Candy Goes West

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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During the Renaissance, candy innovation moved to Europe. By the fifteenth century, candy-coating was a known practice. Tossing a small item such as a nut in a pan of syrup still makes a host of candies—comfits, Jordan almonds, jelly beans, and m&m’s. See comfit and panning.

European confectioners began to experiment with the use of dairy products in candy. In the late eighteenth century, butterscotch was created by adding butter to sugar syrup, which prevented “seizing up” by making the sugar crystals slide past each other rather than linking up. See butterscotch. This use of fat became so common in the nineteenth century that English confectioners referred to the medieval technique of adding lemon juice as “greasing” the syrup. Around this time dairy products such as milk and cream were added to syrup to make soft, rich candies such as caramels and New Orleans praline. See caramels and praline.