1, 1903 Scott, Greenwood & Company (publisher)

Our survey of American Historic Newspapers (Readex) reveals the term "granulated sugar" was used from the 1820s forward. Prior to this time, white sugar was sold in solid cones. The sugar was scraped off and pounded to achieve the desired textures.

General overview of 19th century manufacturing processes:

"Granulated sugar. This very popular and strictly American style of sugar was first made and introduced about thirty years ago at the Boston Sugar Refinery. Although extremely popular in the United States since its origin, it has become popular in England only within a few years past. The apparatus at first consisted of a steam table fifteen or twenty feet long and three to five feet wide, on which the moist sugar was, by an ingenious process or movement of wooden rakes, gradually worked the length of the table, becoming thoroughly dried in so doing. Afterward it was separated by sieves of different grades or mesh, into coarse and fine, and barreled and sold accordingly. This apparatus was superceded ten or twelve years since by a large cylinder of wood or iron, some four feet in diameter and fifteen to eighteen feet long, slightly depressed at one end. The inner surface carries small projecting buckets, by which, as the cylinder revolves, the sugar, entering at the upper end, is lifted and poured through the heated interior. The heat is supplied by a small steam cylinder running through the length and center of the large one, and the position of the buckets is such as gradually to work the sugar through the length of the cylinder, during which it becomes thoroughly dried. An arrangement of sieves, as before, completes the operation. The upper one has the coarsest mesh, to retain the largest grains, which are run directly from it into barrels and branded "extra granulated." The sugar which falls throught his first sieve drops into the next below, which has a mesh just fine enough to retain the grains next in size to those before mentioned, which are run into barrels and designated as "medium granulated." The remaining sugar, too fine to be retained by either sieve, is packed in barrels under the name of "fine granulated." Powered sugar is mostly manufactured from the coarsest granulated sugar, after it has been thoroughly cooled. The powdered articles, are mostly manufactured in smaller establishments as a specialty. Other grades of sugar are obtained from the liquor or syrup which is thrown out by the centrifugul, in the process of separating the crystallized sugar from the "mother liquid.""
---The Grocers' Hand-Book and Directory for 1886, Artemas Ward [Philadelphia Grocer Publishing Co.:Philadelphia PA] 1886 (p. 227-228)

Sugar maples are indigenous to North America.
Native Americans generally credited for being the first to tap maple trees and used it in their food. They taught European settlers how to obtain this special liquid, who used it when refined white sugar and molasses were scarce.

"The most important contribution of the Northeast Indians to American cooking is perhaps that which falls in the category of sweetening....Maple syrup was the great sweetener, and much more than that: it was also the all-purpose seasoner, which for the Northeast Indians took the place of salt. It impressed Europeans enormously, since the sugar maple did not exist in the Old World. Father Nouvel, a French Jesuit priest, wrote in 1671 of "a liquor that runs from the trees toward the end of winter and is known as maple-water." The Indians tapped the trees rather wastefully, slashing the bark with their tomahawks and letting the sap ooze out. The colonists followed the Indian example in using maple sugar as their principle sweetener; two hundred years ago Americans were consuming four times as much as they do now. One reason for the popularity of maple sugar was that it was much cheaper than white sugar, made form the cane the Spaniards had planted in the West Indies, until at least 1860...It is conceivable that it is because maple sugar was their common seasoner that the American Indian exercised his most potent influence on the character of American cooking. It might be argued that the sweetness maple sugar imparted to the dishes the Pilgrims cooked under the inspiration of the Indians helped to make sweetness a dominant feature of American cooking."
---Eating in America: A History, Waverly Root & Richard de Rochemont [William Morrow:New York] 1976 (p. 40-1)

"Colonists found maple trees in abundance. The harvesting of the "sugar trees" in seventeenth-century Virginia is a part of the record left by Robert Beverly. ...However, it is in the North, and particularly in New England, that Americans established maple sugar and maple syrup as one of the great indigenous culinary ingredients. Nowhere else in the world has "sugarin' off" been important in farm life, for it is aprt of living off theland learned from Algonquin Indians by the founders of Massachusetts. From the Atlantic coast to Ontario and Minnesota, various tribes traditionally went into the woods in March to make cuts in the bark of hard maples and then to channel the tree sap into rustic vessels set to receive it. Indian women boiled it down to sugar, adding it to porridges made of ground corn; mixing it into cold water, they drank it as a tonic in hot weather. The Indians also used crystallized maple syrup as a seasoning for meat and fish dishes, a flavoring they much preferred to the Europeans use of salt. And there is an echo of this when some Americans add maple syrup to the water in which country hams are boiled."
---American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones [Vintage:New York] 1981, 2nd edition (p. 16-7)

"A. saccharinum. Wangenh. Rock Maple. Sugar Maple. North America. This large, handsome tree must be included among the cultivated food plants, as in some sections of New England groves are protected and transplanted for the use of the tree to furnish sugar. The tree is found from 40 degrees north in Canada, to the mountains in Georgia and from Nova Scotia to Arkansas and the Rocky Mountains. The sap from the trees growing in maple orchards may gie as an average one pound of sugar to four gallons of sap, and a sinble tree may furnish four or five pounds, although extreme yields have been put as high as thirty-three pounds from a single tree. The manufacture of sugar form sap of the maple was known to the Indians, for Jeffereys, 1760, says that in Canada 'this tree affords great quantities of a cooling and wholesome liquor from which they make a sort of sugar,' and Jonathan Carver, in 1784, says the Nandowessies Indians of the West 'consume the sugar which they have extracted from the maple tree.' In 1870, the Winnebagoes and Chippewas are said often to sell to the Northwest Fur Company fifteen thousand pounds of sugar a year. The sugar season among the Indians is a sport of carnival, and boiling candy and pouring it out on the snow to cook is a pastime of the children."
---Sturtevant's Notes on Edible Plants, edited by U.P. Hedrick, Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for the Year 1919 II [J.B. Lyon Company:Albany NY] 1919 (p. 21-22)

How did Native Americans incorporate maple sap into their foodways?
"Acer saccharum, Sugar Maple. Algonquin, Quebec, Sauce & Relish Sap used to make syrup. Sweetener Sap used to make sugar... Cherokee Sweetner Juice used to make sugar...Sap used to make sugar...Dakota Sweetener Sap formerly used to make sugar...Iroquois Beverage Sap made into sugar and used to make beer...Sap, thimbleberries,, and water used to make a drink for home consumption and lounghouse ceremonies...Sap fermented and used as an intoxicant...Bread & Cake Bakr dried, pounded, sifted, and made into bread...Sweetener Sap used to make sugar...Sap used to make sugar...Malecite Sauce & Relish Used to make maple syrup. Sweetener Used to make maple syrup and sugar. Menominee Sweetener Boiled sap made into maple sugar and used in almost every combination of cookery...Meskwaki Sweetener Maple sugar used instead of sat as seasoning in cooking...Micmac Beverage Bark used to make beverage. Sauce & Relish Sap used to make maple syrup...Ojibwa Beverage Sap saved to drink as it comes from the tree, alone or mixed with box elder or birch sap. Sour Sap allowed to sour to make vinegar and mixed with maple sugar to cook sweet and sour meat. Sweetener Maple sugar used to season all kinds of meats, replaced now with salt. Smith describes in detail the process by which the Ojibwe make maple syrup. Although now 91932) they use iropn kettles, originally the sap and storage vessels were 'made of birch bark, sewed with boiled basswood fiver or the core of the jack pine root.' The vessels are rendered waterproof bt the applicaiton of pitch secured by boiling jack pine cones...Potawatomi Beverage Maple sap, as it came form the tree, drunk by children. Candy Children make taffy by cooling the maple sap in the snow. Sour Maple sap not only furnished the sugar for seasoning material but also furnishd the vinegar. Sap that was allowed to becom sour made a vinegar to be used in cooking venison which was afterwards sweetened with maple sugar. This corresponds somewhat to the German 'sweet and sour' style of cooking. Sweetener Maple sugar used, instead of salt, to season all cooking. The sugar maple and the black sugar maple wre found all over Wisconsin and were considereed to be the most valuable trees in the forest because they furnished them their seasoning material. While they do use salt today, it is an acquired ingredient and most of the old people would prefer to have sugar for their seasoning."
---Native American Food Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary, Daniel E. Moerman [Timber Press:Portland OR] 2010 (p. 33)
[NOTE: Original sources for this information is included in this book. Your local public librarian can help you obtain a copy.]

"The sap of the maple, birch, and several other trees was employed prehistorically. Besides its use as a beverage, it was boiled and thickened somewhat, though its manufacture into sugar must have been exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, with the crude utensils at hand. References to the employment of sap are found in several of the earlier Relations. Nouvel, for instance, refers to a 'liquor that runs from the trees toward the end of Winter, and which is known as 'Maple-water.'' This was written in 1671, and refers tto the Ottawas of Ekaentouton. Le Jeune, in 1634, observed that the Montagnais, when pressed by famine, eat 'the shavings or bark of a certain tree, which they call Michtan, which they split in the Spring to get from it a juice, sweet as honey or as sugar;...but they don not enjoy much of it, so scanty is the flow.' Neither of the foregoing refer to sugar, mention of which occurs only in later records. Carr, with regard to sugar-making, considers that 'As to the maple sugar...there can be no doubt. It was made wherever the tree grew, and it found especial favour as an ingredient in their preparation of parched corn-meal, or as we call it, nocake or rockhominy. Charlevoix, on the other hand states that the Abnaki, 'when the sap begins to rise...make a Jag or Notch in the Trunk of the Maple, and by Means of a Bit of Wood which they fix in it, the Water runs as by a Spout...It is certain that they did not know how to make a sugar out of it, which we have since taught them. They were contented to let it boil a little, to thicken it something, and to make a Sort of Syrup.' The latter observation seems to have been true throughout the area occupied by the Iroquois and their neighbours, although, with improved utensils, the making of sugar was quickly adopted. Methods, within the historical period, appear to have changed but little. Loskiel refers to the use of a 'funnel made of bark' which was used to convey the sap into 'wooden troughs are still employed by some of the Iroquois. Troughs were also made of elm bark. A Cayuga informant states that an old-time method of tapping was by breaking the end of a limb. The sugar-moulds described by Loskiel were 'broad, wooden dishes of about two inches in depth.' The crystallizing syurp was 'stirred about in these until cold.' The sugar was also allowed to crystallize in the kettles. A model of the box-like mould, held together by wooden clamps, was made for the writer by one of the old Onondaga. According to the latter, the sugar was also run into small tin pans, forming cakes of a certain weight. The sap was stored, in preparation for boiling, in a large wooden trough formed by hollowing out the trunk of a tree. The hard or sugar considered best, although the soft maple...and the birch were also used."
Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation, F. W. Waugh, facsimile 1916 edition [University Press of the Pacific:Honolulu HI] 2003 (p. 140-142)

"The first and one of the most enjoyable events of the industrial year was the making of maple sugar. Each group of relatives or friends had its own portion of the maple forest, known as it sugar bush. There the birch-bark utensils needed in making sugar were stored from year to year in a small lodge, near the large lodge where the sap was boiled. The sap kettles were kept boiling all night and the season was a busy one for all in the camp. The sap was boiled to a thick sirup, trained, replaced in the kettles, and heated slowly. When it had thickened to the consistency it was transferred to a 'granulating trough,' where it was 'worked' with a paddle and with the hands until it was in the form of granulated sugar. If 'hard sugar' as desired, the thick sirup was poured into little birch-bark cones, dishes, or other receptacles, including the upper mandible of ducks' bills, which formed a favorite confection for children...Maple sugar was used in seasoning fruits, vegetables, cereals, and fish, being used more freely than th white race uses salt. It was also eaten as a confection, and dissolved in cold water as a summer drink. it was frequently mixed with medicine to make it palatable, especially for children."
---Chippewa Customs, Frances Densmore, Smithsonian Institution [Government Printing Office:Washington DC] 1929 (p. 123)

Compare with early 20th century maple sugaring techniques:
"Maple sugar and Maple syrup:are made from the sap of several varieties of the maple tree, native to the northern United States and Canada...The sap is collected by 'tapping' the g\trees about three feet from the ground. The tap hole is bored about an inch deep with a three-eighth inch bit; the spout is driven into this, and a covered tin sap-bucket is hung from the spout. it is the wood immediately under the bark which gives the sap--the largest amount coming from the ring made by the growth of the tree during the preceding year. The gathering season commences in spring, generally during the month of March, just as the winter is breaking up and the general rule is thawing days and freezing nights. It ends when the trees begin to bud, as at that time the sap undergoes a change and the sugar content decreases. The percentage of sugar varies from 1% to 4%, being affected by many circumstances--the variety of the tree, its location, the character of the soil, climate, etc. There are usually three or four 'runs' during a good season and the first is generally the sweetest, averaging then from 3% to 4% of sugar. Each succeeding run is generally less sweet and in consequence the product is of a darker color because of the longer boiling required. The quantity of sap depends to a great extent on the growth of the tree during the preceding summer and upon the weather conditions during the tapping season. Under good conditions, a tree large enough for two spouts will yield enough to produce three or four quarts of syrup or six or seven pounds of sugar. After its receipt at the sugar house, the sap is evaporated in sap-pans and syrup pans to a syrup. For Maple Syrup, this product is starined, filtered and clarified by the addition of milk, cream or egg white and is then ready for the market. Maple Sugar is made by condensing the syrup until of the proper consistence. It is then stirred and 'grained' and poured into molds or tin pails and allowed to cool...Maple Sugar makingnow and Maple Sugar making as it used to be, are very different things--what the industry has gained in facility, it has lost in picturesqueness. The old style camp with its primitive applicees is no more. The kettle was long ago suspended by the 'pan' and the latter again by an evaporator, and the trough has become a mass of crumbling decay. The women and children are kept at home and no longer know the old-time delights of 'sugaring off,'...But to-day everything is 'improved.' In place of a hut of logs is a permanent sugar-house, furnished with many elaborate devices to prevent waste and deterioration...A scoop or ladle is as anachronistic as a javelin!"
---The Grocer's Encyclopedia, Artemas Ward [National Grocer:New York] 1911 (p. 364-365)

Related item? Pancake syrup.
Recommended reading: The Maple Sugar Book, Helen & Scott Nearing [1950, 1970]

A popular, economical 17th/18th century substitute for refined white sugar. One of the primary points of the Triangle Trade (the other two being rum and slaves). Well known by period cooks in England and America.

" sweetener made from refined sugar, including cane sugar, sugar beets, and even sweet potatoes. The word is from the Portuguese 'melaco', derived from the Latin 'mel' for honey. The first use of the word was in Nicholas Lichefield's 1582 translation of Lopez de Castanheda's First Booke of the Histoire of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias, which described 'Melasus' as a 'certine kind of Sugar made of Palmes of Date trees'. Molasses became the most common American sweetener in the eighteenth century because it was much cheaper than sugar and was part of the triangular trade route that brought molasses to New England to be made into rum, which was then shipped to West Africa to be traded for slaves, who were in turn traded for molasses in the West Indies...By the end of the [19th] century molasses vied with maple syrup and sugar as the sweetener of choice, but when sugar prices dropped after World War I, both molasses and maple fell in popularity, so that today both are used as sweeteners in confections only when their specific taste is desirable, as in Boston baked beans."
---The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 207-8)

"Molasses first came to America from the Caribbean. The British started sugarcane cultivation in Barbados in 1646, and by the late 1670s there was a flourishing two-way sea trade between Barbados and the American colony at Rhode Island. The colonists shiped agricultural and forest products, such as pork, beef, butter, cider, barrel staves, and shingles, to the West Indies, and the ships returned with cargoes of cotton wool, rum, molasses, and sugar. The large volume of sugar and molasses going to Rhode Island could not be used there, so much of this cargo was resold in Boston. The New England colonists used molasses not only as the primary sweetener in cooking and baking but also as an ingredient in brewing birch beer and molasses beer and in distilling rum. In the early 1700s rum made in New England became an essential element in a highly profitable triangular trade across the Atlantic. The colonists exported rum to West Africa in trade for slaves; the ships brought the slaves from Africa to the French West Indies, trading them for more molasses and sugar; these products were then shipped to New England to make more rum. Because importation of molasses to New England from the French West Indies seriously harmed British farmers in the Caribbean, the British government passed the Molasses Act in 1733. This law imposed a duty on "foreign" molasses or syrup imported into the American colonies or plantations...The Molasses Act of 1733 and the Sugar Act of 1764 caused the price of molasses to rise, leading to the use of less expensive maple sugar as a sweetener. When the cost of refined sugar dropped at the end of the nineteenth century...molasses lost its role as an important sweetener in the American diet."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 2 (p. 122-3)

"Molasses, from the Latin word melaceres, meaning honey-like, is a thick dark syrup that is a byproduct of sugar refining. It results wen sugar is crystallized out of sugar cane or sugar beet juice. Molasses is sold for both human consumption, to be used in baking, and in the brewing of ale and distilling of rum, and as an ingredient in animal feed. The pressing of cane to produce cane juice and then boiling the juice until it crystallized was developed in India as early as 500B.C. However, it was slow to move to the rest of the world. In the Middle Ages, Arab invaders brought the process to Spain. A century or so later, Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the West Indies."
---How Products Are Made, Jacqueline L. Long, editor, Volume 5 [Gale:Farmington Hills MI] 2000 (p. 316-320)
[NOTE: this book has much more history and an excellent description of how molasses is made. If you need more details please ask your librarian to help you find this book.]

"When cane sugar began to reach the colonists from the West Indies, it was for a long time far too expensive for general use. Hence there was instead wide use of its cheaper by-product, molasses. The abundance of cheap molasses created the profitable New England rum industry."
---Eating in America: A History, Waverly Root & Richard de Rochemont [William Morrow:New York] 1976 (p. 83)


"The word treacle originally had nothing whatsoever to do with 'syrup'. Until as late as the nineteenth century, it was used with reference to antidotes for poison...It comes originally from the Greek phrase theriake antidotos, literally 'antidote to a wild or venomous animal'. The adjective theriake came to be used on its own as a noun, and passed via Latin and Old French (where it acquired its l) into fourteenth-century English. its ingredients varied from apothecary to apothecary, but usually included, presumable on homoeopathic grounds, a touch of viper's venom. Bt the sixteenth century, the word was becoming generalized to mean any 'soverign remedy', and often had rather negative connotations...The modern application of treacle to sugar syryup (common in British English, relatively rare in American) seems to date from the seventeenth century, and probably arose literally from the sugaring of the pill: the mixing of medicines with sugar syrup to make them more palatable. The practice continued well into the nineteenth century, particularly in the administration of brimstone [sulphur] and treacle to anyone with the least symptom of anything...In technical usage, treacle now refers to a cane sugar syrup which has been boiled to remove some of the sucrose (it has less removed than molasses, which is therefore darker but less sweet). The famous treacle well in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, at the bottom of which, according to the Dormouse, the three little sisters Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie lived, had its origins in the medicinal sense of treacle. Treacle wells really existed--they got their name from the supposed curative properties of their water--and there was apparently one at Binsey near Oxford with which Carroll may have been familiar."
---An A to Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 349)

"Treacle, a term in Britain may be correctly applied to various sugar syrups including golden syrup obtained during the process of sugar-refining, ranging in colour from just about black to pale golden, is in practice used mainly of the darker syrups, brown or black, which are called molasses elsewhere. Treacle tart is a favourite dessert in England."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 804)

"When the production of molasses in Britain's refineries outstripped the needs of both apothecaries and distillers, it was sold off in its natual unmedicated state as a cheap sweetener, Its name of molasses was taken by the early settlers to America. But in Britain in the later seventeenth century the alternative term 'common treacle' came into circulation, and thereafter it was known simply as treacle. One of the first usus to which it was put was the making of gingerbread. Medieval gingerbread has been coloured red with sanders. In Tudor times dark gingergread was made with powdered licorice. When the licorice was replaced by black treacle, it became possible to omit the honey which had sweetened the old gingerbread, and to add a much smaller mount of sugar instead. Treacle gingerbread, said to have been made for Charles II, had as ingredients three pounds of treacle, half a pound each of candied orange peel, candied lemon peel and green citron, two ounces of powdered coriander seed, and flour to make it into a paste. But ordinary folk made do with no more than two ounces candied peel and one ounce ginger and new spice to three pounds of flour and two of treacle. By the later eighteenth century treacle consumption was much higher in northern England than in the south; for the diet of the poorer classes now differed considerably between the two regions. In the north a spoonful of treacle was often added to a bowl of oatmeal porridge, a dish almost unknown in the south...Treacle went into parkin (the northern form of gingerbread, containing oatmeal), and into oatmeal biscuits of various kinds. it was still a thick, dark brown syrup...The increasing use of sugar and treacle meant a gradual decline in beekeeping."
---Food and Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson [Academy Chicago:Chicago IL] 1991 (p. 305-6)

See also: molasses.

Basically, white sugar (granulated to XXX confectioner's) is the product of the most refined processes and has historically been the most expensive/desirable. Real brown sugar takes its color and texture from molasses. Modern food production methods can also create brown sugars by adding colored syrup to white sugars. Which brand of brown sugar did you buy? We can check that company's Web site to find out what they have to say about it.

"Brown sugar...Less refined than white sugar, brown sugar consists of sugar crystals contained in molasses syrup with natural color and flavor. It may also be made by adding syrup to white sugar and blending."
---Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999(p. 316)

How is brown sugar produced?
There are two methods for producing brown sugar - boiling and blending - and both are currently in use in Canada. Boiling involves heating a purified sugar syrup, which still contains some of the colour and flavour elements from the sugar cane, until it crystallizes to form a soft yellow or brown sugar. Blending is a process that combines the separately purified white sucrose crystals and refiners' syrups (something like fancy grade molasses) to produce yellow or brown sugar. The difference in the method used to produce brown sugar should not result in a difference in taste or affect the texture and consistency of baked goods. The difference between light (yellow) and dark brown sugar is that the darker brown sugars have more of the refiners' syrup ("molasses") left in the product. Turbinado, Muscovado and Demerara sugars are all specialty brown sugars."
Canadian Sugar Institute

Types of brown sugar & their uses:

"Turbinado sugar: This sugar is raw sugar which has been partially processed, where only the surface molasses has been washed off. It has a blond color and mild brown sugar flavor, and is often used in tea and other beverages.
Brown sugar (light and dark): Brown sugar retains some of the surface molasses syrup, which imparts a characteristic pleasurable flavor. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Lighter types are generally used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. The rich, full flavor of dark brown sugar makes it good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans, and other full flavored foods. Brown sugar tends to clump because it contains more moisture than white sugar.
Muscovado or Barbados sugar: Muscovado sugar, a British specialty brown sugar, is very dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture than regular brown sugar.
Free-flowing brown sugars: These sugars are specialty products produced by a co-crystallization process. The process yields fine, powder-like brown sugar that is less moist than regular brown sugar. Since it is less moist, it does not clump and is free-flowing like white sugar.
Demerara sugar: Popular in England, Demerara sugar is a light brown sugar with large golden crystals, which are slightly sticky from the adhering molasses. It is often used in tea, coffee, or on top of hot cereals."
---Sugar Association

How available was brown sugar in 19th century America?
These notes from 1807/Philly market lists three types: " would be useful to review the various grades of whole-sale sugar as they were designated in Pennsylvania during the nineteenth century. The following list is taken from Hope's Philadelphia Price-Current for October 5, 1807:
Havana white
Havana brown (like Brasilian Demarara)
Muscovado 1st quality
Muscovado 2nd quality
Muscovado ordinary
West India clayed white
West India clayed brown
Calcutta white
Batavia white
Of these, ordinary muscovado was the cheapest, just about half the cost of Havana white, the most expensive sugar then available and the one most like the white granulated sugar of today. Cheap, black, sticky moscovado or brown Demarara-type sugars were the most common table sugars used by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Like molasses, moscovado sugar was always in great demand, even in the eighteenth century, for it was one of the first sugars to be advertised in the Philadelphia America Weekly Mercury of 1719. Regardless of grade, sugar was imported in large cones or loaves...Once the loaves of sugar reached the United States, they were usually purged or refined again and converted into smaller loaves for retail sale and wrapped in blue paper to preserve the whiteness. In spite of this precaution, none of the retail loaf sugar was usable until it was boiled again in water to remove insects and other extraneous material. This irksome process involved egg whites, charcoal, and constant skimming. The syrup was then strained thorugh a cloth bag until clear, returned to the fire, and boiled down."
---Sauerkraut Yankees: Pennsylvania Dutch Foods and Foodways, William Woys Weaver, 2nd edition [Stackpole Books:Mechanicsburg PA] 2002 (p. 152-4)

The recipe below confirms brown sugar (no description, though) was available in the Midwest (Wisconsin) during the 1840s. We did not find any period/place specific advertisements for brown sugar. We cannot tell if this item was commonly available or the provenance of wealthy families who could afford to purchase expensive goods from larger markets. Neither can we tell what is meant here by "ordinary."

"Ordinary brown sugar may be used, a larger portion of which is retained in the syrup."
---"Recipe for Making Tomato Figs," Wisconsin Democrat, September 28, 1843 (p. 3)

Powdered sugar is the finest grade of granulated white sugar. Confectioners' sugar (also known as icing sugar) is the finest grade of powdered sugar. These sugars are graded by "X," indicating the fineness of the powder.

"Powdered Finely-ground granulated sugar to which a small amount (3%) corn starch has been added to prevent caking. The fineness to which the granulated sugar is ground determines the familiar "X" factor: 14X is finer than 12X, and so on down through 10X, 8X, 6X (the most commonly used) and 4X, the coarsest powdered sugar." ---Sweetener glossary

Food historians tell us powdered sugars were used by European confectioners as early as the 18th century. Technological advances in the 19th century made them available to a wider audience. It is no coincidence that cake icing appeared during this time:
About sugar grades & processing


"Sorghum...There are several varieties of this Old World grass (Sorghum vulgare) that are cultivated for grain, for forage, and as a source of syrup. Sorghum is native to East Africa, where it was being cultivated around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Sometime in the distant past (at least 2,000 years ago), the grain crossed the Indian Ocean to India and subsequently made its way to China. More recently, various sorghums reached the New World via the slave trade. Today, grain sorghums are grown extensively in Africa and Asia for use as human food and in the Americas as animals. Some sorghums in North America--like "Johnson grass" and "Mississippi chicken corn"-- probably arrived as the as the seeds of important cultivars, only to escape from cultivation and become annoying weeds. The juices of sorghums have provided humas with syrup for sweetening and in Asia and Africa for the plant supplies malt, mash, and flavoring for alcoholic beverages, especially beers. Sorghum grains are made into flour (for unleavened breads) and into porridges, and they are also prepared and consumed much like rice."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume Two (p. 1854)

"Sorghum...a cereal related and simlar to and sometimes confused with millet, is an important staple food of the upland, drier, parts of Africa and India. In other parts of the world it is chiefly grown as animal fodder. It is native to Africa, and was probably first cultivated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 3000 BC. It spread thence to W. Africa, the Near east, India, and China, and later to the New World...In the USA, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sorghum syrup was popular as a cheap alternative to maple syrup. Production, mainly in the southerns tates, was as much as 20 million gallons or more annually."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2006 (p. 733-4)

"Historical records trace the sorghum Africa. Benjamin Franklin was thought to have introduced sorghum to the United States in the late 1700s...Syrup-making techniques came into prominence in the United States around the mid-1800s. Because of the scarcity of sugar during wartime, sorghum syrup was the principal sweetener in many parts of the county."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, vol. 2 (p. 458)

"In earlier days, no kitchen table in the mountains was complete without its glass cruet of sorghum. Many poured sorghum on badly cooked meats and vegetables to give them a sweet kick.. And when the cow went dry, fold would make a butter substitute by micking sorghum and pork drippings. Sorghum came into its own in colonial America as a substitute for sugar. When sugar became available in the 1700s, it was very expensive, being sold in cones and sliced off as needed. Sorghum also was relied upon as a sweetener during the Civil War when Union blockades halted sugar shipments to Southern ports. Syrup made form sweet sorghum is primarily a hill country sweetener with a light amber color. Darker-colored "molasses"--made of sugar cane--is mostly a Deep South product coming from Louisiana and surrounding states. Applachian people call their sorghum sweetener "molasses," the precise term is sorghum or sweet sorghum or sorghum syrup. Sorghum was a key ingredient in moonshine in earlier days...It was during the Prohibition era (1920-33) when whiskey-making progressed to the point where moonshiners, to meet increased demand, turned to sugar to speed up fermentation of what formerly had been pure corn whiskey. The smoother-tasting "sugar whiskey"--corn combined with sugar--zoomed. During the years leading up to World War II, sugar supplied dropped sharply, forcing moonshiners to turn to sorghum for their mash barrels. The syrup, in shiny tin cans, would arrive at distilleries by the truckload...There are mountain folk yet today who love to sweeten their coffee with sweet sorghum."
---Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking, Joseph E. Dabney [Cumberland House:Nashville TN] 1998 (p. 424-5)
[NOTE: This book contains far more information than can be paraphrased here. If you need mroe information ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

More on sorghum.

Corn syrup

Corn syrup was an accidental discovery based on past experiences with other vegetables, most notably potatoes and sugar beets. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a more refined and sweeter version. Invented in 1967, HFCS is widely used in today's processed foods.

Corn syrup chemistry & variations
"In the language of corn refining, once the starch matrix has been separated from its protein gluten, the starch is converted by chemical action (an acid or enzymes, or both, are added to starch suspended in water) into "simple" sugar, called a "low-dextrose solution." Sweeteners and tecture (crystal or syrup) are controllled at every point to produce different products, depending upon how much starch is digested by the acid or enzyme...By the same initial process through which the Hopi made "virgin hash," our modern corn refiners make glucose, maltose, dextrose and fructose. The larger the number of these long glucose chains in the molecule, the more viscous the syrup, a quality important to the baking and candy industries because it prevents graininess and crystallization. Without corn syrup, no easy-to-make chocolate fudge. The more complete the digestion of starch, the sweeter the syrup, because the rate of glucose and maltose is higher. Maltose is a "double unit" sugar produced, as in brewing, by enzyme-manipulated starch. By manipulating the glucose unites with an enzyme derived form...Streptomyces bacteria, the refiner can get a supersweet fructose called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Today, this is where the king's share of cornstarch goes, becasue this syrup is the sweetener of choice...for the soft drink, ice cream and frozen dessert industries. Although supersweet fructose tastes about twice as sweet as ordinary sugar, we do not as a result consume half as many soft drinks or ice cream cones. On the contrary, American sweetness consumption spirals ever upward..."The family of corn syrups includes hyrdol, or corn sugar molasses, a dark, viscous syrup useful in animal feed and in drugs; lactic acid, a colorless syrup useful as a preservative and flavorer for everything from pickles to mayonnaise; and sorbitol (dextrose plus hydrogen), and emulsifier that shows up in toothpaste and detergents as well as processed edibles."
---The Story of Corn, Betty Fussell [North Point Press:New York] 1992 (p 272)

Origins & evolution
"Gottlieb Sigismund Kirchhof accidentally discovered that sweet substances could be prepared from starch while working at the Acadmey of Science, St. Petersbug, Russia, during the Napoleonic Wars. Kirchhof needed gum arabic for use in manufacturing porcelain. No gum arabic was available because of the continental blockade imposed by the British at that time. However, a Frenchman, Bouitton-Lagrange, had reported that dry starch, when heated, acquires some of the properties of the vegetable gums. Kirchhof attempted to make a substitute gum arabic from starch by adding some water and acid before heating. As a result, instead of a gummy substance, he obtained a sweet-tasting sirup and a small amount of crystallized sugar (dextrose), a finding he reported in 1811. Because of the extreme shortage of sugar in Eruope at the time, the discovery attracted immediate notice in scientific and commercial circles. Starch, largely obtained from potatoes, was already being manufactured in a number of countries in Europe. With this supply of raw material available, numerous small factories were erected to convert starch to either sirup or sugar. Means were soon discovered by which either sirup or sugar could be obtained as desired. The fact that neither beet sugar nor any other acceptable substitute for imported can sugar had as yet become available encouraged the development of starch sweeteners. However, the new industry, after the defeat of Napoleon and the lifting of the blockade, declined almost as rapidly as it had grown. Sugar became very cheap for a while...Few statistics are available concerning the early operation of the starch sweetener industry in Euope. But 11 million pounds of dextrose were reported to have been produced from potato starch in France in 1855 and about 44 million pounds in Germany in 1874...Starch sweetener production developed more slowly in the United States than in Europe, since there was no sugar shortage here early in the 19th century. A small factory near Philadelphia processed potato starch in 1831-1832. The next plant established in this country to make dextrose from cornstarch was in New York City in 1864."
History of Sugar Marketing Through 1974, US Dept. of Agriculture (p. 7-8)

Early 20th ceentury
The Grocer's Encyclopedia, Artemis Ward: Corn syrup & Commerical glucose.

"Corn syrup. This is a product of clear but thick, syrupy consistency which is derived from corn, as the name implies. It is commonly called 'glucose' among the [confectioners] trade, but this name is rapidly dying out due to the constant effort of the authorities to discontinue the name 'glucose' because of the unfounded associations people have connected with the purity and wholesomeness of this prodouct. In all formulas contained in this book the however mention is made, the term 'corn syrup' is use instead of 'glucose.' Corn syrup is sometimes used in candy because it is cheaper than sugar, but that is not the only reason for using it. In a great many cases it is essentially used as a 'doctor' to prevent a batch from graining or returning to sugar. It performs a purpose parallel to that of cream of tartar, but as corn syrup is cheaper to use than cream of tartar and does not require such extacting attention in the batch, it is use oftener as a 'doctor' than cream of tartar. Corn syrup good stand up better than cream of tartar goods; hence the more common use of corn syrup in candies intended for wholesale business. Some pieces cannot be made without corn syrup, as, for instance, caramels and fudges. Honey was formerly used in place of corn syrup in making caramels but it was very expensive to use, and allowed the batch to grain unless extreme care was taken. Like all materials the batch to grain unless extreme care was taken. Like all materials, there are different grades of corn syrup, depending on the grade of corn used in making the finished product. Corn syrup should be used less in the summer than in the winter as it tends to make goods sticky."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W. O. Rigby, 19th edition [1916?] (p. 16)

Karo brand corn syrup
The most famous corn syrup in the USA is Karo brand, introduced by the Corn Products Refining Company in 1902. History here.

"Corn syrup. A sweet, thick liquid derived from cornstarch treated with acids or enzymes and used to sweeten and thicken candy, syrups, and snack foods. By far the most popular and best-known corn syrup is Karo, introduced in 1902 by Corn Products Company of Edgewater, New Jersey. The name "karo" may have been in honor of the inventor's wife, Caroline, or, some say, derivative of an earlier trademark for table syrup, "Karomel." So common is the use of Karo in making pecan pie that the confection is often called "Karo pie" in the South."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 98)

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
"In 1967 new Japanese enzyme technology brought about a revolution in corn syrup development. High fructose corn syrup was made by a more complete hydrolysis of glucose to fructose. IsoSweet, a high fructose corn syrup developed by [A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company], was approximately 92 percent as sweet as sugar."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor, [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 346)

"...the premium is high-fructose corn syrup, first commercialized in 1967 by the Clinton Corn Processing Co. of Clinton, Iowa, which patented Isomerose (named for the enzyme xylose isomerase, which converts glucose to fructose). By 1972, the company had increased the sweetness from 14 to 42 percent fructose, to make it equivalent to ordinary sugar. As sugar prices rose, food and beverage industrialists began to replace more and more sucrose with "Isosweet." Within four years, production of the supersweet syrup jumped from two hundred thousand to two and a half billion pounds a year, and within the decade it had become a major component of all major soft drinks. Today, HFCS can be made 25 percent sweeter than sugar...and in crystalline form is an important rival to saccharin in the sugar-substitute industry."
---The Story of Corn (p. 273-274)

What exactly is HFCS?
General current US Dept. of Agriculture
definition: "High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): A corn sweetener derived from the wet milling of corn. Corn starch is converted to a syrup that is nearly all dextrose. HFCS is found in numerous foods and beverages on the grocery store shelves."

A more technical definition: "High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)A corn sweetener derived from the wet milling of corn. Cornstarch is converted to a syrup that is nearly all dextrose. Enzymes isomerize the dextrose to produce a 42 percent fructose syrup called HFCS-42. By passing HFCS-42 through an ion-exchange column that retains fructose, corn refiners draw off 90 percent HFCS and blend it with HFCS-42 to make a third syrup, HFCS-55. HFCS is found in numerous foods and beverages on the grocery store shelves. HFCS-90 is used in natural and "light" foods in which very little is needed to provide sweetness. (ERS, USDA). Total fiber is the sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber.

About American consumption of high fructose corn syrup

In the words of Ralph Cramden: "How sweet it is!" Recommended reading

Chocolate is a "New World" food. Food historians confirm ancient Aztec and Mayan peoples consumed
chocolate in religious rituals. They did not each this precious substance or use it as an ingredient in recipes. European explorers introduced chocolate to their home countries. Early European uses mirrored those of New World Natives; sipped as special beverage. Except? Europeans tradition did not include the religious connection. Savvy entrepreneurs were quick to experiment on this new substance to expand market possibilities.

Colonial American chocolate
Chocolate was big business in Colonial America. It was imported/manufactured/exported in large quantities. American colonies competed with Europe for New World market domination.

Was chocolate candy sold in colonial era candy stores? Probably not. We find no evidence supporting personal portion chocolate candy (bon bons, truffles, bars) sold in colonial American shops to retail customers. Unsweeteened powder (for cocoa or cooking) was most likely the predominant chocolate product available in the Colonies. And then, only to the wealthy living in urban centers. One of the earliest references to "biting chocolate" (eating?) comes from the Marquis de Sade, 1779.

Savvy chocolate makers were keenly aware of the volatile nature of raw product availability and seasonal production. They routinely repurposed cocoa grinders to accomodate a variety of specialized goods, including spices and mustard. We can only imagine how these other flavors effected the flavor of the chocolate they produced.

"American consumers were probably savvier about their chocolate in the 18th century than they are in the modern world. Colonial chocolate makers routinely advertised the geographic sources of their cocoa, much like modern coffee vendors do for their coffee beans...Because of high transportation costs and excessive import duties on cocoa, Euroepan chocolate was both expensive and exclusive. It was a beverage for the elite and demand was relatively low...In North America, by contrast, chocolate was more available at cheaper prices and consumed by a wider variety of people. The quantity of domestically produced chocolate was sufficient enough to give it away to the poor. The Almshouses of Philadelphia and New York regularly provided chocolate and sugar to its needy residents, something that did not happen in England for the fear of indulging the poor...American chocolate makers routinely advertised chocolate for sale in newspapers throughout the 18th century. Approximately 70 commerical chocolate makers have been identified from these sources...American chocolate manufacturers were concentrated in four major production centers: Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, and Newport (Rhode Island). Since these locations regularly were engaged in the trade with the West Indies, it is logical that the domestic chocolate production also occurred here."
---Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, Louis Evan Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro editors [John Wiley & Sons:Hoboken NJ] 2009 (p. 284-285)

Colonial American chocolate industry
"Another feature of American chocolate was that is was primarily machine-made and purchased in stores. Chocolate histories written from a European perspective generally ignore American manufacturing methods. American newspaper advertisement...provide insight regarding chocolate-making equipment and the chocolate makers themselves. Since there were no monopolies or manufacturing guilds, there were no barriers to entry into the chocolate trade other than capital formation and access to cocoa. American manufactuirng equipment was generally homemade and varied from foot-powered mills capable of producing small quantities to watermills capable of producing several thousand pounds a day. Likewise, there were no patent restrictions...Some chocolate makers also produced other commodities at the same time. The cocoa trade was tenuous...especailly during wartime. Chocolate makers could ill afford disruption in a steady supply of cooa unless they were diverisfied into other commodities. Besides chocolate, chocolate makers commonly ground coffee, oats, spices, mustard, and even tobacco."
---Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (p. 293)

How was it made?
"Chocolate making was hard work. The labor at times intense and at other times tedious...Whether roasting and shelling hundreds of pounds of cocoa at a time, or walking on a treadmill for hours, or hand-grinding ten pounds of chocolate a day for the Master, the work was mind numbing. And those working in large watermills also had their trials. If the order was for a ton of chocolate for a ship sailing on the next high tide, then well over a ton of cooca would have had to hae ben manhadled onto cards, roasted, shelled, winnowed, taken to the hopper, ground up, mixed and molded, wrapped in paper, packaged into perhaps 50 pound boxes, and loaded onto cars. This in an age where most of that labor would have been done by hand, sun up to sun down. Chocolate generally was not manufactured in the summer because higher temperatures did not allow the chocolate to harden...Therefore, chocolate-making activities started in the fall and ended in late spring."
---Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (p. 293)

Bakers (est. 1765, Massachusetts) was named for Dr. James Baker. Original product was meant for drinking. The fact that Baker later produced chocolate used for baking (unsweetened at first)was a happy coincidence. 1828 marks the birth of modern chocolate. This new process made possible a broad range of chocolate products. Among them: cocoa, blocks, nibs, shells. Baker sells eating chocolate in 1845.

What is conching? "Conching started in 1879 in Berne, Switzerland, originating with Rodolphe Lindt, son of a local pharmacist. Lindt had trained as a confectioner apprentice and bought two fire-damaged factory buildings and some roasting machinery from a bankrupt mill to manufacture chocolate. In the beginning, the roasters were unable to sufficiently dry and roast the cocoa, and grinding the damp nibs produced a very coarse chocolate. When put into molds, his chocolate developed a whitish coating that was unappealing to consumers. he enlisted the assistance of his brother, August, also a pharmacist, to help investigate the sources of the white coating. August determined that the cause was too much water in the chocolate, which allowed the migration of fat to the surface of the product. He advised Rodolph to heat his roller grinder and let the chocolate mix longer to drive the excess water from the chocolate. Rodolph modified an old water-powered grinding machine developed by an Italian named Bozelli, by embedding iron trought in granite with the upper edges curved inward. A vertical profile of the trough resembled a shell, and Lindt called his invention a conche from the Spanish word for shell, concha. The cirved edges allowed fro more chocolate mass to be added to the trough without splashing out. At the end of each stroke of the roller, the chocolate broke like a wave, incorporating air into the mass. Rodolph added some cocoa butter to reduce the viscosity of the chocolate so it flowed more efficiently over the rollers in the trough. After three days of uninterrupted rolling, the chocolate did not resemble regular chocolate. The aeration reduced the bitter and sour flavors and helped to develop the chocolate aroma. Instead of pressing chocolate paste into the molds, the new chocolate could be poured into molds. When eaten, this new chocolate melted on the tongue and possessed a very appealing aroma. In this was began the production of chocolat fondant. History does not record why Lindt let the chocolate mix for three days. Perhaps it was part of an experimental plan developed with his brother.One anecdote related to the process involved Lindt leaving for a long weekend and forgetting to turn off the machine, which was powered by water from the Aare River. Regardless of the reason for the discovery, Lindt realized this new process had to be maintained as a trade secret. A separate conching building was built, with access limited only to authorized personnel. In 1899, the German magazine Gordian published a discussion entitled: 'Why does this chocolate taste so different from all the other?' The magazine received many ideas from readers speculating on the Lindt process, ranging from using a new kind of grinding machine, to adding peppermint oil, eve to the addition of more cocoa butter. Their conclusion was Lindt's secret could not be cracked. Lindt was able to maintain the secret of his conching process for more than 20 years and eventually sold his company (and the conching secret) to Rudolph Sprungli. One of the ingredients need to product chocolate fondant was cocoa butter. About 50 percent of a cocoa bean is cocoa butter, which has been extracted from cocoa beans since they were first discovered for food and cosmetic applications. The Aztecs put liquor into a pan of boiling water until almost all of the water evaporated. They then re-filled the pan with water and the butter floated to the surface of the water."
---Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, Louis Evan Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro editors [John Wiley & Sons:New York] 2009 (p. 616-617)

"The Swiss were renowned for their high degree of perfection in the quality and manufacture of chocolate fondant. The Swiss production methods were imitated by most manufacturers, but lack of understanding and failure to pay attention to the details of the Swiss methods often did not lead to success. To make Swiss chocolates, the chocolate had to be bround very fine and additional cocoa butter needed to be added to allow the chocolate to be in a liquid form when warm. Conching lasted up to 48 hours at a temperature of around 55 degrees C. But for many imitators, by the beginning of the 1900s, it was still unclear how Swiss chocolates were produced. It was first believed that additional cocoa butter had to be added to the chocolate. However, high levels of fat in the chocolate were objectionable in flavor and texture, so the melting characteristics of the chocolate were then attributed to the chocolate process itself. To replicate the caramel-like taste of chocolate fondant, experiments over many years were conducted to discover the method of imparting this flavor to the chocolate... Conching was described as an extraordinary process of which the science behind the effects was unknown."
----ibid (p. 619)

Recommended reading

Popular chocolate recipes:
Fondant, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, cocoa, chocolate fondue, chocolate mousse, chocolate gravy & chocolate pie.

White chocolate is a confection that (until recently) has not been specifically defined. Culinary evidence confirms this product may, or may not, contain a chocolate derivative (cocoa butter, for example). Early 20th century companies marketed this product "vanilla chocolate." Interestingly enough it was promoted as health food.

Recipes for "vanilla tablets" appear in cookbooks published by chocolate manufacturers. Vanilla tablets/Walter Baker & Company [1913]
Choice Recipes/Water Baker [promotional booklet]

A cheap vanilla chocolate (wholesale)
35 pounds sugar
17 pounds corn syrup
1 1/2 gallons water
Cook to 238 degrees; pour on dampened cream slab and when lukewarm stir into a creamy consistency.
Now take:
20 pounds sugar
10 pounds corn syrup
3 quarts water
Cook to 238 degrees, then remove from the fire and add the first batch which has been creamed. When the batches are thoroughly mixed, add 5 pounds of Mazetta Creme and 2 ounces of extract of vanilla. When well mixed, set entire batch over a steam bath and get quite hot, then cast in starch and when set dip in chocolate. You may make any flavor desired by blending flavor when the Mazetta Creme is added."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W. O. Rigby, 19th edition [1916?] (p. 98)

So what exactly IS white chocolate? U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently defined this product and set forth standards for its manufacture. They can be found in 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 163.124:

"Sec. 163.124 White chocolate. (a) Description. (1) White chocolate is the solid or semiplastic food prepared by intimately mixing and grinding cacao fat with one or more of the optional dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section and one or more optional nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners and may contain one or more of the other optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b) of this section. White chocolate shall be free of coloring material. (2) White chocolate contains not less than 20 percent by weight of cacao fat as calculated by subtracting from the weight of the total fat the weight of the milkfat, dividing the result by the weight of the finished white chocolate, [[Page 62178]] and multiplying the quotient by 100. The finished white chocolate contains not less than 3.5 percent by weight of milkfat and not less than 14 percent by weight of total milk solids, calculated by using only those dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and not more than 55 percent by weight nutritive carbohydrate sweetener. (b) Optional ingredients. The following safe and suitable ingredients may be used: (1) Nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners; (2) Dairy ingredients: (i) Cream, milkfat, butter; (ii) Milk, dry whole milk, concentrated milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk; (iii) Skim milk, concentrated skim milk, evaporated skim milk, sweetened condensed skim milk, nonfat dry milk; (iv) Concentrated buttermilk, dried buttermilk; and (v) Malted milk; (3) Emulsifying agents, used singly or in combination, the total amount of which does not exceed 1.5 percent by weight; (4) Spices, natural and artificial flavorings, ground whole nut meats, ground coffee, dried malted cereal extract, salt, and other seasonings that do not either singly or in combination impart a flavor that imitates the flavor of chocolate, milk, or butter; (5) Antioxidants; and (6) Whey or whey products, the total amount of which does not exceed 5 percent by weight. (c) Nomenclature. The name of the food is ``white chocolate'' or ``white chocolate coating.'' When one or more of the spices, flavorings, or seasonings specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section are used, the label shall bear an appropriate statement, e.g., ``Spice added'', ``Flavored with ------ '', or ``With ------ added'', the blank being filled in with the common or usual name of the spice, flavoring, or seasoning used, in accordance with Sec. 101.22 of this chapter. (d) Label declaration. Each of the ingredients used in the food shall be declared on the label as required by the applicable sections of parts 101 and 130 of this chapter. Dated: September 27, 2002. Margaret M. Dotzel, Associate Commissioner for Policy. [FR Doc. 02-25252 Filed 10-3-02; 8:45 am]"
[NOTE: This excerpted from White Chocolate; Establishment of a Standard of Identity, Federal Register, October 4, 2002.]

About white chocolate & the 1980s: "So called "white chocolate" is made out to cacao butter only, but in the United States it must be called "White confectionery coating," since it contains no cacao solids and therefore does not fit the legal requirements for "chocolate." It has the disadvantage of a relatively short shelf-life and a tendency to pick up foreign flavors." ---The True History of Chocolate, Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe [Thames and Hudson:New York] 1996 (p. 29)
[NOTE: this book is THE definative history of chocolate. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy]

Related food? White chocolate mousse

Bridge mix
The earliest print reference we find for Bridge Mix, combinations of chocolate, fruits and nuts, is 1927. Our cookbooks from the 1920s-1950s confirm bridge parties were very popular in this period. Instructions for serving luncheon, dinner, buffet and snacks for bridge guests regularly appear. The concept of "Bridge Mix" makes perfect sense in context. Small pieces that do not leave any residue on ones fingers is preferable to card players. We do not find any company, person, or place claiming to have invented the name or product. Nor is there any set traditional combination of confections composing this item.

"Foster & Orear's famous Bridge Mix, including Jordan almonds, spice drops, etc., $1 a pound."
---Oakland Tribune [CA], December 22, 1927 (p. 11)

"Diana's, 60 cents lb, A delightful bridge mix of fruit filled dates in crisp shells."
---San Mateo Times [CA], June 14, 1929 (p. 8)

"Chocolate dipped bridge mix (Nuts, Mints, Caramels, Soft filled pieces), per pound...20 cents."
[No reference to brand or manufacturer].
---Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1934 (p. 4)

A Bridge Mix ad published in the Los Angeles Times, June 30, 1935 (p. 8) notes "These pieces do not stick to your fingers."

Related item? TV Mix.

The inspiration for brittle, as we Americans know it today, possibly descends from
halva. This documented medieval-era Arabic confection traditionally combines honey, nuts and seeds. Some food history sources use this evidence to place brittle on ancient tables. To date: we find no print/historic documentation backing this claim.

The Oxford English Dictionary states "brittle," in the confectionery sense, is an American term dating in print to 1892. Our survey of historic American cookbooks confirms recipes for peanut brittle (as we know it today) appear in 19th century. Early recipes and ingredients were known by different names. One must examine these recipes carefully with regards to ingredients and method to determine the finished product. Back in the day, peanuts were called groundnuts.

Early peanut brittle recipes

"An Excellent Receipt for Groundnut Candy

To one quart or molasses add half a pint of brown sugar and a quarter of a pound of butter; boil it for half an hour over a slow fire; then put in a quart of groundnuts, parched and shelled; boil for a quarter of an hour, and then pour it into a shallow tin pan to harden."
---The Carolina Housewife, Sarah Rutledge, facsimile copy 1847 edition, with an introduction by Anna Wells Rutledge [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1979 (p. 219)

[1908] "Peanut candy.
Have ready one cupful of peanuts shelled and chopped. Be sure you are rid of all the brown skins. Put one cupful of white sugar in a hot iron frying plan and stir until it is dissolved. Add the peanuts and turn immediately. As it cools cut into squares."
---The Evening Telegram Cook Book, Emma Paddock Telford [Cupples & Leon:New york] 1908 (p. 157)

[1919] "Peanut brittle.
5 pounds sugar
2 1/2 pounds corn syrup
1 1/2 pints water
Cook and boil and then add 3 pounds Spanish shelled peanuts, and stir and cook until peanuts are done, then set kettle off fire and stir in it 1/2 teaspoonful of baking soda. After the soda is well stirred, drop in a little more soda, about 1/4 teaspoonful, and stir good. Pour on the slab and spread as thin as possible. When partly cold turn batch over. By adding soda as above batch will be the same color on both sides, not yellow on one side and brow on the other."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W. O. Rigby, 19th ed., [1919?] (p. 160-1)
[NOTE: this book also contains a recipe for non-sugar peanut brittle. This is not a diabetic alternative. It substitutes corn syrup and molasses for refined white sugar.]

"Peanut Brittle I

Sugar, 2 cups
Water, 2/3 cup
Cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon
Molasses, 2 tablespoons
Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Cream, 2 tablspoons
Baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Peanuts, shelled, 1 cup
Combine sugar, water and cream of tartar in a heavy saucepan. Plce over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved; cook without stirring to 280 degrees F. (brittle). Wipe down crystals from sides of pan with a damp cloth wrapped around the tines of a fork. Add molasses, salt and cream. Cook slwoly to 290 degrees F., stirring slowly but constantly. Remove from stove. Quickly stir in soda and peanuts. (Be sure that soda is free from lumps. Pour onto an oiled surface--a shallow pan or marble slab--in a very thin layer. When cool enough to handle, the brittle may be grasped at the edges and stretched into a very thin sheet. When cold break into medium-sized pieces. Note: If peanuts are raw, add a sirup at 250 degrees F. instead of at the end. Makes about 1 pound."
---Woman's Home Companion Cook Book [P.F. Collier & Son:New York] 1942 (p. 788-789) [NOTE: Peanut Brittle II consists of sugar, baking soda and peanuts only. This book also offers recipes for coconut brittle, Chocolate-Nut Brittle and Bran-Nut Brittle.]

"Peanut Brittle

2 cups Karo, blue label
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups roasted peanuts
Combine the Karo and sugar and boil to 270 degrees F. or until brittle when a little is dropped in cold water. Stir in soda, peanuts and vanilla, spread thin on large pan well oiled with Mazola."
---49 Delightful Ways to Enjoy Karo, Corn Products Company, 1957 (p. 14)

Related foods? Comfits (which later evolved into sugarplums), pralines & benne seed wafers.

Colonial American confectioners & candy shops
Food historians confirm professional confectioners (candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream) existed in mid-18th century London. Elizabeth Raffald was one such confectioner. Not so much for Colonial America. In our country at that time most confections were made at home. Our research finds American confectioners did not become a viable industry in their own right until the early 1800s. The original American confectionery epicenter was Philadelphia. At that time, confectionery wares included candy, cakes, cookies, sugar work, preserved (candied/sugared) fruit, and ice cream.
Chocolate makers were a separate trade primarily concerned with importing large quantities of product for resale. Professional confectioners in the 18th century (Old World & New) generally learned their trade via apprenticeship. Long hours, hard work, and minimal pay counterbalanced room, board and master craftsman hands-on training. For free Colonial-American era smart young folks, apprenticeship of any kind was the ticket to prosperity.

While it is possible that some urban centers had confectionery shops during Colonial American times, "penny candy" became popular in the 19th century, during the Victorian era.

Early American candy (Colonial era-Civil War)
Sugar candy (including molasses and maple), candied fruits & flowers (a Renaissance-era favorite), sugar coated nuts (comfits), marzipan (almond paste), and toffee were all enjoyed by Americans in 17th and 18th centuries. Period cooking texts typically group candy with
"sweet meats" or confectionery. Sweet meats also included preserves, jams, jellies, syrups, small cakes/cookies, ice cream and sherbet. Some of the candies we Americans enjoy today (liquorice, marshmallows, hard candies, peppermint) were originally used for medicinal purposes. "Recipes" for these items were often included in medical texts as well as cookbooks. A wide variety of different types of sugar were used to make these candies.

What kinds of candy did the first Americans eat? Native Americans in the northern regions were adept at tapping maple trees for syrup. Chocolate began as a beverage. By the 1840s, eating chocolate was introduced. European settlers introduced the foods they enjoyed in the Old World. The following confections were known in Medieval and Renaissance Europe:

How & where were these candies made?
"Confectionery was another art practiced by efficient housewives. It took several forms. Whole fruits or berries cooked and stored in syrup were called preserves. Mashed, they became marmalade, conserve, or jam. "Dried" (that is, candied like modern crystallized fruit) they were confections or sweetmeats. When their juices were mixed with syrup and reduced sufficiently to form hard candies, they were chips; when mashed pulp was used in the same way, they were called pastes. Strained juices were also used to make jelly, as in modern practice, and there were fruit and berry syrups. Brandied fruits were prepared by adding brandy to the syrup in which whole fruits were stored. Mrs. Randolph's selection of recipes, reflecting Virginia tastes at the end of the [18th] century, emphasized preserves-- peaches, pears, quinces, cherries, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and sweet tomato marmalade. Her preserving kettle was made of bell metal, "flat at the bottom, very large in diameter, but not deep," with a tight-fitting cover and "handles at the sides of the pan, for taking it off with ease wthen the syrup boils too fast." Other desirable equipment included a large chafing dish with long legs "for the convenience of moving it to any part of the room," a ladle "the size of a saucer, pierced and having a long handle" for "taking up the fruit without syrup," small glasses or pots of a maximum two-pound capacity, and "letter paper wet with brandy" to cover the containers...Mrs. Custis' "Book of Sweetmeats" reflected the elegance and artificiality of tastes in Queen Anne's court. In addition to the conventional preserves, she included the more elaborate confectionery that usued flowers and herbs, roots and nuts as well as fruits and berries in a variety of crystallized preparations and hard candies to decorate dessert tables...Walnuts and almonds, eryngo and ginger roots, angelica stalks and roots, and marjoram and mint leaves were sometimes crystallized. Mrs. Custis also chopped or mashed them and stirred them into a manus Christi syrup, which was dripped into "rock candies" or "cakes" about the size of a sixpence. Fruit juices carefully strained produced clear drops and cakes. The pulp of fruits and berries, treated like almond paste in marchpane, made pastes in a great variety of flavors and colors: apricots, peaches, pears, plums, quinces, pippins, raspberries, gooseberries, barberries, cherries, oranges, lemons. Even more decorative was Paste Royall, printed in molds and then gilded."
---Colonial Virginia Cookery, Jane Carson [Colonial Williamsburg Foundation:Williamsburg VA] 1985 (p. 120-122)

A survey of candy recipes published in cookbooks used by early American cooksbr> [1753]
Red crisp almonds or Prawlings (pralines)
Iced almonds (iced with sugar)
Candied cherries
Candied orange peel
Candied ginger
Barley sugar (a precursor to toffee)
March-pane (marzipan)
Pastils (soft gum-like candy)
---The Lady's Companion, [London:1753] 6th edition
[NOTE: Colonial-era cooks used books they brought from home. Many of these were published in London.]

Candied flowers (roses, marigolds, violets, rosemary--yes! Real flowers!)
Candied ginger
Suckets (candied fruits, oranges and lemons were most popular)
Sugar candy (boiled refined sugar)
Losenges (diamond shaped sugar candy...think of today's throat lozenge...flavored with orange, lemon, rose water)
Fruit pastes (dried, thin sheets of pounded fruit...think of today's "Fruit Roll-ups"...made with real apricots, peaches, raspberries, gooseberries, apples, plums, quinces, oranges, lemons)
Marchpan (aka marzipan; almond paste which was often colored and deoratively shaped)
---Martha Washington's Book of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1995
[NOTE: If you want to see these recipes ask your librarian can help you find a copy of this book.]

Lemon and orange peel candied
Melon citron candied
Anglelica candied
Cassia candied
Orange marmalade
Apricot marmalade
Red quince marmalade
White quince marmalade
Raspberry paste
Currant paste
Gooseberry paste
Orange chips
Apricot chips
Ginger tablet
---The New Art of Cookery According to the Present Practice, Richard Briggs [W. Spotswood, R. Campbell, and B. Johnson:Philadelphia] 1792

Kisses & meringues (sweet, frothy egg white confections; some have hazel nut or cocoanut centers)
Coconut candy
Lemon candy
Cream candy
Common twist (like candy canes/sticks)
Peppermint, rose or horehound candy
Molasses candy (taffy)
Candied orange or lemon peel
---Mrs. Crowen's American Lady's Cookery Book, Mrs. T. J. Crowen [Dick & Fitzgerald:New York] 1847

Need to make something for class? Selected modernized recipes:
...while most of these candies were enjoyed throughout the country, those with specific colony/state designations in their respective cookbooks are noted. "Nut Sweet
2 cups maple sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup hickory nuts, or walnuts, broken. In a saucepan combine sugar, water, and butter. Cook over low heat until a candy thermometer inciates 238 degrees F., or until the syrup dropped in cold water forms a soft ball. Add the nuts. remove from heat and stir until the candy is thick. Drop in spoonsful onto waxed paper and let the patties harden."
---The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook, Mary Donovan et al [Montclair Historical Society:Montclair NJ] 1976 (p. 77) [Connecticut]

"Candied Peel
Cut rind of 8 oranges into quarters. Cover with cold water. Brink slowly to the boiling point. Remove pan from fire. Drain well. Repat this process, boiling the orange peel in a total of 5 waters. Drain well each time. With scissors, cut into strips or leaf designs. Make a syrup with 1/4 cut water and 1/2 cup sugar. Add the peel and boil until all the syrup is absorbed. Cool briefly. When thorouhgly dry, the peel may be dipped in chcoolate coating. Peel may also be rolled in freshly grated coconut, then sugared. Store in airtight tins, or freeze."
---ibid (p. 115) [New Jersey]

"Apricot Leather
Wash 1 package dried apricots and put them in water to soak overnight. Next morning, bring apricots and water to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain thoroughly. (Be sure all the water has drained off.) mash the apricots through a sieve, or belnd in a blender until smooth. Measure pulp: return it to the saucepan and add 1 part sugar to every 3 parts pulp. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly (at thsis tage the mixture may burn easily, so stir carefully.) Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes; then spread almost paper thin on a large piece of glass, marble slab, or aluminum cookie sheet. Form a rectangular shape. Place in a warm dry room (an attic is excellent) to dry for 1 to 2 days (it should be pliable enough to roll). Cut the leather into 3-inch squares, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and roll tightly into rolls about the size of a small pencil. Roll in granulated sugar and stroe in a tightly closed box."
---ibid (p. 251) [Georgia]

"Hoarhound Candy
Some of the candies which were made in colonial kitchens were very simple mixtures of sugar, water, and herbs. This candy was a confection as well as a lozenge for colds and sore throats.
3 ounces hoarhound
3 cups water
3 1/2 pounds brown sugar
Add hoarhound to hot water and simmmer for 20 minutes. Stain and add sugar. Cook until syrup forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water or until candy thermometer registers 265 degrees F. Pour into a buttered pan. When cooled, form into small balls or cut into squares. makes about 5 sozen pieces."
---Foods from the Founding Fathers, Helen Newbury Burke [Exposition Press:Hicksville NY] 1978 (p. 141) [Rhode Island]

"Molasses Candy
2 cups molasses
2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Boil ingredients until brittle when tried in cold water. Pour into hot, buttered pan; pull when cool enough to handle."
---ibid (p. 141) [Rhode Island]

"Benne (Sesame) Brittle
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups parched benne seed (roasted)
Melt the sugar in a heavy frying pan or saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly. When sugar is melted, remove from stove, then add benne seed and vanilla quickly. Pour into a well-buttered pan to about 1/4 inch depth (a medium-size biscuit pan is right). Mark into squares while warm and break along lines when cold. Makes 8-10 squares."
---ibid (p. 244) [South Carolina]

"Hickory Nut Creams
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream or evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups hickory nuts
Stir sugar and cream together until sugar dissolves. Boil to 234 degrees F. or until a little of the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Cool to lukewarm. Add vanilla, butter, and nuts, and beat until creamy. Drop from spoon on waxed paper. makes 3 dozen creams."
---ibid (p. 316) [Philadelphia]

"Spiced Walnuts
1/4 pound walnut halves
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon water
1 egg white
Heat nuts in 350 degree F. oven for a few minutes. Sift together three times the sugar, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Add awater to egg whtie and beat until frothy (not stuff). Dip nuts in egg mixture and roll in spices. Cover bottom of baking sheet with leftover sugar and spices. Arrange nuts over top. Sift remaining sugar over them. Bake at 275 degrees F. for 1 hour. Remove from oven and shake off excess sugar."
---ibid (p. 316) [Philadelphia]

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients except vanilla. Bring to a boil and boil for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and beat until smooth and creamy. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Makes 2 to 3 dozen."
---A Cooking Legacy, Virginia T. Elverson & Mary Ann McLanahan [Walker and Company:New York] 1975 (p. 167)

"Apricot Sweetmeats
1 pound dried apricots, ground
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
pecan or walnut halves, or almonds
superfine granulated sugar
Combine apricots, granulated sugar and orange juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper. When cool, place a pecan or walnut half or an almond in the center, rolling apricot mixture around it. Drop each ball into superfine granulated sugar to coat completely. Pack in a tightly covered container to store. Makes 3 dozen."
---ibid (p. 166)

When was "eating chocolate" introduced to America?
The book Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage/Louis Evan Grivetti editor [Wiley & Sons:New York] 2009 offers chapter 26 Chocolate Manufacturing and Marketing in Massachusetts, 1700-1920, by Anne Blaschke (p. 345-358) & chapter 27 oston Chocolate: newspaper Articles and Advertisements, 1705-1825, Louis Even Grivetti (p. 359-373). This scholarly reference text provides full citations to all materials. Ms. Blaschke offers this snippet about Bakers Chocolate suggesting the year was 1845:

By stressing the fine quality and healthful results oflower cost options, Baker sought to retain the companys reputation for pure, gourmet-quality chocolate at a price that made this former luxury available to all New Englanders, every day. He also sought to diversify by creating indulgent confections that could be sold individually at low, single-serving prices. The company's chocolate sticks and spice cocoa sticks. created around 1840, speak to Bakers intention to offer consumers luxury in attainable amounts reasonable for daily indulgence. His promotion of these cocoa sticks speaks to this desire to convey both sophistication and affordability:

There is quite a sale in Boston--by all retail grocers--to children & others--at a cent a stick for small & two cents for large sticks. I learned to make them in London, and there as in Boston the sticks are piled in the retail shop window, cross each other, & rather ornament the store. If it be no trouble, you could hand to some of your best customers some of the sticks--always to be eaten raw or melted on the tongue to taste; & children once getting the taste would purchase them for enough; being much more healthy & suitable for them than Candy or Sugar Plums etc. (p. 351)

Modern American candy (Post Civil War--1920s)

The Industrial Revolution made possible many new candies. Advances in food technology, scientific knowledge, and cooking apparatus made possible items such as jelly beans and chocolate. Most 19th century American cookbooks do not include recipes for making chocolate candy because it was primarily made by professional confectioners. "Penny candies" were a direct result of cheaper ingredients and mass production.

Primary sources/historic cookbooks

Parkinson's Complete Confectioner, (professional text) [online full-text, courtesy of Michigan State University]
Buckeye Cookery

These popular American brands were introduced to the American public between the late 1800s and 1929:

Wrigley's gum (Spearmint, Juicy Fruit)
Baby Ruth (Curtiss)
Hershey Bars (Hershey)
Good & Plenty
Cracker Jacks
Chase's Tween Meals
Tootsie Rolls
Candy Corn (called "Chicken Feed," by Goelitz Confercionery company)
Nik-L-Nips (liquid sugar/flavored filled wax novelties)
NECCO wafers
Hershey's Kisses
Life Savers
Goo Goo Clusters (a southern favorite)
Godenberg's Peanut-Chews (Philadelphia area)
Mounds Bards (Peter Paul)
Milky Way Bar (M&M Mars)
Milk Duds
Heath Bars
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Snickers Bar (M&M Mars)
Dubble Bubble bubble gum (Fleer)
Chases's Cherry Mash
Gummi Bears
Cotton candy
Conversation Hearts
Jujyfruits (Henry Heide Co.)
Chuckles (jelly candies)
Charleston Chew
Almond Rocha (Brown & Haley)
Mr. Goodbar (Hershey's)
Mike & Ike
SOURCES: Candy: The Sweet History/Beth Kimmerle, The Food Timeline, The Food Chronology/James Trager

Chocolate covered ants
Our research confirms chocolate covered ants were a novelty food in the United States in the late 1950s. These exotic morsels were promoted by gourmet imported food shops as items to *surprise* guests. Mostly? These critter snacks appealed to men. The earliest reference in the New York Times is this article from 1956:

"In case any one wonders what happened to the college boys who ate live goldfish back in the forties, the answer might be right at hand. It's possible--allowing for the refinement of the palate that comes with maturity--that they have gone one to become conspicuous consumers of fried grasshoppers. According to T.G. Loryn, a local importer, more than 150,000 cans of these crispy cocktail accompaniments haves sold in this country in the last seven months--most of them to men...On reason for the phenomenon is that grasshoppers are accessibly prices...The gag, of course, is to serve...along with more conventional tidbits such as fried bacon rind, which they resemble somewhat in taste...experts agree there's a real demand these days for party foods that are new, exotic, "different." And once initiated, many American are suprised to find themselves quite won over by foods they wouldn't--wittingly--have eaten on a bet...As quick to spot a trend as any other merchants, live-wire food importers are now negotiating for French fried bees from the Oreint. Fried ants (possibly from Africa) and chocolate covered ants from South America are also in the blueprint stage."
---"Grasshoppers a la Mode: Strange things are tickling palates these days. Coming soon--fried bees, chocolate-covered ants," Jean Condit, New York Times, April 29, 1956 (p. 264)

Post WWII fancy food market:
" gastronomes, as well as other s who have never left home, are garnishing their diets with greater amounts of specialty and fancy foods....The adventurous ones are asking...for the more exotic items: Kissproof garlic, snails, fried grasshoppers, kangaroo tail soup, baby bees in soy sauce, quail eggs, octopus on skewer, canned wild boar, shark fin soup, pickled cocks combs, roasted locusts and chocolate-covered ants. The fancy food uptrend reflects more than the impact of foreign travel. Americans have more money to spend on delicacies and they are reading and learning more about them...A revised interest in good eating has been growing in this country since the repeal of Prohibition, says Earle R. MacAusland, editor and publisher of Gourmet Magazine ...Gourmet Magazine, which is written for connoisseiurs, was started on the eve of World War II and now has over 100,000 subscribers. During the past seven years the publication has sold more than 150,000 copies of its Gourmet Cookbook at $10.00 a copy...One indication of fancy foods' burgeoning popularity is the growth in the number of stores which specialize in such foods...Fancy food departments are also blossoming in supermarkets."
---"Specialty Foods: Snails, Grasshoppers, Caviar, Ants Pop Up On More U.S. Menus," Victor J. Hillery, Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1956 (p. 1)

Several articles ensued, mostly in the late 1950s/early 1960s. None provide historic details regarding origin of chocolate covered ants. Our South/Central American food history books are full of information on chocolate but nothing on the coating of insects. Presumably this particular delicacy was not a traditional food of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs.

What other insects have been consumed by humans?

Chocolate truffles
Chocolate is a "New World" food originating in South America. It was first consumed in liquid form by the Ancient Mayans and Aztecs. Spanish explorers introduced chocolate to Europe, where it was likewise appreciated and esteemed. Chocolate candy made its debut in the middle of the 19th century (Cadbury). At that time, it was very expensive and out of the reach of most people. The Industrial Revolution enabled the chocolate industry to grow and flourish. By the end of the 19th century chocolate was enjoyed by "the masses" (Hershey). Cream candies ultimately trace their roots to Medieval and Renaissance soft cream fillings used to compose trifle and fill pastries. Later developments included creme brulee and caramel cream. Chocolate-coated cream candies of all kinds were extremely popular in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

According to the food historians, chocolate truffles were named thusly because the finished product resembles the naturally occuring, expensive fungus of the same name. About fungus truffles. Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food states this candy became popular in the 1920s.

"Many who have never encountered vegetable truffles have tucked into confectioners' truffles, sweets the colour and shape of black truffles, made from a mixture of chocolate, sugar, and cream (and often rum) and covered with a dusting of cocoa powder or tiny chocolate strands. These are, of course, a much more recent phenomenon; they made their first appearance in an Army and Navy Stores catalogue for 1926-7."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 351)

While references to early 19th century chocolate truffles can be found in some books on American food history, it is unlikely the confection, as we know it today, existed that early. Possibly these authors are referring to chocolate creams, a related confection. The earliest authentic/historic recipe we have for chocolate truffles dates to the 1920s:

"Chocolate truffles. Dip a plain vanilla cream center, one as small as possible in milk chocolate coating, then before the coating dries, roll each piece in macaroon cocoanut so that the cocoanut sticks to the chocolate. Now lay them on a cheet of wax paper and allow to dry."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, 19th edition (undated, early 1920s probably) (p. 84)

Cotton candy
Most people think the origin of cotton candy (also known as spun sugar" "fairy floss" or "candy floss") is a simple documented fact. It's not. There are several stories recounting the invention of cotton candy. All are interesting. None are definitive. Most accounts credit the invention of cotton candy to enterprising American businessmen at the turn of the 20th century. The 1904 Louisiana Exposition in St. Louis is often cited as the place where cotton candy was introduction to the American people.

The truth? Spun sugar was known long before this time. Mid-18th century master confectioners in Europe and America hand crafted spun sugar nests as Easter decorations and webs of silver and gold spun sugar for elaborate dessert presentations. At that time, spun sugar was an expensive, labor-intensive endeavor and was not generally available to the average person. How was spun sugar made before the invention of modern machines?

"To spin a Silver Web for covering Sweetmeats
Take a quarter of a pound of treble-refined sugar in one lump, and set it before a moderate fire on the middle of a silver salver or pewter plate. Set it a little aslant, and when it begins to run like clear water to the edge of the plate or salver, have ready a tin cover or china bowl set on a still, with the mouth downward close to your sugar that it may not cool by carrying too far. Then take a clean knife and take up as much of the syrup as the point will hold, and a fine thread will come from the point, which you must draw as quicky as possible backwards and forwards and also around the mould, as long as it will spin from the knife. Be very careful you do not drop the syrup on the web, if you do it will spoil it. Then dip your knife into the syrup again and take up more, and so keep spinning till your sugar is done or your web is thick enough. Be sure you do not let the knife touch the lump on the plate that is not melted, it will make it brittle and not spin at all. If your sugar is spent before your web is done put fresh sugar on a plate or salver, and not spin from the same plate again. If you don't want the web to cover the sweetmeats immediately, set it in a deep pewter from getting to it, and set it before the fire, it requires to be kept warm or it will fall. When your dinner or supper is dished, have ready a plate or dish of the size of your web filled with different coloured sweetmeats, and set your web over it. It is pretty for a middle, where the dishes are few, or corner where the number is large." ---The Experienced English Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald, with an introduction by Roy Shipperbottom [Southover Press:East Sussex UK] 1996 (p. 92)
[NOTE: this book also has instructions for a gold web and to make a Dessert of Spun Sugar.]

On sugar spinning
The Complete Confectioner, Pastry Cook and Baker, J.M. Sanderson [Lippincott:Philadelphia] (p. 33+)

Spun Sugar for Ornamental Purposes
--Required: loaf sugar and half its weight in water. The best cane sugar should be used, as failure if almost sure with inferior sugar. This is to be put in a copper pan and brought to the boil, and freed from any scum thay may rise. When the surface begins to look bubbly it is nearly ready. To test it, dip a knife or the end of a steel in cold water, and be sure that it is cold, or a mistake may arise; then dip this in the boiling sugar, then in cold water again, and if it is brittle, and leaves the knife or steel, it is done; should it cling an be soft it must be boiled longer. When it is done, take small portions and pass it quickly to and fro to form threads over an oiled rolling pin held in the left hand. A fork is best to use to take up the sugar. Should this be intended for "draping" a vol-au-vent or other sweet, the pin should be moved, so that the sugar falls into position, and is not handled. To be explicit, as it leaves the pin it is wound round the sweet. There is considerable art in this operation, and it is quite likely that a number of failures will precede success; it is one of those branches of the cuisine that require a practical lesson. It is always well to rub a little oil on the hands and wrists in the case the sugar should splash them, and by standing on a stool, holding the left arm low, and moving the right hand high in the air, the work is facilitated."
---Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book, Lizzie Heritage [Cassell and Company:London] (p. 811)

Cotton candy, as fair food, began when W.J. Morrison and J.C. Wharton (Nashville, TN) patented the first electric machine for spinning sugar into edible threads in 1897. This machine produced cotton candy quickly in mass quantities. The machine was portable, the process was novel, the appeal was universal. Perfect fair food. Notes from the original patent:

Candy Machine
To all whom it may concern; Be it known that we, William J. Morrison and John C. Wharton, citizens of the United States, residing at Nashville, in the County of Davidson and State of Tennessee, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Candy-Machines, of which the following is a specification. Our invention relates to improvements in candy-making, or, as commonly called, "candy-machines," in which a revolvable or rotating pan or vessel containing cand or melted sugar causes the said candy or melted sugar to form into masses of thread-like or silk-like filaments by the centrifugal force due to the rotation of the vessel. The object of our invention is to obtain an edible product consisting of the said filaments of melted and "spun" sugar or candy."
---U.S. Patent #618,428 January 31, 1899. Application filed December 23, 1897.
[NOTE: you can view the full image of this patent online. Accessible by patent number only, requires special viewing software.]
Skuse's Complete Confectioner [London, undated, probably late 1890s/early 1900s] contains similar instructions on page 71:
Sugar Candy, Pink and White
Sugar candy is made in a variety of colours. The foreign, which is imported in large quantities, varying in shades between very dark brown and pale yellow, the prices charged for these qualities being very little above the sugar value, therefore unprofitable to make, but the pink and white candy is not so common, and generally command a renumerative figure, besides being attractive as a window decoration. The process is simple and interesting. Copper pans are sold by machinists for the purpose, but for small makers a rough coller or white metal pan will answer, so long as its sides are a little wider at the top than the bottom, in order that the crystalized sugar may fall out unbroken. Perforate the pan with small holes, about three inches apart, pass a thread through from one hole to another, so that the thread runs at equal distances throughout the centre of the pan, then stop up the holes from the outside with a thin coating of beeswax and resin to keep the syrup from running through. When the pan has been got ready, boil sufficient sugar to fill it, in the proportion of 7-lbs. sugar to 3 pints of water, to the degree of thread, or 230; then pour the contents into the pan and stand it on the drying room for three or four days; when the crystals are heavy enough, which you can tell by examining them, pour off the superfluous syrup; rinse the candy in lukewarm water and stand it in the drying room till dry. To make the pink, of course, colour the syrup, but be careful in tinging it very lightly. N.B.-When goods are undergoing the process of crystalizing, the vessel in which they are must not be disturbed."

In the dawning years of the 20th century cotton candy was also sold in sweet shops and department store candy counters. A Wanamaker's advertisement announcing the acquisition of "A Wonderful Candy Machine" ran in the New York Times February 11, 1905 (p.4). Price of their cotton candy? 5-10 cents, probably depending upon size.

Bruce Feiler's notes debunking the popular history of cotton candy:

"The Dictionary of American Food and Drink reports that the item [cotton candy] originated in 1900 at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus, when snack vendor Thomas Patton began experimenting with the long common process of boiling sugar to a caramelized state, then forming long threads of it with a fork. Patton's genious, according to the entry, was to heat the sugar on a gas-fired rotating plate, creating a cottony floss. The truth may be less romantic, but it is no less appealing. In 1897 William Morrison and John C. Wharton, candy makers in Nashville, invented the world's first electric machine that allowed crystallized sugar to be poured onto a heated spinning plate, then pushed by centrifugal force through a series of tiny holes. In 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, commonly known as the St. Louis World's Fair, Morrison and Wharton sold the product, then known as "fairy floss," in chipped-wood [cardboard] boxes for 25 cents a serving. Though the price was half the admission of the fair itself, they sold 68,655 boxes..."
---"Spun Heaven," Bruce Feiler, Gourmet, February 2000 (p. 66+)
[NOTE: this is an excellent article. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

About the science of sugar.

Cotton candy: notes from the National Confectioners Association (includes how cotton candy is made today. If you need more details about the manufacturing process ask your librarian to help you find this book: How Products are Made, Jacqueline L. Longe, editor, Volume 4 [Gale:Detroit] 1999 (p. 157-161).

Although recipes for various nougat and sweet meringue-type confections (with and without nuts and fruit) can be traced to ancient Turkish and 17th century European and roots, food historians generally agree that Divinity (aka Divinity fudge, Divinity candy) is an early 20th century American invention. Why? One of the primary ingedients in early Divinity recipes is corn syrup, a product actively marketed to (& embraced by) American consumers as a sugar substitute at that time. Corn syrup was affordable (economical), practical (shelf-stable), and adapted well to most traditional recipes.
Karo brand corn syrup, introduced by the Corn Products Refining Company in 1902, was/is perhaps the most famous. It is no coincidence that early Karo cooking brochures contain recipes for Divinity.

Food historians have yet to determine the first person to call this delicious confection "Divinity. " The general concensus about the name? The finished product tasted "divine." A survey of American cookbooks confirms recipes for Divinity (candy, fudge, rolls) were "standard items" from the 1930s to present. Some people connect Divinity with southern roots. This is not confirmed by our cooking texts which are published all over the country. Perhaps Divinity with pecans is a Southern twist on a national favorite?

This is what the food experts have to say:

"Divinity. An American confection related to nougat and marshmallow. It is made by cooking a sugar syrup to the firm or hard-ball stage...and then beating it into whisked egg whites."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 251)

"Divinity...also divinity fudge [Prob with ref to its "divine" flavor] esp. west of Appalachians. Homemade candy made by pouring hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. 1913 E.H. Glover Dame Curtsey's Book of Candy Making (p. 34) Divinity Fudge. Three and one-half cups of granulated sugar, one-half cup of 90 per cent corn syrup, two thirds cup water [etc.]"
---Dictionary of American Regional English, Frederick G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall, editors, [Belknap Press of Harvard University:Cambridge MA] 1985, volume II D-H (p. 91)
[NOTE: This book has a map showing where this particular term is most popular. Your librarian can help you find a copy of this book/page if you need it.]

"White divinity fudge wasn't heard of until around 1910."
---Listening to America, Stuart Berg Flexner [Simon & Schuster:New York] 1982 (p. 139)

Why does Divinity sometimes choose not to set?
"Divinity is a tricky confection to make under the best circumstances--almost impossible under less than good. The recipe in one community cookbook advises a short consultation with the local meteorologist: "Please remember candy doesn't set unless the barometer reads 30 in. or over; doesn't make a difference whether it's raining or not, just watch your t.v. for the barometric pressure." Divinity like most other Southern canides shows up around the winter holidays. It is sort of a companion piece to fudge in Christmas gift boxes. ---Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, Bill Neal [Alfred A. Knopf:New York] 1996 (p. 138)

"Divinity Candy
. Mrs. C.C. Hall, Hollywood.--One pint golden drip syrup, one pint sweet milk one cup granulated sugar, butter size of a walnut. Boil until a soft ball can be made. Remove from fire ahd whip until it is creamy, then pour over one-half pound of shelled Califoania English walnuts."
---The Times Cookbook

"In place of the time-honored "fudge," she may make the new "Divinity Fudge," a sweet that is no more expensive, that takes but little more time, but that is far more delicious. Melt a cupful of sugar in a saucepan; when melted, pour it into another saucepan in which there is already a cupful of cold milk. Put this pan on the fire and cook slowly until the two have blended; then add two or more cupfuls of granulated sugar, and one more cupful of cold milk, and reheat, cooking slowly until it is of proper consistency to remove from the stove. At this time add a heaping teaspoonful of butter and a cupful of finely chopped nut meats; beat the mixture with a large spoon until almost cold, then spread it over buttered pans, and line for cutting, like fudge."
---"Christmas Cheer as Ever Calls on the Housewife for Sweets, Pies and All the Rest of the Good Things of the Holidays," The New York Times, December 17, 1907 (p. SM5)

"Divinity Fudge

Here is a recipe for Divinity Fudge, which is great:
2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup cup hot water, 1/2 cup corn syrup. Cook until it forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water. Have ready, in a rather deep dish, the whites of 2 eggs beaten to a stiff froth (1 egg may be used, not so good). Pour the cooked mixture over the whites of the eggs. Beat in the 1 cup walnuts. Beat until of a creamy consistency. Pour onto buttered pan. Cool, cut in squares. Janice Meredith."
---"Divinity Fidge," Boston Daily Globe, April 28, 1910 (p. 11)


Two cupfuls gran.[granulated] Sugar, 1/2 cupful water, 1/2 cupful syrup. Boil until it hardens in cold water. Beat whites of 2 eggs to a stiff froth, then pour syrup over them and add 1 cupful chopped nuts. Flavor with vanilla. Beat until stiff and drip with spoon on parafine paper."
---The Concord Cook Book, compiled by Mrs. Adolph Guttman and Mrs. Levi Oppenheimer for the Ladies' Auxilary, Society of Concord Syracuse N.Y. first edition [Dehler Press:Syracuse NY] 1915 (p. 276)

"Divinity Fudge

Home candy economy seems on the increase, to judge from the requests that come to this column for recipes. M.A. wishes a recipe for "divinity." One of the colored corn sirups, probably the best known, is used by many people, but plain glucose, which costs a little less, makes a whiter candy. In making all candies I use a thermometer, because it saves time and attention and I get more uniform results, but my neighbor, fortunately i this case, does not, so Mrs. Y. lets me use her recipe herewith:
"This requires two pans or kettles. In pan No. 1, put one cup of sugar and one-half cup of water. In pan NO. 2 put three cups of sugar one one cup of corn sirup. Boil No. 1 until it spins a thread. Boil No. 2 until it forms a soft ball when dropped in water. Beat No. 1 into the whites of two eggs, and as soon as No. 2 is done beat into the egg mixture. Beat on a platter about ten minutes, or until creamy. Before it gets firm beat in a cup of pecan nuts and two teaspoons of vanilla. Beat until firm. Turn out on to a cloth that has been wet in cold water and roll up into a loaf. When cool enough cit down into slices."
---"Tribune Cook Book," Jane Eddington, Chicago Daily Tribune, February 14, 1917 (p. 10)

"Divinity Fudge

3 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup Karo syrup
1 1/4 cups nut meats or chopped crystallized fruit
3 egg whites
1 cup cold water.
Mix in saucepan sugar, syrup and water. Cook until mixture reaches soft-ball stage. Whip egg whites very stiff and dry, then add syrup mixture in a small stream, beating all the time until mixture begins to thicken. Stir in nut meats or fruit, continue stirring until creamy. Pour in buttered pan. Cut in squares when cold."
---Every Woman's Cook Book, Mrs. Chas. F. Moritz [Cupples & Leon: New York] (p. 599-600)

Why won't divinity set in certain types of weather?
"Divinity is a tricky confection to make under the best circumstances--almost impossible under less than good. The recipe in one community cookbook advises a short consultation with the local meteorologist: "Please remember candy doesn't set unless the barometer reads 30 in. or over; doesn't make a difference whether it's raining or not, just watch your t.v. for the barometric pressure." Divinity like most other Southern candies shows up around the winter holidays. It is sort of a companion piece to fudge in Christmas gift boxes."
---Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie, Bill Neal [Alfred A. Knopf:New York] 1996 (p. 138)

Related foods? Meringue and fudge.

Dolly mixtures
Dolly mixtures are a uniquely British treat. They seem to be related to liquorice allsorts, popular colorful candies of different shapes and sizes that are about 100 years old. About

" is probably in confectionery that liquorice has found its most extensive and attractive culinary use. For this purpose, the extract from the roots is combined with sugar, water, gelatin, and flour to give a malleable black or brown paste, which is tough and chewy. These attribute are used to gread effect by manufactureres who mould it into pipes, cables, and long strips or 'bootlaces'; or combine it with brighly coloured soft sugar paste to make liquorice allsorts. These sweets, very popular in Britain, are of divers and striking appearance, mostly made of layers of black refined liquorice combined in various ways with brightly coloured paste imitating marzipan. Some lumps of liquorice rolled in coloured sugar vermicelli. Thanks to the liquorice in them, the flavour of these sweets is more interesting than that of most cheap confectionery."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davdison [OxforUniversity Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 455)

Where did the name "Dolly Mixture" come from? The food historians are still looking for a definative answer. There are several theories:

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a dolly mixture is a "mixture of tiny coloured sweets of various shapes." The earliest citation to print references using this term dates back only to 1957. One of these books, Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, Iona Opie, states "Other current sweet-shop favourites appear to be the same as thirty years ago, in fact bull's eyes, jelly babies, and dolly mixture have entered schoolchild language as descriptive nouns." (page 166). This dates the term dolly mixtures, as they relate to candy, back at least to the late 1920s.

Just below this entry is another definition for the word dolly: "Anglo-Indian [ad.Hindi Dali]...A complimentary offering of fruit, flowers, vegetables, sweetmeats and the like presented usually on one or more trays..." Perhaps this term, as it relates to candy, was borrowed from traditions begun in British India?

Another argument supporting the possible connection to India is the word dal, or dahl. These pulses (beans, peas, legumes) are one of the principal foods in the Indian subcontinent. Dal is often composed of items of various sizes and colors, thus the possible connection (in looks only) to the popular candy mix. You can find more information on Dal in the Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 241) and A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food, K.Y. Achaya [Oxford University Press:Delhi] 1998 (p. 60).

Laura Mason, British confectionery history expert, says the connection between Indian dahl and dolly mixtures is unlikely.

"Soft Bright Jellies for Dolly Mixtures
Sugar 20lb
Glucose 20lb
Water 5pt
Gelatin 4lb
Citric acid powder 4 1/2oz
Run into starch impressions. Set aside until next day. Brush thoroughly and glaze."
---Skuse's Complete Confectioner, W. J. Bush & Co. editor, 13th edition [W.J. Bush:London] 1957 (p. 200)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term Fondant (in print) dates to 1877:
"Fondant. [a. Fr. fondant n. and pr. pple. of fondre to melt.] A sweetmeat made chiefly in France: (see quots.). Also attrib. 1877 Encycl. Brit. VI. 257 Fondants.. are made from solutions boiled to the point of crystallization, properly coloured and flavoured, and cast into moulds made of starch. 1892-4 Encycl. Cookery (Garrett) I. 602/1 Fondants. This term has become familiar to us for kinds of soft sweets that melt in the mouth. Ibid. 602/2 Divide the Fondant-paste into two portions."

"Fondants are sweets made from a paste produced by boiling sugar syrup and then kneading it until it is soft, creamy, and smooth. The same sort of paste is also used as the basis for icing for cakes (fondant icing). The term comes from the present participle of French fondre, 'melt', and is probably an allusion to fondant 'melting in the mouth'."
---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 128-9)

" a relative recent development in confectionery. It appears to have originated in the middle of the 19th century, probably in France, although the historian Mary Isin...suggests that it might first have come from Ottoman Turkey. A variety of fondant which had cream amongst its ingredients was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under the name of 'Opera Caramels'. Today, fondant has been reduced to a supporting role in confectionery, largely as a filling for chocolates. When used in this way, it is often referred to as creme, or cream filling; this is a statement about the texture, rather than a reference to the ingredients. A popular way of consuming fondant in the late 20th century is a mint-flavoured, chocolate-coated form intended to be eaten after dinner. Rolled fondant is a type of sugar paste icing...and is used for covering cakes."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2nd edition, 2006 (p. 311-312)

"Fondant is relatively simple to make, and lends itself to many variations in colour and flavour. In the 1890s, various handbooks suggested it as a dainty suitable for making by ladies wishing to earn a little income, both in Britain and North America...Presenting confectionery as a creative pastime which allowed the practitioner to show off expertise and good taste echoed the seventeenth-century ideals fo gentlewomen who could make banqueting conceits. Fondant is now rarely seen without a coating of chocolate, and is no longer considered an exciting novelty...Exploitation of fondant and starch-moulding led to a fin-de-siecle flourish of pastel confectionery in myriad shapes and colours. About 1900, Skuse commented on 'Fondant Cream Work' that, 'this department has developed more rapidly and more extensively than perhaps any other in the business, if we except chocolate, and even then, fondant cream has been of great assistance to the coca bean. ' Ironically, it was fondant which acted as a midwife to chocolate--now the dominating confection. Since 1866, the Bristol company of Joseph Fry and Sons had been selling their Chocolate Cream Bar, filled with fondant. This was an enormous success."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 75-77)

Fondant icing
Fondant icings date to the early 20th century:

"Fondant is a very popular kind of icing. It is a form of boiled icing which subsequently is worked to a creamy consistency. The formula and method for making fondant are stated later. A mixture of granulated sugar, glucose, and water is first boiled to a temperature of 240 degress F. In some formulas a small amount of cream of tartar or citric acid is used in the mix, often replacing the glucose. The sides of the kettle or receptacle in which the boiling is done should be washed down occasionally by means of a brush wet with water. Care chould be taken not to boil the syrup above the specified temperature. At this point is should be poured out on a stone slab, usually marble, which has just been previously mostined with cold water. The sugary mass is allowed to cool down to about 110 degrees F. and is then thoroughly worke back and forth, either by hand or machine, until a smooth, creamy mass is obtained. This treatment results in the formation of very fine crystals of sugar which account for the smoothness and glossy survace of the fondant. A large batch of fondant may be made up at a time and kept in good condition by storing in a clean receptacle and covering with a damp cloth. When it is desired to use this icing, the portion required is removed, and thinned down by warming, while stirring, over a hot water bath. The temrpartue of the fondant during this process should not go over 100 degrees F. otherwise it may lose its gloss and creaminess. The desired flavoring is then added to the fondant and it is ready to apply on the cake. On cooling, it will set nicely. Properly handled, it will not bcome hard and will retain its gloss. APPLICATION. Many of the smaller pieces can be dipped. For this work, a fondant icing is very good. The fondant, being very heavy and almost all sugar, is sometimes too sweet an icing. This may be toned down a bit by the addition of marshmallow, or beaten icing, which also lightness the fondant and makes it more fluff. Fondant sould be applied very thick and should always be used warm. Cakes as large as four inches in diameter may be dipped quickly. Where a number of small pieces are made, dipping is a very good method. The use of fondant is more general on these small pieces; small squares, oblongs, or fancy shapes cut from various cake bases, form the foundation for a great variety of holiday cakes."
---Treatise on Cake Making, Fleischmann Division, Standard Brands Inc. [New York] 1935 (p. 151)

Plastic icing?
Ace of Cakes show features georgeous cakes draped with a substance they call rolled fondant. This artful substance appears to descend from Australian cake decorating traditions, where it was first known as "plastic icing." The earliest references we find to "rolled fondant" in American print appears in the early 1980s.

"In Australia, despite its varied immigrant population, the British cake remained dominant but not in any static and unchanging form. The major change which has been noted in the British trade in the 1890s had its roots in an Australian enthusiasm for sugarcraft and cake-decoration which began in the 1950s...The provided competition classes for decorated cakes and in this way promoted experimentation. A distinctive new style developed. This was based on a change of material. Royal icing was demoted from its pre-eminence as the standard material for covering and decorating all the more important cakes to a mere auxiliary for piping. Two other substances to be used in conjuction with it became essential. For covering there was 'plastic icing,' a cold-mixed alternative to cooked fondant icing, made with glucose, gelatine, glycerine and flavouring, in addition to icing sugar and water. For modelling it was aversion of the ancient sugarpaste...I The Australian Book of Cake Decorating (1973), Bernice Vercoe, one of the leaders of the movement from the 1950s onwards, wrote: 'We do not recommend royal icing for coverings as this mixture is hard and brittle when dry and tends to crack and separate from the cake whe cut', but 'the English still use it'. 'In Australia royal icing is used for pipework only.' Plastic icing, on the other hand, 'remains soft to the bite for long and indefinite periods'...It is also easier to use, being rolled out and draped and conformed to almost any shape; it does not have to be smoothed on moist and allowed to set. The very considerable skill needed to achieve a fine, smooth surface even on regular shapes with royal icing becomes redundant."
---Wedding Cakes and Cultural History, Simon R. Charsley [Routledge:New York] 1992 (p. 24-25)

More from Ms. Vercoe:
"Plastic icing. Gone are the days when the knife bent dangerously before piercing the cake and fear clutched the heart of the 'cutter', wondering if indded, dynamite would be a better substitute to break the cement-like covering strongly defying all efforts to slice neatly. The plastic icing and other fondants used today are easily handled, and give a smooth, dull, satin-like surface which is a delight upon which to work. This icing remains soft to the bite for long and indefinite periods and is use mainly for covering 'special occasion' cakes of a denser nature, usually fruit cake. Plastic icing should never be used to cover a sponge as there is insufficient stability in the cake to support it."
---Australian Book of Cake Decorating, Bernice Vercoe & Dorothy Evans [Paul Hamlyn:Sydney] 1973 (p. 11)
[NOTE: this book contains a recipe for Mixing Plastic Icing. If you would like a copy please let us know.]

"The [Wilton] school teaches the American, Lambeth and Australian styles of cake decorating. Classes also are given in chocolate artistry, pulled sugar, figure piping and cakes for catering. The two-week basic cake-decorating course costs $500, while other courses range from three to five days and cost $150 to $300. The American method--the decorating style first taught by Wilton --emphasizes buttercream, shell borders, swags and piped icing flowers. Australian techniques include rolled fondant coatings, lace work and royal icing flowers, while the Lambeth, or continental, method uses ornate layers of piped-on icing for its rococo effects."
---"Cake Decorating School Remains at Core of Expanded Wilton Enterprises," Phyllis Magida, Chicago Tribune, Apr 30, 1987 (p. 4)

"Last week's listing of summer cooking courses in the city inadvertently omitted Rose Levy Beranbaum at Cordon Rose, 110 Bleecker Street, Apartment 7D, New York 10012. 475-8856. Dessert Baking and Cake Decorating 11 begins June 8. The cost for six sessions is $270. Miss Beranbaum studied at Ecole LeNotre in France. Her course includes several LeNotre desserts, such as Gateau a la Brioche, Genoise, Dacquoise, rolled fondant, marzipan roses, royal icing flowers and ice cream."
---"Cooking School Summer Class," New York Times, Jun 3, 1981, (p. C.16)

Australian recipe & instructions, circa 1956

Fondant Icing To Cover 1lb. Cake
Sift 3 lb. of icing sugar into bowl. Add 2 egg whites, 2 tablespoons glycerine 1/2 lb softened glucose. Beat with a wooden spoon until a stiff mixtuer. Turn out on board sifted with icing sugar. Knead until a workable paste and quite smooth. Colour if desired. Flavour with a few drips of almond or lemon essence. Stand over night. When covered and set decorate lightly with Royal Icing...

To Cover Cake With Fondant Icing
Roll icing 1/4in. thick on sugared board. Wrap round rolling pin. Damp surface of cake as directed. Unroll paste over surface. Press on till perfectly smooth and hand dipped in icing sugar. Damp sides of cake as directed. Cut paste rolled 1/4in. thick into strips wide enough to cover sides. Press same on. Stand overnight to get firm."
---The Schauer Australian Cookery Book, 11th edition [W.R. Smith & Paterson: Brisbane] 1956 (p. 598-599)

You can make your own rolled fondant or purchase it from a cake supply store.

Related foods? Opera creams & icing.

Fruit leather
Food historians trace the history of dried fruit products to ancient middle eastern cooks. Dried figs, raisins, apricots, berries and other fruits were sweetened with honey and enjoyed as snacks. These high-energy portable foods were appreciated by travelers in many parts of the world.

Fruit pastes and jellies likewise originated in this region, probably during the Middle Ages. These jellies evolved into a broad range of sweet treats including jams, marmalades, preserves and candies. Dried fruit pastes (also known as fruit leathers) were known in southern Europe as early as the 16th century. Recipes for fruit pastes traveled northward to England and from there, to the American colonies.

About dried fruits:

"With the exception of the citrus group, most fruits dry extremely well if left out in the hot sun and dry air. The natural sugars in fruit are concentrated when moisture is removed. This made dried fruit particularly attractive when sugar was not known and honey, then the most commonly used sweetener, was not easily available. Originally fruits were dried until they had a hard, desiccated surface, which acted as a valuable deterrent to insects, molds, and other sources of decay...We know that the ancient Greeks loved to eat mashed dried figs mixed with honey and nuts with cups of strong sweet wine...Traditionally they are washed with seawater and dried on the ground in the hot sun. Dates, rich in energy-giving sugar, were regarded by many ancient cultures as sacred. They dry perfectly in the desert sun and can be eaten fresh, fried, or ground into meal to make cakes. The Romans also loved to eat chewy dried foods. They grew to many varieties that Lucius Columella, the first-century author of De Re Rustica, declared they were too numerous to catalog...But in cooler, wetter England, the climate made sun-drying fruit so difficult that indoor drying with ovens or fires was the only alternative. Apples...pears, and plums, could be dried whole over a period of days in cooling bread ovens, but handling them too much meant they burst of split before they were dry. Instead, apples were most commonly sliced in rings, threaded onto strings, and then hung up in the kitchen or dried on the stillroom stove."
---Pickled, Potted and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World, Sue Shephard [Simon & Schuster:New York] 2000 (p. 40-42)

"Ripe soft fruits were lesss easy to candy whole. A recipe of 1587 told how to preserve all kind of fruits, 'that they shall not break in the preserving of them' by laying them between layers of sugar on a flat platter, coving them with a dish, and steaming them over a boiling pot. Later it was more usual to boil the fruits briefly in sugar syrup, and then reduce the latter to a thick consistency before pouring it over them in glass or stoneware jars...Candied fruits, together with other dry and wet sweetmeats, were set ont in little dishes at the banquet of Tudor and Stuart days, and thereafter were eaten as dessert at the end of the second course. They were also offered as refreshments to callers at other times of day. The dry sweetmeats included thick peach or quince marmelades divided into separate lumps, punted with moulds and sugared; pastes of fruit juice and sugar, similarly printed; and dandied fruit chips. Stiff jellies were made from strawberries, raspberries or mulberries crushed in a mortar with sugar, boiled with water, rosewater and isinglass and sieved. They were boxed and would keep all year."
---Food and Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson [Academy Chicago:Chicago IL] 1991 (p. 353-4)

"Apricot leather and Turkish delight are among the fruit pastes that have survived into modern confectionery, especially in Europe, where they are more popular. Except for slight differences in technique involved with varying fruits, the recipes differ little...In English and French cookbooks, Genoa is often credited with recipes for fruit paste. Actually, they were much older; the Arabs, and the Persians before them, had been making them for centuries. In Europe, however, Italy early became preeminent in pastry and confectionery and quite likely confectioners came to England from Genoa, bringing the art with them. (The Arabs first brought the art of working sugar to Spain); one may speculate that early refugees from the Inquisition, who are known to have fled to Genoa, may have been responsible for this center."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1981 (p. 294, 296)

Historic dried fruit/fruit leather recipes:

"Dry Apricots.

Drain them, and turn them into ears, or in round, then bestrew them with sugar in powder, and dry them in a stove."
---The French Cook, Francois Pierre, La Varenne, Englished by I.D.G. 1653, introduced by Philip and Mary Hyman [Southover Press:East Sussex] 2001 (p. 230)

"Paste of Apricots.
Take them very ripe, and pare them; then put them in a pan without water, and stir tem often with a scimmer untill they be very dry. Take them off the fire, and mix them with as much sugar sod into a Conserve as you have of paste."
---ibid (p. 236)

"To make Apricock Chips.

Take your apricocks pared & ston'd, & cut every one into 8 pieces, & take to a pound of apricocks a pound of sugar & half a pint & two spoonfulls of water, beaten very well with the white of an egg. Wett your sugar with some of the water & when it begins to boyl throw in the rest by a spoonfull at a time, not too fast, stirring it not att all. When it is enough take it off the fire & take off the scumm; sift the sugar very fine, then take the apricocks & put them to the sugar. Let them boyle a little & scum them, then take them up one by one and lay them in a basin & pour the liquor upon them, scalding hot. So lett them stand two days and two nights, then lay them on a haire seive & let them draine twelve hours, then take them off & put them on a pie-plate & sett them in an oven just warm, sifting sugar on them."
---The Receipt Book of Mrs. Ann Blencowe, facsimile 1694 edition [Polyanthos:Cottonport LA] 1972 (p. 9)

"To dry Apricotts like prunelloes.
Take a pound of Apricotts, stone them, pare them & strew a quarter of a pound of beaten sugar over & under them. When tis dossolv'd set it over a slow fire to boyl: as they begin to boil, scum & turn them; if any begin to break take them out till the ye [the] rest are enough, then put them into syrup again; ye next day beat them again, & set them to dry on a sieve that ye syrup may run from them. Then crack ye stones & blanch them & put them in. And then put them into a stove or oven that is but warm. Turn them on plates till they are as dry as prunelloes, then dip a cloth in warm water & pott them with it, that they may not be clammy, & then dry them again a little. Between every row you put your gallipots, put a paper dip't in water & clapt dry again, & tye them down close with dry paper. Keep them in a place that's dry but not hot."
---ibid (p. 26)

"To dry Apricocks.

Take a pound of apricocks, a pound of double refined sugar; stone them, pare them, and put them into cold water; when they are all ready, put them into a skillet of hot water, and scald them till they are tender; then drain them very well from the water, and put them in a silver bason; have in readiness your sugar boil'd to sugar again, and pour that sugar over your apricocks; cover them with a silver plate, and let them stand all night; the next day set them over a gentle fire, and let them be scalding hot, turning them often; you must do them twice a-day, till your see them begin to candy; then take them out, and set them in your stove or glasses to dry, heating your stove every day utll they are dry."
---The Complete Housewife or Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion, E. Smith, facsimile 15th edition, originally published in 1753 [T.J. Press:London] 1968 3(p. 202-3)

"To make Apricot Paste

Pare and stone your apricots, boil them in water till they will mash quite small. Put a pound of double-refined sugar in your preserving pan with as much water as will dissolve it, and boil it to sugar again. Take it off the stove and put in a pound of apricots, let it stand till the sugar is melted. Then make it scalding hot, but don't let it boil. Pour it into china dishes or cups, set them in a stove. When they are stiff enough to turn out put them on glass plates. Turn them as you see occasion till they are dry."
---The Experienced English Housekeeper, Elizabeth Raffald [1769], with an introduction by Roy Shipperbottom [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1996 (p. 119)

[18th century]
"112. To make paste of apricocks and pear plums.

Take a pound of Apricocks or pear plums, & put them between 2 dishes with a little rosewater & let ym [them] boyle till they be tender. Then strayn them, & dry them on a chafing dish of coles. Then take as much sugar as they weigh, being boyled to candy height; put them together & stir it, & fashion it on a pie plate in what fashions you pleas. Then stove them, & keep them when they are dry for yr [your] use."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1981 (p. 294)
[NOTE: Other fruit paste recipes in this book include peach, raspases (raspberries), gooseberries, pippins (apples), quinces, cherries, oranges and lemons. If you would like to see all of these recipes ask your librarian to help you find a copy of this book.

"Peach leather.

Take freestone peaches, that are ripe and sweet; pare them, mash them to a pulp after taking out the stones, and weigh it. Break up as many peach kernels as will flavor it to your taste, pound them to a paste, and mix it with the peach pulp. Weigh your sugar, allowing half a pound to every pound of peaches; break it up, put it into a preserving kettle with a very little water, boil and skim it, and then put in your peach pulp; simmer it at least thirty minutes, stirring it very well, and then spread it out in a smooth coat on dishes, and expose them to the sun till dry, turning them over once a day. Sprinkle over each piece a little powdered cinnamon and grated lemon, roll them into a scroll, and keep them in a dry place, exposing them occasionally to the air."
---Kentucky Housewife, Mrs. Lettice Bryan, facsimile reprint 1839 edition [Image Graphics:Paducah KY] (p. 347-8)

"Peach leather.

Take a peck or two of soft freestone peaches, pound them, pass the pulp through a coarse sieve, and to four quarts of pulp add one quart of good brown sugar; mix them well together, and boil for about two minutes; spread the paste on plates, and put them in the sun every day until the cakes look dry, and will leave the plates readily by passing a knife round the edges of the cakes; dust some sugar over the rough side, and roll them up like sweet wafers. If kept in a dry place they will continue sound for some months. If the weather is fine, three days will be enough to dry them."
---The Carolina Housewife, Sarah Rutledge, facsimile reprint of 1847 edition [University of South Carolina:Columbia] 1979 (p. 159)

Want to make fruit leather? Modernized instructions for Medieval Arab Quince paste are published in Barbara Santich's Original Mediterranean Cuisine(p. 170-171). Contemporary instructions for "modern" fruit leather here!

Related confections? Fruit jellies, jams & preserves, jelly beans & Turkish delight.

Food historians puzzle over fudge. Why?

While the history of sweet compact confections (with or without nuts) is ancient, the fudge we Americans enjoy today (especially of the chocolate variety) is a relative newcomer. American confectioners introduced modern fudge to resort-area vacationers in the 1880s. Mackinac Island (Michigan) is particularly known for this confection. Early recipes for home-made fudge are more closely related to early 20th century cake icing than other confections. One of the primary differences between professional and amateur fudge is the equipment. Professionals employed huge marble tables to work their confections into the right consistency. Home cooks (& Ivy League co-eds) simply poured their mixed indredients directly into baking pans and let them cool.

What is fudge"
"Fudge. A semisoft candy made from butter, sugar, and various flavorings, them most usual being chocolate, vanilla, and maple. The candy was first made in New England women's colleges. The origins of the term are obscure. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests it may be a variant of an older word, "fadge," meaning "to fit pieces together." "Fudge" had been used to mean a hoax or cheat since about 1833, and by midcentury "Oh, fudge!" was a fairly innocuous expletive. It has long been speculated that American college women, using candymaking as an excuse to stay up late at night, applied the then-current meaning to the new candy...The word "fudge as a candy first showed up in print in 1896, and by 1908 was commonly associated with women's colleges, as in "Wellesley Fudge,"..."Divinity fudge" with egg whites and often, candied cherries, came along about 1910 and was especially popular during the holidays. The name probably referred to its "divine" flavor."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar Friedman:New York] (p. 135) [NOTE: The Irish recipe for "fadge" makes an apple potato cake. It was traditionally served on the feast of Samhain (Halloween).]

"The addition of dairy products [to Scottish tablet] was a development which contributing more than must flavour...This is exploited by fudge, a confection which relies on similar ingredients and principles to tablet, but is richer, softer and requires a slightly lower temperature. On first tasting, the similarities seem overwhelming, both in flavour...and general textures. It is easy to assume that they share a common origin; but the derivation of the name fudge and the origins of the sweet are both obscure. Fudge as now understood seems to have travelled east to Britain from North America. Anecdotal evidence links it to women's colleges in the laste nineteenth century, and most early recipes include chocolate. It is possible that Scottish migrants took the idea of milk-based tablet to North America. Whether these were influenced by fudge-like mixtures of brown sugar and nuts from Creole cuisine of the southern states is unclear. Fudge appears to have been taken up by confectioners and large companies some years later. Skuse, who actively collected formulae, including North American ones, did not give one for fudge in the early editions of his Confectioners Handbook, but recipes first appear in British books in the first decade of this century."
---Sugar-Plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004(p. 72)

"Fudge, which denotes a sort of soft, somewhat toffee-like sweet made by boiling together sugar, butter, and milk, is a mystery word. It first appeared, in the USA, at the end of the nineteenth century, when it was used for a kind of chocolate bonbon', and by 1902 the journal The Queen was recording that the greatest "stunt" among college students is to make Fudge. It is generally assumed to have been an adaptation of the verb fudge, in the sense make inexpertly, botch. But this merely begs the question, as the origin of the verb, too, is uncertain."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 133)

It is quite likely enterprising co-eds found "alternative" ways to melt store-bought chocolate/cocoa (Baker's, Hershey's), adding whatever ingredients they had on hand, to approximate the semi-soft, delicious confections they tasted on family holiday. Their concoctions probably tasted pretty good. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Most recipes are not invented, they evolve. Compare this recipe for "chocolate caramel" with those below for "fudge":

[1884] Chocolate Caramels
"One cup of molasses, half a cup of sugar, one quarter of a pound of chocolate, cut fine, half a cup of milk, and one heaping tablespoonful of butter. Boil all together, stirring all the time. When it hardens in cold water, pour into shallow pans, as it cools cut in small squares."
---Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln [1884] [Dover Publications:Mineola NY] 1996 (p. 390)

Two of the earliest recipes we have for [homemade] fudge are these:

[1893] Fudges
"Four cups granulated sugar; one cup cream; one cup water; one-half cake chocolate; one-half cup butter. Cook until it just holds together, then add two teaspoonfuls extract of vanilla and pour into pans, not buttered. When cool enough to bear finger in, stir it until it no longer runs. It should not grain, but be smooth. Cut into squares."---From Mrs. J. Montgomery Smith, of Wisconsin, Alternate Lady Manager
---Favorite Dishes: A Columbian Autograph Souvenir Cookery Book, Carrie V. Schulman, facsimile edition, introductions by Reid Badger and Bruce King [University of Illinois Press:Chicago] 2001 (p. 197)

"Vassar girls not only indulge freely in 'sweets' of every known variety, but they get up new recipes whenever their sated palats demand a change. The following is the reicpe for 'fudge,' the latest confectionery dainty:
Two cups of sugar, one cup of milk, a piece of butter one-half the size of an egg, and a teaspoonful of vanilla extract. The mixture is cooked until it begins to get grimy. Then it is taken from the fire, stirred briskly and turned into buttered tins. Fudge may be eaten hot or cold, but it is never so truly delicious as when, at the witching hour of midnight, it is first removed from the gas jet or alcohol lamp and served on bits of cardboard, or portions of a manicure set, bubbling hot, to a group of maidens in night attire."
---"'Fudges' Are Vassar Chocolates," Los Angeles Times, May 11, 1896 (p. 2)


4 ounces of chocolate
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoonful of vanilla
1/2 cup of milk
1 rounding tablespoonful of butter
Put the sugar, butter, chocolate and milk in a saucepan over the fire until thoroughly melted. Boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture hardens when dropped into cold water; take from the fire, add the vanilla, and turn quickly out to cool. When cold, cut into squares."
---Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book, Sarah Tyson Rorer [Arnold and Company:Philadelphia] 1902 (p. 629)

"The name fudge is applied to a large group of candies made of sugar boiled with water, milk, or cream, from 230 degrees F. To 238 degrees F., and stirred or worked with a paddle until candy becomes firm. If stirred while still hot, the resulting candy is coarse and granular. To prevent this, the syrup should be cooled in the saucepan in which it is cooked, or poured out upon a marble slab, platter, or agate tray that has been slightly moistened with a piece of wet cheesecloth. It should not be disturbed until cool. It should then be stirred with a wooden spoon, or worked with a spatula forward and lifting up the mass, turning it over and bringing it back, until the whole begins to get stiff. At this stage, turn into a pan, or, better still, leave the candy between bars on wax paper on a board, regulating the size of the open space according to the amount of candy and the thickness desired."
The Candy Cook Book, Alice Bradley [Little Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 49)
[NOTE: this book contains the following recipes recipes for fudge: chocolate, cocoa, sour cream, chocolate acorns, chocolate Brazil nut, chocolate marshmallow, chocolate walnut, condensed milk, cream nut, plum pudding, sultana, caramel, cocoanut, cocoanut cream, coffee, coffee cocoanut, fruit, ginger, marshmallow, maple marshmallow, maple chocolate, maple nut, praline, maple cream, walnut maple, pecan maple, orange, peanut butter, raisin, raspberry, vanilla, nut, vanilla opera, rainbow, maraschino opera, orange flower opera, pistachio, orange opera, genessee, brown sugar (penuche), fig penuche, fruit penuche, marshmallow penuche, pecan penuche, peanut penuche, Postum penuche (with instant Postum cereal), raisin penuche, double fudge (I & II), divinity, sea foam, Grapenuts divinity (also a cereal), cream mints, cherry puffs, nut puffs, and pineapple puffs.

Many people have asked us for the "original" recipe for Hershey's Cocoa Fudge. Newspaper and magazine articles confirm the recipe was printed on the back of the can periodically from the 1940s to the middle 1960s. We find no evidence this popular recipe was printed in local newspapers. Most likely? To encourage consumers to purchase the product. Recipes for Hershey's Cocoa Fudge appear in later corporate cooking booklets: Hershey's Cocoa Cookbook p. 57 [1979] & Ideals Hershey's Chocolate and Cocoa Cookbook p. 45 [1982]. Are they the same as the original "back of the box?" The answer appears to be yes.

Articles in "readers exchange" columns confirm this was the recipe printed on the product in the 1950s-1960s:

"Paula Gross asked for the cocoa fudge recipe that appeared on the Hershey cocoa tin years ago and that included the wording "stirring constantly until mixture comes to a rolling boil." Several readers shared the recipe, adding that they had used it for many years. Lois Oviatt copied it from a can bought in 1965. Muriel Jewett notes that this delicious fudge takes longer to cook than most, so be patient and stir constantly... Recipe: Rich cocoa fudge from Hershey's label.

Rich Cocoa Fudge
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine ( 1/2 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil; butter foil. Set aside. In heavy 4-quart saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa and salt; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil, without stirring, to 234 degrees or until syrup, when dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water. (Bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan.) Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool at room temperature to 110 degrees (lukewarm). Beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and loses some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool. Cut into squares. Makes about 36 pieces or 1 3/4 pounds. Nutty rich cocoa fudge: Beat cooked fudge as directed. Immediately stir in 1 cup chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts and quickly spread into prepared pan. Marshmallow-nut cocoa fudge: Increase cocoa to 3/4 cup. Cook fudge as directed. Add 1 cup marshmallow creme with butter and vanilla. Do not stir. Cool to 110 degrees (lukewarm). Beat 10 minutes; stir in 1 cup chopped nuts and pour into prepared pan. (Fudge does not set until poured into pan.) From: Verna Reed of Homosassa."
---"Chocolate lovers, this one's for you," Anne Long, St. Petersburg Times, July 8, 1999 (pg. 5D)

Related recipes?
Divinity, Chocolate brownies & Chocolate cake.

Motto rock
The edible form of motto relates to a confection or candy. They originated in Great Britain and were also popular in the USA in the 19th century.
Conversation Hearts are the modern interpretation. Motto Wafers are not edible. They are archaic stationery products.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines motto thusly:
"Motto 4. U.S. A sweet wrapped in fancy paper together with a saying or short piece of verse. See also motto candy n., motto kiss n. at Compounds 2. Cf. cockle n.2 4. Obs. 1835 Southern Lit. Messenger 1 358, I only ate..a few macaronies and mottoes. 1856 F. S. Cozzens Sparrowgrass Papers iv. 42 And that lady..went home with her pocket well stuffed with mottoes. 1860 North-West (Port Townsend, Washington) 5 July 3/3 Candies, Gum drops, Mottoes.... motto candy n. U.S. (now rare) = sense 4. 1857 Harper's Weekly 28 Mar. 196/2 Here is the list..a glass jar with nameless candies rolled up in ladies' curl papers; similar jar with lemon drops;..1 bottle of motto candies. 1886 Harper's New Monthly Mag. 72 625/1 Many groups of lads and lasses..exchanged notes, threw one another motto candies, and even kept up conversations in under-tones."

"Kissing comfits , as detailed by Robert May in 1685, were sugar paste containg musk, civet, ambergris, and orris powder. These were printed in moulds or rolled into little pellets and then squeezed flat with a seal...The combination of sugar and mottoes continued, Hannah Glasse gave instructions 'to make little things of sugar, with devices in them. These were made from the pieces of sugar paste, tinted whatever colour was preferred, 'in what shapes you the middle of them have little pieces of paper, with some pretty smart sentences wrote on them; they will in company make much mirth.' But the writing migrated from paper to the sweet itself with the Victorian fashion for 'conversation lozenges'. Those who were tongue-tied could always offer their companion a little piece of sugar paste printed with some suitable inscription. 'How do you flirt?' "Can you polka?' and 'Love me' were amongst those available from Terry's in York; for those wanting to make a really positive response, a large medallion moulded with a heart and the words 'I will' was available. Another novelty was reminiscent of Hannah Glasse's little things with devices in them. As advertised by the firm of Thomas Handisyde in the East End of London, these were 'Handisydes Secret Charms suck carefully and the secret message will appear'. Handisyde produced various shapes and sizes of conversation lozenges, the larger ones cut in hearts, circles, and elegant oblongs with ogee edges. The temperance movement used the idea of motto lozenges to promote their message. 'Drink is the ruin of man'...The inscriptions were added to the sweets by printing the tops with stamps dipped in dyes."
---Sugar Plums and Sherbet: The Preshistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 146-147)

Motto Rock instructions, Skuse's Complete Confectoner [1890s].

Motto Wafers
The Oxford English Dictionary offers several definitions of the word "wafer." The first two are culinary, the third relates to a product used to seal stationery. This term was used in the 17th-19th centuries:
"Wafer: 3. a. A small disk of flour mixed with gum and non-poisonous colouring matter, or of gelatine or the like similarly coloured, which when moistened is used for sealing letters, attaching papers, or receiving the impression of a seal. 1635 [see wafer-seal n. at Compounds 1c]. 1712 J. Addison Spectator No. 305. 6 Pen and Ink, Wax and Wafers, with the like Necessaries for Politicians. 1749 Johnson Let. 12 July (1992) I. 43 You frighted me..with your black wafer, for I..was afraid your letter had brought me ill news. 1797 W. Johnston tr. J. Beckmann Hist. Inventions & Discov. I. 226 Mr. Speiss [Ger.] has made an observation..that the oldest seal with a red wafer, he has ever yet found, is on a letter written by D. Krapf, at Spires, in the year 1624, to the government at Bayreuth. 1801 M. Edgeworth Belinda II. xv. 99 Lady put wafers into several notes that she had been writing. 1815 J. Smith Panorama Sci. & Art II. 729 In every kind of tracing, the different papers which are employed upon each other, should be fastened together by wafers. 1848 Thackeray Vanity Fair liii. 474 Poor men always use messengers instead of the post. Who has not had their letters, with the wafers wet, and the announcement that a person is waiting in the hall? 1883 S. C. Hall Retrospect I. 15 To put a wafer on a letter was a thing seldom done."

"Piety, Wisdom, Wit, and Fancy.--A series of Shakespearian mottoes, stamped on Note Paper, and Wafers, adapted to elegant epistolary intercourse in general. Boxes, No. I and II, are now ready, each containing a quire of the best Cream envelopes and 24 Motto Wafers to correspond with paper, all enclosed in an elegant box for 1s 6d. Sent per post, free to any part of the United Kingdom, for 24 Postage Stamps. A box of 50 of the Motto Wafers, separate, 6d. A box of 50 superb wafers, with your initials in full (2 or 3 letters), made to order, 6d.--either sent per post free, for 7 Postage Stamps.. H Dolby, Heraldic Engraver and Stationer, 28 Great Pulteney street, Golden-square, five doors from Broadwoods. not a shop. Trade supplied."
---advertisement, The Critic [London] June 20, 1846 (p. 728)

"Letter and Cap Paper, from $1 per ream up to $3, by the quire from 6 to 25 cents; also, a large assortment of Paper and materials for making Flowers, with a great variety of Note Paper envelopes and motto wafers, with a full assortment of plain and fancy stationery at 20 per cent less than usual prices, wholesale and retail at Richard Magee's Cheap Bookstore, corner of Second and Walnut." [presumably Philadelphia]
---advertisement, Saturday Evening Post, October 27, 1849; 29,1474, American Periodicals (p. 0_003)
[NOTE: What was a "quire?" The OED states: "1. Originally: a small book or pamphlet, esp. one consisting of a set of four sheets of parchment or paper folded in two so as to form eight leaves; (also) a short poem, treatise, etc., which is or could be contained in such a book. Later more generally: any book (containing literary work). Now rare (chiefly Sc. and lit.)."]
---"Domestic Summary," The Independent (magazine published in New York & Boston), August 7, 1856 (p. 251)

Opera fudge
Opera fudge is one of many delicious culinary specialties connected with Lebanon, PA. This fondant candy is a seasonal treat, traditionally made from Thanksgiving to Easter (it melts in the hotter months). In other parts of the country these candies are called opera drops [Boston], french creams, and opera caramels. Cincinnati's famous
Opera Creams are a chocolate-coated fondant.

Why "opera?"
There are several theories explaining why these candies are connected to the opera, none of them conclusive:

"Rueppel isn't sure why it's called opera fudge but doesn't think it has anything to do with fat ladies, at least not the singing kind. ''I think it's because it's a real rich fudge,'' Rueppel said. ''The opera is something rich - at the top - like opera fudge.''
---"Sugarm Cream, Chocolate--Of Course It's Good," Steve Stephens, The Columbus Dispatch, February 28, 1994 (p. 8c)

"Opera drops were chocolates with vanilla cream filling, kind of conical, haystack shaped. You would by them at intermission at the opera. There was a British brand called Between the Acts that you could buy at Bailey's in Boston."
---Dictionary of American Regional English, Frederick G. Cassidy & Joan Houston Hall, volume III (p. 890)

"Fondant...A variety of fondant which had cream amongst its ingredients was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries under the name of 'Opera Caramels'."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 312)

The name "opera" seems indeed to be a 20th century invention, evidenced by the fact that Skuse's Complete Confectioner [an important industry text, London: 1898?] makes no reference to them. Skuse's also does not use the word "fudge."

Opera creams, Cincinnati style
There is no question confections called "Opera Creams" are a Cincinnati specialty, extending to southern Illinois and western Pennsylavania. Our culinary history sources confirme these confections existed in the early 20th century but do not specifically credit Papas (or any other person/place) with the invention of this candy. In fact, most foods are not invented. They evolve. Why are they called

"Opera Creams

These are beginning to outdo fudge in popularity. Melt together slowly three fourths cup of milk, two cups of sugar, and two squares of chocolate; then boil for three or four minutes, flavor and put in a cold place. The pan should not be touched for at least an hour or until it is absolutely cold. Then beat until it becomes resistant and creamy. Drop into cournd balls on paper.-[L.E.G., Vassar College.]"
---"Dormitory Favorites," Christian Advocate, August 3, 1905; 80,31; American Periodicals (p. 1242)
[NOTE: This article cites Good Housekeeping as the source of this recipe.]

"Opera Creams.

Into two cups granulated sugar stir enough milk to dissolve it; add one-quarter teaspoon cream of tartar and put over slow fire. Stir constatnly while boiling, until a little dropped in cold water is like putty. Pour into pans and set aside until cold and firm; beat to a soft doughlike mass, knead, lay on a sugared pastry board, roll into a sheet one-half inch thick, and cut into squares."
---"Marion Harland's Helping Hand: Opera Creams," Marion Harland, Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1913 (p. 13)

"Opera Creams

Melt together three-fourths cup of milk, two cups sugar, two squares chocolate. Boil three or four minutes, flavor and set in cool place until absolutely cold, then beat until it becomes creamy. Drop into balls on waxed paper."
---Carbondale Cook Book, prepared by the Young Lady Workers of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Carbondale, PA, 7th edition, revised and enlarged [International Textbook Press:Scranton PA] 1924 (p. 193)

"Opera Bonbons.
Color and flavor as desired small portions of Opera Fondant. With the hands shape in small balls, putting a piece of nut, cherry, or marshmallow in the center of each ball. Melt another portion of Opera Fondant in a double boiler over hot water, stirring constantly. Add half a teaspoon of vanilla, and drop centers one at a time in the fondant. Remove with candy dipper or two-tined fork to waxed paper. When enough white bonbons have been made, add a little pink or green color paste and raspberry or almond extract to taste to the melted fondant. Dip more of the centers, stirring the fondant, and reheating it if it becomes too stiff. Then add to remaining fondant one square melted chocolate, and dip remaining balls. In this way a great variety of attractive bonbons may be produced. Other flavors and colors may be used for greater variety, and tops may be decorated with small pices of nuts or cherries if desired. The centers may also be dipped in melted coating chocolate. White Fondants 1, II , or III may be used instead of Opera Fondant."
---The Candy Cook Book, Alice Bradley [Little, Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 98-99)

"Chocoalte Dipt Opera Creams..."
---display ad, Putnam's, American Israelite [Cincinnati OH], November 19, 1931

"Vanilla Opera Fudge.
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Put sugar and cream in a saucepan, stir until it dissolves, add cream of tartar, and boil, stirring carefully to prevent burning, to 238 degrees F., or until candy forms a soft ball when tried in cold water. Move thermometer often, that candy many not burn underneath. Pour on marble slab, agate tray, or large platter which has been slightly moistened with a damp cloth, and leave until cool. With broad spatula or butter paddle work the candy back and forth until it becomes creamy. It may take some time, but it will surely change at last if it was boiled to the right temperature. Cover with a damp cloth for half an hour, then add vanilla, working it well with the hands. Press into a small shallow box lined with wax paper, let stand to harden, then cut in squares. Other flavors may be used instead of vanilla, and the candy be tinted with color paste to correspond. Sometimes the fudge is divided into several portions, each flavored and colored differently, and pressed into a box of thin layers, then cut in squares when hard. Or each portion may be packed separately to give more variety when arranged on a bonbon dish."
---The Candy Book, Alice Bradley [Little, Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 67)

"Chocolate Opera Fudge

Put three squares of bitter chocolate in to a saucepan and set it over warm water; when melted add alternately and gradually two cupfuls of sugar and one cupful of medium cream, also one teaspoonful of corn syrup and a pinch of salt. Boil to 230 deg. Fahr. Pour on marble slab, let cool slightly and work like fondant. When it can be handled knead till creamy and flavor with a little orange extract, then shape into little balls and let crust."
---"Requested Recipes," Marian Manners, Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1931 (p. A7)

Related recipe? Divinity.

Gibraltar rock
Gibraltar (aka Gibraltar Rock) descends from ancient Arab boiled sugar confectionery. Losenges, penides, sticks (peppermint & fruit), drops and
lollipops are popular examples of this confectionery family. According to the Oxford English Dictionary confections called Gibraltar date in print to 1831. This is curious, since we find conflicting evidence suggesting this product existed in the 17th century. Indeed, modern hard candies, as we know them today, were first produced in the 17th century.

The connection between professionally manufactured candy products and military campaigns is an interesting and persistent phenomenon. Gibraltar Rock took its name from the Battle of Gibraltar, 1607. During World War II, American confectionery companies were crafted hard candies shaped like guns, soldiers and tanks.

What is rock?
"Rock.--Under this name flourishes a kind of sweetmeat composed of sugar, and sometimes mixed with almonds and various flavours. The sugar is first of all boiled, then it is poured out on a cold marble slab, and worked up into a rough mass. The name "rock" is also given to another kind of sweetmeat, in which the sugar whilst hot and soft is repeatedly pulled over a smooth iron hook, until it becomes white and pourous. This rock is flavored in various ways."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875 (p. 762)

"Gibraltar,...a kind of sweetmeat; a piece of this. More fully Gibraltar Rock. 1831 Hawthorne, in Hawthorne & Wife (1885) 1. 126, I send Susannah's Gibraltars. There were fourteen of them originally. 1851. Mayhew. Lond. Labour I 203 Gibraltar rock and Wellington pillars used to be flavoured with ginger but these 'sweeties' are exploded."
---Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition

"William Finemore also detailed many pulled-sugar recipes, several of which showed the influence of the Napoleonic Wars on confectionery fashions. Finemore was from Devonport, a major naval centre; desire for identificaiton with national heroes must have been particulalry strong amongst small boys in the area. Wellington Sticks' were striped red, blue and yellow; "Buonaparte's ribs' were striped sweets cut in sticks and flattened. Gibraltar rock' and North Pole' were very complex, made from sugar which was divided into batches, some coloured red and some plain, some pulled and some left clear, assembled in patterns, pulled out and cut; the resulting sticks were then put together in a bundle, cased with more sugar nad pulled out again. He lists nearly two dozen different pulled-sugar sweets: bulls eyes in yellow or pink with clear stripes, lemon or mint rock, Nelsons Balls, pink or white pellets' and artful pieces of pulled, patterned sugar, requiring skills which could have just as easily been used to make letters...By the nineteenth century, flavours were used. According to Mayhew, in London during the 1850s: The flavouring--or scent' as I heard it in the trade--now most in demand is peppermint. Gibraltar rock and Wellington pillars used to be flavoured with ginger, but these sweeties' are exploded.'"
---Sugar-Plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 89, 90-91)
[NOTE: This book is the best source for leaning the history/evolution of hard candies. If you want more details, your local public librarian will be happy to help you obtain a copy.]

"They had in Salem two kinds of candies called Black Jack and Gibraltar, the latter "the artisocrat of Salem confectionery." It (the Gibraltar) gazes upon chocolate and sherbet and says "before you were, I was. After you are not, I shall be." You never soiled your fingers when you ate Gibraltar, but you might smear yourself with Black Jack. Gibraltar was not precisely conservative; it changed as to its flavors, so once a charming old Salem Dame said: "I known I must be growing old, because a peppermint Gibraltar is so comforting to me." We are to believe that these two confections are still Salem Institutions, for Mrs. Bates intimates that Witch Hall, the Museum, and Chart-street burying ground might all go, but while there was a house left in Salem village Black Jack and Gibraltar would stick."
---In By-Gone Days, New York Times, June 13, 1886 (p. 5)
[NOTE: This article describes the book Old Salem, by Eleanor Putnam, edited by Arlo Bates, Houghton-Mifflin & Co.. Ask your local public librarian to help you obtain a copy.]

Peppermint and lemon have been traditional flavorings for hard candies from the beginning. Earliest applications were for medicinal purposes. Slow release of soothing flavors have long been used to soothe queasy stomaches, quell coughs, aid digestion, and adminster medicine.

Food historians tell us halva (halvah, hulwa) is an ancient confection originating in the Middle East.
"Halva. Name of a hugely varied range of confections made in the Middle East, Central Asia, and India, derived from the Arabic root hulw, sweet. In 7th century Arabia, the word meant a paste of dates kneaded with milk. By the 9th century, possibly by assimilating the ancient Persian sweetmeat afroshag, it had acquired a meaning of wheat flour or semolina, cooked by frying or toasting and worked into a more or less stiff paste with a sweetening agent such as sugar syrup, date syrup, grape syrup, or honey by stirring the mass together over a gentle heat. Usually a flavouring was added such as nuts, rosewater, or pureed cooked carrots (still a popular flavouring). The finished sweetmeat would be cut into bars or moulded into fanciful shapes such as fish. Halva spread both eastwards and westwards, with the result that is is made with a wide variety of ingredients, methods, and flavourings..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 367)
[NOTE: This books has much information on the different types of halva made in different parts of the world. If you need details, please ask your librarian to help you obtain copies of this page]
"One...Muslim innovation that spread through the subcontinent [India] with remarkable speed--an addition to sweetmeats. Just as Spain had learned of marzipan and nougat from the Arabs, so India discovered the delights of sugar candy. (The word candy' is derived from the Arabic for sugar.) Confections of all kinds, made from sugar alone, from sugar and almonds, from sugar and rice flour, from sugar and coconut, became immensely popular as did sweet desserts such as halwa...Muglai halwa probably resembled modern halva--based on pureed vegetables or grain, enriched with sugar and almonds--more than than Baghdad original, which was more like an almond-spiked fudge."
---Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers Press:New York] 1988 (p. 272)

"Halvah...A confection of mashed sesame seeds and honey. Halvah is of Turkish origin and was first sold in America at the turn of the century by Turkish, Syrian, and Armenian street vendors...The candy soon became a favorite of the Jewish immigrants in New York, and today halvah is still associated with Jewish delicatessens, even though one of the most popular commercial brands still depicts a turbaned Turk on its wrapper. The word was first printed in 1840."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 148)

One of the primary ingredients of halva is sesame seed. These seeds were known to ancient cooks and incorporated into many recipes.

" of the first oil-yielding plants to be taken into cultivation, in Egypt or the Near East. Wild species with one exception, are African; but there is a secondary source of diversity' in India, where sesame was introduced in very early times. The name sesame is one of the few words to have passed into modern languages from ancient Egyptian, in which it was sesmt."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 713)


"Halwa Al.
Two pounds of sugar, half a pound of bees' honey, half a bound of sesame oil and four ounces of starch. Stir it middling fine [one the fire until it takes consistency, then spread it on a smooth tile]. Put four ounces of sugar on it, and three ounces of finely pounded pistachios, and musk and rose-water: Spread this filling on it, then cover it with another cloak of halwa and cut it up into triangles. It is as delicious as can be. If you wish, make the filling into meatballs like luqma [luqmat al-qadi], and cover it was the mentioned halawa, and it is saciniyya."
---Medieval Arab Cookery: Essays and Translations, by Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry & Charles Perry [Prospect Books:Devon] 2001 (p. 456)

"Halwa Yabisa.
Dissolve sugar in a cauldron. On every two pounds of it put two pounds of honey and a quarter of a pound of rose-water, and cook it on a quiet fire until it is chewy in the mouth. Leave it a little while, and throw it on a smooth stone tile and knead it with about two ounces of crushed peeled almonds or pistachios. Leave it until it cooks, and take it up. If you want, feed it with them [the almonds and pistachios], and add hazelnuts and toasted chickpeas. It comes out nice. If you want, colour it with a little saffron before it comes off the fire. You might ound the almonds fine and mix them with it, and you might take it form the tile and beat it on an iron peg pounded into the wall until it turns white and knead it with the peeled pounded pistachios. Make it into cakes and geometrical shapes [tamathil] and so forth. You might colour it while it is on the fire, either with saffron or cinnabar, whichever colour you want. There is a kind kneaded with toasted sesame seeds or poppy seed, and it made into tamathil as we did before."
---ibid (p. 455)
[[NOTE: This source contains several halwa recipes. Your local public librarian will be happy to help you obtain a copy.]

Hulwa recipe with modern instructions, Cariodoc's Miscellany

Horehound candy
Many candies began as
medicine. Hard candies, especially. Lozenges have long been appreciated for slowly releasing healing herbs with pleasant taste (sugar, lemon or mint). Modern cough drops descend from this tradition. Food historians confirm horehound was appreciated for its medicinal properties by ancient peoples. The earliest "recipes" were medicines, generally sweetened syrups. The first print reference we find for candy (hardened syrup) are from the 17th century. Perhaps the [hard] candy form evolved as a convenience.

Joseph Dommers Vehling's tranlsation of Apicius [1-3rd century AD] contains an glossary item for horehound, but no recipes specifically titled such.

A sampler of early recipes:

[15th century Italy] "Book III, 42. On Horehound Horehound is what the Greeks call prachion because of its bitterness, and it is numbered by them in the first rank of herbs. When its seeds and leaves are ground, they are effective against snakes. They settle pains of the chest or side or coughs. Castor tells of two kinds of horehound, black, which he approves more, and white. From either, when they are chopped fine and mixed with flour, tidbits are made which we eat for health at the first course, after they have been fried in oil in a pan. They are believed to get rid of worms, and for this reason they are often served to children."
---On Right Pleasure and Good Health, Platina [originally published in the 15th century], critical edition and translation by Mary Ella Milham [Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies:Tempe AZ] 1998 (p. 205, 207)

[17th century England]
"For the phthisic.

...take horehound, violet leaves, and hyssop, of ech a good handful, seethe them in water, and put thereto a little saffron, liquorice, and sugar candy; after they have boiled a good while, then strain it into an earthen vessel, and let the sick drink thereov six spoonful at a time morning and evening..."
---The English Housewife, Gervase Markham [originally published 1615], edited by Michael R. Best McGill-Queen's University Press:Montreal] 1994, Chapter 1, recipe 88 (p. 23)

[18th century America]
"246. To Make Sirrup of Horehound.

Take hore hound, 2 handfulls; coltsfood, one handfull; time, penny royall, & callamint, of each 2 drams; licorish, one ounce & a halfe; figgs & raysons of the sun, of each 2 ounces; anny seeds & fennell seeds, of each a quarter of an ounce. boyle all these in a gallon of faire water till it comes to a pottle or 3 pintes, then strayne it & take 3 pound of sugar & 3 whites of eggs & clarefy with liquor, & soe boyle it to a sirrup."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1981, Booke of Sweetmeats, (p. 376)

The earliest print references we find for horehound candy in American cookbooks are from the 19th century:

[1845] Houskeeper's Assistant, Ann Allen
Horehound candy

[1857] Great Western Cookbook, Anna Collins
Horehound candy

[1864] Complete Confectioner, Eleanor Parkinson
Horehound candy

[1896] Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Fannie Merritt Farmer
Horehound candy

"Horehound Candy

1/2 ounce dried horehound
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Put water and horehound, which may be procured of a druggist in one-ounce packages, in a saucepan and let stand one minute. Strain through double cheesecloth; these whould be half a cup of liquid. To liquid add sugar and cream of tartar, and stir until mixture boils. Wash down crystals from sides of saucepan with a butter brush dipped in cold water, and boil to 300 degrees F., or until it is very brittle when tried in cold water. Remove at once from the fire, and pour into buttered pan one fourth inch thick, or pour between candy bars. As soon as it cools a little, loosen it from the pan, and mark in small squares. Go over the marks with a knife until candy is cold, then break with the hands. Pack in air-tight jar, and keep in a cool place, or wrap in wax paper."
---The Candy Book, Alice Bradley [Little, Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 130-131)

Laura Mason, Britsih confectionery history expert, briefly mentions 'horehound taffy' in the late 1890s. She does not offer an exact date/place/person credited for making the first batch. (Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Prospect Books:Devon 2004, p. 183)


"Horehound--The bitter extract of horehound...comes from an aromatic plant of the mint family. It is an Old World native now naturalized in North America. Horehound is used in candies, cordials, and cough medicines and has been cultivated since antiquity for other medicinal uses. It is also said to have been employed as a condiment."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2001, Volume Two (p. 1786-7)

"Horehound, wild plant whose leaves and seeds were used in a medicinal wine effective against coughs and colds. An amphora at the Roman fort at Carpow, Scotland, had contained horehound wine."
---Food in the Ancient World From A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 180)

"Horehound, often called white horehound, Marrubium vulgare, a plant native to Mediterranean Europe and C. Asia, and naturalized in N. America. Its leaves make a tea, described by Grieve (1931) as an appetizing and healthful drink, popular in Norfolk and other country districts'. It is also used in candies."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 386)

"Marrubium Vulgare L. -Hoarhound...Branched at the base, hoarhound is a clumpy, spreading perennial, reaching a height of about 2 feet, and is covered with a white, felty or wooly pubescence, especially on the stems & underside of the leaves. The leaves are ovate to round, narrowing to the petiole, rugose, crenately toothed, the maximum length 2 inches. The minute white flowers are in whorls in the axils of the upper leaves, the calyx has ten teeth...The plant is bitter-aromatic. An infusion of the leafy tops, fresh or dried, is reputed to be a remedy for indigestion, coughs, colds, & sore throat; it may be sweetened with honey. A candy is made by boiling sugar in a decoction of the leaves & stems. The plant is ornamental and is also attractive to bees. Hoarhound is propagated by division, layers, cuttings, & seeds. It is best adapted to light, calcareous, rather dry soil & full sun. It may be frost-killed in cold winters. Plants should be spaced 12 inches apart. Hoarhound is native in the temperate regions of the Old World & is naturalized throughout a large part of the United States & southern Canada."
---Garden Spice & Wild Pot Herbs, Walter C. Muenscher and Myron A. Rice [Cornell University Press:Ithaca NY] 1955 (p. 97-99)

White Horehound/M. Grieve [1931]
Black Horehound/M. Grieve [1931]

Why the name?
"Hoarhound, or Horehound: a bush plant of the mint fmaily native to the south of Europe and Eastern countries, growing about a foot high, and with round, wrinkled, almost hairy ("hoary") leaves, which contain a bitter principle and volatile oil of aromatic but not very agreeable smell. It is used as a flavor for candy and also in medicinal syrups for its curative properties for coughs and other affections."
---The Grocer's Encyclopedia, Artemas Ward [New York] 1911 (p. 301)

Pictures of the plant: 1 & 2

Jelly, jams & preserves
The origin and evolution of sweet fruit jelly, jams and preserves if fascinating. We are also including our notes on savory jelly (calve's & isinglass). If you need more information please let us know! The primary differences between these items are the texture of the product and the method of manufacture. Jam contains small chunks of fruit, jelly is almost perfectly smooth, preserves contain large chunks or whole pieces of fruit. Sweet jelly requires fruit juice with a *jelling* agent (
isinglass, calves foot, gelatine powder). Jam and preserves are basically real fruit preserved in sugar. Definitions and products have changed over time. Gelatin is a much broader and more complicated topic, as the ingredients have also changed through time. Savory jellies (most notably aspic) proliferated from Medieval times to the early 20th century. These notes concentrate on sweet products.

Modern definitions:
"The word "jelly" derives from the Middle English, geli, and ultimately from the Latin gelare, "to freeze."..."Jam" differs from jelly in being made with fresh or dried fruit rather than juice and has a thicker texture..."Preserves" differ from jams and jellies by containing pieces of the fruit."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 171)

Historic definitions & evolution:
Jam, preserves & conserves
"Jam remains one of the unsolved mysteries of culinary etymologies. No conclusive evidence has been found for the origin of the word, but most authorities agree that the likeliest explanation is that it describes the way jam is made by crushing or jamming' fruit together. Two early references seem to support this: first Hannah Glasse in her Art of Cookery (1747), using a curious Italianate spelling: "To make Raspberry Giam."...The word begins to emerge in the 1730s; the first record of it is in the Dictionarium Britannicum (1736) of Nathan Baily, who essays a fanciful derivation from the French j'aime, (I love it', on the ground that that was what children used to day...formerly, when they liked any Thing'. Before that, other words used for fruits (and other parts of plants, such as flowers) preserved in sugar included conserva, a borrowing from Italian or medieval Latin, first recorded in 1502, comfiture (1558), and the still current conserve (1530) and preserve (1600). Nowadays we take jam with bread as a matter of course, but until comparatively recently it was a luxury...Up until the nineteenth century, fruit preserves might just as often be eaten on their own, as a dessert, or as a filling for tarts..."
---An A to Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford Univeristy Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 170-1)

"Jam, a mixture of fruit and sugar boiled together, poured into jars, and sealed to give a long-keeping preserve with a wet semi-solid consistence, known to a food scientist as a gel. Jams, and related preserves such as fruit pastes, jellies, and marmalades are based on widespread and ancient methods of preserving fruit. Similar confections are made throughout Europe and the Middle East. Successful jam depends on the interaction of three things in the correct proportions: sugar, pectin (long chainlike molecules occurring in the cell walls of plants), acid. Fruit contains all of these, but the jam-maker always adds more sugar, and sometimes pectin and acid."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 412-3)
[NOTE: This book describes both modern and historic methods in detail. Ask your local public librarian to help you find a copy.]

"The earliest kind of jam making...dates back to pre-Roman times, when fruit pulp was mixed with honey and spices and dried in the sun. In the first century AD, Greeks made a preserve, using their abundant crops of quinces, by stuffing pieces of peeled and pipped raw fruit tightly into jars filled with honey. After a year the fruit became soft as wine-honey'. This Greek quince preserve was called melomeli' (apple: melo, in honey: meli). The Romans later reversed the words into melimela' and improved the preserve by cooking the fruit in the honey with pepper and spices and sealing the jars to make them airtight. Quinces had a high pectin content so that when cooked, preserves made with them would have had a very solid texture. Pectin is a vital ingredient for successful jelly and jam making... By the 17th century...cane sugar was more readily available, and preserving fruit with sugar became an affordable option. Recipes that previously used honey were easily adapted...The English had their own particular version that included pieces of warden pear, but seemed to prefer the Portuguese quince preserve. Using their sugar from India and their abundance of quinces, the Portuguese had developed their own specialty, which they called marmelada' (like the Roman melimela')...As early as the sixteenth century, little chests of marmelada were included in the cargoes of Portuguese merchant ships arriving in English ports. Gradually the same process was applied to other fruits, which then came to be known as a marmalade' of pears, damsons, or plums..."
---Pickled, Potted and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World, Sue Shepard, chapter on sugar (p. 163-174) [this is only a tiny excerpt of this is well worth the read]

Jelly (fruit)
The fundamentals jellying process was known in ancient times. These techniques migrated from the Middle West to Europe with Crusaders and evolved with technological advancements and new ingredients.

"The history of jelly, chronicled by Brears (1996) complex. Generally, it would seem that confectionery type jellies, and jelly preserves, developed from attempts to conserve pectin-rich fruit extracts...Modern dessert jellies, on the other hand, appear to be descended from medieval dishes based on calves' feet or other meat stocks, carefully clarified and flavoured. A wide range of gelling or setting agents was known to medieval cooks. The animal kingdome was represented by gelatin in the form of meat stock, isinglass, and hartshorn. Plants provided pectin-rich juices from quinces or apples; and various kinds of gum...Late medieval and 16th-century cooks made savoury (or savoury/sweet--many had an ambivalent character) jellied dishes using meat such as capon, chopped fine, mixed with cream or almond milk, flavoured with spices, sugar, or rosewater. These were known as cullis, gellys, or brawn. Another 'set' dish was a leach, made from cream or almond milk with isinglass. A sweet crystall gelly' was made with calves' feet stock, highly spices (ginger, pepper, cloves, nutmeg), sweetened, and further flavoured with rosewater. These dishes, which are recorded in early 17th-century cookery books...were ancestors of sweet confections such as blancmange as well as of the explicitly savoury aspic dishes which proliferated in the 19th and early 20th centuries."
---Oxford Companion to Food>, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 417)

Commercial gelatins
The manufacture of food-grade gelatin (aka gelatine) traces back to the 18th century. Denys Papin's Digester machine was the forerunner of the modern pressure cooker. One of the items he experimented on was gelatin-based
portable soup. The first modern American patent was granted to Peter Cooper, in 1845. Mr. Cooper did not set out purposely to *discover* dessert gelatine. He was more interested in glue.

"In 1754, the first English patent for the manufacture of gelatin was granted...Unflavored, dried gelatin became available in 1842 from the J and G Company of Edinburgh, Scotland...In America, in 1845, Peter Cooper, inventor of the steam locomotive, secured a patent for a gelatin dessert powder called Portable Gelatin, requiring only the addition of hot water. The same year, the J and G Company began exporting its Cox Gelatin to the United States. The new formulas never gained much popularity, however, and as late as 1879 when the classic Housekeeping in Old Virginia was published, editor Marion Cabell Tyree, while admitting that jelly made of calves and hogs was "more troublesome," claimed it was more nutritious than Cox's or Nelson's desiccated formulas. Plymouth Rock Gelatin Company of Boston patented its Phosphated Gelatin in 1889. In 1894, Charles Knox introduced granulated gelatin, making the brand something of a household word. This opened the way for the plethora of American recipes that gained popularity..."
---Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Solomon H. Katz, editor in chief [Charles Scribners:New York] 2003, Volume 2 (p. 104-5)

"[Peter] Cooper took out the first U.S. U.S. patent for a gelatin dessert in 1845. It described "a transparent concentrated or solidified jelly containing all the ingredients fitting it for table use...and requiring only the addition of a prescribed quantity of hot water to dissolve it."...Cooper also invented a gelatin "eagle" to help time the gelatin-making process...Knox, Cox (of Scotland), and other companies were already making other kinds of convenience gelatin products. But sheet and shredded gelatin still had to be soaked, and sometimes cooked and strained as well."
---Jell-O: A Biography, Carolyn Wyman [Harcourt:New York] 2001 (p. 3)
[NOTE: The Jell-O museum is in LeRoy, NY. We have been there. Very cool place!]

Other jelling agents: Isinglass & Carageen.
Related confections? Marmalade, jelly beans, fruit leather & Turkish delight.

Jelly beans
Jelly beans belong to the culinary family of
fruit jellies. These sweet confections have long been enjoyed as jams, jellies, conserves, and preserves. Fruit gums, leathers and decorative chewy slices are natural iterations along this culinary theme. Food historians generally agree jelly beans, as we know them today, descended from Turkish Delight, a fruit-gum confection originating in the Middle East. These were very popular from the mid-19th century forwards. Laura Mason, British confectionery expert, credits the USA for developing jelly beans. To date, we find no particular person, place or company claiming to have invented the first "jelly bean."

"[in the 16th century]The majority of these fruit sweetmeats were available in two guises. They could be wet, swimming in rich syrup, stored in jars and eaten with a spoon or (later) fork. Or they could be dry, in lumps or little chips, coated in sugar and kept in boxes between thick sheets of paper...There were other fruit sweets devised in the medieval period, the ancestors of multi-coloured modern fruit jellies. The names for these sweets make them sound more like breakfast or teatime delicacies, but it is necessary to forget the modern meanings of these words for a moment. Take marmalade. Today, this is a jam-like condiment made of oranges and sugar, semi liquid and flecked with strips fo peel...But the name is derived from the medieval Portuguese marmelada, a stiff paste that was cut in slices rather than spread. The word derives from the Portuguese marmelo, or quince, since this fragrant yet knobbly item was originally the favoured fruit for preserving, and it became the term used by the mid sixteenth century to describe all kinds of fruits preserves, not glutinous and syrupy as they are today, but stiff enought to be made into individual sweets if so desired...It is possible that the technique of naking thse marmalades and other conserves, by boiling up equal amounts of fruit pulp and sugar in water, was inherited from the Levant, where confectioners were skilled at melding fruit with sugar largely because of the ubiquity of sherbet...The main ingredients of sherbet were sugar syrup or sugar candy--in Turkey a dark pink substance called gul sekeri--and any one of scores of fruit juices and pulots...However, a seventeethn-century visitor to Turkey described this base sherbet flavour not as a liquid but as a type of fruit paste. And Francis Bacon, writing in 1626, notes: "They have in Turkey and the East certaine Confections, which they call Servets [sherbets], which are like to Candied Conserves and...these they dissolve in Water, and therof make their Drinke...'...Stiff fruit fruit jellies, coated in sugar, as well as wobbly ones for the pudding table, were greatly in favour during the eighteenth century, when the thickening agent used was sometimes isinglass...Another type of conserved fruit sweetmeat persists as the unappetisingly named 'leather', thin layers of fruit paste, made of fruit and sugar in equal parts...This leather is known as armadine in the Middle East..."
---Sweets: A History of Temptation, Tim Richardson [Bantam Books:London] 2002 (p. 128-132)

"Jelly beans are a combination of the Middle Eastern fruit-gum candy Turkish Delight and the seventeenth-century method of coating Jordan almonds. The production of jelly beans has changed little since the candy was first developed in the late nineteenth century...The date of the introduction of the jelly bean is in dispute, but the earliest known published mention of the candy was October 2, 1898, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. By the turn of the century, jelly beans were popular, selling for nine to twelve cents per pound, and by the 1930s they had become associated with Easter."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 182)

"As with many other sweets, mass-production and cheapness banished the magic. They have become slicker, from techniques for glazing the surface with edible waxes. They have become more yielding, as 'soft panning' evolved, using glucose syrup in place of sugar syrup required for old-fashioned hard comfits, and relying as much on air currents as on heating to dry the sweets. Jelly beans are the best example: developed in the USA, these spread eastwards to Europe, together with chewing gum (the varieties of this which have crisp little sugar shells are also panned)."
---Sugar Plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 132-3)

Related confections? Fruit leather, Turkish delight & jujubes.

Classic example of ancient fruit valued for medicinal properties now consumed as movie candy. The jujubes we enjoy today descend from a long and venerable tradition of fruit gums and pastes. Most of us are surprised to learn this candy's name is not a fanciful imaginary word. It actually comes from a real fruit, native to the Old World. About
Jujube trees. The

"Some gum-based sweets remain recognizably close to the original opaque confections once made from sugar paste. But a second strand, exploiting gums as transparent setting agents for sugar syrup, was evident by the early nineteenth century. Precidents came from fruit swets...which relised on pectin and sugar to make them set...By 1820, when Jarrin gave this recipe, clear gum and sugar sweets were being made under the name of jujubes: 'Jujube Paste. 1 pound of Gum Senegal, half bound of Sugar, Orange Flower Water, Take a pound of gum senegal, pound and dissolve it in orange flower water...put it on a slow fire to reduce, and keep stirring it; when it is of the consistence of paste, clarify half a pound of loaf sugar, boil it do a blow, and add it to your paste...dry it to a good consistence; run it into moulds of tin about a quarter inch thick, and place them in a stove. When dry, take out the paste and cutr it into small pieces, or any shapes you please.' Jubube paste, he added, 'is in great vogue in France, and on the continent as a medicine for coughs and colds...Jujubes were apparently popular as cough-cures throughout the nineteenth century..."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 140-141)

"Jujubes. Confections of sugar syrup and fruit flavourings, set with a high proportion of gum, and falling into the general category of fruit gums and fruit losenges, often with a medicinal application, e.g. good for sore throats. Jujubes have been made since at least 1830 when Gunter wrote in his Confectioner's Oracle that "Jujubes are very much in vogue abroad,--but it would be exceedingly difficult to say wherefore.:-they are at best very little better than a sweetish sort of India-rubber!!"
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 423)

"Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba). Also, "Chinese date." The fruit of an Old World tree having dark red skin and yellowish flowers. The term, which comes from the Middle English iuiube, also applies to several varieties of candies that are fruit-flavored and chewy, though not necessarily similar in taste to the jujube fruit. A commerically produced candy called "Jujubes" (which probably took its name from the ju-ju gum that gave the tiny morsels their chewy texture) came on the American market sometime before 1920 and was followed by "Jujyfruits," which were shaped like candy berries, in 1920. Both candies are produced by the Heide company of New Jersey."
---Encyclopedia of American Encyclopedia Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 173)

Eleanor Parkinson's instructions for Jujube gum & Jujube paste [1864]

Jujyfruit brand candy is a trademark owned by Henry Heide (an American candy manufacturer). According to the records of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Jujyfruits were introduced to the American public in 1925. Record here:

"Word Mark JUJYFRUITS Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: CANDY. FIRST USE: 19250000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19250000 Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM Serial Number 71516075 Filing Date January 21, 1947 Current Filing Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Registration Number 0435900 Registration Date January 13, 1948 Owner (REGISTRANT) HENRY HEIDE, INCORPORATED CORPORATION NEW YORK NO. 313 HUDSON STREET NEW YORK NEW YORK Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Affidavit Text SECT 12C. SECT 15. Renewal 2ND RENEWAL 19880113 Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

About jujube trees:
Jujube is an ancient tree originating in central Asia which has long been respected for generating fruit with healing qualities:

"Jujube...A native of China with a French name meaning 'lozenge,' the jujube (Ziziphy jujuba) resembles a large, dark red cherry. The spiny tree that bears jujubes has been culbivated by the Chinese for more than 4,000 years nad has been growing in the Mediterranean region for some 2,500 years...The jujube was introduced in the United States in 1837...Also called 'Chinese Date' and 'Chinese red dates,' jujubes were often cooked in traditional Chinese households with millet or rice to make a kind of sweet porridge, abd the dried fruit has always been popular...a Mediterranean variety, Z. lotus--yields a fruit that is like a sweet olive. This is said to be the fruit of the lotus-eaters described by Home in the Odyssey...Jujubes are eaten fresh but are also baked, boiled, stewed, and made into syrup. The juice of the fruit is employed in making small candies that are called 'jujubes.'"
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume Two (p. 1794)

"Jujube, tree fruit resembling a small date. The jujube grows wild in eastern Iran and central Asia; it was being gathered for human food in Baluchistran by 6000BC..In Hellensitic times the tree spread westwards in cultivation; by the first century BC it was grown in the Near East and north Afrtica, and it was from Africa that it was introduced to Italy by Sextus Papinius in Augustus's last years."
---Food in the Ancient World From A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 187)

"Jujube trees grew in large areas of the Old World, and they grew prolifically in China, India, Egypt, and tropical Africa. The people of these areas relied on the fruits for their nutritive value, just as they did on figs and dates. The Chinese have used jujubes for food and medicine since ancient times. The Hindus of India considered their jujubes sacred to Vishnu...People in Egypt used the jujubes that covered the Nile valley as funerary offerings...The Koran identifies the jujube as the Tree of Paradise..."
---Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara CA] 1999 (p. 123)

Related confections? Fruit leather & jelly beans.

Lemon drops
Modern lemon drops, like most hard candies we know today, descend from ancient medicinal losenges. Mary Poppins' famous line "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" was not overstated. 18th century advances in sugar technology made possible hard sugar concoctions. The tang of Mediterranean
lemons, embraced from ancient times forward, made perfect sense in this particular context.

What are drops?
"Drops. Small round confections originally made by 'dropping' a mixture in rounds to set. In common with words such as kisses and Laddu (Hindi) the word describes a shape rather than a recipe. Acid, fruit, and gum drops are all still produced. Chocolate is also made into drops, as are cake and biscuit mixtures, e.g. sponge drops. Acid drops (a contraction of acidiulated drops) are small clear sweets made from sugar boiled to the hard crack stage...with the addition of tartaric acid to give a sour flavor. Fruit drops are similar confections, highly coloured, flavoured with natural or synthetic essences. Pear drops are a popular British sweet, coloured half-red, half-yellow, roughly pear shaped and flavoured with jargonelle pear essence, or synthetic pentyl acetate. All these are descended from earlier fruit confections. Recipes which would have produced something close to a modern conception of fruit drips were given by La Varenne in Le Parfait Confiturier (1667). Acid juices such as lemon or pmegranate were added to boiled sugar. The acid had the desirable effect of keeping the sugar mixture clear and hard when it cooled, instead of 'graining', i.e. recrystallizing to granulated sugar. Other drop recipes called for powdered sugar mixed with fruit juices, giving a result similar to icing. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, extra acid in the form of vinegar or tartaric acid (or in one recipe oil of vitriol, sulphuric acid), were added to boiled sugar, and modern drops evolved. Other flavourings included coffee, and perfumes such as rose, violet, and bergamot. The latter survives as a French regional specialty, bergamottes de Nancy. Peppermint is still used as a flavouring in Britain. Overtly medicinal ingredients, such as horehound, wintergreen, and liquorice, turned the confections in to cough drops. Paregoric, added to some cough drops, originally referred to a camphorated opium compound, now reduced to a harmless flavouring. Boiled sugar drops are usually made into attractive and varied shapes by putting the mixture, whilst still warm, through 'drop rollers' which both shape and cut the mixture. 'Gum' drips and 'jelly' drops rely on gelling agents for their textures and are shaped by starch moulding."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2nd ed., 2006 (p. 257)

The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition) defines drops, as they relate to confectionery as "A losenge or sugar-plum, originally of spherical form, but now of various shapes. Freq. with defining word prefixed, as acid drop, cough-drop, peppermint-drop." The first print evidence in English dates to 1723: "J. Nott Cooks & Confectioner's Dict., section 91 To make Bisket Drops."

Sample 19th century recipe

"No. 71.--Of Drops.
The drop is composed of aromatic refined sugar only; it requires much care and cleanliness in the making. Take double refined sugar, and pound and sift it through a hair sieve, not too fine to obtain a large grain; then sift it through a silk sieve, to take out all the fine dust, which would destroy the beauty of the drop, as this takes away its transparency, and prevents its shining. The sugar being thus prepared, put it into a very clean pan, and moisten it with any aromatic you choose, as rose-water, &c.; pour in the rose-water slowly, stirring it with a spaddle; you will know whether the sugar be moist enough, if, on taking up some on the spaddle, it falls off without sticking to it. You may colour the sugar if you please with a small quantity of liquid carmine, or any other colour ground very fine, and made very smooth by moistening it with water only: the lightest colours are best. Take a pan with a lip...and fill it about with paste, and place the pan on a small stove, the half hole being the size of the pan; stir the sugar with a little ivory or bone spaddle, till it becomes liquid; when you see it about to boil, take it from the fire, and continue to stir it; if it be too moist, take a little of the powdered sugar, (which you should reserve for the purpose when you begin), and add a spoonful to your paste, and keep stirring it till it be of such a consistence as to run without extending itself too smooth; take the little pan in your left hand, and hold it in your right a bit of iron, copper, or silver wire, four inches long, to take off the drop from the lip of the pan,and let it fall regularly on the tin-plate; two hours afterwards you may take off the drops with the blade of a knife."

"No. 82.--Lemon Drops. Use the essence of lemon, made by rubbing the lemon on a piece of loaf-sugar, and scraping it into your paste: this is better than any other essence.."
---The Italian Confectioner; Or, Complete Economy of Desserts, William Alexis Jarrin, facsimile 1827 edition on-demand reprint [ISBN 9 781146 199803] (p. 37-38, 40)

Related confection? Lollipops.

marshmallows, liquorice (North Americans prefer 'licorice') is an ancient remedy that survives today as candy. Up until the 19th century both items were based plant extracts. Today they are mass produced with synthetic ingredients and no longer contain the original healing ingredient.

"Licorice. The Greek word glykyrrhiza, meaning "sweet root," gave rise to the Latin name...for licorice, which is the condensed juice from the roots of this Old World plant. A native of the Middle east, licorice was employed by the ancient Egyptians in medicinal preparations. Today, it is used in candy, to flavor liquors, and in the manufacture of tobacco. It addition, there is American licorice, G. Lepidota, a wild licorice of North America with roots that were cooked by Native Americans, who also nibbled on the raw roots as a treat."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000, Volume Two (p. 1802)

"Liquorice, aromatic root native to southern Russia and central Asia. Liquorice was familiar in the classical Mediterranean and had medicinal uses. In particular, sweet protropos wine, whether Scybelite or Theran, formed the basis of a medicinal wine in which liquorice was an ingredient, according to Galen. It was also an ingredient in a compound which was used for doctoring young wine to give it age: Damegeron supplies a recipe. By late Roman times liquorice was grown plentifully in northern Anatolia."
---Food in the Ancient World From A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 197)

"Liquorice (or licorice), Glycyrrhiza glabra, a small leguminous plant whose thick roots, up to about 1 m (40") long, and inderground runners contain a very sweet compound called glycyrrhizin. In its pure form this is 50 times sweeter than ordinary sugar; but the plant also contains bitter substances which partly mask the sweet taste. The name liquorice' is a corruption of the original Greek name glycorrhiza, meaning sweet root', which is also an old English name.The plant, in one form or another, grows wild in parts of Asia and southern Europe...Cultivation in western Europe seems to have begun on a significant scale in the 16th century...Liquorice was used as a flavouring and colouring in a number of sweet foods including gingerbread; in stout and other dark beers. However, it is probably in confectionery that liquoirce has found its most extensive and attractive culinary use....[a] traditional British liquorice confections goes by the name of Pontefract cakes, or Yorkshire pennies, little shiny black liquorice sweets...made in Pontefract, in Yorkshire, which has been the centre of liquorice-growing in England for many centuries. The origins of liquorice growing in Pontefract, popularly attributed to the monks of a local monastery, are unknown. However, liquorice was being grown there on a large scale by the mid-17th century..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford Universtiy Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 455)
[NOTE: this source site to sources for further study. Ask your librarian to help you track them down.]

" the pungent root of a small European plant of the pea family. It was used as a flavouring in ancient times...and has been known in Britain since at least the early thirteenth century, introduced via Spain from the Arabs. In medieval times and up until the seventeenth century it was commonly used, either whole or ground up, for flavouring cakes, puddings, drinks, etc...Nowadays, however, it is far more familiar in the form of a black sweet, made from the evaporated juice of the liquoice root. Earliest examples of this include the pontefract cake, a small disc-shaped pastille of liquorice, but over the past 60 or 70 years a far more varied repertoire of liquorice sweets has emerged, including the liquorice bootlace...[and] liquorice allsorts."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 191-2)

19th century liquorice
"Liquorice and Liquorice Root. Liquorice is a long and creeping root, procured from a plant of the pod-bearing tribe. It is cultivated in England, but is a native chiefly of Spain and of Southern Europe. The extract of the root is known as "black sugar," "stick liquorice," "Spanish juice," or "hard extract of liquorice." It forms the basis of several kinds of lozenges, and is added generally to soothing drinks. It is employed, as every one knows, as a demulcent remedy in coughs and other complaints. Even when used in considerable quantitiy it does not disorder the stomach, or even create thirst like common sugar."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875? (p. 382)

"Liquorice. The black mass which comes on the market in rolls is the boiled juice of the liquorice plant which grows in all parts of the world. It is most commonly done up in sticks, is dry and brittle, and to be soluble in water it should be pure. It is adulterated to such and extent that the pure article is scarce. A mixture of a little of the juice with the poorest kind of gum arabic, starch and flour, is what is generally put on the market for liquorice. Its principal use is in medicine, and it is extensively used in the manufacture of tobacco and liquors, especially to give color and flavor to porter and brown stout."
---The Grocers' Hand Book and Directory for 1886, Artemas Ward [Philadephia Grocer Publishing Company:Philadelphia] 1886 (p. 95)

The 1911 edition of this book makes only a passing mention of licorice as candy.

Related confections? Dolly mixtures/licorice allsorts & jujubes & Horehound candy.

Food historians tell us the art of boiling sugar into hard candy is an ancient practice. Such concoctions have always been flavored, colored, and shaped according to popular taste. They have also been used for medicinal purposes (like the cough drops we know today). The word lollipop makes its way into English print in the last quarter of the 18th century, though the meaning is somewhat different from the product we know today. It is interested to note that the insertion of sticks into hard candy traces only to the beginning of the 20th century. One possible explanation? Modern machinery.

Why are lollipops generally considered a child's candy? Some theorize the stick made lollipops safer for children to consume (think: hard candy choking hazard). After WWII, savvy banks stocked lollipops to encourage family visits.

"Sugar candy...both the etymology of the term sugar candy and the methods given in early recipes for making it indicate an ancient origin. Sugar candy can be traced back through Persian quand to Sanskrit khanda, maning sugar in pieces. The fact that the word has such an ancient derivation shows just what a desirable and uncommon item sugar candy was as it travelled from culture to culture."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 768)

"When sugar first became known in Europe it was a rare and costly commodity, valued mainly for its supposed medicinal qualities and finding its place in the pharmacopoeia of the medieval apothecary...Sugar gradually became more widely available in Europe during the Middle Ages. In Britain it was considered to be an excellent remedy for winter colds. It might be eaten in the form of candy crystals...or it might be made into little twisted sticks which were called in Latin penida, later Anglicized to pennets. The tradition of penida survives most clearly in American stick candy which is similarly twisted and flavoured with essences supposed to be effective against colds, such as oil of wintergreen."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 210)

"Lollipop. The word lollipop is first recorded in 1784, in a January issue of the London Chronicle...At this stage...lollipops were simply sweets (a meaning the abbreviated lolly retains in Australia and New Zealand), and it does not seem to have been until the early twentieth century that they gained their now quintessential characteristic, the stick...As for the origin of lollipop itself, that is not altogether clear; the explanation usually given is that it was based on lolly an obsolete northern [English] term for the tongue (so called because it lolls' out.)"
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 193)

"Lollipop...The term lolly is an 18th century-century one for mouth, so a lollipop was something that one popped into one's mouth. It did not necessarily mean a sweet with a stick, as became usual later. A few old-fashioned boiled sweets sold by British confectioners are still called lollies though they are stickless....In the USA the other end of the word (pop) has been used as the bais for the...term popsicle."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 459)

"Lollipop. A hard candy attached to a stick usually made of rolled paper (1785). It is a favorite children's snack and has been so since it was introduced in England in the 1780s. The name comes from an English dialect word, "lolly," "tongue," and the "pop" is probably associated with the sound made when the candy is withdrawn from the mouth."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 188)

Instructions for making these sweets are included in professional confectioners' texts. There were special machines for achieving perfect shapes and inserting the sticks. Skuse's Complete Confectioner [London:1890s] has several recipes for boiled sugar [hard] candies. Most of these were shaped as sticks, drops, rocks, and balls. They came in a variety of flavors and colors. There is no mention of inserting sticks into any of these creations. There is also a small section devoted to "boiled sugar toys." These candies were shaped with molds. According to Skuse, animal shapes were very popular. There is also instruction for making three-dimensional [hollow] candy whistles.

The earliest "recipe" for lollipops [with a stick] we have is from 1918/1919:

"All day suckers or loulopops.
This is an old-time piece which has lately come into favor once more. It is more or less a wholesale piece, but is simple to make if the small shop has a sucker machine. It is made as follows: 10 pounds sugar, 10 pounds corn syrup, 1 quart water. Cook to 290 degrees F., then pour out on a slab. Fold in edges and use work up bar...Color and flavor to suit then spin in strips 1 1/4 inches thick and feed into sucker machine."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W. O. Rigby, 19th edition, [USA] 1918/1919? (p. 194)

"Lolly Pops.
Make Barley Sugar or Butterscotch Wafer mixture, pour onto oiled marble slab, cook slightly, roll up like jelly roll, toss back and forth until cool enough to handle, cut off with scissors in pieces one and one half inches long, and insert stick in one end. With palm of hand press into shape. Wrap in wax paper."
---The Candy Cook Book, Alice Bradly [Little Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 136)

When did banks start giving out lollipops?
The earliest American print reference we find placing lollipops in banks dates to 1953. Reference suggests practice is older, but not by many years. The reason was practical & completely understandable given the times: attracting the "carriage trade" was big business in the booming years following WWII.

"Called the world's first 'financial department store,' the newly enlarged Franklin Square Natinal Bank here will be opened to the public Monday morning...features of the enlarged building are a children's banking department, with liliputian furniture and lollipops to accompany each deposit."
---"Departmetn Stre of Finance to Open," New York Times, June 22, 1947 (p. 19)

"Manhattan Savings Bank offers not only lollipops for the kiddies, but dog biscuits for clients' puppies."
---"Busy Bankers: Chasing the Little Man, They Run into a Dilemma," John C. Peham, Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, September 7, 1953 (p. 3)

"The Union Square Savings Bank at Fourteenth Street and First Avenue has posted a notice: "No more lollipops until September." A bank executive explained: "That's for the carriage trade--the baby carriage trade. Most families are away for the summer, anyway." The institution, incidentally, buys its lollipops twenty cases at a time, has completely lost track of how many hundreds of thousands of confections it has dispensed in the past few years."
---"About New York: A Last, Non-Nostalgic Look at Grimy School--Bank Suspends Lollipops Till Fall," Meyer Berger, New York Times, August 10, 1953 (p. 25)

Related candies? Rock candy & Lemon drops.

The history of marmalade,
jams, jellies, conserves and preserves is fascinating, connected, and complicated. Marmalade, as we know it today, is generally made with oranges. Food historians confirm this was not always the case. You will find our notes (with selected historic recipes) here:

"Marmalade, in Britain, refers to a jam-like preserve made from the bitter, or Seville, orange. The inclusion of the orange peel, cut into thin 'chips' or shreds, is characteristic of this preserve. 'Marmalades' based on other citrus fruits, such as lime or lemon, are made as is ginger marmalade. However, orange marmalade is perceived as the archtype (although not the prototype), and orange marmalade, with toast, is part of the 20th-century concept of the traditional English breakfast. The evolution of marmalade is a complicated story...Marmelada was the Portuguese name for a sweet, solid, quince paste...This luxury good was imported to Britain by the laste 15th cnetuy, to be used as a medicine or a sweetmeat. Clear versions were known as cotignac (France) or quiddony (England). Recipes for quiddonies and thick quince marmalades of this sort are frequent in 16th- and 17th-century English cookery books. Lemons and bitter oranges had also been imported to medieval and Tudor England. These...were pulped into stiff 'conserves' and were called, by analogy with the Portuguese product, 'marmalades'. They were set in wooden boxes, or moulded in fancy shapes, to form part of the dessert or banquet course. Other fruits, such as camsons, apples, pears, and peaches were also made into marmalades. All these marmalades were relatively solid confections, to be cut into slices and eaten from the fingers, not at all like moderrn marmalade. The 18th century saw a new developement; finely cut peel, the precursor of the modern product. There is a strong traditional belief that Sctoland was responsible for the creation of the new jellied orange marmalade. If some of the tales told in support of this belief tax credibility, never mind, it 'feels' right. At this time marmalade was still percieved as a suitable item for dessert in England; but Scottish recipes for the mid-18th century used a higher proportion of water, giving a 'spreadable' consistency. In fact marmalade does appear to have been used as a breakfast spread at a much earlier date in Scotalnd than in England. Meanwhile , and well into the 19th century, thick quice marmalades continued to appear in recipe books, so at this time the term 'marmamalde' was used in a wider range of senses than it is now...It was during the latter part of the 19th century that jams...became the subject of a rapidly growing industry, mainly because sugar became much cheaper. Bread and jam became a cheap source of noursihment for the working classes. And marmalade received a boost, since the jam factories could produce orange marmalade in winter at not much greater cost than that of jams made with home-grown fruits during the summer. Marmalade...had more of a luxury image than jam, and was exported to be used on breadfast tables throughout the British Empire...The range of differnt marmalades now being made in Britain, including some based on combinations of several citrus fruits, dark and light ones, chunky ones, and some with just slivers of peel in a clear vast..."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidsion [Oxford Univeristy Press:Oxford] 2nd edition, 2006 (p. 483)

"The word marmalade originally signified 'quince jam.' It comes via French from Portuguese marmelada, a derivative of marmelo, 'quince'. This in turn goes ultimately to melimelon, a Greek term, meaning literally 'honey-apple', which was applied to the fruit of an apple gree grafted on to a quince...In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries such quince preserve was known in English as chare de quince or chardecoynes...but in 1524 we find the first referernce to marmalade, in an account of the presentation of 'one box of marmalade' to the king by a certain 'Hull of Exeter'. Throughout the sixteenth century its main ingredient appears to have remained quince, but the seventeenth century saw a sudden diversity, with fruits such as plums, damsons, and even straweberries and dates being used for marmalade (at this time citrus fruits preserved in sugar was still generally called succade...In 1767, Hannah Glasse gave a recipe for 'marmalade of cherries', and as late as 1845 Eliza Acton in her Modern Cookery for Private Families was giving directions on how to make a 'marmamade'. As this last phase implies, marmalade was from earliest times not the soft spreadable confection of today, but a firm sweetmeat that could be cut with a knife, and was eated as part of the dessert course of a meal. The use of citrus fruits for marmalade seems to have begun in the seventeenth cnetury, and in the middle of that century we find the first references to the addition of sliced peel. But it is not really until the middle of the nineteeth century that this ingredient had so ousted all others that it became safe to assume that marmalade meant, essentially, 'orange marmalade'...In other European languages, such as French and German, the word still means generally 'jam' or 'preserve'... but the notion of 'citrus preserve' has become so firmly ensconced in English that in 1981 and EC edict declared that the term marmalade could not be applied to a product made other than with oranges, lemons, or grapefruit."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 203-4)

Recomemnded reading: The Book of Marmalade/C. Anne Wilson

"Orange Marmalade. Take the best Seville Oranges, cut them in Quarters, grate them to take out the Bitterness, put them in Water, which you must shift twice or thrice a Day for three Days; then boil them, shifting the Water till they are tender, then shred them very small, them pick out the Skins and Seeds from the Meat which you pulled out, and put it to the Peel that is shread; and to a Pound of that Pulp take a Pound of double-refined Sugar. Wet your Sugar with Water, and boil it up to a candy Height, (wth a very quick Fire) which you may know by the dropping of it; for it hangs like a Hair; then take off the Fire, put in your Pulp, stir it well together, then set it on the Embers, and stir it till it is thick, but let it not boil. If you would have it cut like Marmalade, add some Jelly of Pippins, and allow Sugar for it."
---The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, facsimile 1747 edition [Prospect Books:Devon] 1995 (p. 152)
[NOTE: Mrs. Glasse also provides recipes for White Marmalade and Red Marmalade, both made with quinces.]

"Scotch orange-chip marmalade.--Take equal weight of fine loaf-sugar and Seville oranges. Wipe and grate the oranges, but not too much. [The outer grate boiled up with sugar will make an excellent conserve for rice, custard, or batter puddings.] Cut the oranges the cross way, and squeeze out the juice through a small sieve. Scrape off the pulp from the inner skins, and pick out the seeds. Boil the skins till perfectly tender, changing the water to take off part of the bitter. When cool, scrape the coarse, white, and thready part from the skins, and trussing three or four skins together for despatch, cut them into narrow chips. Clarify the sugar, and put the chips, pulp, and juice to it. Add, when boiled for ten minutes, the juice and grate of two lemons to every dozen of oranges. Skim and boil for twenty minutes; to and cover when cold. --Obs. There are variou ways of making this favourite marmalade. The half of the boiled skins may be pounded before they are mixed; and if the chips look too numerous, part of them may be withheld for pudding-seasoning. The orange-grate, if a strong flavour is wanted, may either be added in substance, or infused, and the tincture strained and added to the marmamalde when boiling. Where marmalade is made in large quantities for exportation, the various articles are prepared and put at once into a thin syrup, and boiled for from four to six hours, and potted in large jars. Orange-marmalade bay be thinned, with apple-jelly, or when used at breakfast or tea, it may be liquefied extmpore with a little tea."
---Cook and Housewife's Manual, Mistress Margaret Dods, facsimile 1829 edition [Rosters Ltd.:London] 1988 (p. 434-5)
[NOTE: Mrs. Dods also provides recipes for Smooth orange-marmalade, Transparent orange marmalade, Lemon marmalade, Apple marmalade, and Apricot and plum jam marmalade.]

"Genuine Scotch Marmalade. Take some bitter oranges, and double their weight of sugar; cut the rind of the fruit into quarters and peel it off, and if the marmalade be not wanted very thick, take off some of the spongy white skin inside the rind. Cut the chips as thin as possible, and about half an inch long, and divide the pulp into small bits, removing carefully the seeds, which may be steeped in part of the water that is to make the marmalade, and which must be in the proportion of a quart to a pound of fruit. Put the cups and pulp into a deep earthen dish, and pour the water boiling over them; let them remain for twelve or fourteen hours, and then turn the whole into the preserving pan, and boil it until the chips are perfectly tender. When they are so, add by degrees the sugar (which should be previously pounded), and boil it until it jellies. The water in which the seeds have been steeped, and which must be taken from the quantity apportioned to the whole of the preserve, should be poured into a hair-sieve, and the seeds well worked in it with the back of a spoon; a strong clear jelly will be obtained by this means, which must be washed off them by pouring their own liquor through the sieve in small portions over them. This must be added to the fruit when it is first set on the fire. Oranges, 3 lbs.; water, 2 quarts; sugar, 6 lbs. Obs.--This receipt, which we have not tried ourselves, is guaranteed as an excellent one by the Scottish lady from whom it was procured."
---Modern Cookery for Private Families, Eliza Acton, facsimile 1845 edition [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1993 (p. 438)
[NOTE: Mrs. Acton also provides recipe for apple, apricot, bargerry, Imperatrice plum, orange (Portuguese receipt), clear (author's receipt), peach, pineapple (a new receipt), quince and quince & apple marmalades.]

Mrs. Beeton's Book of Cookery: (no. 1502) & (no. 1566 et seq)

Related confection? Fruit leather.

The history of the marshmallow quite interesting. Did you know this confection (albeit in a very different form) dates back to Ancient times? The very first "marsh mallows" were
plants [Althaea officinalis] indigenous to Europe and Asia. The flowers were favored by the Ancient Greeks and Romans because they were considered to be healthful. Platina in his De Honesta Voluptuate et Valetudine [On Right Pleasure and Good Health] (an Italian cookery text published in the late 15th Century) devotes Book IV, Section 8 to "On the Seasoning of Mallow," in which he outlines the botanical history and healing properties of this particular plant. Marshmallows, progenitor of the fluffy white confection we eat today [which, by the way contains NO marsh mallow], originated in France sometime during the middle of the nineteenth century. Marshmallow roasts commenced in the late 19th century.

"Marshmallows or Guimauves are a form of sweetmeat for which the confectioner is indebted to the pharmacist. The original Pate de Guimauve was a pectoral remedy. It was made, as the name implies, from a decoction of marshmallow root, with gum to bind the ingredients together, beaten egg white to give lightness and to act as a drying agent, while sugar was incorporated to make the whole palatable. Marshmallow has come down to us basically unchanged except that it no longer contains extract of marshmallow. The marjority of marshmallows are made with egg albumen and gelatin, some are made with all of one and none of the other..."
---Skuse's Complete Confectioner, 13th edition [W.J. Bush & Company:London] 1957 (p. 145)

"Marshmallows are one of the earliest confections know to humankind. Today's marshmallows come in many forms, from semi-liquid---to the creme-like or as an ice cream topping. Originally...marshmallows were made from the rood sap of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) plant. It is a genus of herb that is native to parts of Europe, north Africa, and Asia. Marsh mallows grow in marshes and other damp areas...The first marshmallows were made by boiling pieces of the marsh mallow root pulp with sugar until it thickened. After is had thickened, the mixture was strained and cooled. As far back as 2000BC, Egyptians combined the marsh mallow root with honey. The candy was reserved for gods and royalty.

Modern marshmallow confections were first made in France around 1850. This first method of manufacture was expensive and slow because it involved the casting and molding of each marshmallow. French candy makers used the mallow root sap as a binding agent for the egg whites, corn syrup, and water. The fluffy mixture was heated and poured into the corn starch in small molds, forming the marshmallows. At this time, marshmallows were still not mass manufactured. Instead, they were made by confectioners in small stores or candy companies.

By 1900, marshmallows were available for mass consumption, and they were sold in tins as penny candy. Mass production of marshmallows became possible with the invention of the starch mogul system of manufacture in the late 19th century...

In 1955, there were nearly 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States. About this time, Alex Doumak, of Doumak, Inc., patented a new manufacturing method called the extrusion process. This invention changed the history of marshmallow production and is still used today. It now only takes 60 minutes to produce a marshmallow. Today, there are only three manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States, Favorite Brands International (Kraft marshmallows), Doumak, Inc. and Kidded & Company."

A sidebar to the information contained in this books (written by Donna R. Bearden) adds: "In the early 20th century, marshmallows were considered a child's confection, dispensed as penny candy at general stores along with licorice whips and peppermint drops. But through a fortuitous connection with other popular foods and some clever marketing, marshmallows would soon become a staple ingredient at pot-luck dinners, family get-togethers, and even elegant parties....A perusal through twentieth-century cookbooks and recipe booklets reveals that marshmallows usually served as an ingredient in cakes, candies, and desserts....Perhaps the greatest distinction for marshmallows occurred as a result of their advantageous connection with gelatin salads and desserts, which rose in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s. Recipe booklets for Jell-O and Knox Gelatin from that time include recipes that called for marshmallows on almost every page--recipes like banana fluff, lime mallow sponge, cocoa tutti frutti, and paradise pudding."
---How Products are Made Volume 3, Krapp & Longe, editors[Gale:Detroit] 1994 (pages 276-277).

Early 20th century commercial marshmallow packaging & pricing. Campfire Marshmallow package, 1930.

Marsh mallows (the plant)
"Mallow, a common wild plant of Europe, Mallow was a potherb in Greece and Rome, more useful as such to the poor than to the rich, and particularly useful because it allevieated hunger. An aside by Lucian suggests that it was used, like lettuce nowadays, as a garnish on trays of food at banquets. It also had medicinal uses...Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis), Greek althaia, Latin hibiscus, a plant resembling mallow, was used to treat wounds, and was an ingredient in medicinal wine taken for coughs."
---Food in the Ancient World From A-Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 206)

"Marshmallow. The name of both a plant an confection. The former...[is] a common plant of Europe and Asia, is related to the common mallow but looks more like the hollyhock. Although its leaves are edible, the chief use of the plant lies in its roots, which yield a mucilaginous substance which is the traditional basis for the sweet confections known as marshmallow but has now been almost entirely replaced by gum arabic."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davdison [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 481)

More on the medicinal properties of marshmallows, A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve [1931].

Picture of a marsh mallow.

Marshmallow recipe evolution

[Ancient & Medieval Rome]
Ancient marshmallows
were classed as medicine, not candy. Instructions for preparing the plant for human consumption most likely first appeared in medical texts and herbals. Platina's "On the Seasoning of Mallow" (On Right Pleasure, Book IV, section 8 [1475]) extols the healing qualities of mallow but does not provide a recipe for making it. If you want to make modern marshmallows using mallow plants check these recipes.

Pastes formed with gum
Complete Confectioner, Eleanor Parkinson (uses gum arabic are real marsh mallow plant roots).

This is a wholesome plant, and very palatable when boiled, and afterwards fried with onions and butter. In seasons of scarcity, the inhabitants of some of the eastern countries often have recourse to it as a principle article of food."

"Marshmallow water. A concoction of marshmallow is effacacious in the cure of severe coughs, catarrhs, &c. Cut the roots into thin slices, and pour over them boiling water (about a pint to an ounce of the root), cleansing and peeling off the outer skin before infusion. The water may be flavoured with the squeezed juice and grated rind of an orange, and sweetened with honey or brown sugar-candy. Marshmallow leaves are eaten dressed like lettuce, as a salad. Time, two hours to infuse."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin:London] (p. 410)

--Cover an ounce of carefully picked gum arabic with 4 tablespoonfuls of water, and let stand for an hour. Heat the gum in a double boiler until it is dissolved. Strain through cheese cloth and while in about 3 1/2 ounces of Confectioners' XXX sugar. Place on a moderate fire and beat for 3/4 of an hour, or until it comes to a stiff froth. Remove from the fire, beat 2 or 3 minutes while cooling and stir in 1/2 teaspoonful vanilla. Dust a tin pan with cornstarch, pour in the marshmallow, dust cornstarch over the top and set aside to cool. When cold cut into squares with a knife dipped in cornstarch, roll the squares in the starch and pack away in tin or other tight boxes."
---Household Discoveries: An Encyclopedia of Practical Recipes and Processes, Sidney Morse [Success Company:New York] (p. 538)

Toasted marshmallows

1 tablespoon granulated gelatine
1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
whites 3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dissolve gelatine in boiling water, add sugar, and a soon as dissolved set bowl containing mixture in pan of ice water; then add whites of eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture thickens. Turn into a shallow pan, first dipped in cold water, and let stand until thoroughly chilled. Remove from pan and cut in pieces the size and shape of marshmallows; then roll in macaroons with have beeen dried and rolled. Serve with sugar and cream."
---Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Merritt Farmer [Little Brown:Boston] (p. 523)
[NOTE: This book also has recipes for marshmallow cake with marshmallow cream (icing), marshmallow chocolate cake, marshmallow frosting and marshmallow gingerbread. Marshmallow hot chocolate recipe instructs the cook to place inexpensive marshmallows-- "they melt more quickly"--in the bottom of a cup and pour the hot chocolate over them!.]


As a rule it is better and less costly to purchase marhsmallows than to try to make them. Here, however, is a recipe should you desire to make them: Soak three ounces of gum arabic in one cupful of water for two hours, cook in a double boiler until dissolved. Strain, return to saucepan, and add one cupful of powdered sugar; stir until stiff and white. Add one teaspoonful of vanilla, beat it in and pour the mixture into pans which have been rubbed over with cornstarch. Cut in squares when cold and roll in cornstarch and sugar, in the proportions of three parts cornstarch to one of sugar."
---Cooking Menus Service, Ida Baily Allen [Doubleday:Garden City] (p. 796)
[NOTE: This book has instructions for making a marshmallow doll (p. 799), and recipes for marshmallow cream (cake filling), marshmallow cream sauce, marshmallow fondant icing, marshmallow frosting, marshmallow fruit sauce, marshmallow fudge, marshmallow icing (uncooked), marshmallow layer cake, marshmallow lemon cake and marhsmallow pumpkin pie.]

Recipes using the marsh mallow plant
[CAUTION: these recipes were submitted by a reader, they have no dates. They will produce "modern" marshmallows, not ancient cures. Gum arabic is not an ancient ingredient.]

Recipe for Marshmallow sweets
Make sure the mallow roots aren't moldy or too woody.
Marshmallow gives off almost twice its own weight of mucilaginous gel when placed in water.
4 tablespoons marshmallow roots
28 tablespoons refined sugar
20 tablespoons gum arabic
Water of orange flowers (for aroma or instead of plain water)
2 cups water
1-2 egg whites, well beaten
Make a tea of marshmallow roots by simmering in a pint of water for twenty to thirty minutes. Add additional water if it simmers down. Strain out the roots. Heat the gum and marshmallow decoction (water) in a double boiler until they are dissolved together. Strain with pressure. Stir in the sugar as quickly as possible. When dissolved, add the well beaten egg whites, stirring constantly, but take off the fire and continue to stir. Lay out on a flat surface. Let cool, and cut into smaller pieces.
(Recipe from Herbal Medicine by Diane Dincin Buchman, Ph.D.)

Syrup of Marshmallows, The Complete Confectioner, Eleanor Parkinson [Lippincott:Philadelphia] 1864 (p. 23)

Pate de Guimauve
(Pate de guimauve was the French confection made from the roots.)
Take of decoction of:
marshmallow roots 4 ounces;
water 1 gallon.
Boil down to 4 pints and strain; then add
gum arabic 1/2 a pound;
refined sugar 2 pounds.
Evaporate to an extract; then take from the fire, stir it quickly with:
the whites of 12 eggs previously beaten to a froth;
then add, while stirring.

Marshmallow cream/creme
The general concensus of the food history sources is that
Marshmallow Fluff was the first marsmallow creme to be manufactured and marketed on a large scale to the American public. "Is Fluff the same as Marshmallow Creme? Generically, they are the same, but Fluff is made by a costly, batch-whipping process. Creme is whipped in a continuous mixing process. The differing results are quite evident." ( Durkee & Mower).

Prior to that marshmallow creme-type products were made by cooks at home. Many late 19th century marshmallow paste recipes produced solid foods. The first spreadable marshmallow creme recipes we find in American used store-bought marshmallows. This substance was used for cake filling.

The earliest mention we find of marshmallow creme in an American cookbook is from Fannie Farmer's Boston School Cook Book, 1896:

"Marshmallow cake.
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 teasoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Whites 5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla.
Follow recipe for mixing butter cakes. Bake in shallow pans, and put Marshmallow Cream between the layers and on the top." (p. 427)
Ms. Farmer does not give a recipe for Marshmallow Cream in this book (perhaps an oversight?). She does give a recipe for Marshmallow Paste in the cake filling section:
"Marshmallow paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 marshmallows
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Put sugar and milk in a saucepan, heat slowly to boiling point without stirring, and boil six minutes. Break marshmallows in pieces and melt in double boiler, add hot water and cook until mixture is smooth, then add hot syrup gradually, stirring constantly. Beat until cool enough to spread, then add vanilla. This may be used for both filling and frosting." (p. 435)
Sarah Tyson Rorer lists this recipe in 1902:
"Marshmallow filling. Put a half pound of marshmallows and a quarter cupful of water in a double boiler over the fire. Stir until melted. Take from the fire and our while hot into the well beaten whites of two eggs. Add a teaspoonful of vanilla."
---Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book (p. 627)
Marshmallow roasts
Old newspapers suggest marshmallow roasts (consumers heating purchased marshmallows over open fire for fun) began in the late 19th century.

"'Marshmallow roasts' are the newest thing in summer resort diversions. The simplicity of this form of amusement is particularly charming. One buys two or three pounds of marshmallows, invites half a dozen friends, and that is all the preparation required. However a small amount of kindling-wood must be taken along with which to build a small fire in an unfrequented spot on the beach, away from crowds unfamiliar with so refined a species of entertainment. When the fire is blazing merrily, or better still, when it has died down to red embers, each member of the party takes a sharpened stick and affixes upon the end of it a marshmallow. Simutaneously all those engaged hold their marshmallows over the embers, as close as possible to avoid burning and roast dexterously, so as to brown the marshmallows nicely on all sides. This requires some skill, because marshmallows are highly inflammable and will take fire if not very prudently handled. The...marshmallows...swell up to considerable more their nomal size...They are a sort sublimated combination of candy and cake, all ine one bite, though the proper fashion is to nibble the roasted marshmallow off the end of the stick. One set consumed, each person pokes the point of his wooden skewer through another marshmallow and the performance is repeated until everybody's appetite is satisfied Marshmallow roasts are an excellent medium for flirtation...appropriatly exhibited by nibbling the marshmallows of each other's sticks. Accordingly the idea is sure to grow in favor."
---"Marshmallow Roasts are the Fad," Asbury Park letter in N.Y. World, Chicago Daily Tribune, August 8, 1892 (p. 6)

Related foods? Scooter pies, Moon pies & Mallomars, Nabisco Marshmallow Sandwich cookies (Nabisco) & s'mores.

Food historians tell us marzipan, a paste composed of ground
almonds and sugar, probably originated in the Middle East and introduced to Europe in the late Middle Ages. There is much scholarly debate regarding the etymology of this word. Hense, the true origins are obscure. Marzipan is well documented from the Renaissance to present. One of the special features of this particular confection is its ability to be sculpted into fanciful shapes.

According to the British food historians, marzipan can be placed in England at the end of the 15th century. This conclusion is drawn from documented print evidence. Certainly, words (as foods) enter a culture before they are recorded in print. If you are interested in a detailed discussion on the complicated history of the word "marzipan" ask your librarian to help you find "Venice and the Spice Trade," Medieval Arab Cookery, Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry & Charles Perry [Prospect Books:Devon] 2001 (p. 211-3)

"Marzipan, a paste made from ground almonds, was orignally called marchpane in English--or martspane, or mazapane, or marchpan. These were the best efforts English-speakers could make at the word when it was borrowed, either via early modern French "marcepain" or from its source, Italian "marzapane," at the end of the fifteenth century."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 206)

"Marchpane, or marzipan was a discovery of the later Middle Ages, dependent as it was upon the union of ground almonds with sugar...One of the earliest uses for the paste was in subtleties. These were figures of men, animals, trees, castles and so forth made from sugar paste and jelly, and placed before an admiring audience at the end of each course of a great medieval feast. Often the figures had an allegorical meaning, and bore written mottoes appropriate to the occasion. The subtleties varied from simple depictions of a gilded eagle, or a swan upon a green stork, carrying mottoes in their bills, to such complexities as a portrayal of the Trinity in the sun of gold with a crucifix in His hand attended by saints and the kneeling figure of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, for whose enthronement feast the subtlety had been made. When they had been sufficiently applauded they were dismantled and eaten. In the fifteenth century a marchpane began to emerge as an object in its own right. And by Elizabeth I's reign, when the subtlety was becoming archiaic, a marchpane was regularly produced as the chief showpiece at the banquet or dessert course served to guests at the end of a meal. It was made of ground almonds and sugar on a base of wafer biscuits, and was formed into a round (a hoop of green hazelwood somethimes helped shape it). Ye may while it is moist, strike it full of comfits of sundry colours, in a comely order...The frosting of the marchpane with sugar and rosewater to make it shine like ice was an important part of the preparation; and so was the gilding with decorative shapes in gold leaf..."
---Food and Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson [Academy Chicago Press:Chicago] 1991 (p. 336-7)

Recipes through time

, Accomplist Cook, Robert May


"To make the best March-pane...lay it upon a fair Table, and strowing searft-sugar under it, mould it like leaven, then with a rolling pin role it forth, and lay it upon wafers, washt with Rose-water; then pinch it about the sides, and put it into what form you please, and so set it into a hot stove, and there bake it crisply, and serve it forth."
---The English Hous-Wife, Gevase Markham [1660], Book 2, (p. 93)

"To make March-pane

Take a pound of Jordan almonds, blanch and put to them three quarters of a pound of double refined sugar, and beat them with a few drips of orange-flower water; beat all together till tis a very good paste, then roll it into what shape you please; dust a little fine sugar under it as you roll it, to keep it from sticking. To ice it, searce double refined sugar as fine as flour, wet it with rose water, and mix it well together, and with a brush or bunch of feathers spread it over your march-pane: bake them in an oven that is not too hot; put wafer paper at the bottom, and white paper under that, so keep them for use."
---The Compleat Housewife or, Accompish'd Gentlewoman's Companion, E. Smith, facsimile 1753 edition [Literary Services and Production:London] 1968 (p. 173)

"To make March-pane unboiled. Take a pound of almonds, blanch them and beat them in rose-water; when they are finely beaten, put to them a half pound of sugar, beat and searched, and work it to a paste; spread some on wafers, and dry it in an oven; when it is cold, have ready the white of an egg beaten with rose-water, and double refined sugar. Let it be as thick as butter, then draw your march-pane thro'it, and put it in the oven: it will ice in a little time, then keep them for use. If you have a mind to have your march-pane large, cut it when it is rolled out by a pewter-plate, and edge it about the top like a tart, and bottom with wafer-paper, and set it in the oven, and ice it as aforesaid: when the icing rises, take it out, and strew coloured comfits on it, or serve sweetmeats on it."
---ibid (p. 208)

"To make common March-panes.

Take a sufficent Quantity of Almonds, which are to be scalded in hot Water, blanched, and thrown into cold Water as they are done; then being wiped and drain'd, they must be beaten in a Stone Mortar, and moistened with the White of an Egg, to prevent their turning into Oil. In the mean while, having caused Half as much clarify'd Sugar as Paste, to be brought to its feathered Quality, toss in your Almonds by Handfuls, or else pour the boiling Sugar upon them in another Vessel: Let them be well intermixed, and the Paste continually stirred on all Sides. When it is done enough, it must be laid upon Powder-sugar, and set by to cool Afterwards, several Pieces of a convenient Thickness may be taken out, of which you are to cut your Marchpanes with certain Moulds, gently slipping them off with the Tip of your Finger upon Sheets of Paper, in order to be heated in the Oven only on one Side; that done, the other Side is to be iced over, and baked in like Manner; otherwise the Paste may be rolled out, or squeezed through a Syringe, and made curbed, or jagged, of a round, oval, or long Figure, in the Shape of a Heart, &c."
---The Lady's Companion, Sixth Edition, Volume II [London:J. Hodges] 1753 (p. 348)

"To make Machpane Cakes.

Take almonds & blanch them in warme water, then beat them very fine in a stone morter and put in a little rose water to keepe them from oyling, then take the same weight in sugar as you doe of almonds, & mingle it with them when they are beaten very small & short, onely reserveing some of it to mould up the almonds with all. Then make them up in pritty thick cakes, & harden them in a bakeing pan. The make a fine clear candy, & doe it over you marchpanes with a feather. Soe set them in your pan againe, till the candy grow hard. Then take them out, & candy the other side. Set them in againe, & look often to the them. Keepe a very temperate fire, both over & u[nder them,] & set them in a stove todry."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1981 (p. 322)
[NOTE: this book contains more marzipan recipes and a wealth of notes regarding marzipan/marchpane and period cooking. Your librarian will be happy to help you find a copy.]

Marchpane figured prominently in early wedding confections, according to Wedding Cakes and Cultural History, Simon R. Charsley (your librarian can help you find a copy of this book).

About almonds
"Almond, kernel of the fruit of the Prunus dulcis. The fruit resembles a meagre peach, but is inedible. The kernel is used, sliced or ground, in cooking. Some trees produce bitter almonds; these have to be roasted before eating to eliminate their poisonous prussic acid. Almonds were being collected from the wild by the inhabitants of Franchthi Cave by 10,000 BC, and in Turkey, Syria and Palestine by that time or soon afterwards. Cultivation was probably under way by the third millenium BC: earliest evidence comes from Jordan. The almond was among the earliest of the domesticated fruit trees of the eastern Mediterranean, since, unlike some of the others, it can be propagated from seed...At Greek banquets they they were frequent constitutent of Roman cuisine they sometimes served as a flavouring...Bitter almonds were placed in sacci, bouquets, and to impart their flavour and medicinal properties to wine as it was served. These properties were widely reputed to include the prefention of drunkenness...Sweet almonds produce a mild-flavoued oil...Both kinds of almonds, and their oils, were important medicinally."
---Food in the Ancient World From A-Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 6)

"Almonds are the fruit seeds of Prunus dulcis...a tree closely related to the peach and the plum, and are said to be native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia, wehre (like many other nuts) they doubtless helped to sustain our hunting-and-gathering forebears. Perhaps the oldest, as well as the most widely known, of the world's nut crops, almonds were first cultivated in Europe by the Greeks, are mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, and were a favorite of the Romans, whose sugared almonds may have been among the first sweetmeats in history. Recipes incorporating almond "flour" date from the Middle Ages in Europe, a period when almond "milk" was also used--as a liquid substitute for milk and eggs on days of fasting. The Spaniards brought the almond to the New World, where it is now grown extensively in California...There are two types of almonds: sweet and bitter. Nuts of the latter type contain prussic acid and thus are toxic when raw; these must be blanched and roasted before being processed into an oil, a paste, or an extract that is sued to flavor liqueurs and some confections. Sweet almonds...are eaten whole, as well as blanched, slivered, chopped, diced, and ground for pastries...Almond paste is the soul of macaroons and marzipan."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000 Volume 2, (p. 1717)

"The oldest mention of almond cultivation is in the Bible. Aaron's rod, which miraculously bore flowers and fruit, was of almond wood (Numbers 17:8). The ancient Greeks cultivated almonds, and their name for the nut, amygdalon, had become, via Latin, the botanical name of the species and, in corrupted form, is the name in modern European languages...In classical times Phoenician traders introduced its cultivation into Spain; and it was being grown in the south of early as the 8th century...Uses of almonds are in many instances of great antiquity. They were of early importance in early Arabic and medieval European cookery, partly as a source of the almond milk which was used in early versions of blancmange...since then, the main importance of the nut has been to the confectionery industry. Such products as marzipan and nougat and macaroon all depend on it. The Spanish range of almond-flavored cakes, biscuits, etc. is probably the most extensive in the world."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 12)

Chinese almonds
"Nuts play a minor part in Chinese food...Most important are the kernels of apricots...Special varieties with uninteresting fruit are grown soley for their large, sweet, nontoxic seeds, which are used as almonds are used in the West. True almonds are barely known and not normally used."
---Food of China, E.N. Anderson Yale University Press:New Haven] 1988 (p. 168)

"Chinese Almond. Domestication of the almond, Prunus amygdalus, is usually placed in an area stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to Central Asia, where it is found in the wild. Likely it was domesticated by the third millennium B.C. or earlier...The early Chinese knew of the tree and its kernels in Persia and other lands to the west. They also imported almond kernels, as among the tribute sent from Turkestan to China in T'ang times. The tree itself was reported by the Arab merchant Soleiman to be cultivated in China in the mid-ninth century...and Li Shi-chen late in the sixteenth-century wrote of it as growing everywhere 'east of the Pass' (that is, in Kansu and Shensi)...Though the above would seem to leave little doubt that almonds had been cultivated at least somewhere in China or its margins, there has nevertheless been controversy among Western scholars as to whether, at least in traditional times, almonds were actually grown there and whether the kernels that foreigners in China often called 'almonds' were almonds or apricot kernels. Adding to the confusion were the similarities in appearance, taste, and use between apricot and almond kernels, which sometimes led the Chinese, on their part, to call the almond kernel by the name 'apricot kernel.'... Laufer...who has provided the most detailed analysis of the historical evidence, was convinced that the almond had been cultivated in China in the past. He also presented evidence from the Chinese literature suggesting that it was still cultivated there in the nineteenth century, but allowed the possibility that almond cultivation 'is now extinct in China.' Other authorities, among them naturalists and botanists with extensive field experience in traditional China, are more firm in their conclusion that almonds were not cultivated there. To this writer, it seems reasonable to believe that the almond could not have been widely cultivated in China and been missed by so many widely-traveled, careful observers. Yet the evidence presented by Laufer seems to leave the possibility open that the almond continued to be cultivated in some places, especially in the far northwest."
---Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, Frederick J. Simoons [CRC Press:Boca Raton FL] 1989 (p. 269-270)

Almonds in Chinese cuisine
"It would, however, have been of quite minor importance overall, with the overwhelming share of the kernels known to foreigners as 'almonds' being in fact apricot kernels. This fits with H.L. Li's statement on the matter...that real almonds are scarcely known; and with Meyer's conclusion...that the 'almond cake' commonly served foreigners in traditional China was in fact made with kernels of the apricot...There are...several varieties of P. armenaica grown primarily for their seed in China. The fruit of the best variety contains a large stone with a fairly-soft shell and sweet kernel, and may be served as a snack, sometimes sugared, along with raisins and other kinds of nuts, or ground into almond flour which is made into almond cakes or cookies or into a thin porridge. On occasion, such kernels may be salted, and in appearance and flavor are just like real almond. Another variety, P. armeniaca has a bitter-tasting kernel that contains prussic acid and must be used in small amounts, as for flavoring sweets, or in making 'almond soup' or 'almond tea,' a drink commonly sold along the streets...As for the preparation of such almond soup, Meyer noted that first rice was boiled until soft, then pounded and mixed with water until it had the consistency of milk. Then a few bitter almonds were ground up and blended in along with sugar, and the soup served hot. The soup, which was tasty and stimulating, was commonly consumed by the Chinese just before going to bed. Such 'almond soup' or 'almond tea' was well-liked as a snack not only among the people of North China but in the Ch'ing court, was also believed effective against sore throat...There was also a popular dish, found among those of Ch'ing court, called 'Almond Curd,' a cold gelatin dessert made of water, agar-agar, ground almonds, and sugar...Such almond soup and almond curd (also called almond float, almond lake, or almond junket), as made today in China, may include almond or vanilla extract, milk, and/or fruit of one sort or another...Prepared in a different, somewhat more elaborate way is the Cantonese dessert 'Fried Almond Custard'...Chinese almonds are also commonly used in other ays, as in candies, cakes, and cookies, and in a broad range of main dishes, such as Cantonese 'Red and White Chicken with Almonds' and the Szechwanese 'Almond Duck'."
---Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry, Frederick J. Simoons [CRC Press:Boca Raton FL] 1989 (p. 270)

Almond symbolism

"The almond tree originated in the Middle East and western Asia, and since prehistory people considrered it a symbol of sweetness and fragility. In the spring, the tree was one of the first to bloom, and late frosts could easily destroy its delicate buds. If the almond tree survived the frosts, it soon became a bestower of a wealth of gifts. In addition to providing nuts, oil, and shells for fuel, the almond tree was aesthetically pleasing, with lovely flowers and beautiful leaves. So the almond tree inspired worship....The identification of the almond as father or as mother reflected the fact that almond blossoms herald the spring and thus the birth of vegetation. Because the almond tree blossoms suddenly, the Hebrews considered it a symbol of haste, and because the almond tree that survives the frosts bestows gifts of nuts and oil, they considrered it a symbol of vigilance...People revered the almond tree as a provider--of life, of love, and of happiness."
---Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara] 2000 (p. 5-6)

What are "Jordan Almonds?"
Almonds yes, Jordan (the country) no. The practice of coating nuts and seeds for preservation purposes is ancient. Think: Brittle. Colorful sugar-coated almonds surface in Medieval times and flourish in the "modern" era. Recipes progressed via technology and time.

Why the name?
"The well-known varieties include Jordan (nothing to do with the country of that name, but a corruption of the Spanish "jardin", meaning garden.)"
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 12)

"There are essentially two types of almond: bitter almonds, which contain prussic acid by can be used in very sparing quantities as a flavoring, and ordinary eating almonds. Of the latter, Jordan almonds are probably the most highly regarded variety. Their long thin shape may have inspired the comparison of oriental women's eyes to almonds. They have no connection whatsoever with Jordan (they are mainly grown in Spain, in fact); their name is an alteration of Middle English jaren ('garden') almond."
---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 4-5)

"Of the important Shelled Almonds, the best known are the Jordan and Valencia, chiefly from Malaga, Spain. Jordan Almonds are long and plump and pointed at one end...They are highly esteemed both as a dessert item and for confectionery purposes."
---Grocer's Encyclopedia/Artemas Ward [1911] (p. 20)

When were Jordan Almond trees introduced to the USA? 1901
"The Department of Agriculture has at last succeeded in securing some Jordan Almond trees, in the exportation of which has been rigorously prohibited by Spain for some years. The Government will now experiment with the trees to determine the best localities for growing them. This species of almond is regarded by the agricultural authorities as the finest in the world, but only its fruit has heretofore reached this country, the trees having been jealously guarded in Spain. The bush has been forwarded here by the Agricultural Department's agent, who is seaching in Spain for rare plants."
---"Jordan Almond Trees Exported," New York Times, October 2, 1901 (p. 5)

"For many years it has been the ambition of California almond growers to produce Jordan almonds in that State. They did not get on very well with their first attempts, but recently a nursery company doing business at Alameda imported some almond trees from France, where Jordan almonds are rarely found, and from one of these trees some very good specimens of what were supposed to be real Jordan almonds were produced. In order to find out whether they were real Jordans, the nursery company sent samples to the United States Consul in Malaga...the were unhesitatingly declared to be almondra larga, of the famous Jordan almonds of commmerce, of fair medium grade. The taste seemed quite the same, and there is a very little difference in the shape. A surprising feature of this incident lies in the fact that the almonds in question are said to have been grown on a tree imported from France...The report from California and the result of my investigation would indicate...that Jordan almonds can now be grown in California. If this be true, California growers probably will find the matter will be worth their attention, as both the demand and the prices for Jordan almonds have steadily increased during recent years. The present price of these almonds for the popular grade known as confectioners' is $3.75 per box of twenty-five pounds at Malaga."
---"California Able to Raise Jordan Almonds," Los Angeles Times, April 29, 1902 (p. 7)

Why are sugar coated almonds traditional wedding favors?
Sugar coated nuts, known in Renaissance times as
comfits have long been proferred as gifts. Until recently, sugar coated almonds were expensive. They were reserved for the finest banquets, especially wedding feasts. Today's wedding favors typically feature Jordan almonds.

"The portability of comfits led to a gentler custom of handing them out as gifts. In 1702, Massailot mentioned placing on the banquet table little baskets of dry sweetmeats decorated with ribbons: one for each guest, to be taken home and shared with the family. it is echoed by the gift of 'favours', little bags of sugared almonds, to wedding guests in southern Europe. Not just wedding guests: different colours of almond indicate different celebrations, a christening, an engagement, and anniversary (although some-- for instance graduations--may be inspired by modern marketing rather than long tradition)."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 129)

"...sugared almonds, one of the oldest sweetmeats in history, do perhaps come from ancient Rome. Metz, Nancy, Paris, Verdun and Toulouse are among the cities and towns of France famous for their sugared almonds. Earlier still, however, the Romans of classical times distributed them at public and private ceremonies. Sugared almonds are mentioned amnong the gifts given to great men in accounts of receptions...In fifteenth-century Cambrai, Marguerite of Burgundy, at her wedding to Guillaume IV of Hainault, wished to have sugared almonds given 'to the common people by her comfit-maker Pierre Host...'"
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, translated by Anthea Bell [Barnes and Noble Books:New York] 1992 (p. 567-8)

"Mr. Salvatore Ferrara came to America from Nola, Italy, in 1900 and founded Ferrara Pan Candy Company in 1908. At the time of his immigration from Italy, Mr. Ferrara was a confectioner, skilled in the art of making...sugar coated candy almonds. Sugar coated candy almonds are otherwise knwon as "confetti" in Italy and other parts of Europe. These candy-coated almonds were also called Jordan Almonds or almond dragees, and they continue to be a tradition at many weddings and celebrations. Early on, then they were covered with white sugar, they were a candy that symbolized purity and fertility...From 1908 to 1919, the sugar coated almond business grew. Mr. Ferrara was soon shipping his classic, always fresh and in-demand product all over the Midwest."
---Candy: The Sweet History, Beth Kimmerle [Collector's Press:Portland OR] 2003 (p. 96)

Recipe, circa 1899:

"Prawlings, or Fried Almonds.--Take a pound of the best Jordan almonds, rub them very clean from the dust; take their weight in loaf sugar, wet it with orange flower water, and boil it to a syrup; then throw the almonds into it and boil them to a candy, constantly stirring until they are dry; then put them into dish and take away the loose bits and knobs which will be about them; put the almonds into the preserving pan and set them on a slow fire until some of their oil comes from them into the bottom of the pan."
---"Quaint Old Desserts," New York Times, May 28, 1899 (p. 23)

Related foods? Marzipan, brittle, pralines & Dragees.

Ancient Greeks and Romans valued
mint for several medical reasons. Two of these were aiding digestion and freshening one's breath. Throughout time, mint was used to flavor many differenty types of foods. Mint candies, as we know them today, date back to Renaissance times (when sugar was readily available). Mint-flavored chocolate candies date back to the second half of the 19th century (when solid chocolate was manufactured as candy.)The practice of pairing lamb with mint capitalizes on mint's soothing digestive properties.

"Mint. The common name of most plants of the genus Mentha. There are two dozen species, and many hundreds of varieties...The superstitions and beliefs associated with mint are often of ancient origin and vary with different cultures...In Rome, Pliny recommended that a wreath of mint was a good thing for students to wear since it was thought to 'exhilarate their minds'...Mints, usually spearmint, are used, fresh or dried, to make jams, jellies, and sauces, to accompany meat, fish, or vegetable dishes...In England mint sauce is served with roast lamb. Gerard (1633) wrote that 'the smell of mint does stir up the minde and the taste to a greedy desire of meat'. Certainly the mint flavor is sweet and refreshing; and mint has digestive properties, so the habit of taking an 'after-dinner mint' has some foundation."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 508)

"Mint, aromatic plant of Europe and elsewhere. Mint was well known in classical Greece and in Roman Italy, where, according to Pliny, it was a scent familiar at coutnry feasts. In Greece, however, mint is seldome mentioned in the context of food and dining."
---Food in the Ancient World From A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 219)

"Mints. A colloquial English term from any small sugar confectionery item flavoured with mint, especially boiled sugar sweets...Mint has a long therapeutic history as an aide to digestion and a breath freshener."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 508)

"Sugar was considered to have health benefits; it was also useful for preserving decoctions of herbs and other physic such as flowers and roots. It made bitter herbs more palatable and, formed into candy, allowed the slow release of soothing essences for sore throats and coughs. Recipes of this kind were probably the ancestors of several sweets which have survived as regional specialties: cough candy, Kendal Mint Cake, and Scottish tablet...It has a long precedent, and is a survivor of many other candied medicaments, most of which have vanished. Cures for other ailments were sometimes administered in candy, as a recipe from A Queens Delight shows: Sugar of Wormwood, Mint, Anniseed, or any other of that kinde. Take double refined sugar; and do but wet it in fair water, or Rose-water and boil it to a candy, when it is almost boiled takeit off and stir till it be cold; the drop in three or four drops of the Oyles of whatsoever you will make, and stir it well, then drop it on a board, being before fitted with sugar.'...The qualities of mint as a digestive, and the alternatives...suggest the recipe was intended to comfort the digestion. The recipe is an early published example of the use of mint in sweetmeats in Britain. This flavour, not a distinctive feature of Polos, mint imperials, spearmint gum, Glacier Mints and many others, appears to have become popular in the middle of the last century. A factor may have been ready availability of good-quality mit oil from Mitcham in Surrey, at a time when sugar confectionery was rapidly commercializing. Mint oil was reliable, probably relatively cheap, and a strong flavour which was easy to handle, by small-as well as large-scale confectioners. Candied peppermint was one of several simple mint-flavored confections given in a small, provincial book in the1820s. Mint-flavored candy is still being made by a similar process to the seventeeth-century recipe given above (but without the rosewater) and sold under the name of Kendal Mint Cake. Why this confection should survive as a specialty of a small town in north-west England is not clear. The first record of an association between product and town occurs in the mid-nineteeth century."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 69-70)

Why do we serve mint (sauce, jelly) with mutton?
While it is true that mint is an ancient herb known to the Greeks, culinary evidence confirms the combination of mint jelly with mutton is an English tradition. The tradition was conceived for medical/health reasons, as mint has long been appreciated for calming the digestive system.
Mutton is fatty and hard to digest. The pairing of pork and applesauce follows the same general principal.

"Mint was grown and pickled in vinegar by the Romans, who introduced the plant into England. Throughout the Middle Ages, the herb was commonly grown in convent and monestary gardens and used extensively in cooking and medicine. Mints, usually spearmint, are used, fresh or dried, to make jams, jellies, and sauces, to accompany meat, fish, or vegetable dishes. The leaves are also used to make teas, an Arab custom especially noticeable in North Africa...In England mint sauce is served with roast lamb. Gerard (1633) wrote that the smell of mint does stir up the minde and the taste a greedy desire of meat'. Certainly the mint flavour is sweet and refreshing and mint has digestive properties, so the habit of taking an 'after-dinner mint' has some foundation."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 508)

"Mint is an aromatic herb that people have used since ancient times both as a condiment and as a medicinal. It was highly valued by the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Romans, all of whom used mint much more frequnetly than people do today. Mint was alluring, but at the same time satisfying. The ancients considered it an aphrodesiac, yet also believed that it made women sterile and men impotent."
---Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews [ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara] 2000 (p. 151)

"Lamb is a fatty meat, and most cuisines recognize the need for some kind of acid ingredient or sauce to 'cut' this. In England, mint sauce, composed of chopped fresh mint, sugar, and vinegar, has been the accepted accompaniement for roast lamb since the mid-19th century...Around the North Mediterranean, including Spain, the Balkans and Greece, sauces for lamb are thickened with egg yolks beaten up with lemon juice."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 441)

"Lamb, Sauce for.--Mint sauce is usually served with lamb. To make it: Strip the leaves from some fresh young mint, wash and dry them well, and chop them as finely as possible. Put them into a tureen, and cover them with powdered sugar in the proportion of a table-spoonful of sugar to one and a half of mint. Let these remain for half an hour, then pour over them three table-spoonfuls of vinegar. If after a trial this sauce is found to be too sweet, a less proportion of sugar can be used; but it has been very generally approved when prepared as above. The vinegar is sometimes strained from the mint-leaves before being sent to table. Time, a few minutes to prepare. Probable cost, 3d. Sufficient for three or four persons."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875? (p. 360)

Related pairing? Pork & applesauce.

Pop Rocks
Food historians credit General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell for this unique confection. His 1956 patent "Gelatin Derivates and Their Preparation." [number: 2834771], a method for combining carbon dioxide with hard candy, made Pop Rocks possible. It took General Foods nearly 20 years to figure out how to market Mitchell's carbonated consumable. Enter Pop Rocks, first test marketed in Arizona, February 1976. The candies were soon bootlegged and eventually sank into the realm of urban legend. When rumors warned consumers mixing this product with soda made people's stomaches explode sales plumetted. GF dropped Pop Rocks, divesting the loss leader to another company. But you can't keep an explosive idea under wraps. Especially if it's tasty, sweet, and cheap. The new trademark owner successfully reintroduced the candy a few years later. Today, Pop Rocks are alive and well, thriving in both current and nostalgia lines. They celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2006. According to the records of the US Patent & Trademark Office, Pop Rocks were registered by General Foods Corporation June 15, 1976:
"Word Mark POP ROCKS Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 030. G & S: NO GOODS/SERVICES STATEMENT ON TRAM Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING Serial Number 81041425 Filing Date 0000 Current Filing Basis UNKNOWN Original Filing Basis UNKNOWN Registration Number 1041425 Registration Date June 15, 1976 Owner (REGISTRANT) General Foods Corporation UNKNOWN White Plains NEW YORK Register PRINCIPAL Live/Dead Indicator DEAD Cancellation Date November 9, 1982"

The earliest print reference we find for test marketing is this:
"Enter "Pop Rocks": General Foods Co,. tests a "crackling candy" in various fruit flavors. Ingredients are similar to conventional hard candy except that carbon dioxide is included. Result: a sensation of candy particles bursting noisily in the mouth as the Pop Rocks dissolve."
---"Business Bulletin: Special Background Report on Trends in Industry and Finance," Wall Street Journal, February 5, 1976 (p. 1)

"One of the great challenges of modern industry has been the problem of soda pop. Most of it is water, which means that most of the money spent to transport the stuff from bottling joint to store has been spent to transport water. How much nicer if the pop and its bubbles could be powdered. General Foods' efforts to solve the problem of powdered pop have led to the already legendary Pop Rocks and Space Dust candies, which are still being test marketed, and black-marketed by kids where they aren't available. The candies fizz, releasing carbonation in the mouth or in the hand when they come in contact with moisture. While General Foods wrestles with the problem, Eugene Dana, president of Nellson Candies, is testing his solution, Advertising Age reported. His Carb-O-Nated powdered mix cones come in cherry, lemon-lime, grape, and orange. It is being tested in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Six packets, each of which makes a 10-ounce drink, retail for 99 cents, one cent an ounce cheaper than buying a name brand six pack of canned soda pop in Chicago. No cola yet, but give them time."
---"News for you: Powdered soda pop." Chicago Tribune, August 22, 1977 (p. B1)

"With nothing but word-of-mouth advertising behind them, General Foods' Space Dust and Pop Rocks carbonated candies are outselling most--if not all--major candy brands 'in any makret where they are introduced,' according to a GF exec. But the unusual candies, which cause a bursting, tinlging sensation in the mouth, can be marketed only for 13-week periods at a time in order to prevent the carbonation from dissapating and spoioing the moment for kids. They are also sensitive to heat, so GF has a policy of not introducing them in markets where the average temperature exceeds 85 degrees. GF is attempting to educate the trade about the prdoucts because of instances where they have been 'bootlegged' into other markets. In one case, a heat in a truck carrying the prudcuts was accidentally turned on. The gas released from several hundred Pop Rocks cases eventually blew the truck doors open. 'When that happens, you're left with just hard candy,' the exec said. The carbon dioxide in Pop Rocks is one-tenth of the amount contained in a can of soft drink...Now that temperatures are beginning to climb across the nation, GF has stopped selling them. When fall arrives, however, Pop Rocks and Space Dust willl reappear in much wider distribution, perhaps as many as 37 states. During a 13-week introduction, a reatailer is permitted a single order and receives one shipment. According to the GF exec, a retailer can expect to sell half his supply within four weeks and 90% by the tenth week. The candies have been subject of much free publicity in newspapers and on network tv talk shows, including Johnny Carson's monolog on the 'Tonight Show' April 12. Although there has been no advertising to date, Benton & Bowles has done some concept work on the products. Pop Rocks was first tested in Flagstaff and Yuma, Ariz, in 1976. It was followed by Space Dust, whose initial test markets were in Colorado and Arizona. Both sell for 15 cents. In February of last year, the phrase 'explore the far reaches of your mind.' was removed from packages of Space Dust after GF received complaints that the reference seemed based on drug use. At the time, the company expressed shock that anyone would misinterpret the phrase. The company earlier denied rumors that the patented technique used to produce Pop Rocks and Space Dust would be applied in development of a carbonated powdered drink mix."
---"Pop Rockes hot item--but not too hot, please," Adverstising Age, April 17, 1978 (p.1)

"General Foods has a hit with Pop Rocks and Space Dust, two forms of the hard candy with locked-in carbonation that makes an audible appearance when it his the mouth. But despite their success, both 15-cent candies have not left test-market status, regardless of how many kids bootleg them across the country. The problem is the manufacturer can't introduce them 'in markets where the average temperature exceeds 85 degrees,' Advertising Age reported. Not only are kids bootlegging them, but eager merchants are, too. And one hapless fellow lost his whole shipment when the truck carrying it accidentally had its heat turned on. The Pop Rock cargo released its carbonation and blew the truck doors open. Next fall, though, General [Foods] plans to market the candies temporarily in 37 safely cool states, making the candies perhaps the only processed snack available soley in season."
---"News for you: Too successfull for their own good," Mary Knoblauch, Chicago Tribune, April 19, 1978 (p. A2)

"'It's like raining on the roof of your mouth,' says a middle-aged person who tried it...'It' is Pop Rocks, a new carbonated hard candy that sizzles, snaps, pops and tingles in your mouth, and brings grimaces, faint smiles and startled reactions from first-time tasters. "Explore the far reaches of your mind," says the package. Since it has no apparent purpose or social significance--two key fad criteria--Pop Rocks promises to win a place in the pantheon of freaky gimmicks that infect America from time to time. All of which brings more smiles than grimaces to General Foods, maker of Pop Rocks, which has sold "hundreds of millions" of the packets...In fact, in true fad fashion Pop Rocks seem to be something of a hot underground item. They're being bootlegged to New York and sold on the street and in a few stores for three and four times the normal price. Rumors about their existence and even a few samples of the 20-cent packages have reached Washington, but exactly when the product will be on sale here, the manufacturer isn't saying. Meanwhile reports like a recent on in Advertising Age (confirmed by General Foods) that a overheated load of Pop Rocks blew the doors open on a delivery truck have raised questions about the product's safety. Speculation that Pop Rocks might harm the esophogus or the taste buds led NBC consumer reporter Betty Furness to take to the air recently to calm parents' fears. The secret ingredient of General Foods' smash seller is carbon dioxide, about one-tenth the amount that's put into soft drinks to make them fizz. While a Pop Rock left on the tip of the tongue with one's mouth open will "explode," ingredients for the product were okayed by the Food and Drug Administration before General Foods started to test market it in 1976. Meanwhile, the company's hot product has its own unique sales difficulties. The company says Pop Rocks can't be sold in areas where the average temperature is over 85 degreses. And sales are being suspended over the summer for the same reason. The shelf-life is also limited because the carbonation dissapates over a period of time and then you're left with "just another hard candy." But wherever they appear, says the company, they are being hoarded. It's not unusal to see people walk out of a store, carrying a large shopping bag filled with nothing but Pop Rocks or Star Dust (the former are large rock-like pieces; the latter, dust-like bits.) Which explains why the candy is outselling most, if not all major candy bars "in any market where they are introduced." General Foods says."
---"It Snaps, Crackles And-Yes-Pops: Carbonated Candy That Explodes in Your Mouth," Washington Post, April 21, 1978 (p. C3)
[NOTE: This article contains a photograph of the package.]

"The giant semi raced through the night across America from California to Brooklyn. Inside was a precious cargo whos street value in New York would be double its West Coast price. Thousands of packs were unloaded at one distributor's warehouse, then channeled stealthily to selected candy and variety shops. Candy shops? Yes, the cargo was destined to feed the latest kid candy craze: Pop Rocks. Says the Brooklyn distributor: "The kids sare like junkies--hungry for the stuff. It's the fastest-moving new candy I've ever seen." The candy, so goes a Wall Street analyst's version, was born when a General Foods Corp. chemist mixed a little "Kool Aid technology" with cargon dioxide...Crystalline in shape and so far available in three flavors (cherry, orange, grape), Pop Rocks are made of sugar, corn syrup, milk derivative and artificial coloring and flavoring. When the small crystals of candy are placed in the mouth, tiny chambers of trapped CO2 are activated by moisture. The result: a popping and crackling that delights kids. Pop Rocks are hard to get in most places, which only adds to their appear. General Foods markets the candy mainly in California, although there have been other test sales around the country in the past three years. GF tries to confine sales of the candy to its test markets, where a one-fifth-ounce package sells for 20 cents retail, but entrepreneurs have managed to obtain supplies and spirit them elsewhere, at prices up to 50c cents a package. Despite the potential demand, GF is moving cautiously before going national. Reason: although the food makes more than 400 food products, it has never before sold a candy."
---"Rock It to Me: Feeding a Candy Craze," Time, May 1, 1978 (p. 44)

"General Foods has expanded its carbonated confection technology to a bubble gum and is testing Increda Bubble gum in a small market in the Northwest. The company hopes the bubble gum will become more of a year-round entry than its carbonated Pop Rocks and Space Dust candies, the latter which is due to be reintroduced under the name Cosmic Candy. GF has been marketing the candies on a cyclical basis because of their fad nature...According to sources close to the company, GF chose a very small Northwest market to avoid bootlegging--as serious problem that has occurred with the [Pop Rock] candies. In contrast to the more usual concern of concealing a test market because of competition, GF's worry is that candy and gum wholesalers/distributors will buy up truckloads of the gum to ship East. In the New York area, the candies have sold for more than triple their suggested list price of 15 cents. In a card shop near Advertising Age's midtown New York office, Pop Rocks go for 50 cents a packet. Candy and gum distributors advertise in the New York Times to sell their supplies of Pop Rocks and Space Dust to retailers. One classified ad reads, "Pop Rock. Hottest candy in the U.S. Fast turnaround--large profit, available wholesale." It's the large profit and "consumer ripoff" that GF is hoping to avoid by concealing its test market. GF is worried that in addition to making the test market impossible to read properly, hijacking and subsequent high retail prices will hurt GF's image and the product's sales potential when it is offically introduced in the East. Pop Rocks was first tested in Flagstaff and Yuma, Ariz. in 1976. It was followed by Space Dust in Colorado and Arizona. It has since been marketed sporadically in a number of western markets, but none has been sold since the spring because GF is accumulating enough candy for a major fall introduction in as many as 37 states...The packaged foods marketer recognized the fad aspect of the carbonated candies from the start. That is one reason it produces and wharehouses the candies until there is a 13 week supply. Usually either pop Rocks or Space Dust--not both--is introduced to a market area. Nine months later, long after the firest candies have disappeared from the retail shelves, GF moves into the same market with the other item, and the fad begins anew...Prime targes are children under 15, who buy the candies not so much for themselves but to watch their friends try them. After three or four packets, the effect of the carbonation on one person has reached a saturation point, noted one source. The candies are expected to be introduced in a broad area this fall. Space Dust has been repackaged and renamed Cosmic Candy because of compliant about its association with the drug Angel Dust. Earlier, the phrase "explore the far reaches of your mind," was removed from packages of Space Dust after GF received compliants that the reference seemed based on drug use. Network affiliated tv stations also expressed some apprehension about tv commercials. The two candies are similar, although Pop Rocks is a somewhat larger particle."
---"GF keeps carbonated gum test hush hush to avoid bootleggers," Advertising Age, July 31, 1978 (p. 1)

"What kind of mind thinks up products like exploding candy? "I'm basically a farmer type. I like to work with fruits and vegetables," says 67-year-old William A. Mitchell, a silver-haired father of Pop Rocks, a crackling confection so popular that black markets have appeared in schools all over the country. Pop Rocks, a General Foods product, is sold in most parts of the country for 20 cents a pack. That's 20 cents a pack in the store. "What's happened is that school kids would buy the packets and then sell them to their friends with quite a surcharge," Mitchell said in a interview. "They were profiteering." The tremendous demand for Pop Rocks led General Fods to build another manufacturing plant and Mitchell is now touring the country to introduce another sizzling sweet called Cosmic candy. Along the way, he's doing his best to quash rumors about Pop Rocks. The incendiary effects fo Pop Rocks, a carbonated combination of sugar, flavoring and coloirng, apparently inspired stories of exploding stomachs and other maladies among enthusiasts. All false, says Mitchell. "The amount of gas in a pack of Pop Rocks is less than one-tenth of what's in a can of soda pop," says Mitchell, noting that Pop Rocks have U.U. Food & Drug Administration approval. "The worst thing they can do is make you burp." Because of the peculiar nature of Pop Rocks, the product languished for more than 20 years after Mitchell first created them in 1956. General Foods simply wasn't sure what to do with them. "I always thought it should be candy, but most of our people thought it should be in some other product--cereal or something," Mitchell said. Finally, a Canadian division started selling Pop Rocks in packets and General Foods decided to market them nationally."
---"Father of the Candy Bomb Just a Farmer at Heart," Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1979 (p. D12)

"In 1976, General Foods Corp. began marketing a new candy called Pop Rocks--carbonated crystals that fizz and crackle in the mouth. Pop Rocks became what one distributor called "the fastest-moving new candy I've ever seen." Three years later, General Foods is planning to adapt the carbonated-candy idea to other products. Pop Rocks have posed some unusual marketing problems, however. Earlier this year, a false but widespread rumor that Mikey, the boy on the Life cereal commercial, had died from popping too many rocks prompted General Foods to take out ads in 45 newspapers assuring parents that the ingredients in Pop Rocks have FDA approval. Also, the company has to take the unsold candy off the shelves when the daily temperature averages more than 85 degrees. In high heat, Pop Rocks can start crackling ouside the mouth--and a shipment once blew open the doors on an overheated delivery truck. The company has so far sold more than 500 million packages of Pop Rocks and Cosmic Candy...Bill Mitchell, who invented Pop Rocks, believes that carbonated candy is only the beginning--that eventually such crystals will be an ingredient in everything from breakfast cereals to medication. General Foods has already begun test-marketing a product known as Increda Bubble--carbonated gum."
---"A Candy Craze Keeps Popping," Newsweek, June 4, 1979 (p. 15)

"The bubble gum market is continuing to explode with new entries--American Chicle's Crackups, Life Savers' sugarless Bubble Yum and General Foods' especially appriate Increda Bubble gum with bursting candy particles...Although GF researchers have experimented with carbonation for years, it wasn't until recent years that the company came up with a viable product--carbonated candies. As that business expanded via some incredible successes on the West Coast for Pop Rocks and Cosmic Candy, GF began to work on a gum and carbonated candy concoction. Increda Bubble went into test in a small northwestern market a year ago. GF took great pains to maintain secrecy in order to avoid the bootlegging that occured with its carbonated candies. The unauthorized shipping of the candies, which crack and pop in the mouth, has been cited as a factor in the sales failure in the east. Just as Increda Bubble is rolling out, GF is mulling over the fate of the candies. After making what once source descried as a "mint of money" with the candies on the West Coast, GF lost all but a couple of million dollars wtih the disaster in the East. The exposure of the candies in eastern markets before they officially debuted eliminating the surprise factor so important in a fad product's success,GF also was faced with combating all sorts of rumors about kids suffering illness or death after tyring the candies. One of the most bizarre and unfounded rumors centered around the youth who played "Mikey" in Life cereal commercials. It was rumored he ate the candy with a soda chaser, his tomach exploded and he died. The final blow was the unfortuante introduction of the carbonated candies in the Midwest last winter when markets such as Chicago where hit by as series of winter storms that dumped record levels of snow and forced people to remain homebound for days. Despite these setbacks, GF has not given up on carbonated technology. A spokesman said Pop Rocks are still sold in some western markets, anthough it won't be there for long. She said no decisions had been made on the candy's future...GF has also filed for trademark registration on the name Freeze-In for a freezable carbonated soda concentrate...The company also is looking at novelty items, possibly for Halloween, and and ice cream novelty on a stick that would contain the carbonated candy inside. These items are all byproducts of the company's search for the so far elusive carbonated drink mix that would expand its franchise in the drink mix field."
---"More Gums Burst Onto Scene," Advertising Age, September 2, 1979 (p. 8)

"Pop Rocks, the popular carbonated candy that General Foods Corp. quit making after less than three years and many rumors of exploding tummies and choking children, is back in stores. The crackling, mouth-tingling treat is being test marketed in New England and the Dakotas by Carbonated Candy Ventures of Buffalo, N.Y. False rumors once claimed the candy killed little 'Mikey,' the young character featured in cereal commercials a decade ago, by making his tummy explode, and that it made other children gag and choke. While Carbonated Candy said it hasn't seen a resurgence of the rumors, it's not taking any chances. It had a laboratory in Connecticut retest the product, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier found safe. Wholesalers were instructed to contact the FDA about any new rumors."
---"Pop Rocks candy returns," St. Petersburg Times, November 23, 1986

"Despite bad publicity and several health-food crazes, Pop Rocks soldier on. For 50 years, in fact. To celebrate the anniversary, Pop Rocks Inc. has released a limited edition line of Cherry Pop Rocks in their original 1970s packaging. They were developed by General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell in 1956 while trying to create an instant soft drink (he holds a patent on Tang). For their first two decades, though, no one quite knew what to with this odd concoction. In 1975, they were given suitably garish packaging and christened Pop Rocks. They took off immediately. A hard candy like no other - little fragments containing hidden pockets of carbonation - they explode in the mouth, fizzling and darting about. Soon, there was even a Pop Rock mythology. Rumors emerged that Mikey ("Give it to Mikey - he'll eat anything!") from the Life cereal commercial died after ingesting an ill-advised combination of pop rocks and soda. The rumors were so pervasive that General Foods executives took out ads in major publications and sent out up to 50,000 letters to school administrators extolling Pop Rocks' virtues. Inventor Mitchell even hit the road and spoke to audiences about his product. Pop Rocks, he told crowds, were safe, good and right; Mikey was alive and well. But rumors die hard. Pop Rocks were briefly discontinued in the mid-1980s."
---"Pop Rocks Still Rock," William Weir, The Hartford Courant, April 18, 2006

"Even though Pop Rocks' 30th anniversary officially fizzled out this Jan. 1, Spanish company Zeta Especial will continue to exploit its "explosive" retro candy brand with promotions and licensing. Later this month, Pop Rocks will leverage the sixth season of American Idol with the launch of its I Want to Be a Pop Rocks Star promo, in which kids write a song about their love of the popping candy and mail it in with two proofs of purchase. (Entrants don't have to show the songwriting skills of Elvis Costellowinners will be chosen through a drawing.) Running through October and dangling special-edition Pop Rocks gear, the sweeps will be marketed via print in kids mags such as Disney Adventures, radio promos, sampling, pr and ads on Web sites including Freestanding store displays sporting an Idol-reminiscent blue oval will communicate the sweeps. The Steven Style Group, New York, is Pop Rocks' full-service agency. Popping candy was an afterthought when a General Foods scientist attempted to invent instant soda with carbonized crystals that melt in water. That idea never panned out, but his crystals became Pop Rocks, a candy that proved so popular in the '70s that kids were selling 15-cent packs for $1 or more on the candy black market. The brand is still reeling from an urban legend in which Life cereal spokeskid Little Mikey's stomach purportedly exploded after he washed down Pop Rocks with a Coke. (Mikey, aka John Gilchrist, is doing fine, thank you.). Originally sold in a cherry flavor, Pop Rocks is planning gourmet flavors like pumpkin and candy cane, and cotton candy this year. The popping candy has been embedded in fruit rollups, sprinkled on Kellogg's cereals and served as subjects for science experiments in a Klutz activity book. Additionally, the brand expects to launch a full licensing program in 2007 with apparel and other lifestyle products."
---"The Biz: Pop Rocks Candy Recharged; OMG! OMG Gets Strategic," Brandweek, January 8, 2007
[NOTE: 2013 Zeta Especial is still making Pop Rocks. They are imported into the US by Pop Rocks In., Atlanta Georgia. One retro unit of the original cherry flavor sells for $1.20/.33 ounce (p.5g) packet. 2013 product photo here.]

Potato candy
We know that potatoes were introduced to North America by European settlers, mostly from the northern regions. It stands to reason that potato candy was probably first made in Europe and the recipe was brought here by immigrants. These could have been from Germany, France, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia or any place where potatoes were popular. Recipes for related products [potato pancakes, potato puddings] are found in 19th century cook books. Some of these recipes employed sweeteners, such confectioners' sugar. It is possible the recipe for potato candy (Irish and other) is derived from these culinary traditions. Many of the ingredients are similar.

Compare these recipes:

"Potato Pudding, Sweet.
Bake half a dozen large potatoes, and when they are done enough break them open and scoop out the contents with a spoon. Beat them lightly, and with a quarter of a pound of the potato flour put three ounces of clarified butter, half a teaspoonful of finely-minced lemon-rind, a dessert-spoonful of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, three table-spoonfuls of powdered sugar, and three table-spoonfuls of milk or cream. Beat the pudding for five or six minutes, then add separately the yolks and well-whisked whites of three eggs. Butter a plain mould, ornament it with dried fruit or slices of candied peel, pour in the pudding, and bake in a well-heated oven, or steam the pudding if preferred. Turn it out before serving, sift sugar thickly over it, and garnish the dish with jam. Time to bake, three-quarters of an hour; to steam, one hour. Probably cost, 1s. Sufficient for five or six persons."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery, [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875? (p. 627)

"Candy Irish Potatoes for St. Patrick's Day
Take five pounds of bon bon cream and into knead one pound of almond paste, stiffening it with XXXX powdered sugar while working, if necessary. When thoroughly kneaded, shape into small spuds about the size of an ink bottle, and while moist rub with powdered cinnamon. Use almond paste or pignolia nuts pressed in side to represent eyes or sprouts, or simply make little dents for the eyes. Care must be taken to bet the cinnamon to stick good."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, 19th edition 1920s? (p. 208)

"Potato Cocoanut Candy.
1 medium sized potato
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 cups shredded cocanut
1 teaspoon vanilla
Boil or bake potato until well done, and force through a coarse sieve or a potato ricer. There should be half a cup of potato. To this add sugar, cocoanut, and vanilla, working together until well mixed. Press one inch thick into small bread pan, and spread top with a thin layer of melted bitter chocolate or sweet chocolate. When chocolate is firm, cut in small squares. This can be varied by using nuts or fruits instead of cocoanut."
---The Candy Cook Book, Alice Bradley [Little, Brown, and Company:Boston] 1929 (p. 29-30)

We find several recipes in the Internet called "Irish Potato candy." None offer history regarding the name/origin of the confection. In fact? Some employ ingredients that are quite definately NOT connected with Ireland, such as peanut butter. Perhaps the Irish connection is the fact that these recipes employ white (Irish) potatoes, rather than sweet potatoes (which are orange in color). Curiously, we do not find any potato candies in our historic British confectionery texts (Skuse), or candy reference books (Laura Mason), books on potatoes (Zuckerman), or Irish culinary sources.

Then? There's this:
"Idaho Candy Company. A candy bar named for a vegetable is not very common. A candy bar named for a potato is truly rare. But htere is one. The Idaho Spud has been in production since 1918. It was made for the potato because Idaho, wehre the candy hails from, produces lots of spuds...The Idaho Spud candy bar has not actual potato flavors in it, and it is much lighter than its starch name-sake. It is made of fluffy marshmallow, covered in dark chocolate, and sprinkled with coconut. The handformed candy apparently looked a little like a lumpy chocolate covered potato when it was first made."
---Candy: The Sweet History, Beth Kimmerle [Collectors Press:Portland OR] 2003 (p. 133)

According to the records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Idaho Spud candy was introduced to the American public in April, 1913. Record here: "Word Mark IDAHO SPUD Goods and Services IC 030. US 046. G & S: CANDY. FIRST USE: 19130400. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19130400 Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM Design Search Code Serial Number 71358321 Filing Date November 17, 1934 Current Filing Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Registration Number 0322496 Registration Date March 12, 1935 Owner (REGISTRANT) IDAHO CANDY COMPANY, THE CORPORATION IDAHO 3494 SOUTH TK AVENUE BOISE IDAHO 83705 Attorney of Record STEVEN R. ORMISTON Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Affidavit Text SECT 12C. SECT 15. SECTION 8(10-YR) 20050315. Renewal 4TH RENEWAL 20050315 Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"

The company is still in business.

Related confections? Sauerkraut candy & Bologna candy.

The history of pralines is full of interesting stories. While sugar-coated nuts were known in the middle ages (Jordan
almonds & dragees), food historians generally attribute the "invention" of the praline to Lassagne, officer of the table to Marechal du Plessis, duke of Choiseul-Praslin. The first pralines were crafted in the 17th century. Presumably, these confections were transported to Lousiana by French settlers.

"Sugar almonds. Almonds coated with a layer of fine sugar, as for dragees...Sugar almonds play an important role in rites of passage, particularly christenings and weddings, at which they are offered as symbols of good fortune. This custom is strong in France, Greece, Italy, other Mediterranean countries, and as far east as Iran and Afghanistan where they are known as noql...As a New Year offering they are supposed to ensure that the mouths and lives of the recipients will remain sweet for the whole of the coming year. Less sophisticated versions of almond dragees are sometimes made at home by cooking almonds, or other nuts, such as hazel, in sugar syrup and then stirring the mixture till it grains.' The almonds, with some of the sugar clinging to them, are separated and dried. Many 17th- and 18th-century praline recipes are of this type."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 766)

"Praline. A combination of almonds and boiled sugar, is a popular confection with a long history. The name is originally French, and the Dictionnarie de l'epicerie (1898) gives this definition" Praline.--Bonbon forme d'une amande rissole dans du sucre dont ell form ensuite le noyeay, et parfue it colore de diverse manieres.' The important points in this definition are that it refers to almonds which are whole and separate, each covered with boiled, grained sugar. This remains the primary meaning of the word in modern French. According to the often-repeated but unverifiable legend dating back to the end of the 18th century at least, the name praline' is derived from the Duke of Plessis-Praslin (1589-1675). His cook is supposed to have invented a method for coating whole almonds in grained caramelized sugar, and later to have retired to the to produce the sweets commerically. Whatever the truth, pralines were well known, outside as well as inside France, but the 18th century, when recipes for Prawlins', or for Almonds Crisped' appeared in English cookery books. Borella (1770) observed that ;praline' is French Anglicized, as there is no English word to express the real idea of the French in this sort of preserving almonds.' Eventually, however, praline, like many other French culinary terms, became an adopted word in the English language. As an English word, praline now has the main meaning of a powdered nut-and-sugar confection, the nuts commonly (but not exclusively) used being almonds...In North America pralines are a specialty of several southern states. In Louisiana, especially New Orleans, the name applies to candies made with pecans in a coating of brown sugar which used to be sold by Creole women known as pralinieres."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 631-2)

"Praline...The praline is a specialty of Montargis, where its inventor, Lassagne, who was chef de bouche (master of the household) to the Compte du Plessis-Praslin, came to retire. Legend has it that his creation came about this way: seeing a kitchen boy nibbling at leftovers of caramel and almonds, Lassagne had the idea of cooking whole almonds in sugar. The sweetmeat that resulted had a bread successs and even, it is said, contributed to certain diplomatic triumphs, for which the Compte du Plessis-Praslin, minister to Louis XIII and Louis XIV, took all the credit (he also gave his name to the sweets). Lassagne finally retired to Montargis in 1630 and there founded the Maison de la Praline, which exists to this day."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Completely updated and revised [Clarkson Potter:New York] 2001 (p. 934)

"We owe it [praline] to Lassagne...One day, in the servants' quarters of his residence at Montargis, Lassagne found his children caramelizing almonds almonds stolen from the kitchens. The wonderful odour emanating from the spot where the little cooks were at work gave away their guilty secret and its delicious results. His mouth watering, Lassagne promsed to keep quiet in exchange for some of the sweetmeats. He perfected the recipe and took it to the court of Louis XIII, where the confection became known as prasline, not that the duke himself had anything to do with inventing it. Another sotry holds that the reicpe was the result of clumsiness on the part of an apprentice, who dropped some almonds into caramel made with Gatinais honey. Whatever the truth of the matter was, Lassagne retired to Montargis and opened a confectioner's shop there, the Maison de la prasline, which still exits and is as good as a museum. Praline is made and sold at modern fairs in France, but the cheap sort contains peanuts instead of authentic almonds."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble Books:New York] 1992 (p. 569)

Jarrin's praline (prawling) recipes, circa 1825:

"No. 91.--Prawlings.
Everything is called a prawling, which is covered with dry sugar to preserve it from moisture, as orange flowers, lemon peel, almonds, pistachios, &c.

"No. 92.--White Prawlings.
Boil your sugar to a feather (see No. 9), put in the fruit or almonds, and boil it to a crack, (see No. 11); take it from the fire and work it with a spaddle [sic]...till the sugar becomes a powder, then throw the whole into a sieve to take off the surplus of sugar; afterwards put the prawlings into a box for use."
---The Italian Confectioner; Or, Complete Economy of Desserts, facsimile Third edition, corrected and enlarged, 1827 Londonedition, William Alexis Jarrin [reprint on demand, Breinigsville, PA ISBN 9781146199803] 2010(p. 41-42)TE: this book also contains recipes for almond, pistachio, and orange-flower prawlings.]

Pralines in the USA

"Praline. A Confection made from almonds or pecans and caramel. It is a great favorite of the South, especially in New Orleans, and derives from the French preparation of praline, caramelized almonds or hazelnuts and sugar pounded into a fine, crumblike texture, Both terms come from the name of French diplomat Cesar du Plessis-Praslin, later duc de Choisuel (1598-1675), whose cook suggested that almonds and sugar aided digestion. The American Creoles substituted pecans for the almonds. The confection is first mentioned in print in 1715, and part of Louisiana food culture as early as 1762. The term had various meaning by 1809, when one chronicler told of pralines made from corn and sugar."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 255)

"Pralines. The word "Praline" is entirely associated in New Orleans with the delcious pink and white sugar cakes, made of cocoanut and sugar, or the brown ones, made of pecans and sugar, which are sold by the old Creole negro women of New Orleans. The "Pralinieres," as they are called, may always be found in Canal street, near Boubon or Royal, or about the entrance of Jackson Square, in the dim cathedral alley, or going about the streets of the Old French Quarter, selling their wares of an evening, when the little Creole children are taking an airing with their faithful old mammies. These little one always have a "Picayune," or five-cent peice, with which to buy a praline or a "La Colle," or a stick of "Candi Tire a la Melasse."
---The Picayune's Creole Cook Book, second edition, facsimile 1901 reprint [Dover:New York] 1970 (p. 375)
[NOTE: This book has more information about Creole candy and several praline recipes. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

Louisiana praline recipe, 1904

Suggestions for further study:
1. Food in History, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, chapter 17: Confectionery and Preserves
---background on the history of confectionery
2. Cambridge World History of Food, Kiple & Ornelas
---history of almonds, pecans, peanuts, & sugar
3. Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson
---history of sugar almonds and dragees
4. Need recipes? Check French and Cajun cookbooks.

Related food? Pecan pie & brittle.

Sauerkraut candy
Confectioners are brilliant when it comes to creating novel items. Some pieces are highly crafted; others are assembled with cheap ingredients to feed a popular frenzy. "Sauerkraut Candy" is a little of both. This particular confection combines coconut and sugar to achieve a product that looks like sauerkraut. Why on earth would someone "invent" this? We wondered too.

Food historians confirm coconut (aka cocoanut) has been a popular ingredient in American foods from colonial days forward. Fresh, dried or dessicated, coconuts flavored American desserts. 19th century technological advances made cocoanut cheap and plentiful. Coconut candy recipes proliferated. Our survey of historic newspapers suggest Sauerkraut candy originated in the northern American Midwest (Wisconsin, Iowa) in the early 20th century. This region was home to great waves of Northern European immigrants who enjoyed sauerkraut and sausages. An inexpensive novelty confection resembling beloved sauerkraut, and promoted as such, makes perfect sense in this context.

End of story? Not quite. Enter: The Greek Factor. Our survey revealed two articles connecting a Greek confectioner with Sauerkraut Candy. If you can shed light on this mystery we'd love to hear from you!

"A Greek employed in the making of 'sauerkraut' candy at Milwaukee has been forbidden to continue his business. He is a victim of tuberculosis."
---Eau Claire Leader [WI], April 19, 1907 (p. 7)
[NOTE: Is this the same person referenced

"Try sauerkraut candy to make you thrive. Ten cents worth and you'll bet your money's worth."
---"The County Fair," Baltimore Sun, reprinted in the Ackely Word [IA], October 2, 1907 (p. 3)
[NOTE: the poem containing this line was published in several local newspapers about the same time.]

"Sauer Kraut Candy

This formula is for the candy sauer kraut which originated in the candy butcher shops. Unlike many novelties, it is not only a fast selling piece, but also a piece possessing good eating qualities.
3 pounds sugar
6 pounds corn syrup
1 quart light New Orleans molasses
1/2 pound butter
1 spoonful salt
1 pint water
Place on fire and when batch boils add 8 pounds long shredded cocoanut. Continue to cook until the batch hangs together, then pour batch into a greased sieve and allow the surplus syrup to drain from the cocoanut. Pour on slab to cool and flavor with a little extract of vanilla and extract of lemon. Sell from pans, or pack in boxes and sell in that manner."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, [Rigby Publishing Company:Topeka KS] nineteeth edition (undated, maybe 1920s?) (p. 216-217)
[NOTE: A "candy butcher" was a young man who hawked cheap confections at popular events (circuses, fairs) for quick profit. Thomas Edison was a "train butcher" in his youth.]

"Sauerkraut Candy

Cook one pound of brown sugar and enough milk to moisten for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time, then add one quarter pound coconut.--Jacob Achauer, route 7."
---Appleton Post-Crescent [WI], March 17, 1922 (p. 7)

"D.K. Phoenix, Ariz., want to know how to make sauerkraut candy. Place two cups of brown sugar and half a cup of boiling water in a saucepan and boil until a little will harden when dropped in cold water; remove from the fire, add enough grated cocoanut to make a stiff paste, place on a buttered dish to cool."
---"Practical Recipes," A. L. Wyman, Los Angeles Times, March 8, 1924 (p. A6)

"Old Fashion Sauerkraut Candy, per lb, 29 cents."
---Suburbanite Ecomomist [Chicago IL], October 22, 1925 (p. 5)

"Fresh Sauer-Kraut Candy. This is a new confection. It is made of pure fresh cocoanuts, rich pure cream and creamery butter. We have purchased this secret formula and have made arrangements to have fresh supply on on hand at all times. Special Introductory Price 58 cents Per Pound."
---Alton Evening Telegraph [IL], February 19, 1926 (p. 16)
[NOTE: Why does this 1926 ad herald Sauer Kraut candy as a "new confection" when the 1925 snippet above proclaims it "old fashioned?"]

"...the attractive box of sauerkraut candy on the desk in awaiting some some victim other than the intended one."
---"All Foods' Day Observance Is Lacking Here," Manitowoc Herald-News, April 1, 1930 (p. 13)
[NOTE: April Fools!]

"Old Fashioned 'Sauerkraut Candy,' full pound 17 cents."
---Sheboygan Press [WI], July 24, 1941 (p. 18)

"Sauerkraut candy. A Sheboygan favorite. Made of delicious, chewy, cocoanut, 39 cents lb."
---Sheboygan Press, December 18, 1948 (p. 13)

"'Candy' Jim Athas, who filled this central Texas town's sweet tooth 56 years, has retired. 'I wish I could shake the hand of every boy and girl who ever came to my place for candy, soda water, popcorn or even a rink of water,' says Greek-born 'Candy' Jim...He became famous for his 'Sauerkraut Candy.' It was a caramel form but rich in coconut. For years, 'Candy' Jim never said how it got its name. On retiring, he told. He said that in the early days of his candy making he visited Des Moines, Iowa, and heard of this recipe. He learned how to make it, and noted that, when cooking, the coconut gives the appearance of sauerkraut."
---"Taylor's 'Candy' Jim Closing Sweet Shop After 56 Years," Corpus Christie Times [TX], January 21, 1955 (p. 14)
[NOTE: Could this possibly be the same person/relative of Greek confectioner referenced in the
1907 article? We have no clue. This piece was reprinted in several midwest American newspapers; a testament to Mr. Athas' famous confectionery skills.]

"Sauerkraut Candy Comes Back. Most youngsters never hear of Sauerkraut Candy, but oldsters know it well. The 'sauerkraut' is shredded coconuty and you team it with penuche. Many grocery stores throughout the Midwest sold it from barrels during the Gay Nineties. It held its place in the sun until World War I. Then for some reason it almost disappeared. Make it once and you may stage a revival, for this candy tastes extra-good.
"Sauerkraut Candy
You can't miss with this combination of lots of coconut in penuche
2 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1 1/3 c. dairy half-and-half
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. shredded coconut.
Combine sugars, corn syrup and half-and-half in 3-qt. heavy saucepan with buttered sides. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking to the soft ball stage (238 to 240 degrees F.). Remove from heat; add butter and salt without stirring. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F.). Add vanilla and beat until creamy; mixture loses gloss and becomes opaque. Fold in coconut all at once. Pour onto buttered and chilled platter or into an 8" square pan. Cut in slices if thick or in 49 squares if molded in pan. Makes about 2 1/4 pounds."
---Homemade Candy, Nell B. Nichols, Farm Journal Field Food Editor [Doubleday & Company:Garden City NY] 1970 (p. 58-59)

Bologna candy?
Sauerkraut Candy, Bologna Candy (aka Sausage Candy) is a cheap 20th century confection crafted to visually resemble its namesake. Novel idea, yes?

"Bologna Made of Candy

You can use cream scrap in this type if you desire; if you do, place in a kettle
30 pounds scrap
20 pounds corn syrup
Water to dissolve
Cook to 234 degrees F., add all the shredded cocoanut it will stand, then add a few blanched almonds or Brazil nuts to represent the fat in the sausage. Also add chocolate to flavor and red color; do not use too much color but just so the batch will be a kind of reddish brown. Now pour batch on slab and work into round rolls a little over two inches thick and about fifteen inches in length. It is necessary to have a heavy wire suspended across your shop when you are making this piece. Have the wire up before starting batch. Now wrap the strips of candy bologna in heavy sheets of wax paper; be sure to keep them round all the time, then tie up the end of the wax paper so that the whole sheet of oiled paper will keep the bologna in the desired shape. Hang each of these pieces from the heavy wire and let them remain undisturbed for about twelve to fifteen hours, then remove the wax paper and cut into slices of about a half inch in thickness. You will find this cuts very smoothly and is nice eating. In cutting, cut on an angle just as butchers do, then your piece will still be more imitative. If yo do not wish to use cream scrap in making this batch, use 20 pounds of sugar to 20 pounds of corn syrup, then proceed the same."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, [Rigby Publishing Company:Topeka KS] nineteeth edition (undated, maybe 1920s?)(p. 216)

"Bologna Candy

It looks like a good summer sausage but it's and elegant, rich candy.
2 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1 lb. dates (2 1/2 c.)
1 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Combine sugar and milk in 2-qt. heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (234 degrees F.), stirring constantly, until mixture is very thick and leaves the side of pan when stirred. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and nuts. Cool slightly. Turn out on wet towel. When cool enough to handle and hold shape, roll up in towel. Place in refrigerator and chill. Make a roll 2" in diameter and about 18" long like rolls of cookie dough. Cut in slices to serve. Makes 2 1/4 pounds."
---Homemade Candy, Nell B. Nichols, Farm Journal Field Food Editor [Doubleday & Company:Garden City NY] 1970 (p. 192-193) [NOTE: this book also offers recipes for Fruit/Nut Sausage Candy and Gingered Prune Sausage Candy (p. 192)]

Related confections? Sauerkraut candy & Potato candy.

Tablet (aka Scottish Tablet)
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the oldest print reference to tablet, in the confectionary sense, dates to 1736:
"Hence, orig. and chiefly Sc. (also taiblet), a type of fudge (formerly hardbake or almond toffee) made in tablets; a piece of this. 1736 MRS. MCLINTOCK Receipts for Cookery 35 (heading) To make Orange Tablets with the Grate."
Why call it "tablet?" Etymology notes from the OED suggest this confection may have borrowed its name from medicinal origins. In the world of candy, this is common.
"Anglo-Norman tablet, tablett, tablette, tabelet, tabillet and Old French, Middle French tablete, Middle French, French tablette small slab or panel, smooth stiff sheet (originally made of wax-covered wood) for writing on (both c1200 or earlier in Anglo-Norman; in later use chiefly in plural (compare sense 1b)), small slab or panel bearing a painting or drawing (early 13th cent.), flat ornament made of precious metal or precious stone (a1376 or earlier in Anglo-Norman), table diamond (mid 15th cent. in tablette de diamant; also diamant en tablette), medicine in the form of a small disc or lozenge (1564), food in the form of a small disc or lozenge (1690), horizontal projecting course or moulding (1701) < table TABLE n. + -ete, -ette -ET suffix1. Compare also Old Occitan, Occitan tauleta (late 12th-early 13th cent., originally in sense castanet), Catalan tauleta (first quarter of the 14th cent.), Spanish tableta (late 13th cent., originally denoting a small plate in an astrolabe; probably < French), Portuguese tabuleta (15th cent. as taboletas, plural), also (in sense 3a) tablete (20th cent.; < French), Italian tavoletta (1294), and Middle Dutch tafelet, tafelette, taffelet, taflet (Dutch tafelet)."
Laura Mason, British culinary expert, observes:
"...Scottish tablet, which is similar to a crisp version of fudge--brown, sugary, with a characteristic flavour derived from sugar and milk cooked together. A version was known in the eighteenth century when Lady Grisell Baillie recorded purchases of 'Taiblet for the bairns' in her household book between 1692-1733. Recipes for tablets flavoured with orange, rose, cinnamon and ginger were published in Glasgow by Mrs. McLintock in 1736. These are simple candy recipes, made only with sugar, water and flavourings. This is her recipe: "Orange Tablets with the Grate: Grate the Oranges, take 2 lib. of sugar, and a mutchkin of water, then clarify it with the White of 2 Eggs, and set it on a slow Fire, and boil it till it be almost candyed, then put in the Grate of the Oranges, and take your white paper, rub it with fresh Butter, pour it on your Paper, and cut in little pieces." This is a candy similar to those from the previous century. The word tablet has medicinal overtones, as in the commonly accepted meaning of a small flat disc containing some drug or health-giving substance...In tablet now made in Scotland, both orange and ginger are still found amongst the flavourings, but milk has become essential to the defiintion."
---Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 1998 (p. 70-71)

Recipe circa 1829:

"Tablets and Confectionary Drops. A few receipts in this department may be useful in most families, as these things are cordial and sometimes even medicinal, and may be easily and very cheaply prepared at home...To make cinnamon, lemon, horehound, or ginger tablet.--Take either oil of cinnamon, fine sifted China ginger, essence or grate of lemon pounded, in the proportion wanted for flavouring the article to be made. Two drops of oil of cinnamon, a half-ounce of ginger, or the grate of two lemons, is a medium quantity to a pound of sugar. Mix the flavouring ingredient very well with the boiling sugar, and pour it out when boiled candy-height, on a marble slab or stone previously rubbed with sweet oil. Mark the tablet quickly in small squares with a roller and knife."
---Cook and Housewife's Manual, Mistress Margaret Dods, facsimile 1829 edition [Rosters Ltd.:London] 1998 (p. 440)

"Scots Tablets....(Traditional recipe)
Granulated sugar, thin cream or milk, flavouring.
Put into an enamelled saucepan two pounds of granulated sugar and three teacupfuls of thin cream or milk. Bring it gradually to the boiling-point, stirring all the time. Let it boil a few minutes. Test as for toffee, but do not boil it so high. When it has reached the consistency of soft putty when dropped in cold water (about 245 degrees F.), remove the pan from the fire. Add flavouring as below. Now put the pan into a basin of cold water and stir rapidly with a spoon. It soon begins to solidify round the edge, and this must be scraped off repeatedly. Keep stirring until the mass is sufficently grained, and then pour it immediately on to a buttered slab. If too highly grained, it will not pour out flat; if too thin, it will be sticky. Only practice makes perfection. When sufficienty firm, mark into bars with a knife, or cut into rounds with the lid of a circular tin."
---The Scots Kitchen, F. Marian McNeill, originally published in 1929 [Mercat Press:Edinburgh] 2004 (p. 228)
[NOTE: Flavourings in this book include: Cinnamon, Coco-nut, Fig, Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Peppermint, Vanilla, Walnut.]

Related sweets? Toffee, & American fudge.

Rock candy
What exactly is rock candy?
Excellent question with several answers. We Americans think of this as crystalized sugar sold on a stick or piece of string, often found in "old timey" stores. This was not always the case. British confectionery historian Laura Mason explains: "The name 'rock' leads to more confusion. To nineteenth-century confectioners, rock could mean pulled sugar, as in the modern definition, but it could also mean rock candy, large crystals grown on sticks in sugar solutions, or 'rock sugar', made from royal icing foamed by the addition of hot syrup." [Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason Prospect Books:Devon 2004 (p. 95)]. Historically, "rock" candy was often poured on a slab and cut or and cut into shapes (regular or random)or molded into fancier presentations. Our survey of historic coookbooks confirms recipes titled "rock" produced distinctly different products.

When did "rock candy," as we know it today, first appear?
Our survey of historic cookbooks and newspapers confirms "rock candy" first surfaces in the first quarter of the 19th century. Newspaper ads published throughout the USA were for commerical products without description. We cannot tell from this evidence exactly what product was being sold with that name. The earliest print references we find to crystallized sugar sold in string format is from the last quarter of the 19th century. These items were not marketed as candy. They were cough medicine. Curative claims combining whisky and rock sugar were contoversial and not universally sanctioned by medical professionals. It is not until the early 20th century we find crystallized "rock candy" marketed as a confection. Even then, the colors were controversial. Think: Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. In the mid-1950s Weekly Reader, a popular children's newspaper used in schools, featured an article about making rock candy as a fun science experiment. We Baby Boomers remember this fun project.

Rock candy science, Exploratorium

[18th century]
"To Candy Any Flowers Fruits or Spices with Ye Rock Candy

Take two pounds of barbary sugar, great grayned, and clarefy it with ye whites of 2 eggs, and boyle it allmoste to the height of Manus Christi. Then put your flowers, fruits or pieces, & then put your pipkin into A still, and make A litle fire of small cole or charcole under it. And in the space of 12 days your fruit, flowers, or spice will be rock candied."
---Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess [Columbia University Press:New York] 1995 (p. 279)
[NOTE: Ms. Hess adds these notes..."This is a recipe in which I have little confidence; it is effectively sugar candy with flowers..."]

"Lemon Candy or Rock Candy
--To one pound of loaf sugar, put a large cup of water, and set it over a slow fire for half an hour. Clear it with a little warmed vinegar. Take off the scum as it rises. Try when it is done enough, by dipping a spoon in it and raising it; if the threads thus formed snap like glass, it is done enough. Then pour it out into a tin pan that has been buttered; when nearly cold, mark it in narrow strips with a knife. Before pouring it into the pans, chopped cocoa nut, almonds, or picked hickory nuts may be stirred into it. Brazil nuts, taken from the shells, cut in slices, and added to it, are very good."
Housekeeper's Assistant, Ann Allen

--Under this name flourishes a kind of sweetmeat composed of sugar, and sometimes mixed with almonds and various flavours. The sugar is first of all boiled, then it is poured out on a cold marble slab, and worked up into a rough mass. The name 'rock' is also give to another kind of sweetmeat, in which the sugar whilst hot and soft is repeatedly pulled over a smooth iron hook, until it becomes white and porous. This rock is flavoured in various ways." (p. 762)

"Rock or Candy.--Put a pound of loaf sugar into a saucepan with a tea-cupful of water, and stir it until it has dissolved, add a spoonful of vinegar to clear it, and carefully remove the scum. Have ready a shallow tin rigged over with butter. When sugar is boiled sufficiently, stir into it sliced almonds, chopped cooca-nut, or Brazil nuts shelled and cut in slices, and pour it into the tin to the thickness of half or a quarter of an inch. If preferred, the nuts, &c., may be left out, and the rock may be simply marked caross with a knife when it is almost cold. In order to ascertain when the sugar is done enough, dip a spoon into it, and raise it. If the threads thus formed snap like glass, it is ready." (p. 763)
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1875

"For our Rye and Rock Candy [Reliable for all throat and lung complaints] we use only Bumgardner's Virginia Rye Whisky and finest string Rock Candy, $1 per bottle.--H.B. Kirk & Co., 69 Fulton St and 709 Broadway"
---classified ad, New York Times, January 13, 1879 (p. 5)
[NOTES: this is the earliest print reference we find combining rock candy and string. April 19, 1879 we find articles referencing a lawsuit againt this company and product as unsafe. It describes the item as rye whisky dissolved into rock candy. In 1882 we find ads for "Rock Candy Cough Cure," marketed to people suffering from consumption.]

"Dryden & Palmer of Norwalk, Connecticut, has manufactured rock candy since 1880 and claims to be the only company still doing so."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York 1999 (p. 274-5)
[NOTE: Dryden & Palmer still exists: company history.]

"75. Rock Candy

Boil an given quantity of loaf sugar, granulated or other, to the feather; the pour it into any vessel in which threads may run accoss. Put into a warm place and allow it to remain five or six days. When crystallization has ceased, pour off the remaining syrup and rinse out the inside with cold water, and put back into the drying room or within the screen to further dry. To color it, use a carmine, saffron or blue. The first two are most admired. Special kettles, provided with holes for passing the strings through, are sold by the makers of confectioners' tools. These holes are covered with paper, pasted on to prevent the syrup from going through. The object of the strings is to hasten the crystallization."
---The Candy Maker: A Practical Guide, Excelsior Library, No. 64, c. 1901 [Excelsior Publishing House:New York] 1901, issued quarterly since March 3, 1896 (p. 532-533)

"[sugar] reaches us in a variety of forms, either in lumps, as crystals, in powder form or crystallized on strings in the form of rock candy."
---"The story of sugar," Simpson Daily Leader-Times [Kittanning PA], January 23, 1929 (p. 7)

"First graders at Southside are making 'rock candy.' Finding the recipe in their Weekly Reader, they mixed their sugar solution and placed it in glasses. They are witingfor the rock-like crystals to form. Many of the chilren have sent in their subscriptions for the summer Weekly Reader."
---"Grade School News," Oelwein Daily Register [IA], May 5, 1956 (p. 13)

"A California reader reports that he has made a fruitless search of cook books and public libraries for a recipe for old-fashioned rock candy...Mrs. Ruth P Casa-Emellos, The New York Times home economist, explains that rock candy is simply sugar evaporated into large crystals or crystalline masses. The necessary ingredients are a supersaturated sugar solution, a pices of string and plenty of time. To make rock candy, the home economist suggests boiling two cups of sugar in one cup of water to 242 degrees F. on a candy thermometer or until a bit of the solution, dropped into cold water, forms a soft ball. Remove the colution from the heat, allow it to cool, then pour it into an earthenware or glass container. Suspend a string into the solution, first tying one end to a strip of wood that can be rested across the mouth of the container. Or, insert a long, clean twig into this solution. The string or twig is necessary so that the sugar crystals will have something to which htey can cling as they form. All that is left to do is to wait, and it is only fair to warn that it will be a long wait. It wil take several weeks before all the liquid has evaporated and the crystals have formed into rock candy. The rock candy can be crystal clear or it can be tinted in delicate hues by adding a few drops of food coloring to the hot liquid."
---"Food: Letter Box, Recipe for Rock Candy is Offered...," New York Times, February 8, 1958 (p. 13)

Related candies? lollipops and lemon drops

Rum balls
Food historians generally place the origin of rum balls (bourbon balls, brandy balls, apricot balls) in the 1940s, one decade after
no-bake confections became popular. Like stuffed dates, they were popular American homemade winter holiday gifts in the 1950s-1960s. Presumably, the confection recalls earlier days when holiday sweets of composed of nuts, spices, sweeteners and spirits (think: confits, sugarplums, fruitcake, rum cake) were standard fare.

Our survey of early American recipes confirms rum was a popular baked goods ingredient. This particular spirit, like its cousins brandy, port and madeira, served double duty as food flavoring and preservative agent. The difference between the old recipes and today's products? Method. Traditional colonial/early American products featuring alcoholic ingredients were baked. Contemporary American Rum Balls are not. While it is totally possible rum ball-type recipes have been around for hundreds of years, we have no print proof. All historic points on the culinary history compass place rum balls in the mid-20th century.

"There was one other liquor-accented sweet recipe that swept the country in the Sixties and that was bourbon or rum balls. Because they involved no cooking and were based on ultrafashionable graham cracker or cookie crumbs, nuts, and alcohol, bourbon balls were the perfect sweet morsel of the era. The were, and are, addicting...These little cookie confections are usually reserved for the Christmas season."
---Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads, Sylvia Lovegren [Macmillan:New York] 1995 (p. 257)
[NOTE: This book contains a recipe for rum balls.]

"Rum Balls

(About 40)
1/2 pound vanilla wafers
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup light corn sirup
1/4 cup rum
Grind or foll wafers very fine. Mix dry ingredients. Add nuts, sirup, and rum. Stir until stiff. Roll into balls the size of a walnut. Coat hands with confectioners' sugar while shaping the balls. Let stand about1 hour, to dry somewhat. Roll about 1 hour, to dry somewhat. Roll in confectioners' sugar. These may be stored in a tin container or cooky jar and will keep well for several weeks. No baking is required."
---"Contest Editor Picks Favorite Cooky Recipes," Mary Meade, Chicago Daily Tribune, September 23, 1945 (p. E7)

"Magic Bourbon or Rum Balls

(Makes 48 Candies)
3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (3/4 oz package)
1/2 cup Bourbon or Rum
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups ((15-ounce can) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
Confectioners' sugar or sprinkles
Combine wafer crumbs and nuts. Add sweetened condensed milk and Bourbon (or Rum); blend well. Chill about one hour. Dip palms of hands into confectioners' sugar. Shape by teaspoonfuls into small balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar or colored sprinkles. Store in covered container in refrigerator. Candies can be moist and fresh for several weeks."
---"Give a Gift of Homemade Candy," Pittsburgh Courier, December 25, 1954 (p. SM10)

"Rum candy

1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried figs
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachio nuts
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
The day before you plan to make the candy, but the fruit in a bowl, heat the rum, and pour it on. Let stand. To make: Drain the fruit. Put fruit and nuts through the food chopper. Mix well with the hands. Form into small balls. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the balls in this spicy mixture. Let stand until dry. (Yield: about 32 candies)"
---Gifts from your Kitchen, Carli Laklan and Frederick Thomas [M. Barrows:New York] 1955 (p. 77)

"Walnut Bourbon Balls

2 1/2 cups finely crushed packaged vanilla wafers (about 5 doz.)
2 tablsp. Cocoa
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, or walnuts and shredded coconut
3 tablsp. corn syrup
1/4 cup bourbon
Confectioners' sugar.
Mix well wafer crumbs, cocoa, 1 cup sugar, nuts. Add corn syrup, bourbon; mix well. Form into 1" balls; then roll in sugar. Store in covered container a day or so to ripen. Makes 3 1/2 doz."
---Good Housekeeping Cook Book, Dorothy B. Marsh [Good Housekeeping:New York] 1955 (p. 480)
[NOTE: The 1963 edition of this book also includes a recipe for Brandy Balls, but no Rum Balls.]

Related food? Rum raisin ice cream.

Toffee (UK), taffy (USA), salt water taffy, butterscotch, caramel & toffee apples
The history of taffy (and its British counterpart, toffee), and butterscotch are intertwined. When were these confections invented? No one quite knows for certain. Food historians generally agree that taffy/toffee first became popular in the 1800s. Possible precursor? Tablet.

The basic ingredients for taffy/ toffee were readily available to European cooks during the Roman occupation. Treacle (a uncrystalized syrup produced during sugar refining) was routinely employed to make cakes and gingerbread during the Middle Ages. Karen Hess notes treacle was considered to have medicinal value, which explains why it became the sweetener of choice during these times. (Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, transcribed by Karen Hess [p. 200-1]). C. Anne Wilson confirms "Molasses was rather slow in coming into general use as a sweetener, due perhaps to the influence of the apothecaries and treaclemongers." (Food and Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century [p.304]). Northern European cooks typically used butter [rather than oil] for cooking because it was readily available.

How old is toffee?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, toffee ("a sweet meat made from sugar or treacle, butter, and sometimes a little flour, boiled together; often mixed with bruised nuts such as almond or walnut toffee") was first mentioned in print in 1825. We know that most words are typically used long before they appear in print form.

"Toffee...the modern British name for a sweet formerly called 'taffy.' The older name survives in the USA, but British toffee and American taffy are not quite the same....Welsh forms of toffee (variously called taffi, ffani, or cyflaith) are much more like American taffy. In particular, they are usually pulled, as is most American taffy. The agreeable custom of taffy-pulling parties has survived up to modern times in parts of Wales, while it is probably extinct in England. "
---The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 797-798)

"Toffee became popular around 1800, a time when sugar and treacle (a sugar syrup like molasses) had become cheap. Early references to toffee all come from the north of England and often mention friends getting together to boil treacle with flour to make a sticky treat. Improvements to the basic mixture included adding cream a speciality of Devonshire or butter to make a richly flavoured confection. Buttery toffee is often called butterscotch, which suggests it was invented in Scotland. But the word was first recorded in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, where Samuel Parkinson began making it in 1817. Possibly the "scotch" part of its name derives from "scorch" rather than from Scotland. As for the word "toffee," an early spelling is "toughy" or "tuffy," probably a reference to the confection's teeth-sticking toughness."
---"ENGLISH TOFFEE Sweet, rich, and beloved by the British," British Heritage, February-March 2002 (p. 16)

"Speculation is possibe on [toffee's] origin as a festive food, perhaps associated with Halloween or All Souls...Special foods for these days undoubtedly existed...Jamieson, in his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (1825) defined taffie as a mixture of treacle and flour boiled together, eaten at Halloween. The ingredients could have been more seasonal than they appear to us. Before the eighteenth century, butter would have been most plentiful in early autumn, as would honey (molasses or treacle were often substituted one they became common). It's easy to imagine that the poorer members of the community boiled up a simple sweetmeat for All Saints Day, maybe something ressembling a cross between one of the solid medieval gingerbreads and a robust treacle toffee. What is certain is that in the Victorian period an ancestor of Bonfire toffee or 'Plot' toffee (...Nov. 5th) was popular in west Yorkshire...The north Wales tradition was to have a toffee-pull around Christmas or New Year, with friends and family joining in...Taffy-pulls or candy- pulls became a custom in North America too...Taffy, first recorded in 1817, is considered to be the earliest version of the word toffee. Some writers at the time speculated that the word described the toughness of a pulled sweet, and that should really be 'tough'or 'toughy', although this is now discounted. Taffy in North Americca...definately means a pulled sweet."
---"A Later Developer: Toffee," Sugar-Plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 179-194)
[NOTE: We highly recommend you read the entire chapter. Ms. Mason is THE expert on UK sweets & we only paraphrase.]

What is taffy?
The earliest written reference to taffy in the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to 1817: "R. Wilbraham, Cheshire Glossary, Taffy,...a treacle thickened by boiling and made into hard cakes."
Salt water taffy appeared at the end of the 19th century.

"Taffy. A confection made from sugar, butter, and flavorings that has a chewy texture obtained by twisting and pulling the cooked ingredients into elasticity. The British term for such candy is toffee or toffy, possibly from tafia, a cheap West Indian rum made from molasses and used originally to flavor candy. The Oxford English Dictionary notes that taffy...seems to refer to an older form of the candy. By the 1870s taffy bakes and taffy pulls, at which young people would gather to stretch the candy between them, had become social occasions."
---The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 321)

"In the 1840s...candy pulls became popular, being called taffy pulls by the late 1870s, when taffy also came to be a slang word for flattery. Taffy (British toffee) was simple to make, from molasses or brown sugar and butter, and the taffy pulls entertained young and old alike and were a suitable face-to-face pastime for courting couples. Salt water taffy became associated with the Atlantic City Boardwalk by the 1880s, and the box of neatly wrapped pastel rows of taffy became its typical souvenir."
---Listening to America, Stuart Berg Flexner [Simon & Schuster:New York] 1982 (p. 138)

"taffy...flattery, 'sweet talk' (from the candy), 1879."
---Listening to America, Stuart Berg Flexner (p. 86)

Taffy/toffee recipes
In 19th century American and British cookbooks, the names toffee and taffy appear to be used interchangeably to denote similar recipes. This confection also sometimes masked as "molasses candy" or "pulled molasses candy." Some of these recipes instruct the cook to "pull" the candy, others simply to cut it in small squares. Some refer specifically to "Everton Toffie," named for a town near Liverpool, England.

"Everton Toffie

No. 1:--Put into a brass skillet or small preserving pan three ounces of very fresh butter, and as soon as it is just melted add a pound of brown sugar or moderate quality; keep these stirred gently over a very clear fire for about fifteen miutes, or until a little of the mixture, dropped into a basin of cold water breaks clean between the teeth without sticking to them: when it is boiled to this point it must be poured out immediately, or it will burn. The grated rind of a lemon, added wehn the toffie is half done, improves it much; or a small teaspoonful of powdered ginger moistened with a little of the other ingredients as soon as the sugar is dissolved and then stirred to the whole, will vary it pleasantly to many tastes. The Real Everton toffie is made with a much larger proportion of butter, but it is the less wholesome on that very account. If dropped upon dishes first rubbed with a buttered paper, the toffie when cold can be raised from them easily.
Butter, 3 oz.; sugar, 1 lb.; 15 to 18 minutes. Or sugar, 1 lb.: butter, 5 oz.; almonds, 2 oz.: 20 to 30 minutes.
---Modern Cookery for Private Families, Eliza Acton, facsimile 1845 edition with an introduction by Elizabeth Ray [Southover Press: East Susse] 1993 (p. 469)

"Molasses Candy (Taffy)
...Put a pint of common molasses in a stewpan, over a slow fire, let it boil, stir it to prevent its running over the top, or if necessary, take it off; when it has boiled more than half an hour try it, by taking some in a saucer; when cold, if it is brittle and hard, it is done; flavor with lemon, sassafras, or vanilla, and pour it quarter or half an inch deep in buttered tin pans. Shelled peanuts, (ground nuts) or almonds may be stirred into it, enough to make it thick, or but a few. Molasses candy may be made a light color by pulling it in your hands, having first rubbed them over with a bit of butter, to prevent the candy sticking to them, during the process."
---Mrs. Crowen's American Lady's Cookery Book, Mrs. T. J. Crowen [1847] (p. 341-342)

"To Make Everton Toffee

Ingredients.--1 lb. of powdered loaf sugar, 1 teacupful of water, 1.4 lb. of butter, 6 drops of essence of lemon.
Mode.--Put the water and sugar into a brass pan and beat the butter to a cream. When the sugar is dissolved add the butter, and keep stirring the mixture over the fire until it sets, when a little is poured on to a buttered dish; and just before the toffee is done, add the essence of lemon. Butter a dish or tin, pour on the mixture, and when cool, it will easily separate from the dish. Butter[Scotch, an excellent thing for coughs, is make with brown instead of white sugar ommitting the water, and flavoured with 1/2 oz. of powdered ginger. It is made in the same manner as toffee.
Time.--18 to 35 minutes. Average cost, 10 d.
Sufficiently to make a lb. of toffee."
---Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, Isabella Beeton, abridged 1861 edition edited by Nicola Humble [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2000 (p. 313)


3 lb. sugar
1 pint water
1/2 tsp. citric acid
Juice of 3 lemons OR 4 oranges
Butter (for pans)
Three pounds of sugar dissolved in a pint of water, in which half a teaspoon of citric acid has been dissolved; remove the scum as fast as it rises. Boil until it will crack when dropped in cold water; remove from the fire, and add the juice of three lemons or four oranges. Mix it well and boil very gently, until it is as hard as before the lemon was added; pour it in square buttered pans. It should be about an eighth of an inch thick when cold. Before it hardens mark it off neatly in small blocks that it may break regularly.
--- Civil War Cooking: The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia, Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861.


Melt three ounces of fresh butter in a small brass saucepan over a clear, bright fire. As soon as it is dissolved, stir into it one pound good brown sugar, and keep stirring until it is done enough. In order to ascertain when this point is reachedd, let a cup of cold water be placed close at hand, and keep dropping a little of the toffee into it. When the toffee thus dropped hardens immediately, and breaks between the teeth without sticking to them it is done, and must be poured out at once or it will burn. The flavour of this toffee may be pleasantly varied by stirring into it a teaspoonful of slightly moistened powdered sugar, or the grated rind of one lemon. Pour the toffee upon a buttered dish, and put it in a cool place to set. Time to boil, fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Probable cost, this quantity, 8d."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co:London] 1875 (p. 980)
[NOTE: Book also includes recipes for Almond Toffee (p. 980) and Everton Toffee (p. 205).]

"Plain Toffee.

14-lbs. White Sugar
1/2 oz. Cream of Tartar
2 Quarts Water
Process: This is an easy and sapital recipe to begin with. The process is practically the sanme as for all other clear goods, but the ingredients being few there is little chance of their getting complicated. If the reader has a thermometer it is hardly possible to make a mistake, besides it will make the instructions more intelligible; should he not possess this appliance, we must as that the instructions 'How to Boil Sugar', should be committed to memory, as it would be tedious and a great waste of time and space to keep explaining how to tell they different degrees through which the sugar passes before it comes to the point requred for the different goods given in this book For this and other reasons I will assume the learner to be working with one. Put the sugar and water in a clean pan place it on the fire and stir it occasionally till melted; when it comes to a boil, add the cream of tartar and put a lid on the pan; allow it to boil in this way for ten minutes remove the lid and immerse the bottom part of the thermometer in the boiling liquid and allow it to remain in this position until it records 310 degrees, then quickly take out the thermometer, lift off the pan and pour contents into frames, tines, or on a pouring plate, which have been previously oiled. If on pouring plate, mark the boil into bars or squares while warm with a knife or toffee cuter; when quite cold, it is ready for sale."
---Skuse's Complete Confetioner, 7/6 [W.J. Bush & Co.:London] 1890s (p. 23)
[NOTES: (1) This is a professional confectionery text. (2) Additional toffee flavors include lemon, Everton, Fig, Walnut, Barcelona & Cocoanut. Butter Scothch, Eggsa and Bacon and Stick Jaw are also classed as Toffees.]

"Treacle Toffee

Put a 1/4 lb. of fresh butter into a tinned saucepan, and when partially melted add 1/2 lb. of treacle and 1/2 lb. or Demerara sugar, and mix well together. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, then test it by dropping a little in cold water. If it immediately hardens and is brittle, pour all on to a buttered dish. Before it is hard it can be marked into squares with the back of a knife, and it will then break evenly. If liked, almonds can be pressed in before the toffee hardens. Toffee can be pulled until it is any desired light colour, or even white. It is then, while soft, made into rolls or sticks about half an inch thick, and cut into short pieces with scissors."
---Cookery Illustrated and Household Management, Elizabeth Craig [Odhams Press:London] 1936 (p. 459)

About salt water taffy
Salt water taffy
is popularly attributed to Fralingers, on the Atlantic City NJ boardwalk, 1883. Our survey of historic newspaper articles reveals there were several claimants to the origination of this seaside treat. Not surprisingly? The issue became a matter of court record.

"Mr. Fralinger retired from business several years ago. Though he was widely known as the 'Salt Water Taffy King,' the claim that he was the originator of the taffy has been disputed. He was one of the first to manufacture it however, and probably did more than anybody else to popularize it."
---"Joseph Fralinger Dies," New York Times, May 14, 1927 (p. 19)

"Fralingers,'s Inc., the oldest original business on the Boardwalk, has been making and selling saltwater taffy since 1885 at the same location, Tennessee Avenue and the Boardwalk, where Joseph Fralinger set up his stand a century ago. Mr. Fralinger did not create saltwater taffy, but he was, by all accounts, its most successful merchandiser...According to Arthur H. Gager 3d...the founder of the family business first took note of taffy in a letter to a relative, written in 1883 in which the candy was referred to as 'Ocean Wave,' 'Sea Foam,' and 'Salt Water Taffy.' How it got the name saltwater taffy is a pleasant Atlantic City fable. It is said that a Mr. Cassidy and a Mr. Bradley--nobody knows for sure--had a taffy stand and that one night a northeaster hit the Boardwalk, overturning everything and washing the sea over his stock. The next day a girl came by, tasted a piece of the candy and asked, 'Is this saltwater taffy?'...Mr. Gager says is that the name was coined 'simply because of the proximity of the water to the Atlantic City beach and the Boardwalk.'"
---"100 Years the Tons of Taffy Later...," Fred Ferretti, New York Times, June 12, 1985 (p. C3)

Who were the other contenders & what was the outcome of the legal battle?
"About sixty years ago a man had a small candy store on the Atlantic City waterfront--which, in those remote days, had no grand Boardwalk, as it now has, raised many inches above the sea. One morning when he opened up for business he found that a recent hight tide had flooded his stock during the night. 'As he stood tearing his hair, a little girl came in with some pennies in her hand. 'Please, sir, half a pound of taffy,' she said. 'Here's some salt water taffy,' groaned the storekeeper, handing her a package of sea-soaked candy. Munching delightedly, she returned to her parents on the beach. 'It's salt water taffy,' she said: the man told me so.' They started munching also, with a delight equal to hers. 'The candy merchant's mother happened to witness the scene. At once an idea sprang, full-fledged, into her brain. She rushed to her son's flooded shop. 'When you make your next batch of candy, mix it with salt water!' she told him.'He did. Others did..."
---"Topics of the Times, New York Times, October 25, 1947 (p. 18)

"John Ross Edmiston Sr.,...claimed to have originated 'saltwater taffy,'...Mr. Edmiston, born at Tyroe, Pa., was graduated from Lebanon (Pa.) Business College and had been a penmanship teacher. He used the name of salt water taffy shortly after he opened a confectionery store in Atlantic City in 1884. Mr. Edmiston first opened his shore store at the ocean end of the boardwalk at South Carolina Avenue. He had been making the candy for some time when his customers insisted that he give it a name. One day, the sea splashed into his stand, wetting a quantity of the candy which was cooling on a slab. Fearful lest the salt water had ruined his batch, Mr. Edmiston found that the water had not penetrated into the candy and the thought struck him to call it 'salt water taffy.'"
---"John Ross Edmiston Sr. Claims He Was Originator of 'Salt-Water Taffy...'", New York Times, Septebmer 18, 1939 (p. 24)

"With millions at stake in royalties and the future of their industry in jeopardy, about 500 candy manufacturers in this country, chiefly along the Atlantic seaboard, have won the right, after months of litigation, to continue using the trademark 'salt water taffy.' The decision was given by the United States Supreme Court. The right to exclusive use of the trademark was claimed by John R. Edmiston of Wildwood, N.J. in 1923. He contended he was the originator and the only one to manufacture 'salt water taffy' for ten years prior to 1905. His petition for registration of the trade-mark was granted by the United States Patent Office officials. Edmiston then notified all other manufacturers of the confection to cease using the trade-mark and served notice that he would collect royalties on all taffy made since 1895. These royalties would have run into millions. The fisght for the confectioners was made by James Brothers of this city, beginning in August, 1924, resulting in a decision that the term 'salt water taffy' cannot be registered."
---"'Salt Water Taffy' Makers Win Fight Against Patent," New York Times, March 30, 1925 (p. 19)

"Candy interest are following with close attention a temporary victory for manufacturers who contend that John R. Edmiston of Wildwood, N.J., has not the exclusive right to use the trademark 'Salt Water Taffy.' The examiner for interferences of the Patent Office has ruled that Mr. Edmiston is not entitled to sole use of this trade name. When Mr. Edmiston filed application for his trade mark some years ago, the Patent Office decided that the name was 'descriptive' and therefore he would have to apply under a proviso that for ten years previous to 1905 he had, to the best of his knowledge and belief, been entitled to the trade name. Under such an application thirty days are left open for any one to file an opposition, but this was not done. Under a proviso, however, contendants may at any time apply for a cancellation of the registration, and this application has been made by James Brothers of Atlantic City, representing a large number of candy manufacturers. The examiner for interferences now has ruled against Mr. Edmiston. The latter has until April 15 to appeal from this decision to the Commissioner of Patents...The Edmiston appeal has not yet been filed."
---"Denies Sole Right to 'Salt Water Taffy,'" New York Times, April 12, 1925 (p. 13)

We also found this tasty Prohibition-era tidbit:
"Ocean City's fifth candyless Snday since the enforcement of Lord's Day regulations, was ameliorated today by the free distribution of 1,000 boxes of salt water taffy to confectionery-hungry excursionists. John C. Funk, manager of the Arcadia restaurant, staged the candy barbecue. The situation was further relieved when Willian F. Shriver and J. Frank Shellenhberger...dispensed ice cream and soda water for the first time on Sunday since the blue ordinance was enforced. Since that time they had kept their places closed on Sunday."
---"Ends Candyless Sundays: Restaurant Man Gives Free Taffy in Blue-law Town," New York Times, July 30, 1923 (p. 4)

Does salt water taffy really contain salt? Sometimes.

"Genuine Atlantic City Salt Water taffy.

Mix four pounds of sugar and one tablespoonful of corn starch, then place in a kettle and add:
4 pound corn syrup
1/4 pound Nucoa Butter
1 1/2 pints water
Cook to 256 degrees F., then add one tablespoonful salt, pour on slab and when cool enough, pull on hook for a long time. Spin into strips as with stick candy, cutting into pieces about 3/4 inch long. Wrap each piece in thin wax paper and you have the genunine salt water taffy such as originated, and is made and sold on the boardwalk at Atlantic City.
[NOTE: Nucoa brand "butter" was really a margarine.]

"Salt Water Taffy
4 pounds "C" sugar
2 pounds corn syrup
1/2 pound butter
1 1/2 pints water.
Cook to about 260 degrees F., the add tablespoon of salt and 2 ounces glycerine. Pour on slab and when cool, pull well on hook adding vanilla flavor when pulling. Pull out in round sticks about the size of stick candy, cut in small pieces with shears and wrap in wax paper."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, 19th edition [1919?] (p. 146-7)

"Atlantic City Salt-Water Taffy

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup salt sea water
Mix sugar and cornstarch, put into a saucepan, and add syrup butter, and sea water; sitr until boiling point is reached, then boil until it forms a firm ball (254 degrees F.) when tried in cold water, and pour on a greased tin or marble. When cool ennough to handle, pull until it is a light color, adding desired flavor while pulling. Stretch out in a roll 1 inch thick and cut with scissors into desired lengths. Wrap in wax paper. If you have no genuine Atlantic Ocean water handy you might add 1/4 teaspoon salt to any other water, although that would be a misdemeanor in New Jersey."
---America Cooks: Favorite Recipes form 48 States, The Browns, Cora, Rose and Bob [Garden City Books:Garden City NY] 1940 (p. 569-570)

"Salt water taffy.

You can divide taffy, tinting and flavoring each portion differently
2 c. Sugar
1 c. Light corn syrup
1 1/2 c. Water
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Glycerin
2 tblsp. Butter
2 tsp. Vanilla
Combine sugar, syrup, water, salt and glycerine in a 3-qt. Heavy saucepan. Place on low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. The cook without stirring to the hard ball stage (260 degrees F.). Remove from heat and add butter. When butter is melted, pour into a buttered shallow pan (about 13X9"). Whe cool enough to handle, gather into a ball and pull until rather firm. Add vanilla while pulling. Stretch out into a long rope and cut in 1 or 2" pieces. Wrap each piece in waxed paper when hard; twist paper at both ends. This will keep candy from becoming sticky. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds. NOTE: You can tint taffy while pulling it. Different flavors may be added, also in the pulling, instead of the vanilla. Pink taffy usually is flavored with wintergreen, white with vanilla, green with spearmint."
---Homemade Candy, Nell B. Nichols, Farm Journal field food editor [Doubleday & Company:Garden City:New York] 1970 (p. 154)

The history of butterscotch is closely connected to that of toffee/taffy. It is essentially the same recipe tempered with lemon flavoring. Exact recipes (molasses, white sugar, brown, sugar, corn syrup) vary greatly according to time and place. Food historians have several theories regarding the name of this candy and its connection to Scotland; none of them conclusive. Theodora Fitzgibbon (Scottish culinary expert) includes a recipe for butterscotch in her Scottish Cookery (p.260), without comment.

"Buttery toffee is often called butterscotch, which suggests it was invented in Scotland. But the word was first recorded in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, where Samuel Parkinson began making it in 1817. Possibly the "scotch" part of its name derives from "scorch" rather than from Scotland."
---"ENGLISH TOFFEE Sweet, rich, and beloved by the British," British Heritage, February-March 2002 (p. 16)
[NOTE: the Doncaster's Web site references the product but does not provide history]

"Butterscotch, a toffee-like confection of sugar and butter, is first heard of in the mid-nineteenth century. It presumably got its name from being originally manufactured in Scotland, although its history is uncertain. The first known reference to it comes in F.K. Robinson's Glossary of Yorkshire Words (1855), where it is called butterscot."
---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 49)

"Butterscotch. A confection made from butter, brown sugar, and lemon juice. The association with Scotland has never been satisfactorily explained. Butterscotch sauce, or butterscotch topping, is an American dessert sauce with the flavor of butterscotch candy and is served over ice cream..., on pound cake, and on other sweets. The word was first printed in 1855, earlier as "butterscot."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 49)

"Doncaster butterscotch. In Britain, according to an old cookbook, "candy-making is a regular adjunct to courting...It draws together all the lads and lasses...and the fun and the daffing that go on during the boiling, pulling, clipping, cooling, are...worth the money." Visitors to the annual fair in Doncaster, a coal town in Yorkshire, could treat themselves to this chewy butterscotch specialty."
---The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, American Heritage [Doubleday:New York] 1968 (p. 738)
[NOTE: includes recipe]

The butterscotch recipes we know today are different from those of times past. Although the lemon flavoring is constant, the types of sugar, ingredient proportions, and cooking instructions are the result of an evolving process.

Butterscotch recipes through time:

"Everton Toffie...No. 2.--Boil together a pound of sugar and five ounces of butter for twenty minutes; then stir in two ounces of almonds blanched, divided, and thoroughly dried in a slow iven, or before th fire. Let the toffie boil after they are added, till it crackles when dropped into cold water, and snaps between the teeth without sticking."
--- Modern Cookery for Private Families, Eliza Acton [London] Southover Press edition with introduction by Elizabeth Ray [1993] (p. 469)

Buckeye Butter Scotch & Butter Taffy
Buckeye Cookery, Esther Woods Wilcox

"Butter Scotch.
8-lbs White Sugar
1 lb Fresh Butter 1 Quart Water
Lemon Flavouring

Process.--Melt the sugar in the water by an occasional stir when the pan is on the fire, then add the cream of tartar and boil up to 300; lift the pan on to the side of the furnace and add butter in small pieces broken off by the hand; slip the pan on the fire again adding the lemon falvor; let it boil through, so that all the butter is boiled in, then pour into frames; when partly cold, mark the cutter into small squares; when cold, divide the squares; wrap each in wax paper, then tinfoil; sold generally in 1/2 d, 1 d, and 3d packets, the latter containing 6 halfpenny pieces. N.B.--There is good butter scotch and better butter scotch, but no bad butter scotch; this quality may be imporved by the addition of a larger proportion of butter..."
---Skuse's Complete Confectioner [London] (p. 24)

"Butter Taffy
2 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup molasses
7/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Boil first five ingredients until, when tried in cold water mixture will become brittle. When nearly done, add butter, and just before turning into pan, vanilla. Cool, and mark in squares."
---Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Merritt Farmer

"Butterscotch Squares
1 2/3 cups light brown sugar
2/3 corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teasoon salt
Oil of lemon

Put sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan, stir until is dissolved, bring to boiling point, and boil to 280 degrees F., or until it cracks in cold water. Add butter and salt, and boil to 290 degrees F., or until it reaches the hard crack when tried in cold water. Remove from fire, flavor with oil of lemon, and pour out between bars on slightly moistened slab, mark the squares, and bread up when cold."
---The Candy Cook Book, Alice Bradley [Little, Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 128) [NOTE: This book also has recipes for Butterscotch Wafers, Cream Butterscotch Balls (or Scotch Kisses, Cream Butterscotch With Nuts (walnuts or pecans), and Chocolate Butterscotch Creams]

Related confection? Blondies (aka butterscotch brownies). ABOUT CARAMEL

The term "caramel" has two meanings: the highest stage of heated sugar (also caramelized/caramelization) and a confection (candy). According to the food historians, caramelization was practiced in France in the 17th century. Pralines are an example of a caramelized confection. Caramel candies, as we think of them today, surfaced in the 18th century. The are related to toffee. In addition to candy, caramel has several other applications. These include: flavoring (caramel custard), sauce (popular with ice cream), and coating (caramel corn).

"Caramel is sugar which has been cooked until it turns brown. The word caramel is a comparatively late introduction into English: it is first recorded in 1725. It came via French from Spanish caramelo, but its previous history is speculative; its most likely source is perhaps late Latin calamellus, a diminutive form of Latin calamus, 'reed, cane' (the implied reference being to 'sugarcane'). The sweets caramels, a soft form of toffee, are made with sugar and milk, butter, or cream."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 57)

"The five terms--lisse or smooth, pearl, blow, feather, and casse or break--remained standard [confectionery terms] during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were split into lower' and higher', which then became regarded as degrees in their own right. The term caramel was added. Confusingly for the modern reader, this indicated the degree just before the sugar begins to colour. It is now regarded as the hard crack stage. Such attention to detail implies that confectionery became very accomplished during the eighteenth century, but, despite this, written instructions were often inconsistent and blase...Confectioners remained circumspect about boiling sugar higher than feather...Higher degrees came into use gradually. In the sixteenth century, only apothecaries were confident with them. In the next, Rose translated one recipe which required sugar boiled to casse or break. In the eighteenth, sugar boiled to the highest degree, grand casse, or caramel, had a limited use. Massailot said that caramel was proper for Barley-sugar and certain small Sugar-works call'd by that name.' His compatriot J. Gilliers, writing in 1751, described caramel as sugar boiled to casse. It was coloured, and used for figures to decorate the table. Other confectioners used caramel for decorative purposes and do not seem to have made many boiled-sugar sweets of the type now familiar. Only at the beginning of the next century did Jarrin make it clear that he included browned sugar in the term caramel."
---Sugar-plums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets, Laura Mason [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 (p. 57-60)

"Toffee recieved a boost in the 1880s when caramels, a North American innovation, were introduced. Caramels relied on slowly boiled sugar and milk to give a delicious flavour. Skuse wrote that these sweets were sold very freely on the lowest and poorest quarters of London, at two-pence per ounce; in the West End the same goods fetch double that price.' They were also suitable for mass production. Coconut oil substitutes were developed to replace the dairy products, and automatic stirrers replaced human endeavour at the boiling pan. Confectioners began experiments. In 1890 John Mackintosh opened a shop in Halifax. Shortly afterwards, he created Mackintosh's Celebrated Toffee, drawing both on English toffee and American caramel formulae."
---Sweet and Sweet Shops, Laura Mason [Shire Publications:Buckinghamshire] 1999 (p. 18-9)

What did British confectioners think of American caramels at the turn of the 20th century?
"Caramels. When first brought over from America, these goods were certainly a treat. The were rather dear, but they were good; the public appreciated them. Very soon the demand was universal, then competition stepped in with the usual result--the prices lowered, the quality suffered, until anything cut into the shape were called caramels. Consequently, the demand lessened; still they were forced on the market cheaper and cheaper, worse and worse, until only those who liked plenty of money bought the vile concoctions. The very name has almost become a synonym for rubbish. However, several makers had kept up the standard of excellence, so that only those which are identified by a particular brand or name find favour with the retail shopkeepers who study the interest of their customers, but the mischief has already been done to the great bulk of the general trade; the public has lost confidence, and are afraid to buy that which they woudl like, having so often got that which they did not like, bearing the same name and having the same appearance as their former favorites. To remedy this state of things as far a possible, we recommend the making of an excellent article from good and fresh ingredients, using a distinctive name or brand, and, above all, keep the quality up to the standard. Better please old customers with prime goods than try to deceive new ones with cheap and common confectionery goods."
---Skuse's Complete Confectioner, 7/6 [W.J.Bush & Co.:London] 189? (p. 60-1)

Caramel recipes through time
Definition of carmel and recipes [NOTE: these confections are classed as "caramels," not called caramels].

Chocolate caramels, Caramel, for coloring Soups, etc. & Caramel custard.

To make caramel, Caramel frosting & Caramel Charlotte Russe

Definition and uses of Caramel, distinct from Caramel candies.

Some popular snack foods are coated with caramel:
Cracker Jacks (1893)
Karmel Korn (1929)

Related foods? Pralines and toffee apples. Also: Carmel cake & Carame cream.

Toffee apples
The practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup dates to ancient times. Honey and sugar were used as preserving agents. Food historians generally agree that toffee apples (aka taffy apples, caramel candied apples, candy apples, lollipop apples) probably date to the late 19th century, although difficult to prove in print. Both
toffee and caramel are traced to the early decades of the 18th century. Inexpensive toffee/caramels became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence confirms a variety of recipes, from hard colored sugar to soft chewy caramel coating.

What is "candied fruit?"

"The use of cane sugar slowly spread outward from Bengal. In the seventh century A.D., the Chinese emporer Tai-Hung sent workmen to Gur to learn the art of sugar refining, and by the tenth century camel caravans were carrying "sand sugar" north through the empty deserts to Europe. This newsly arrived cane sugar was initially regarded as a spice, and in medieval Europe was used principally as a medicine. It was enormously expensive and was therefore only available to the wealthiest households. Nevertheless, sugar gradually began to be more widely appreciated for its appetizing sweetness in sweetmeats, confectionery, and desserts, while it was increasingly valued also as a preserving agent for fresh fruits. Sweetmeats had appeared on the menu of the most sumptuous feasts and banquets of the Romans, the Athenians, and in Byzantium, and the most wealthy and noble households of the European Middle Ages adopted these delicacies for their own tables. These sweetmeats were considered a digestive to clear the palate...Good hosts weven placed little decorated comfit boxes filled with sugared almonds, pralines, nougats, candied spiced preserves and lemon peel, marzipan made with ground almond paste, egg whites, and sugar, and crystallized fruits, flowers, and angelica for the delectation of their guests in the privacy of their chambers. It was believed that sugar helped their digestion...Candying, probably developed in the Middle East, is a very slow process of replacing the natural juices of the fruit with the sugar solution or syrup. As in some fruit-drying processes, citrus peel and some hard fruits are first soaked in strong brine or acid solution to draw out some of the liquid before boiling and to encourage the fruit to absorb more sugar. Once candied, the fruits can be "crystallized" by painting them with egg white and dusting liberally with sugar...Once sugared, the fruit or flower is the left to dry out in a warm,well ventilated place."
---Pickled, Potted, and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World, Sue Shepard [Simon & Schuster:New York] 2000 (p. 168-9)

One the THE best books on the history of confectionery (all kinds) is Laura Mason's Sugarplums and Sherbet: The Prehistory of Sweets [Prospect Books:Devon] 2004 ISBN 1903018285. This source traces the origins of candy evolving from honey and refined sugar. Candying, Ms. Mason notes, was a method employed in ancient times for fruit preservation. Candied fruit could be dried or stored with syrup in airtight containers. While the book does not specifically address candied apples it does contain a passage which is on point:

"Preserved fruit had been a status symbol for centuries. Before canning, freezing and air freight, sugar was the only medium of conservation available...Originally, the technique was used for more than merely keeping the fruit from rotting. Fresh fruit was regarded as suspect by physicians, who thought it mostly 'cold' in humoral terms. In the seventeeth century, Tobias Venner thought quinces, peaches, and apricots cold and dry, apples and pears cold and moist with a 'crude and windie moisture'...Preserving with sugar (which was moderately hot) made delicious sweetmeats that tempered the coldness of the fruit...Fruit sweetmeats, including a few using honey, can be traced back to the earliest collections of recipes. The confectioner faced with a glut of fruit had three options: preserve it whole (in syrup or candied); cook to a homogenous paste; extract the fruit and boil it with sugar to make a jelly. In skilful hands all three were exploited for decorative, beautifully coloured and flavoured sweetmeats. Preserving whole involved a serious attempt to conserve the integrity of fruits to that they appeared as natural as possible. All recipes for preserves or "suckets' begain by cooking fruit gently, and then steeping in syrup over several days. The syrup was concentrated by boiling a little more each day...Finallly, fruit and syrup were transferred to gallipots or glasses and sealed with bladder or paper until needed. Drained, the preserves could be sprinkled with fine sugar, or candied by dipping them in sugar boiled to candy eight so encasing each piece in a sugar shell. This method uses syrups boiled to relatively low temperatures. Candied fruits are still made with varying degrees of skill in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and their former colonies. The quantities of sugar required, as well as the time and expertise, make these expensive and luxurious sweetmeats even now." (p. 109-111)

About toffee apples
"Toffee apple. A popular confection on Britian, especially in the autumn, when they used to be prominent, with their vivid red color, at autumn fairs. A whole, fresh apple, on a thin stick, is dipped in a high-boiled sugar syrup which has been colored red; and allowed to set before wrapping in cellophane. The Oxford English Dictionary gives on quotations relating to toffee apples earlier than the beginning of the 20th century. However, the use of the term as a soldier's slang for a type of bomb used in the first World War suggests that they were already well known, and probably have a longer history than the quotations allow. In the phrase 'toffee apple' the word 'toffee' means simple boiled sugar, not the mixture of sugar and dairy produce which is what the word usually refers to. This may be another indication of an older origin of the toffee apple...There is some similarity between toffee apples and the Chinese dessert items which consist of pieces of banana or apple fried in batter and then coated in a caramelized syrup. Whether there is any historical connection is not clear."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 798)

"Toffee-apples seem to be an early twentieth-century invention; they are first mentioned in the Christmas 1917 issue of the BEF Times."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 345)

Mrs. D.A. Lincoln's Boston Cooking School Cook Book [1884] provides instructions for "Candied or Crystallized Fruit of Nuts" which approximates the formula described by Mr. Davidson. It does not, however, mention the use of apples

The oldest recipe we have for toffee apples is this:

"Apples on a stick.
Take small apples and stick in each one at the top, a small wooden skewer, such as butchers use to pin roasts. Now cook a batch of Molasses Taffy to 280 degress F. Then dip the apple in the hot batch so as to cover it completely. Let the surplus syrup drip off, then stand them on a slab until cold."
---Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, W.O. Rigby, 19th edition [USA] 1919? (p. 215)
[NOTE: this book contains two recipes for molasses taffy, p. 144 and 145.]

"Lollipop Apples

Select very small red apples, wash and dry them, put a stick or skewer in each, and dip them in the glace."

Glace or glace sugar is used for the dipping of nuts and fruits and for the making of various hard candies. It is an exceedingly pure form of candy, very easily made, yet requiring careful watching, as it quickly clouds, and obviuosly, when not clear, its beautiful effect is lost. It is from glace that the spun sugar nests used chiefly for their decorative purposes are made. The remains of glace, after dipping nuts and candies, may be very delicately coloured, flavoured with a few drops of cinnamon, clove, lemon, or any other desired extract and dropped or poured on to an oiled slab or platter in the form of small candies.
1 pound sugar, 1/8 pound cream of tartar, 2/3 cupful water
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan, stir only until the sugar has dissolved, then cook to 320 degrees. Remove immediately from the fire and drip whole or half nuts and candy centres, one at a time, into the syrup, gently, so as not to disturb it and make it cloudy. Lift them out immediately with the candy fork and turn on to an oiled slab or platter or table oilcloth to set."
---Mrs. Allen on Cooking, Menus, Service, Ida C. Baley Allen [Doubleday, Doran & Company:Garden City NY] 1924 (p. 790-1)

Turkish delight
Food historians tell us sweet, gummy, fruit-flavored molded candies were first made by Arab cooks in the Middle Ages. Recipes were introduced to Europe by returning Crusaders. These early candies inspired many candies we know today, including gumdrops,
jelly beans, jujubes, Gummi Bears and Swedish Fish. Recipes evolved with advances in technology. The 19th century introduction of corn syrup and man-made gelatine (for the jelly) made it possible for these candies to be made cheaply. Which meant? More people could afford and enjoy them. 19th century English jelly candies (of all sorts) were called Turkish Delights:

"Turkish delight is a gelatinous sweet of Turkish origin, coated in powdered sugar. It is variously flavored and coloured, although the variety most commonly seen in the West is made with rose water, and is consequently pink. It is cut into cubes, and was originally called in English lumps of delight', a term Dickens needed to explain in 1870: "I want to got the the Lumps-of-Delight shop," "To the-?" "A Turkish sweetmeat, sir"' (Mystery of Edwin Drood). The name Turkish delight itself is first recorded in 1877. The Turkish term for the sweet is rahat lokum, a borrowing from Arabic rahat al-hulqum, which literally means throat's ease."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 351-2)

This article confirms the popularity of Turkish confectionery in Europe: "A King's Confectioner in the Orient," Priscilla Mary Isin/Petits propos culinaires, February 2002 [includes selected historic recipes]

Related confection? Fruit leather.

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9 January 2015