A bit o’ candy history

Do you put “Jimmies” on your ice cream? Ever have non-pareils on your cupcakes? How about rock candy on a stick? Have you ever wondered the origins of the candy you eat?

Since June is National Candy Month, we thought we’d do some research on some of the candy we sell here at CK Products. What we discovered was that there are a lot of different tales as to how certain candies came to be. Here are some of our favorite finds:


Do you call it soda, or pop? A cart, or a buggy? Jimmies, or sprinkles? The jimmies/sprinkles debate is as old as baking itself. While some claim the term “jimmies” is racist and only refers to chocolate sprinkles, there’s very little evidence to back that up. There’s even less evidence on this story, but we like it best: A woman in Pennsylvania grated chocolate over her son’s ice cream at his birthday party. All the other children wanted some as well, but she said they couldn’t eat them because “they’re Jimmy’s.”


To say that there is no equal to non-pareils would be totally redundant. “Having no match or equal” is what “nonpareil” means in French. Years ago, people believed that there was no equal to these tiny balls made of sugar and starch. They believed that any grand confection just wasn’t complete without these little guys sprinkled on top.

Fun fact: Non-pareils are referred to as “hundreds-and-thousands” in some countries.

Red Hots/Cinnamon Imperials

Red Hots are a registered trademark of the Ferrara Pan Candy Company. “Cinnamon Imperials” is the generic name for the small pieces of cinnamon candy. While we couldn’t find anything too exciting about how Red Hots came to be, we did find this great video on how they are made! 


Rock Candy

It’s hard to imagine ancient stories written about rock candy, but that’s exactly what was found in 9th century Arabic historical writings. People used twigs for the sugar crystals to grow on, and as time progressed, color and flavor were added to make what we know as rock candy today. Rock candy is simply recrystallized sugar which basically makes it the purest form of sugar available.

Fun fact: Shakespeare mentions rock candy as a form of medicine for the throat in “Henry IV”.


Even the ancient Greeks chewed some form of gum, as did the Mayans and Native Americans. But the gumball, one legend says, wasn’t created until the 20th century. The story says that a German grocer in New York was fed up with his low gum sales. The flat strips just weren’t selling. In his anger, he waded up a piece and threw it across his store where it fell into a barrel of sugar. The result was a sugar-coated wad of gum, or what we now call, a “gumball.”

www.ask.com, www.ferrarapan.com, www.ehow.com, www.wikipedia.org, www.nytimes.com, www.snopes.com


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