National Hard Candy Day
annually on December 19th
A childhood trip to grandma's house was never complete without her offering you some hard candy from her candy dish. Perhaps she offered you butterscotch, peppermints, Werther's Originals, or those candies with the strawberry wrappers. Lucky for her, there is a whole day dedicated to hard candy, and it takes place today!
Hard candy consists almost entirely of sugar. It is made by boiling sugar-based syrups—such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose—to about 320°F. After being removed from the heat, flavorings and dyes may be added, and the syrup is often poured into a mold to cool. When it has cooled off a bit, but is still pliable, it can be formed into a desired shape. After fully cooling it becomes hard candy.
Although most hard candy is full of sugar, there are some sugar-free varieties as well, which are made from substances such as isomalt, aspartame, saccharin, and xylitol. Many hard candies are lozenge shaped, and the flavor of hard candy lasts until the candy has completely melted in your mouth. Some popular hard candies include butterscotch, made primarily with brown sugar and butter; candy buttons, a hard candy attached to strips of paper; gobstoppers or jawbreakers; Jolly Ranchers; Life Savers; stick candy; Sweethearts, heart shaped candy popular around Valentines Day; lollipops; and candy cane and ribbon candy, popular near the holidays.