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Confectionery is food rich in sugar. Items of confectionery -- confections -- are also known by regional terms such as "candy" in American English (although this term also means a kind of confectionery and does not include some items called confectionery, see below and the separate article), "sweets" in British English, or "lollies" in New Zealand English.

Confectionery items include sweets, lollies[?], candy bars, chocolate and other sweet items of snack food. The term is not generally used for cakes, biscuits or puddings which require cutlery to consume although there are exceptions such as petits fours[?] or meringues. These are not termed candy in the US.

Many confections are termed candy. There are many categories and types of candy, including the following list:

  • Hard candy[?]: Based on sugars cooked to the hard-crack stage, including lollipops, jawbreakers, lemon drops, peppermint drops and disks, candy canes, rock candy, etc.
  • Fudge[?]: Although the term 'fudge' is often applied to any soft, chocolate-flavored confection, it properly refers to a confection of milk and sugar boiled to the soft-ball stage.
  • Toffee[?] (or Taffy): Based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage and then pulled to create an elastic texture.
  • Tablet: A crumbly milk-based soft candy, based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage. Comes in several forms, such as wafers and heart shapes.

However not all confections are candy in the strict sense. Among the others are the following list:

  • Chewing Gum: Unique in that it is made to be chewed, not swallowed.
  • Gum/Gelatin candies: Based on gelatins, including gum drops, jujubes, turkish delight, jelly beans, gummies, etc.
  • Marshmallow: "Peeps" (a trade name), circus peanuts, etc.
  • Chocolates: Used in the plural, usually referring to small balled centers covered with chocolate to create bite-sized confectionery. A prerequisite is that the candy consists of almost all chocolate.
  • Marzipan[?]: An almond-based confection, doughy in consistancy, often formed into shapes such as fruits.
  • Licorice: Containing extract of the licorice root. Chewier and more resilient than gum/gelatin candies, but still designed to be swallowed.
  • Halvah[?]: Confectionery based on ground sesame-seed (also known as tahini[?]).

A note on spelling: confectionery is the product; whereas a purveyor of confections is a confectionary. e.g. "Mr Smith's confectionary sells confectionery made by Mrs Smith."

Further Reading

  • Sweets: A History of Candy, Tim Richardson, Bloomsbury, New York, 2002, hardcover, 392 pages, ISBN 1-58234-229-6
  • A Treatise on the Art of Boiling Sugar, Henry Weatherley, London, 1864 (generally found in an American reprint by Henry Carey Baird & Co., Philadephia, 1903)

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