The History of Candy Bars

All written reference to the history of candy bars began around the turn of the 19th century-or perhaps as early as 1875-when two entrepreneurs got together and mapped out a sensationally sweet plan.

But the history of chocolate begins with the Aztecs, whose emperor, Montezuma, admittedly drank a dozen cups of chocolate a day. Of course, Montezuma's chocolate wasn't the same chocolate drink enjoyed today, and as far as we know, the Aztecs didn't make their chocolate into bars.

History of Candy Bars
Henry Nestle and colleague Daniel Peter brainstormed a new sweet treat called milk chocolate, melding evaporated milk and chocolate into a delectable treat. No records show if Nestle and Peter made this new creation into bars.

Since it has not been documented, we must refer to the first documentation of candy bars dating around 1890. Milton S. Hershey, who had been working in the caramel industry, saw a new opportunity with chocolate during Chicago's World Fair. Within four years, he was making chocolate candy bars in his Lancaster factory. With an eye to the future, Hershey's idea grew by leaps and bounds.

As the country entered World War I, candy didn't seem to be a necessity anymore. Had it not been for the U.S. Army's order for 20 to 40 pound blocks of chocolate to be shipped on a regular basis to the soldiers, candy bar manufacturers may have had a harder time convincing the public that candy bars were a necessity.

By the time the soldiers came home, their sweet tooth had grown accustomed to a steady supply of chocolate. Within a short time, about 40,000 chocolate candies and different types of candy bars made their appearance.

Roaring Twenties
During the 1920s, the candy bar made its debut along the East Coast. With sugar, corn syrup and milk readily available, the candy craze soon spread across the continent. Chocolate candy was as decadent as was the times. Chicago was the hot destination spot and candies were being made and distributed from warehouses throughout the Chicago area.

Since 1920, little has changed. Milk chocolate reigns as the preferred candy of choice by about 80 percent of the population. The greatest change in candy bars over the course of almost a century is the rise in price and the shrinking of the original bar sizes.

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Candy making can be fun for beginners, and the many varieties of homemade candies make it an ongoing challenge for the veteran. Christmas is the time of year most people try their hand at old-fashioned candies, such as divinity, peanut brittle, chocolate fudge, logs and southern pralines. Year round, these goodies can bring a smile of delight to the sweets lover. Valentine's Day is the perfect time for making gourmet candies like truffles, butter toffee and lollipops. Halloween calls for caramel, peanut clusters and popcorn balls.

Making chocolate candy bars is not an easy or cheap task. It can be a time-consuming and tedious process. But chocolate made from scratch, without the added waxes and unnecessary flavors, is worth the extra work.

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If you're looking for a holiday gift that's inexpensive and homey, consider learning how to make caramel. Buttery and sweet, milk caramels are easy to make and fun to eat. Once you try these recipes, you'll be hooked, and a holiday tradition will be in place.

If you want to impress your guests, try making these easy homemade marshmallows. They're perfect for topping off a cup of hot chocolate or for simply popping into your mouth as a quick treat. Making marshmallows is simple, and you'll savor the light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth sweetness so much more. 

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