We’re going to set the scene for you. The newest true crime documentary just came out on Netflix (or HBO or Hulu) and you’ve decided that you’re going to make this a thing complete with soda, popcorn, and what else? Candy! From movie nights to major holidays to well, stress eating, candy actually kinda plays an important role in our lives. Maybe not our daily lives, but stop and think about how many memories revolve around some sort of boxed sweet treat. Personally, the smell and taste of Skittles will always make us think of catching an afternoon movie at our local movie theatre during the dog days of summer just to catch some relief from the heat. But how much do we actually know about candy? Well, as with most things, there’s an entire science behind our favorite candy. Here, allow us.
(image via: istock)
First things first, let’s talk sucrose. The sucrose compound, or disaccharide, is actually two chemicals stuck together: glucose and fructose. This molecular structure allows us to make all kinds of delicious candy. Now, the cool thing is you can’t just add a bunch of sugar to some liquid and make, well, anything, one particular element is missing. What element you ask? Heat! With just the addition of heat, you can totally change the consistency, creating different and specific chemical reactions, which in turn create what we know and love: any candy we can imagine.
Crystallization is a chemical reaction that plays a major role in candy making. Think about it, there are candies that require crystalization to occur such as rock candy or fudge, then there are those that don’t require crystallization such as marshmallows and caramels. And what’s the difference between all of this sugary goodness? The major difference is that some are hard or denser and others are soft and chewy.
(image via: istock)
This is very basic candy-making knowledge and seasoned candy makers will also credit tools such as candy thermometers or even cold water methods. But we can’t talk about candy without dropping some crazy facts about the sugary goodness, so here are just a few:
- Wanna blow the biggest gum bubble? Chew it until the sugar is all gone then blow away. Why? Because sugar doesn’t stretch, hence tiny bubbles.
- Tootsie Rolls were placed in soldiers’ rations during WWII because tootsie rolls can withstand all kinds of weather and still taste the same.
- M&Ms were introduced for one sole purpose: summertime slacking chocolate sales. Their slogan? Melts in your mouth, not in your hands, making them ideal for summertime temperatures.