Chocolate bars are a confectionary item made in a bar form with chocolate as the main ingredient. It is called candy bar in Canada, Australia and Britain and popularly known as Chocolate bar by others. Chocolate bar is enjoyed as a snack anytime of the day. Some popular brands of chocolate bar are Nestle, Aero, Bounty, Mars, Cadbury, Hershey's, etc.
In its most traditional form, the bar is made from cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar and milk. In addition to these traditional ingredients, the bar can also contain additional flavors, emulsifiers or solid ingredients.
In Indian English, Irish English, South African English, Australian English, British English and New Zealand English, the terms 'candy bar' and 'chocolate bar' are often used interchangeably. A candy bar is essentially a confectionary bar packaged in a log form and coated with chocolate. This is often a one-person snack. Within the term 'candy bar', a wide range of products exist like solid bars of chocolate to those with multiple layers or mixtures of ingredients like caramel, fruits, nuts or fondant.
In its most traditional and old-school form, chocolate bars are a simple log made from cocoa, milk and sugar. There are no additional ingredients.
Chocolate and candy bars are commercially sold by various brands, but these also continue to be a popular household preparation across the world.
Chocolate Bar: The History
As a household preparation chocolate bars, or chocolate in particular, have been around for centuries. These started selling commercially rather recently. Till most part of the 19th century, chocolate was something that was used in beverages and desserts and candy was, by and large, sold by weight, either loose or in small pieces. When chocolate stared selling as something that can be directly eaten, it was cut into bars to make weighing and selling easier. Uptil this point, 'chocolate' was just 'any candy' covered with chocolate and could include other ingredients as well. Packing the chocolate was easier when it was in bar form but the price was high as the buyer had to pay for the packaging as well. Buying candy in bulk or loose was much cheaper, but not convenient.
England's chocolate factory Fry's, in 1847, came up with the first ever chocolate bar which was suitable for large-scale and widespread consumption. In 1866, Fry's Chocolate Cream Bar was manufactured and over the next 10 years, over 220 products were introduced by the company.
While candy and chocolate bars did have their beginnings in the late 19th century, the confectionary's commercial value started growing in the early 20th century. The Hershey Company's first Hershey Bar was the first commercially produced chocolate bar. It was introduced in 1900 and since then, various large-scale companies have come up with their versions of the confectionary.
Candy Bars: Popular Ingredients Used
When made in the most traditional form, chocolate bars are made with cocoa powder, milk, butter and sugar. Based on the recipe followed and individual preferences, nuts, caramel, dried fruits, fruit chunks, flavors and colors can be added to make the bar richer.
Nutrition chocolate bars are made with proteins and vitamins and other nutritional supplements. Artificial sweeteners are used to give the bars a sweet taste.
Chocolate Bars: Preparation Overview
When made at home, chocolate is prepared almost entirely by hand and shaped with the help of either a household utensil or a mold. The ingredients are all prepared and mixed as required and then, cooked. The chocolate is poured into the mold while it is still hot and then frozen so that it retains its shape.
When produced commercially, candy bars are manufactured by machines. The bar form is also given by a machine designed especially for this purpose. The ingredients are prepared and mixed by machines, as required, and the chocolate is shaped into a log while it is still hot. The individual logs are then frozen and packaged accordingly.
Serving and Eating Candy Bars
Chocolate bars are most commonly consumed as a snack. It can also be served as dessert. When it is being eaten as a snack, the bar is simply unwrapped and consumed. When served as a dessert, however, the presentation can be somewhat elaborate. The unwrapped bars are generally decorated on a platter and served. A dip (honey or some other syrup) can be served on the side.
Candy Bars: Health and Nutrition Facts
Chocolate bars are generally considered a high calorie and rich consumption. The bars are high in sugar content and the presence of ingredients like synthetic colors and cream and butter make them unsuitable for regular consumption. People who are obese or suffer from health problems like high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes are strictly discouraged from eating the bars. Even those who are completely healthy should eat chocolate in controlled quantities.
Types of Chocolate Bar
There are many types of chocolate bars available. Layered, Plain, Filling, etc are some popular types of chocolate bars. Similarly, ingredients that go into making of a chocolate bar also vary depending upon the flavor to be produced. However, few common chocolate bar ingredients are cocoa solids, milk, sugar, emulsifiers and essences. Types of chocolate used in making of the bar include, dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, etc. Caramel, nuts, candied fruits, nougat, biscuits, wafers, fondant, etc are different chocolate bar flavors available.
Homemade Chocolate Bar
Making a chocolate bar at home is no more a dream. There are many moulds, ingredients and recipes available for making a chocolate bar. A basic chocolate bar recipe calls for melted chocolate mixed with nuts, evaporated milk and butter cooked together and then poured in molds to cool. Homemade chocolate bar is not similar to a readymade chocolate bar but is good for people who want to avoid additives and make their own flavors.
Candy Bars: Trivia
The Snickers Bar, widely considered the largest selling candy bar in the world, was named after the Mars family’s beloved stallion, Snickers.
Cadbury, Hersheys, Mars, Kraft and Nestle are world’s leading manufacturers of commercial brand chocolate bars.