Most hard candies are 100% sugar with flavoring and colors added. To achieve a hard candy, confectioners boil a sugar syrup to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature is reached, the hot, pliable sugar is poured into molds or rolled and folded into shapes and left to cool. Once cool, the solid sugar becomes hardened and brittle.
The first hard candies, such as lemon drops and peppermints, were likely prescribed as a remedy for stomach ailments.
Hard candy became popular in the seventeenth century as sugar prices fell. Previously, hard candy was something that only the well-to-do could afford. By the mid-1800s, over 400 companies were manufacturing this popular treat.
In 2015, Jolly Rancher surpassed Werther’s Original was the best selling hard candy. Other popular hard candies include Dum Dum Pops, Life Savers, Tootsie Roll Pops, and Charms Blow Pop.