Confectionery is the art
of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrate
s. Exact definitions are difficult. In general, though, confectionery is divided into two broad and somewhat overlapping categories, bakers' confections and sugar confections. The confectioner does the categories of cooking done by both the French ''patissier
'' (pastry chef) and the ''confiseur'' (sugar worker).
Bakers' confectionery, also called flour confections, includes principally sweet pastries, cakes, and similar baked goods
. Baker's confectionery excludes everyday breads
, and thus is a subset of products produced by a baker
Sugar confectionery includes candies (also called ''sweets'', short for ''sweetmeats'', in many English-speaking countries), candied nuts, chocolates, chewing gum, bubble gum, pastillage
, and other confections that are made primarily of sugar. In some cases, chocolate confections (confections made of chocolate) are treated as a separate category, as are sugar-free versions of sugar confections. The words ''candy
'' (Canada & US), ''sweets'' (UK, Ireland and others), and ''lollies'' (Australia and New Zealand) are common words for the most common varieties of sugar confectionery
The confectionery industry also includes specialized training schools and extensive historical records.
["The Art of Confectionery"](_blank)
Traditional confectionery goes back to ancient times and continued to be eaten through the Middle Ages
into the modern era.
Before sugar was readily available in the ancient western world, confectionery was based on honey
. Honey was used in Ancient China
, Ancient India
, Ancient Egypt
, Ancient Greece
and Ancient Rome
to coat fruits and flowers to preserve them or to create sweetmeats.
Between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, the Persians
, followed by the Greeks
, made contact with the Indian subcontinent and its "reeds that produce honey without bees". They adopted and then spread sugar and sugarcane
Sugarcane is indigenous to tropical Indian subcontinent
and Southeast Asia
In the early history of sugar usage in Europe, it was initially the apothecary who had the most important role in the production of sugar-based preparations. Medieval European physicians learned the medicinal uses of the material from the Arabs and Byzantine Greeks. One Middle Eastern remedy for rheums and fevers were little, twisted sticks of pulled sugar
called in Arabic ''al fänäd'' or ''al pänäd''. These became known in England as alphenics, or more commonly as penidia, penids, pennet or pan sugar. They were the precursors of barley sugar
and modern cough drops
. In 1390, the Earl of Derby paid "two shillings for two pounds of penydes."
As the non-medicinal applications of sugar developed, the comfitmaker, or confectioner gradually came into being as a separate trade. In the late medieval period the words confyt, comfect or cumfitt were generic terms for all kinds of sweetmeats made from fruits, roots, or flowers preserved with sugar. By the 16th century, a cumfit was more specifically a seed, nut or small piece of spice enclosed in a round or ovoid mass of sugar. The production of comfits
was a core skill of the early confectioner
, who was known more commonly in 16th and 17th century England as a comfitmaker. Reflecting their original medicinal purpose, however, comfits were also produced by apothecaries and directions on how to make them appear in dispensatories as well as cookery texts. An early medieval Latin name for an apothecary was ''confectionarius'', and it was in this sort of sugar work that the activities of the two trades overlapped and that the word "confectionery" originated.
Confections are defined by the presence of sweeteners. These are usually sugars, but it is possible to buy sugar-free candies, such as sugar-free peppermints
. The most common sweetener for home cooking is table sugar
, which is chemically a disaccharide
containing both glucose
. Hydrolysis of sucrose gives a mixture called invert sugar
, which is sweeter and is also a common commercial ingredient. Finally, confections, especially commercial ones, are sweetened by a variety of syrups obtained by hydrolysis
. These sweeteners include all types of corn syrup
[Terry Richardson, Geert Andersen, "Confectionery" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2005 Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. ]
Bakers' confectionery includes sweet baked goods, especially those that are served for the dessert
course. Bakers' confections are sweet foods that feature flour
as a main ingredient and are baked
. Major categories include cake
s, sweet pastries
s, and cookie
s. In the Middle East and Asia, flour-based confections predominate.
The definition of which foods are "confectionery" vs "bread" can vary based on cultures and laws. In Ireland, the definition of "bread" as a "staple food" for tax purposes requires that the sugar or fat content be no more than 2% of the weight of the flour, so many products sold as bread in the US would be treated as confectionery there.
s have a somewhat bread-like texture, and many earlier cakes, such as the centuries-old stollen
(fruit cake), or the even older king cake
, were rich yeast breads. The variety of styles and presentations extends from simple to elaborate. Major categories include butter cake
s, and foam cake
s. Confusingly, some confections that have the word ''cake'' in their names, such as cheesecake
, are not technically cakes, while others, such as Boston cream pie
are cakes despite seeming to be named something else.
File:Wesh cakes.jpg|Welsh cakes are cooked on a griddle.
File:Korean rice cake-Mujigae tteok-01.jpg|Korean rainbow rice cake is for celebrations.
File:Wikipedia Birthday Cake 16.1.jpg|Birthday cakes may be elaborately decorated.
File:Pruegeltorte.JPG|European spit cakes are baked around a metal cylinder.
is a large and diverse category of baked goods, united by the flour-based doughs used as the base for the product. These doughs are not always sweet, and the sweetness may come from the sugar, fruit, chocolate, cream, or other fillings that are added to the finished confection. Pastries can be elaborately decorated, or they can be plain dough.
File:Choux pastry buns, 2009.jpg|Choux pastry
File:Besamelas-(La Rosita).jpg|Empty shells made with puff pastry can be filled with fruit or cream.
File:Pumpkin-Pie-Slice.jpg|Pie is made from a pie crust and a sweet filling.
File:Baklava - Turkish special, 80-ply.JPEG|Baklava is made with phyllo pastry.
File:Moon cake in mid autumn festival.jpg|Mooncake pastries are made to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in East Asia.
s may be fried or baked.
File:Glazed-Donut.jpg|Glazed raised doughnut
File:Oliebollen bakken (4233801075) (2).jpg|Oliebollen and similar doughnuts are fried in hot fat.
File:Christmas doughnut display (15459326042).jpg|Decorated doughnuts
File:Apple beignets (5492114879).jpg|Apple fritter with powdered sugar
s and related sweet quick bread
s, such as bannock
, are similar to baking powder biscuit
s and, in sweeter, less traditional interpretations, can seem like a cupcake
File:Scones Jam Cream.jpg|Scones with jam
File:2scones.jpg|Cranberry scones with icing
File:Golden-Krust-Rock-Cake.jpg|A sweet rock cake
s are small, sweet baked treats. They originated as small cakes, and some traditional cookies have a soft, cake-like texture. Others are crisp or hard.
File:Breakfast pizzelle, January 2013 (8505127567).jpg|Thin wafer cookies such as pizzelle have been made since the Middle Ages.
File:Runde braune Lebkuchen - Flickr - tm-md (7).jpg|Spicy lebkuchen are a Christmas treat in Germany.
File:Biscuiteers Polka Dot Heart Product.jpg|Cookies can be elaborately decorated.
File:Oreo-Two-Cookies.jpg|Cookies can be mass-produced.
Sugar confections include sweet, sugar-based foods, which are usually eaten as snack food
. This includes sugar candies
s, candied fruit
s and nuts, chewing gum
, and sometimes ice cream
. In some cases, chocolate
confections are treated as a separate category, as are sugar-free versions of sugar confections.
Different dialects of English use regional terms for sugar confections:
, and some Commonwealth countries
, ''sweets'' (the Scottish Gaelic
word ''suiteis'' is a derivative). ''Candy'' is used specifically for rock candy
and occasionally for (brittle) boiled sweets. ''Lollies'' are boiled sweets fixed on sticks.
and New Zealand
, ''lollies''. ''Chewy'' and ''Chuddy'' are Australian slang for chewing gum.
*In North America
'', although this term generally refers to a specific range of confectionery and does not include some items of sugar confectionery (e.g. ice cream). ''Sweet'' is occasionally used, as well as ''treat''.
In the US, a chocolate-coated candy bar (e.g. Snickers
) would be called a ''candy bar'', in Britain more likely a ''chocolate bar'' than unspecifically a ''sweet''.
The United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities
(ISIC) scheme (revision 4) classifies both chocolate and sugar confectionery as ISIC 1073, which includes the manufacture of chocolate and chocolate confectionery; sugar confectionery proper (caramels, cachous, nougats, fondant, white chocolate
), chewing gum, preserving fruit, nuts, fruit peels, and making confectionery lozenges and pastilles. In the European Union, the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community
(NACE) scheme (revision 2) matches the UN classification, under code number 10.82.
In the United States, the North American Industry Classification System
(NAICS 2012) splits sugar confectionery across three categories: National industry code 311340 for all non-chocolate confectionery manufacturing, 311351 for chocolate and confectionery manufacturing from cacao beans, and national industry 311352 for confectionery manufacturing from purchased chocolate.
are classified with dairy products under ISIC 1050, NACE 10.52, and NAICS 311520.
Sugar confectionery items include candies, lollipop
s, candy bar
, cotton candy
, and other sweet items of snack food
. Some of the categories and types of sugar confectionery include the following:
: Bite-sized confectioneries generally made with chocolate
, considered different from a candy bar made of chocolate.
: A nougat
-like confectionery based on egg
whites with chopped nut
: A toffee
-like delicacy popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
: Sugar-coated almond
s and other types of sugar panned
: Made by boiling milk and sugar to the soft-ball stage. In the US, it tends to be chocolate-flavored.
h: Confectionery based on tahini
, a paste made from ground sesame
: Based on sugars cooked to the hard-crack stage. Examples include lollipop
s, jawbreakers (or gobstopper
s), lemon drops
, peppermint drops and disks, candy cane
s, rock candy
, etc. Also included are types often mixed with nuts such as brittle
, which is similar to chikkis
: Frozen, flavored cream, often containing small pieces of chocolate, fruit
s and/or nut
*Jelly candies: Including those based on sugar and starch, pectin
, gum, or gelatin
such as Turkish delight (lokum)
, jelly bean
: Containing extract of the liquorice root
, this candy is chewier and more resilient than gums or gelatin candies. For example, Liquorice allsorts
. It has a similar taste to star anise
: For example, circus peanut
: An almond
-based confection, doughy in consistency.
: A generic term for confectionery in the Indian subcontinent
, typically made from dairy products and/or some form of flour. Sugar or molasses are used as sweeteners.
: similar to marzipan, but made with peaches or apricots instead of almonds.
: A thick sugar paste made with gelatin, water, and confectioner's sugar, similar to gum paste, which is moulded into shapes, which then harden.
: A crumbly milk-based soft and hard candy, based on sugars cooked to the soft ball stage. Comes in several forms, such as wafers and heart shapes. Not to be confused with tableting
, a method of candy production.
(British: ''chews''): A sugar confection that is folded many times above 120 °F (50 °C), incorporating air bubbles thus reducing its density and making it opaque.
: A confection made by caramelizing sugar or molasses along with butter. Toffee has a glossy surface and textures ranging from soft and sticky to a hard, brittle material. Its brown color and smoky taste arise from the caramelization of the sugars.
Storage and shelf life
is largely determined by the amount of water present in the candy and the storage conditions.
High-sugar candies, such as boiled candies, can have a shelf life of many years if kept covered in a dry environment. Spoilage of low-moisture candies tends to involve a loss of shape, color, texture, and flavor, rather than the growth of dangerous microbes. Impermeable packaging can reduce spoilage due to storage conditions.
Candies spoil more quickly if they have different amounts of water in different parts of the candy (for example, a candy that combines marshmallow and nougat), or if they are stored in high-moisture environments.
This process is due to the effects of water activity
, which results in the transfer of unwanted water from a high-moisture environment into a low-moisture candy, rendering it rubbery, or the loss of desirable water from a high-moisture candy into a dry environment, rendering the candy dry and brittle.
Another factor, affecting only non-crystalline amorphous candies, is the glass transition
This can cause amorphous candies to lose their intended texture.
Both bakers' and sugar confections are used to offer hospitality
Confections are used to mark celebrations or events, such as a wedding cake
, birthday cake
commonly eat confections as part of their travels. The indulgence in rich, sugary foods is seen as a special treat, and choosing local specialties is popular. For example, visitors to Vienna eat Sachertorte
and visitors to seaside resorts in the UK eat Blackpool rock
candy. Transportable confections like fudges
may be purchased as souvenirs
Generally, confections are low in micronutrients
but high in calorie
s. They may be fat-free foods
, although some confections, especially fried doughs and chocolate, are high-fat foods. Many confections are considered empty calories
. Specially formulated chocolate
has been manufactured in the past for military use as a high-density food energy
Many sugar confections, especially caramel-coated popcorn
and the different kinds of sugar candy
, are defined in US law as foods of minimal nutritional value
Contaminants and coloring agents
in confectionery can be particularly harmful to children. Therefore, confectionery contaminants, such as high levels of lead
, have been restricted to 1 ppm in the US. There is no specific maximum in the EU.
Candy colorants, particularly yellow colorants such as E102 Tartrazine
, E104 Quinoline Yellow WS
and E110 Sunset Yellow FCF
, have many restrictions around the world. Tartrazine, for example, can cause allergic and asthmatic reactions
and was once banned in Austria, Germany, and Norway. Some countries such as the UK have asked the food industry to phase out the use of these colorants, especially for products marketed to children.Ministers agree food Color ban
BBC News, Retrieved 14 November 2012
*List of candies
*List of top-selling candy brands
*List of foods