Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Type of Candy Did They Eat in the Civil War?

From: answers.yahoo.com

Best Answer:  Chocolate candy. It was made with half a pound chocolate, a pound and a half brown sugar, and three quarters of a cup milk. This was more of a sucking candy as you'd boil it and drop a little in cold water to see how quickly it would harden. If it hardened quickly enough it was done and you could take it off the fire. Soldiers who got this candy in a box from home were apparently quite lucky.

A Mrs. Haskell's in 1863 wrote down recipes for molasses candy and maple sugar taffy. Made from a quart of molasses and once it was ready you'd pour it out and allow to cool (baking sheets should be used here) enough to handle. Lukewarm was the temp to aim for. Then you'd fold it by hand over and over until it turned white. Pull and roll into ropes and finally cut it into bite sized pieces. The maple sugar candy had two cups water, five pounds maple sugar , and 1/2 ounce cream of tartar. Boil and skim off the scum when it forms. Keep boiling and skimming until no more scum forms. Once this happens keep boiling a stirring steadily until about a teaspoon dropped in cold water turns hard and brittle. Then pour into a greased pan a cool fast by setting it over ice or cold water. Once warm enough to touch without burning yourself lift and pull, and fold it in on itself over and over again until it turns white then roll it into ropes and cut into bite sized pieces.

The maple sugar taffy attests to there being taffy, but this wasn't the only testament to such candy. The noted diarist Mary Chestnut wrote of a visit to Mrs. Lee's home February 26, 1864 and how someone spoke of how the Lees spending there time was a rebuke to taffy parties. This suggests that taffy parties must have been quite popular in Richmond at that time, or had been popular in Virginia prior to the war and something Mrs. Lee had thrown at Arlington House (aka the Custis-Lee Mansion).

As there was chocolate candy it should be no shock then that there was fudge. In at least three of her period cookbooks Patricia B. Mitchell gives recipes for fudge as it may have been made at that time. In particular is Federal Fudge, which Union soldiers might have purchased from sutlers.

From Mrs. Lee among other sources we know there were caromels. In her personal note book, which served as part cookbook, she had a recipe for a chocolate caromel. Also in a cookbook from a Mrs. Beeton there were raspberry, strawberry, coconut, and chocolate caromels. But think of Mrs. Lee's caromels as something akin to fudge. Anne Carter Zimmer describes it as a fudge forerunner.

Image: Starting in the 1860s, the Ganja Wallah Hasheesh Candy Company made maple sugar hashish candy, which soon became one of the most popular treats in America. For 40 years, it was sold over the counter and advertised in newspapers, as well as being listed in the catalogs of Sears-Roebuck, as a totally harmless, delicious, and fun candy. (From: thomhartmann.com)


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