Top 5 Spring Candies

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Americans are known to splurge on sweets all year round, but spring is a particularly popular time to indulge the national sweet tooth. Easter is the ostensible “excuse,” and spring candy is essentially synonymous with Easter candy.

Yet, there is a startling difference between winter and spring in regard to the nation’s candy-eating habits. Many scale back and control their candy cravings during winter except for two major “outbursts” at Christmas and New Year’s. But when spring arrives, this long “semi-fast” is over, and Easter candies are sold all season long.

What, then, are the top contenders on the average supermarket candy shelf? Below, we introduce five prime contestants:

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs

These classic treats are dominant in candy sales during the Easter season and even throughout the spring. They are a spin-off from the Easter egg and are meant to mimic an actual egg, the white and yellow creamy fondant filling representing the yolk and white of a chicken egg. The hard chocolate shell, however, only mimics real eggs in shape, for white chocolate is not used for the “shell.”

The Cabury factory is located in the UK, with a million and a half being produced daily in Birmingham. Throughout most of the world, the Cadbury egg is sold by Mondelez, but in the U.S., Hershey has acquired that envied right.

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs

All year long, Reese’s peanut butter cups are a standard favorite of millions of Americans, and they appear in different guises throughout the year. PB Hearts, Pumpkins, Christmas Trees, and Ghosts cover the holiday spectrum, but Peanut Butter Eggs, mainly available in March and April, are easily the most popular holiday variation on the peanut butter cup.

The reason so many love the PB egg, often more than even the “regular” cup, seems to be the higher ratio of peanut-butter filling to surface chocolate in the over-thick egg. It is veritably bursting with filling, which helps it to attain to its one-sided oval shape besides enhancing the taste.

While a bit of speculation is involved, it is easy to see the connection between the peanut butter egg and the “Big Cup,” which also increases the ratio of interior peanut butter to exterior chocolate but does so all year long.

  1. Bunny Corn

Brach’s candy corn is another year-round treat that puts on a new face in the spring. “Bunny Corn” is the pastel version of candy corn, usually only two-colored (a pastel body and a white tip). The typical colors are violet, pink, green, and yellow, mixed together in an assorted bag.

But Bunny Corn now has competition, as Brach’s released Carrot Corn (orange with a green tip and bearing the flavor of carrot cake) in 2014.

  1. Whoppers Robin Eggs

Hershey’s Whoppers candies are a crunchy 3/4-inch diameter ball of “malted milk” with a chocolate coating. In the spring, the malted milk center, which gets its distinctive taste from barley malt, changes the chocolate coat for a spring-like hard, pastel-colored candy shell.

Spotted like real robin’s eggs and enough to make many an eater sing from enjoyment, these crunchy candies have become a true springtime classic.

  1. Willy Wonka Golden Eggs

Not yet as popular, perhaps, as the four candies listed above, but destined, we think to become a staple at Easter egg hunts, are Nestle’s Willy Wonka Golden Eggs.

There are actually four different products in the Wonka Golden Egg Collection, and each of these has multiple types of eggs. For example, there is an egg-hunt kit with a Golden Egg and a giant golden egg filled with Sweet Tarts.

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How It’s Made: Rock Candy

rockcandy

Rock candy may seem like an American confectionery pastime, but in reality its origins lie in the ancient land of Persia (modern Iran), where super-saturated sugar water was first crystallized on small twigs, colored with indigo, and imbued with a floral aroma. Knowledge of rock candy spread, and it remains a popular way to flavor and sweeten tea as well as a classic home candy-making project for kids.

While you can buy ready-made rock candy from the store, many prefer to make it for themselves at home. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Make the Solution

The ingredients are simple: water, sugar, and any colorings/flavorings you wish to add. Use two parts sugar for every one part water. While it might seem impossible for a cup of water to dissolve two cups of sugar, in fact, it will. The result will be a “super-saturated solution.”

Heat the water to a boil stove-top. Be sure you use filtered or distilled water, since even small impurities present in tap water can gather sugar crystals around them instead of on your candy stick.

Next, stir in a half cup (at most) of sugar at a time into the boiling water. Wait until all of the sugar is dissolved before stirring in more. Keep going till all of the sugar is fully dissolved, which could take a couple of minutes. Keep stirring occasionally until the sugar has all disappeared and the water looks clear (not cloudy). If you have trouble getting all the sugar to dissolve, turn up the heat to increase the saturation potential or strain the solution to remove residue. Any loose sugar particles will gather crystals around themselves instead of on you candy stick — so they have to go!

Remove the solution from the burner and let it cool around 15 minutes. Then, add in colors and flavors to make your rock candy more enjoyable. Stir it in till all is evenly distributed. You can use food colorings and fruit juices, vanilla or other extracts, drink mixes, or anything else that your creativity may suggest to you.

2. Prepare the Jar

Now pour the solution into a mason jar or drinking glass, filling it nearly to the top. Be sure the glass is clean. Take your popsicle stick, attach it to a clothespin, and rest it on the top of the jar with the stick projecting down into the center of the solution (but not touching the bottom or sides). Cover the jar with paper towel to keep the dust out (but not with plastic wrap since that would prevent evaporation).

Now remove the stick from the liquid and let it dry. You should see small “seed crystals” attached to it, on which other crystals will later form. You can also wet the stick, roll it in sugar, and then let it dry to get your seed crystals if necessary. Put the stick back in as before.

3. Watch It Grow

As the water evaporates out of the solution, it will be unable to keep as much sugar dissolved in it and the sugar will crystallize on your candy stick. It could take one to two weeks for your rock candy to fully form. For smaller crystals that form faster, put the jar in sunlight (increases evaporation rate); for bigger crystals that form more slowly, place the jar in a cool, dark spot.

  • You must make sure the string is completely dry before you proceed to the next step and be very careful not to knock off any of the seed crystals when you place the string in the solution.[17]
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Top 4 Holiday Candy Trends

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As we head into the 2016 holiday season, supermarket candy aisles will be bustling and filled to the brim with festively wrapped sweets of all descriptions. The “old classics” will still be there, such as candy canes, Yuletide style candy corn, chocolate Santa Clauses, and Hershey’s Christmas Kisses. But, those who have been paying attention over the last few seasons, will notice a number of candy trends that are impacting our candy options during the holidays.

Here are 4 of the leading candy trends that are highly noticeable in U.S. holiday candies (and throughout the year, for that matter):

1. The “Miniaturizing” of Familiar Sweets

As Americans grow more health conscious, the desire of consumer to “snack but snack lightly” on favorite candies is leading to the phenomenon of the “incredible shrinking Christmas candies.” M&Ms, including in festive colors of green, white, and red, are now commonly sold in “mini” versions that you carry in a tube with a capped dispenser. Hershey’s miniatures chocolate bars are not new, but they are more popular than ever in this heyday of mini candies. Finally, note that many mini candies come in convenient, resealable packaging that allows for all-day “mini snacking” and easy sharing with co-workers, family, and friends.

2. The Popularizing of Mints

York Peppermint Patties should sell exceptionally well in 2016, but they will not have a corner on the mint market, for mints are appearing all across the candy-making spectrum in great abundance. White Peppermint M&Ms, for example, are a recent addition, and the market for mints is surging by nearly 5% per year currently. It may be a newfound love for a minty, refreshing flavor or it may be consumers are more concerned than ever before about avoiding bad breath, but whatever the reason, mints are definitely trending.

3. A “New Kind of” Chocolate

Chocolate sales are up by over 3%, but the growth is mostly in what were once “niche” areas of the chocolate industry. Dark chocolates are now commonly consumed, at least on occasion, by around 2/3 of candy shoppers, and over half of them will go for “super-dark” chocolate (85% cocoa bars and the like). Gourmet chocolates and chocolate treats with nuts and dried fruits infused into them are also on the rise. Expect stockings to be stuffed this year with more cocoa and less milk and sugar, and expect to see luxury chocolate brands from Belgium and Germany alongside Hershey and Nestle.

4. Healthier, More Sustainable Candy

While Christmas candy may never quite get out of that narrow, upper corner of the food pyramid or qualify as truly “healthy,” we are seeing it get, at least, “healthier.” Mars has a new line of “Goodness Knows” treats with higher nutrition and plenty of fruits, gums are increasingly sugarless, artificial additives are gradually disappearing from ingredients’ lists, and labels such as “All Natural,” “Gluten Free,” “Organic,” and “Fat Free” are now commonplace. Additionally, the eco-consciousness of the modern candy consumer is driving Hershey, Nestle, Mars, along with smaller candy companies, to work hard to earn labels such as “Sustainably Sourced” and “Fair Trade.” Finally, you are also seeing lower calorie counts, and “100-calorie bags” that cater to consumers’ dietary concerns.

Conclusion

Americans spent upwards of a billion dollars on holiday candy in 2015, and predictions are that 2016 will see sales at least as high. You may notice, however, that the candy aisles are looking a bit different this year: more minis, more mints, more nuts and dried fruits, darker and higher-end chocolates, and sweets that are healthier both for the human body and for the environment.

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10 Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

Candy Corn

Halloween is a time for fun, scary costumes, Jack-O-Lanterns smiling on your front porch, spooky ghosts, goblins, witches, and other festive, household decor, and above all in the minds of children, a time for collecting large stashes of candy and other sweets from  homes all over town.

However, Halloween can also be a very dangerous time of year. As children move around town, they sometimes lose their way, fall down and injure themselves, or even get struck by moving vehicles. Every year, there are incidents in the U.S. where trick-or-treaters are hurt or even killed by motor vehicles. Finally, there is also the danger of candy being tampered with. Though a rare occurrence, there are incidents where despicable individuals poison candy, put sharp objects inside of it, or infuse it with marijuana or some other illegal drug.

Thus, parents do well to consciously guard against these dangers by following such Halloween safety tips as these:

  1. Kids younger than 12 should be accompanied by a responsible adult if they go trick-or-treating.
  2. Children 12 and older should still travel in groups, avoid dark alleys and dimly lit streets, stay on sidewalks where they exist, and avoid “jay walking.”
  3. Map out trick-or-treating routes ahead of time, and find the safest route with the fewest street crossings. Draw a map, go over it with your kids, and put it into their candy bags so they can refer to it if they get lost.
  4. Tell kids to look both ways before crossing the street and to avoid using phones or other electronic devices while crossing.
  5. Never visit houses that don’t have a porch light on, and tell kids never to enter a house or car or to take candy from a stranger in a car or who is walking down the street/sidewalk.
  6. Make sure kids have a cell phone and can call home, call 911, or call the police if necessary. You want to notify police of any suspicious activity as soon as possible.
  7. Put reflective tape on your child’s costume or candy bag, and be sure they have a flashlight with a new battery or a glow stick. Where possible, have them wear light, bright colors.
  8. To prevent tripping, don’t allow capes or other long-tailed costumes that drag on the ground, and make sure shoes fit snugly and are double tied. And avoid masks in favor of face paint to keep vision from being obstructed.
  9. Avoid costumes with handheld weapons or accessories, but if you must have one, make sure it is made of plastic or rubber to minimize risk of injury.
  10. Be vigilant about Halloween candy. Instruct kids not to eat any candy until they return home. Then, inspect it immediately. Throw out anything opened, not in its original wrapper, in a ripped/loosened wrapper, with puncture holes through the wrapper, or that otherwise looks suspicious. It is also best to avoid homemade candies unless you know the person who made them. Some parents even go so far as to have Halloween candy X-rayed at a local medical facility, and many hospitals/doctors will do this for you free of charge.
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How It’s Made, Autumn Edition: Candy Corn

Candy Corn

Candy Corn

Every year in the United States and Canada, 20 to 30 or more million pounds of candy corn is sold, which equals literally billions of individual “kernels.” Candy corn is by far most popularly munched on in the fall, particularly around Halloween, and the day before Halloween (October 30th) is therefore honored as National Candy Corn Day. 

The Origin of Candy Corn

Candy corn was invented in the 1880’s by a George Renninger of Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia. However, the Goelitz Confectionery Company soon began making it as well in 1898, calling it “chicken feed.” Later, its name was changed to “candy corn” and the company’s name was altered to the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Varieties of Candy Corn

Candy corn mimics the coloration and, to a degree, the shape of actual kernels of corn. We cannot say it mimics the size of real corn, however, since each kernel is three times as large as a real corn kernel.

The most common and most traditional variety is a tri-color triangle with a broad band of yellow at the base, an orange middle section, and a white tip. This is the kind of candy corn that predominates as trick-or-treat candy, though in parts of Canada, blackberry cobbler candy corn is also quite common.

Another popular type of candy corn during the fall is known as “Indian corn.” It is the same as “classic” candy corn except that the yellow base is replaced with a brown, chocolaty one. This variety is meant especially for Thanksgiving.

During other seasons of the year, you will find such varieties as these:

  • Red, green, and white “Reindeer corn” at Christmas time
  • Red, pink, and white “Cupid corn” around Valentine’s Day
  • Two-colored pastel corn dubbed “Bunny corn” for Easter
  • Blue, white, and red “Freedom corn” for the Fourth of July

Additionally, you may see candy corn on the cob, which is candy corn attached to a marshmallow, cob-shaped center, Candy Corn Oreos, Hershey’s Candy Corn flavored bars, and candy corn cookies.

The Ingredients of Candy Corn

Candy corn is a “mello-creme” kind of candy, meaning it consists of a mix of sugar and marshmallow. More specifically, it contains corn syrup, other sugars, confectioner’s wax, either marshmallows or marshmallow-like flavorants, and artificial colorants. It may also contain fondant to add creaminess. Amazingly, candy corn is fat free.

The Candy Corn Manufacturing Process

In the early days, candy corn was made 100% by hand by mixing the ingredients in a heated kettle and then pouring them into tiny, triangle-shaped molds. Each of the three colors had to be poured in separately. Both the ingredients and the basic process are about the same today, except machines do all the work.

Candy corn machines operate by first filling in the kernel molds with corn starch to keep the corn from sticking to the molds and to maintain the proper shape. This technique is called “corn starch modeling.” Next, each successive color is poured in, in the fall, white, then orange, followed by either yellow or brown. The candy takes about a full day to cool and harden, and at that point, the kernels are emptied onto trays and shot through chutes, and sifted to remove any extra corn starch that may remain. As a finishing touch, a shiny glaze is applied to the finished kernels.

Conclusion

When fall rolls around, candy corn begins to appear in the candy aisles, first in its Halloween and then in its Thanksgiving manifestations. For over a century, candy corn has been a traditional autumn confection and shows no signs of waning in its popularity.

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How it’s Made: Gumballs

AUGUST2016

Perhaps, someday, when sacrificing a quarter to the crank of a gumball machine to satisfy your young child’s chewing instinct, you will hear your child ask you the question, “Mom/Dad, how are gumballs made?”

Or, it may be that after having chewed gumballs your whole life without ever having learned the secret of their origin, you are now asking that very question yourself.

The History of Gumballs

Although Americans consume more gumballs every year than any other people on the planet, they cannot rightly lay claim to inventing chewing gum.

The Greeks, for example, have been chewing the resin of the mastic tree (called “mastiche“) since ancient times, North American Indians were already chewing spruce-resin gum when European settlers first arrived, and the main base of modern gum/gumballs, “chicle,” was being chewed by Mayan Indians over 1,000 years ago.

In the early 1800’s, Americans were chewing spruce resin gum, which was soon replaced by paraffin wax gum. The latter, however, did not come moist and chewy but had to be moistened by the human mouth, which denied gum users the convenience of “immediate chewability.”

Finally, in 1869, Mexican general Santa Ana was searching for a rubber substitute and thought he’d try chicle. He asked American inventor Thomas Adams for some advice, and during the “interview,” Santa Ana chewed some chicle (apparently to demonstrate its rubber-like qualities). Adams soon found chicle would never work as a “new rubber,” but he later realized it would make a far better chewing gum than paraffin wax. Thus was the Mayan chewing gum tradition revived and the modern gum industry begun.

The Gumball Factory Process

Today, gumballs begin when giant blocks of “gum base” are broken up into pieces, thrown into large “kettles,” and heated until they melt into a kind of “gummy syrup.” This syrup is then put through a filtration process and pumped into voluminous vats, where sucrose is added to sweeten it, moisten, it, and increase is chewiness.

Next, powdered sugar is added to the gum vat, which helps the glucose to better stick to the gum base. At this point, large churning arms begin to rotate and slowly mix the gum ingredients, normally continuing mixing for about 30 minutes. This makes the syrup turn into a substance that resembles ABC (already been chewed) gum, and the machine even “blows bubbles” as it does its work. The gum is slowly kneaded like bread in this manner, while more powdered sugar is added, along with “softeners” (oils) that keep the gum moist and chewy. Finally, flavorants and colorants are added, be they natural or artificial.

Next, the gum substance is sent through an extruder, which forms it into ropes. The diameter of the rope determines the size of the eventual gumball. These ropes are then moved on conveyor belts through a “cooling tunnel.”

The ropes then pass by blades that cut them into precisely measured pieces, which are trapped in small roundish sockets and spun till they are perfectly rounded balls. The gumballs then are shot out, roll down a ramp onto a vibrating conveyor belt, and pass through another cooling tunnel. Finally, they fall into a collection basket and are taken to a candy coating pan. Here, extra candy shell coatings of various colors can be added. The colorants are spooned into the rotating pans along with additional sugar.

Conclusion

Gumballs derive ultimately from the ancient chewing-habits of the Mayan Indians, but the modern manufacturing process has perfected them and enabled their mass-production. Today, Dubble Bubble and other manufacturers have introduced a plethora of flavors, making gumballs more popular then ever.

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3 Sweet Summer Treats to Beat the Heat!

Summer Treats

Every season has its own set of “perfect” sweets — classic snacks foods without which that season would seem, somehow, incomplete. As the summer is a time of abundant activity, accompanied (of course) by abundant snacking, there are a plethora of possible summer sweets we might name as the top three.

Barring ice cream, however, because it is “too obvious” and chocolates because they are “always in season,” we have decided on these:

Caramel Apples

Apples are a natural summer fruit, and caramel apples are standard at summertime fairs, carnivals, and circuses. Nowadays, they are commonly sold ready-made in grocery stores as well, and you can also easily make them yourself at home. Products like Midway’s Finest Caramel Apple Dip make the process easier than ever.

For best results in making your Midway caramel apples, pair the dip with a thick-skinned apple, such as Granny Smith, and invest in a caramel dip warmer. Simply fill the warmers with water, scoop out the caramel dip, and heat to 170 to 175ºF. Insert a skewer into the apple’s center, and dip the apple in the hot caramel. Be sure to leave a small “bare spot” around the skewer, as this will extend the shelf life.

Remove the apple from the caramel dip and spin it around so that loose caramel falls off. Wipe most caramel off the bottom of the apple since caramel further up will melt and recover it. Now, roll your apple in peanuts, chocolate sprinkles, or another topping if you like, and let it cool off on a piece of wax paper before you make it disappear.

Cotton Candy

Forms of “spun sugar” resembling cotton candy existed in Europe in the 1800’s, and some even claim cotton-candy-like creations originated in Italy as far back as the 15th Century. But, the modern machine-made classic was invented by a dentist (one of the great ironies of history) and his confectioner business partner in 1897 and then introduced on a large scale at the 1904 World’s Fair. At first, it was called “Fairy Floss,” and still is in Australia, but from 1921 on, Joseph Lascaux’s (another dentist) brand name Cotton Candy morphed into the generic term for spun sugar.

Cotton candy is made by heating sugar until it liquefies and then rapidly shooting out tiny streams through a rotating spinner. The streams hit the air and re-solidify as ultra-thin, ultra-light strands of sugar, which actually contain more air than sugar.

Today, professional machines use up to three pounds of liquid-sugar, with dyes/flavors mixed in, to rapidly produce and package vast quantities of cotton candy for major producers. The number one world producer is Tootsie Roll Canada, which offers maple syrup flavor, but the most common flavors are blue raspberry, pink vanilla, and “purple combo.”

Popcorn

Popcorn is a summer treat closely associated with movies and shows, be they at theaters, circuses, or at home in your living room. The secret of popcorn lies in the hard, air-tight kernel of some types of corn, coupled with a moister, starchy interior. As the heat builds up, so does the internal pressure, leading to the namesake “pop.”

Classically, popcorn is cooked in butter or oil in a popping machine, the first prototypes of which were invented in Chicago in 1885 and introduced at the 1893 World’s Fair. And at that very same fair, a molasses-coated popcorn also made its debut, which eventually led to the original caramel corn (Cracker Jacks) in 1896.

Today, popcorn comes in a multitude of flavors besides caramel and “plain” butter, including kettle corn, chocolate-dipped, sea salt, cheddar cheese, cinnamon, and more.

What are you favourite summer treats? Comment below! 

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Make Your Own Swirly Rainbow Lollipops

swirly rainbow lollipops with text "how to make swirly rainbow lollipops"

Lollipops, also called “lollys,” “suckers,” or “sticky pops,” are one of the most popular (and least expensive) of modern candies. And although a certain George Smith is credited with “inventing” the modern version of this candy in 1908 and naming it after the then-famous race horse Lolly Pop, lolly-pop-like sweets were consumed by the European nobility as early as the Middle Ages, and even the word lollypop appears in an English dictionary published in 1796.

Lolly pops usually come in a spherical shape, as in the ever-popular Dum Dums of Spangler Candy Company, but the flat-sided pop allows a better look at bright, swirling, rainbow colors and has ever been the favorite shape at circuses, fairs, and carnivals. And some nostalgically inclined manufacturers, like Old Time Candy and their Whirly Pops, still have a penchant for them to this day.

How to Make Your Own Swirly Rainbow Lollipops

Though every color and flavor imaginable is used in swirl-style lollipops, the “rainbow swirl” is particularly common. And luckily for DIY-ers, swirly rainbow lollipops require no special equipment to make at home.

The ingredients are fairly simple, and while there are many variants, a typical recipe is given below:

  • Two cups white sugar
  • A half cup corn syrup
  • A half cup water
  • One teaspoon food coloring for each color
  • Three-quarter teaspoons of flavorings, such as mint, vanilla, lemon, lime, or fruit extracts.
  • A quarter teaspoon cream of tartar
  • A dab of butter/margarine
  • And of course, a bag of lollypop sticks

The cooking steps to follow are as follows:

  1. Thoroughly mix all ingredients together, minus the color, flavor, butter, and lollypop sticks, in a large mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves and you reach a smooth consistency.
  2. Pour mix into a pan and cook stove-top until the temperature reads 265ºF.
  3. Pour the hot “sweetmeat” into separate bowls and add the appropriate color and flavor to each.
  4. After allowing the mixture to cool a bit so you can safely handle it, take a fistfull at a time and, with buttery hands, “knead it” on a greased cookie sheet. You want to stretch and fold it over and over until it has a glossy sheen.
  5. After kneading, shape the candy into a rope. Make a rope of each color/flavor and then wind them together. Now roll the multi-strand rope so it sticks together.
  6. Finally, coil up your “super rope” to form that familiar rainbow-lollipop shape. You can make any size you desire, depending on the length of your candy rope. The last steps are to insert the stick and to let the lollipops cool off on waxed paper.

How Are Swirl Lollipops Mass Produced?

The same basic ingredients are used for swirl lollipops in the factory as at home, though citrus acid may be added to balance the sweetness or malic acid to as a flavor-enhancer for non-citrus flavors.

The process is mostly automated and machine-run. Huge rail cars bring in the sugar and corn syrup and dump it into a “liquidizer,” from where it is pumped into a “pre-cooker” after the sugar has dissolved. There, steamed-heated coils raise the mixture to the ideal temperature, but cooking is finalized in the “vacuum cooker” to remove excess moisture.

At this point, flavor/color is added, and the mix is sent to a batch roller machine to be kneaded with metal arms, extruded in a fat rope, and then trimmed down by a rope sizer. Then, for swirl pops, various ropes are sent through a rotating cutter which wraps them up and finalizes their form. An auto stick-inserter, a wrapper, and a cooling conveyor belt finish the job.

Neat, huh? Will you try to make lollipops at home? Wondering how other candies are made? Send us a line and we’d be happy to share!

 

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Candy in Pop Culture: The Best of the Best

For decades, our pop culture has been saturated with candy confections and sweet stories. Candy has earned its celebrity status fair and square. These sweet confections and treats can be found in just about every sub-culture and genre there is, from iconic movies like Caddyshack and the Baby Ruth pool party, to popular children’s cartoons like Adventure Time’s Candy Kingdom, which is ruled by Princess Bubblegum and guarded by two giant Gumball Guardians.

  • Sugar Rush World

With the release of Wreck-It Ralph in 2012, candy was seen in a whole new light. The candy world, Sugar Rush, featured in the movie, was an island made entirely of candy and had everything from Mentos stalactites to Diet Cola Mountain, peppermint racing wheels and candy cane forests. Children of all ages were inspired to create new and alternative ways they could use their favorite candies.

Wreck-it-ralph_00011507

  • The Everlasting Gobstopper

Everyone is familiar with the story of Willy Wonka, Charlie, and Grandpa Bucket. In the 1971 adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a subplot was added, which brought greed and espionage to the story. Near the end of the movie, Charlie is told that he and Grandpa Bucket are no longer eligible for the lifetime of free chocolate prize. It is at this point that grandpa comes up with a plan to deliver one of Wonka’s prized inventions to the candy maker’s arch enemy. Of course, Charlie possesses a sound moral compass and with the help of the Everlasting Gobstopper, Charlie helps teach a captivated audience the importance of honesty, decency and integrity with one of the sweetest moments in pop culture.

  • Land of Chocolate

Never was there a more scrumptious place than the “Land of Chocolate” featured in the Simpsons Season 3, Episode 11 entitled “Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk.” This magical land comes complete with frolicking chocolate bunnies, chocolate chip rain storms, and edible lampposts. This classically delicious daydream land made such an impact on fans, it was even included in the 2007 release of The Simpsons Game.

  • The owner of the Twix bar

The ever popular Seinfeld has seen it’s own share of candy crusades. On more than one occasion sweet treats have served as the focus of an episode and sparked many conversations about the numerous little frustrations of life. Episode spotlights have included everything from weird habits of eating a Snickers with a fork and knife to Jerry and Kramer dropping a Junior Mint from a surgical observation deck into a patient’s exposed innards. Perhaps the most memorable moment came from the final season in an episode titled “The Dealership,” where a starving George visits a malfunctioning snack machine for a Twix bar and chaos ensues. Hilariously, George spends the episode arguing the ownership of a candy bar he never actually physically had.

  • When a Hundred Grand isn’t a Hundred Grand

In the early 1990’s, two Boston DJ’s spent weeks promoting a contest where listeners had the chance to win one hundred grand. When they finally chose a winner, the actual prize was revealed. You guessed it, what the winner had actually won was a one hundred grand chocolate bar, and not one hundred grand in cash. As you can imagine, the winner wasn’t so enthused, and ultimately decided to file a lawsuit for the money she claimed was promised and won. In 2005, a DJ in Lexington, Kentucky decided to pull the same prank. As you can imagine, the winner filed a lawsuit soon. The result? One hundred grand in cash awarded to the plaintiff.

What’s your favourite candy pop culture reference? Weigh in below!

 

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How are Cadbury Caramilk Chocolates Made?

blog_cadburycaramilk

Cadbury Caramilk Chocolates are in high demand, and an answer to the question “How do they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bars?” is also in high demand—it is a question some professional confectioners hear more than any other! The short answer to the question is “They use a shell molding plant.” Let’s unpack the short answer below:

What Exactly Is a Shell Molding Plant?

A machine that, in the candy industry, molds chocolate or some other substance into a shape that creates a hollow, fillable cavity is called a “shell molding plant.” If it is easy to understand the appropriateness of the first words of the term, since an outer shell is molded into a predetermined pattern, the final word (plant) will make sense as soon as you set eyes on one of these machines—for they are exceedingly large and complex.

How Does the Shell Molding Process Work?

The first step in creating a Cabury Caramilk bar is to heat up an empty bar mold to between 85ºF and 90ºF. Without the right temperature, the chocolate shell will not be properly tempered and could break or leak. The next step is to fill the mold (entirely) with chocolate and to vibrate the mold to shake out any air bubbles. These troublesome bubbles must be eliminated to obtain a solid, sturdy bar, and vibration speeds up the rate at which they travel to the surface and pop.

Now that you have “de-bubbled” chocolate inside of a bar mold, the molds must be drained so that only the chocolate sticking to their surfaces will remain. This is also accomplished by turning the molds upside down and vibrating them once again. The vibration rate must be exact and the timing perfect to keep just the right thickness of chocolate-coating inside the molds. While still inverted, the molds are allowed to cool. If they were turned right-side-up again to cool, chocolate would puddle on the bottom and make for uneven shell thicknesses. Finally, excess chocolate-shell is trimmed away from the edges, and the cups are ready to be filled with caramel.

Just the right amount of liquid caramel is now poured inside the empty cups, and these are also vibrated to eliminate air bubbles. Vibration also serves to level the caramel’s surface in preparation for the chocolate cap. But first, the caramel is cooled off while traveling through a tunnel full of powerful air blowers.

To attach the back end, the rim of the chocolate cups are warmed until they slightly melt. This essentially creates “chocolate glue” that is ready to bind the back to the rest of the bar. Liquid chocolate is then poured over the entire bar mold, overflowing it so that every crack and crevice is filled in. Again, vibration removes the air bubbles. A scraper then scrapes across the back of the bar and removes any excess chocolate. Yet again, the mold is vibrated to eliminated the scrape marks (but some, nonetheless, remain on the finished product).

The final step is to cool the caramel-filled chocolate bar down so that everything becomes solid and stable. As the bar cools, it shrinks and pulls away from the surface of the mold pan. This makes it easy for the finished Cabury Caramilk Chocolate Bar to slide effortlessly out of the mold when it is inverted. The specialty design and the trademark letters C-A-D-B-U-R-Y are clearly visible and kept intact because the chocolate has been allowed to firm up before being turned and/or tapped out of its molding tray.

And then, the bars are wrapped and shipped for consumer enjoyment! 

What candy processes are you curious about? Stay tuned for future posts detailing how your favourite treats are prepared.

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