Kid Cowboy Candy


What cowboy kid didn't love candy in the old west?

Candy in the old west was a special treat for the kids on the frontier between 1850 and 1920. Most candy in the old west during this period were made at home, but since sugar was in short supply and expensive many home recipies used honey instead. However, the real treat for kids growing up in the old west was a trip to the TRADING POST, or general store, where "penny candy" was proudly displayed in glass jars for all to drool over in anticipation.

Here are some interesting candy in the old west facts:

The idea of a sweet treat was first invented by cavemen who ate honey from bee hives.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, the high cost of sugar made sugar candy a delicacy available only to the wealthy.

Boiled sugar candies were enjoyed in the seventeenth century in England and in the American colonies.

Candy is made simply by dissolving sugar in water. The different heating levels determine the types of candy: Hot temperatures make hard candy, medium heat will make soft candy and cool temperatures make chewy candy.

Sweet-making developed rapidly into an industry during the early nineteenth century through the discovery of sugar beet juice and the advance of mechanical appliances. Homemade hard candies, such as peppermints and lemon drops became popular in America during that time.

By the mid-1800s candy in the old west was manufactured by over 380 American factories. Most were producing primarily "penny candy," which was sold loose from glass cases in general stores.

American Timeline of Confectionery:

1854 - The first packaged box of Whitman's chocolate debuts.

1868 - Richard Cadbury introduces the first Valentine's Day box of chocolates.

1880s - Wunderle Candy Company creates candy corn. In 1898, Goelitz Confectionery Company began making candy corn and has made this Halloween favorite longer than any other company.

1893 - William Wrigley, Jr. introduces Juicy Fruit gum and Wrigley's Spearmint gum.

1896 - Tootsie Rolls debut, introduced by Leo Hirshfield of New York who named them after his daughter's nickname, "Tootsie".

1900 - Milton S. Hershey of Lancaster, PA introduces the first Hershey milk chocolate bar.

1901 - The King Leo pure peppermint stick candy was developed and trademarked. The stick has been in continuous production since then and is still offered today in old-fashioned gift tins with the King Leo Lion motif by its current manufacturer, Quality Candy Company, Inc.

1901 - Pastel-colored little candy disks called NECCO wafers first appear named for the acronym of the New England Confectionery Company.

1902 - Necco makes the first conversation hearts - tiny Valentine's Day favorites with messages printed on them.

1905 - The Squirrel Brand Company of Massachusetts creates the first peanut bar.

1906 - Hershey's Kisses chocolates appear in their familiar foil wraps.

1912 - Life Savers, the candy named for its ring shape with the hole in the center is introduced in peppermint flavor. It would be 22 years before the popular five-flavor roll is introduced.

1912 - The Whitman's Sampler box of chocolates is born when the company president decides the needlework sampler hanging in his home would make beautiful packaging. It is the the first box of chocolates to include a now-famous index showing the filling in each candy.

1913 - Goo Goo Clusters, a Southern favorite, was the first bar to combine milk chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and peanuts.

1920 - Fannie May Candies opens its first candy shop in Chicago producing a variety of chocolate enrobed buttercreams and caramels.

1920 - The Baby Ruth candy bar is first sold, named for President Grover Cleveland's daughter - not the famous baseball player.

The Candy Bar

The early eating bars of chocolate were made of bittersweet chocolate, but candy in the old west took on a different look in 1875 when Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk and Daniel Peter, a chocolate maker, got together and invented milk chocolate. Today this is preferred by 80% of the world's population.

At the 1893 Columbian Exposition, a World's Fair held in Chicago, chocolate-making machinery made in Dresden, Germany, was displayed. It caught the eye of Milton S. Hershey, who had made his fortune in caramels, saw the potential for chocolate. He installed chocolate machinery in his factory in Lancaster, and produced his first chocolate bars in 1894. Candy in the old west was never the same.

Other Americans began mixing in other ingredients to make up new candy bars throughout the end of the 1890's and the early 1900's

The History of the Jelly Bean:

The exact origins of the jelly bean are lost in time, and only a part of its history is known. Most experts believe the jelly center is a descendent of a Mid-Eastern confection known as Turkish Delight that dates back to Biblical times.

The shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France. The French began by rocking almonds in a bowl filled with sugar and syrup until the almonds were coated with a candy shell. Today, large rotating pans do the heavy work, while master confectioners apply their true art in adding the ingredients to create just the right shell.

Somehow the two processes made their way to America. Jelly beans quickly earned a place among the many glass jars of penny candy in the old west general stores where they were sold by weight and taken home in paperbags. It wasn't until the 1930's, however, that jelly beans became a part of Easter traditions. Over 15 billion jellybeans were enjoyed at Eastertime in 1998. If they were lined up end-to-end, they would circle the earth nearly 3 times.

Source: National Confectioners Association/Chocolate Manufacturers Association

< < < the trail BACK to the TRADING POST. . .

Grandma's Recipes = $$$