Advances in Confectionery

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

In the 15th and 16th centuries, confectionery became more of an art, done with greater sophistication and intended more and more to delight the eye. Molten sugar was now spun into delicate threads and pulled to develop a satiny sheen, and confectioners began to develop ways of determining the different states of a sugar syrup and their appropriateness to different preparations. By the 17th century, court confectioners were making whole table settings and massive decorations out of sugar, hard sugar candies had become common, and cooks had developed systems for marking the syrup concentrations suitable for different confections—ancestors of today’s thread-ball-crack scale (see box).