Confectionery is a collection of very sweet tasting food, usually a candies, composed of sugar or a sweetener in higher proportion than in other food preparations. All other foods such as lollies, chocolates and many sweet snacks are also come under the category of confectionery. The sweet foods that require cutlery for eating are not included in the list of confection. However, American-English does not use this term only for the candies. These types of foods are known all over the world with various regional names. Sweeties, toffees, goodies and even sweet treats are the names given to the confection in different dialects of the English pertaining to different countries. There are different categories of confection. Some of them are hard candies that are typically made by boiling the sugar to a hard stage. In UK, this candy is often known as boiled sweets. Nuts are also used to make such type of hard candies Another category is fudge. This could be a sweet made with milk or chocolate. It is sweet and soft. Toffee is one more variety of confections that has an elastic consistency and often filled jelly of chocolate inside. Jellies, marshmallow and marzipan are the other popular varieties of sweet food that are well-liked by children as well as adults.
History and Origin of Confections
The history of confection or specifically candy dates back to the period of ancient people who tastes honey directly from the bee hives. Their liking for the sweet stuff has led to the invention of sweet foods. The first candy was prepared by rolling nuts in the honey. During middle ages, the sugar was quiet expensive and candies made with it were unaffordable hence honey was the well-suited substitute. The most famous and well-liked confection known as ‘chocolate’ was first developed by cacao. This ingredient was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1519 in Mexico. The hard candies came into being when the sugar became affordable during 17th century, and by the mid of 18th century, there were over 400 candy manufacturing units in USA.
Ingredients Prescribed by Confections
Sugar is essentially the most important component of making confection. Many other ingredients such as artificial flavors, colors, nuts and cocoa are incorporated in different ways to make confection items. Dairy products are popularly included to make many kind of toffees, lollies and chocolates. These days instead of sugar, honey and artificial sweeteners are also added to make sweet snacks. According to American-English recipes, cakes, pastries and cookies are also comes under the category of confection, hence flour and fruits are used as in the ingredients.
Methods of Preparation of Confection
According to the different recipes of making confection, here is the list of methods of preparation of candies and other sweet foods:
• Boiling – Sugar is usually boiled to make confections such as toffees, candies and lollies.
• Caramelizing – The ingredients such as nuts and caramelized in sugar to make nut candies.
• Baking – Cakes, pastries, tarts and cookies are baked to make confections.
• Stir-frying – Many Indian confections that are popularly known as ‘mithai’ are made with this method such as halva and ladoo.
• Freezing – This method is applied to make ice creams and puddings. Jellies are also kept in refrigerator for setting.
Eating and Serving of Confections
Confections such as candies, lollies and toffees are known as comfort foods that can be consumed as and when required. Other items including cake, pastries and ice creams are typically served as desserts. Indian confection can either be served as dessert or as sweet snacks. Jellies and chocolate are often added as ingredient in many other dishes that can be served as desserts. Cutlery such as fork and dessert spoons are normally required to be used while eating cakes, pastries and ice creams. Kids specially love confection hence they can easily be included in kid-friendly recipes.
Nutritional Facts Related to Confections
Excess consumption of confection is not good for health and may cause type 2 diabetes. Weight gain and tooth decay are also some other ailments that are associated with the regular consumption of confection. Apart from these negative effects, these sweet foods are a good source of energy and carbohydrates.
In past, military men use to carry candies as a source of energy during war times.