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ThuDec 19

National Hard Candy Day – December 19, 2024

Put the peanut butter balls and the sugar cookies down, because December 19 is all about the hard stuff as we celebrate National Hard Candy Day. While we’re a little sticky about the origins of this holiday, it can be safely said that hard candy has long been a preferred sweet snack by many societies. In the Medieval period, sugar (the only true ingredient in candy) was prohibitively expensive. Thus, the Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops of the dark ages were reserved for the royal and the wealthy. Quite a difference from the penny candy you can pick up for cents on the dollar today. Over the years, confectioners have refined the process to an exact science, and we now know exactly how hot we need the sugar to create sweet, sticky, crunching, and cracking hard candy, so get your Tootsie Pops (and your tooth brushes) ready.

National Hard Candy Day timeline

13th century
Sugar, Sugar!

Crystallized sugar candy was being prepared and sold in countries rich in sugar cane.

Boiled Confectionary

John Millar started a bakery in Leith and shortly after, started producing liquorice and blackcurrant hard candy.

Sugared Nuts in India

In the Subcontinent (Now partitioned as India and Pakistan), Chikkis became a popular hard candy, with molten sugar mixed with various dry fruit.

Candy is Dandy

The first candy-making machine was invented by a pharmacist to crank out candy lozenges.

National Hard Candy Day Activities

  1. Make your own lollipops

    Making your own hard candy isn’t typically the first thing we think of when coming up with homemade goods, but lollipops could easily make their way onto that list. As long as you can find a mold (they’re available in baking shops or online) you can buy the ingredients for lollipops in any grocery store. Then, it’s just a matter of mixing, melting and pouring. Choose which colors and flavors suit you best, and you could even suspend something in the middle. Gum, edible flower petals, or insects for the adventurous are all great ideas.

  2. Decorate your home with hard candy

    It’s the holiday season, and thanks to hard candy’s brilliant colors, there’s more to these sweets than just eating. Find a clear vase with a funky shape, an old bottle with a wide mouth, or any other container, and fill it with whatever candy looks best. If the wrappers are all the same color, this can still give off a gift-theme vibe.

  3. Branch out

    If you’re a dyed in the wool Werther’s fan, maybe it’s time to venture out of Candy Cane Court and into Lemon Drop Lane. There’s a whole world of hard candies out there, from fruit flavored to chocolate cream and even more obscure flavors, like wild flowers and cinnamon. You never know what your next favorite might be.

Why We Love National Hard Candy Day

  1. Hard candy is medicinal

    Of course not every hard candy can claim to be good for the body, but there are reasons why hard candy takes the form it does today. Originally, hard candies made with lemon or peppermint were likely given to patients with stomach problems. The slow release of these ingredients, which are known stomachache remedies, was and is still a great way to ingest them. So just tell your dentist all those Christmastime candy canes were for helping your indegestion. She’ll understand.

  2. Hard candy makes you smart

    What was once an old legend now has some basis in science. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found that sucking on a peppermint while taking a test can increase concentration ability. Other studies have demonstrated that a quick burst of sugar can help people persevere longer on difficult tasks, and can delay gratification. Consider this next time you’ve got a long day of work ahead of you.

  3. Hard candy lasts and lasts

    Unlike that plate of Christmas cookies you wolfed down the other night, hard candy is designed to last. A single, cheap lollipop will give you those cherry or grape flavors for far longer than other treats. In fact, we’re still waiting to know how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. And while Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper isn’t yet a reality, confectioners have come a long way to give us a gift that keeps on giving.

National Hard Candy Day dates

2024December 19Thursday
2025December 19Friday
2026December 19Saturday
2027December 19Sunday
2028December 19Tuesday

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