AskDefine | Define candy

Dictionary Definition

candy n : a rich sweet made of flavored sugar and often combined with fruit or nuts v : coat with something sweet, such as a hard sugar glaze [syn: sugarcoat, glaze] [also: candied]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Candy



  • kăn'di, /ˈkændi/, /"k

Extensive Definition

Sugar stages

The final texture of candy depends on the sugar concentration. As the syrup is heated, it boils, water evaporates, the sugar concentration increases, and the boiling point rises. A given temperature corresponds to a particular sugar concentration. In general, higher temperatures and greater sugar concentrations result in hard, brittle candies, and lower temperatures result in softer candies. These "stages" of sugar cooking are:
StageTemperature in °FTemperature in °CSugar concentration thread230-233°F110-111°C80% soft ball234-240°F112-115°C85% firm ball244-248°F118-120°C87% hard ball250-266°F121-130°C92% soft crack270-290°F132-143°C95% hard crack295-310°F146-154°C99% clear liquid320°F160°C100% brown liquid (caramel)338°F170°C100% burnt sugar350°F177°C100%
The names come from the process used to test the syrup before thermometers became affordable: a small spoonful of syrup was dropped into cold water, and the characteristics of the resulting lump were evaluated to determine the concentration of the syrup. Long strings of hardened sugar indicate "Thread" stage, while a smooth lump indicates "ball" stages, with the corresponding hardness described. The "crack" stages are indicated by a ball of candy so brittle that the rapid cooling from the water literally causes it to crack.
This method is still used today in some kitchens. A candy thermometer is more convenient, but has the drawback of not automatically adjusting for local conditions such as altitude, as the cold water test does.
Once the syrup reaches 340°F or higher, the sucrose molecules break down into many simpler sugars, creating an amber-colored substance known as caramel. This should not be confused with caramel candy, although it is the candy's main flavoring.

Candy and vegetarianism

Some candy, like marshmallows and gummy bears, may contain gelatin derived from animal bones, and is thus avoided by vegetarians and vegans. "Kosher gelatin" is also unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans, as it is derived from fish bones. Other substances, such as agar agar, pectin, starch and gum arabic may be used as gelatin replacers, although the texture of final product may differ from the original.
Other ingredients commonly found in candy that are not vegetarian or vegan friendly include carmine, which is a dye made from the cochineal, and confectioner's glaze, which may contain wings or other insect parts.

Shelf life

The shelf life of candy can be anywhere from two weeks to more than 1 year. This may be shortened if the candy is not stored in a cool, dry place.

Health aspects


Candy generally contains sugar, and sugar can lead to damaged teeth. However, it's not the sugar itself that damages the teeth. Several types of bacteria, particularly Streptococcus mutans are present in the mouth, and these feed on sugar. When they metabolize the sugar, they create acids in the mouth, which lower the pH. In response to the acidic environment, the enamel of the teeth begins to demineralize, which can cause cavities. To help prevent this, one should brush one's teeth regularly, particularly after every meal and snack.

Glycemic Index

Candy has a high level of glycemic index (GI), which means that it gives a high rise in blood sugar levels after ingestion. This is chiefly a concern for people with diabetes, but could also be dangerous to the health of non-diabetics.


External links

candy in Min Nan: Kim-kâm
candy in Catalan: Caramel
candy in Danish: Slik (gastronomi)
candy in German: Bonbon
candy in Spanish: Caramelo
candy in Esperanto: Bombono
candy in French: Bonbon
candy in Galician: Caramelo
candy in Indonesian: Permen
candy in Italian: Caramella
candy in Hebrew: סוכרייה
candy in Dutch: Snoepgoed
candy in Dutch Low Saxon: Slik
candy in Japanese: キャンディ
candy in Norwegian: Godteri
candy in Narom: Chucrîn
candy in Polish: Cukierek
candy in Portuguese: Rebuçado
candy in Simple English: Candy
candy in Slovak: Cukrík
candy in Finnish: Makeinen
candy in Swedish: Godis
candy in Chinese: 糖果

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Jell-O, addictive drug, blancmange, cake, comfit, compote, concrete, condense, confection, confectionery, confiture, conserve, crystallize, dangerous drug, dope, drug, dulcify, edulcorate, frosting, gelatin, glaze, granulate, hard drug, hard stuff, honey, icing, jam, jelly, junk, marmalade, meringue, mousse, mull, preserve, saccharify, set, solidify, stuff, sugar, sugar off, sugarcoat, sweet, sweet stuff, sweeten, sweetmeat, sweets, take a set, thicken, tutti-frutti, whipped cream
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