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  • The Story of Chocolate Fudge

    Just hearing the words chocolate fudge is enough to set many people's mouths watering. Chances are good that growing up, candy may have been something you had regularly, but fudge was a rare and special treat. Fudge is synonymous with family vacations, trips to the beach, and special occasions like the holidays. This association with special events, along with fudge's rich flavor and soft consistency, has made chocolate fudge one of the great American treats. But what is fudge and where did it come from?

    chocolate fudge

    Fudge is essentially a mixture of sugar, butter, and cream plus flavoring. However, making fudge requires precise measurements and careful control of temperature. The telltale sign of good chocolate fudge is its soft, velvety consistency and this requires precise cooking and lots of experience to achieve. As the ingredients heat, the liquid cooks off and the concentration of sugar in the pot increases. Fudge is made by getting the sugar concentration to about 85%. Overcooking it even a little can cause it to caramelize, ruining the fudge, and imprecise methods can cause unwanted sugar crystals to form.

    While sugar, butter, and cream are a common mixture in many European confections, chocolate fudge is a purely American invention. The first recorded sale of fudge was in Baltimore in 1886, when it was sold for 40 cents per pound. But the confection spread quickly, as female college students began to sell it at fundraisers. The prominence of fudge at women's colleges on the east coast led to its association with the general area and its sale at many Atlantic coast beach resorts. In some cases, sea salt was added to the recipe, giving it an almost taffy-like flavor.

    From there, fudge spread to other resort areas, where regional recipes were established. Mackinac Island fudge in Michigan is particularly well known, but many areas have their own version.

    Flavors have also become more varied. Chocolate and dark chocolate fudge remain favorites, but peanut butter is a close second and other flavors like white chocolate, vanilla, and maple are much beloved as well. It's common to add chopped nuts or dried fruits to fudge, or to layer two flavors together, making countless combinations possible.

    Fudge is a rich and delicious treat, one that can be enjoyed in small bites and still leave you fully satisfied. What's your favorite flavor of fudge?

  • Five Autumn Candies that will Make your Mouth Water

    When most people think about the autumn season a full list of emblematic ideas come to mind: changing leaves, roasted turkey, and early night just to name a few. Of course, it would be impossible to imagine Fall without taking into account the list of holidays that occur. Both Thanksgiving and Halloween are celebrated by enjoying delicious meals and treats with family and friends, and over the decades some traditional favorites have become so ingrained in our national culture it’s almost impossible to imagine the holidays without them. The following list is our top five favorite traditional autumn treats!

    Candy Apples

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it doesn’t do much for the sweet tooth! Maybe that’s why we’ve been dunking them in a sugary substance to form a hard candy shell for over a century. What better example of the fall season is there than a ripe red apple, fresh from the harvest, covered in a sticky-sweet coating? Why stick your head in a bucket of water to get a tasty piece of fruit when you can have it candied on a stick?

    Fresh Chocolate Fudge

    Chocolate has been around for longer than most treats we indulge ourselves with today, and the process of creating fudge is nearly 150 years old itself. While there is a wealth of different flavors to choose from, nothing comes close to bringing about the nostalgic autumn feel than old fashioned chocolate fudge. Rich, creamy, and always delicious, fudge has been a common dessert amongst Thanksgiving dinners for decades.

    Tasty Taffy

    Several desserts that are served during autumn are generally done in large quantities, such as pies or cakes. Taffy, however, is unique in that it comes in small, bite-sized pieces. This delicious treat is both tasty and convenient, as the wrappers allow the candy to be saved for a later time. With a large variety of flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find your autumn favorite to savor on Halloween.

    Candy Corn

    Who doesn’t eat at least a handful of Candy Corn every October? These itty bitty pieces of hardened honey and sugar are practically the mascot of Halloween. The orange, white, and yellow stripes have even come to define several decorations and costumes, allowing children to wear their favorite holiday candy. Whether you love it or hate it, Candy Corn is guaranteed to show up once the nights start getting longer.

    Licorice

    Licorice is a candy that comes in multiple forms: twigs, strands, coils, and vines are only a small sample. Originating from a plant that was used for its medicinal properties, Yorkshire was the first location to mix it with sugar to create a candy. Since then, Licorice has had a fairly debatable position amongst candy enthusiasts. Because of its spiced taste, many steer clear of the black candy, while others have convinced themselves that “Red Licorice” is the only variety. Regardless, the wholesome, spiced taste is definitely reminiscent of those chilly autumn days.

  • Understanding The Many Flavors of James' Candy & Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy: Specialty

    James' Candy and Fralinger's are world famous candy makers and have flavors of salt water taffy everyone can enjoy. Check out this reference guide to learn about the specialty flavors they have to offer!

    JamesCandy_Infographic_TaffyFlavors_Special

  • Understanding The Many Flavors of James' Candy & Franlinger's Salt Water Taffy: Spices

    James' Candy and Franlinger's Salt Water Taffy come in an assortment of flavors. Check out the different spices below!

    JamesCandy_Infographic_TaffyFlavors_Spices

  • Understanding The Many Flavors of James' Candy & Franlinger's Salt Water Taffy: Fruits

    In 1870 Atlantic City's first boardwalk opened, and in the years that followed candy retailers began producing a special kind of taffy that has become one of the nation's most beloved treats: Salt Water Taffy. Check out this reference guide to learn about all the different flavors!

    JamesCandy_Infographic_TaffyFlavors_Fruits

  • Candy, Your Senses and Psychology

    What was your favorite childhood candy growing up? Was it taffy…butterscotch…peppermints? Whatever it was, your candy of choice could hold a significant meaning to you in terms of memories. In a recent article, the world of psychology points out an interesting finding that pairs together our ability to smell and taste with some of our childhood memories. When your favorite candy hits your mouth, your tongues receptors experience these senses: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savory).

    fabulous_flavors

    The human brain stores olfactory memories which can contribute to memories that are based on taste and smell experiences. It could be the reason why you remember going down to the shore and spending time at the boardwalk every time you eat salt water taffy. Another example could be thinking of the holiday season when you eat peppermint candies. Your memories and your favorite candies are unique to your experiences and just a taste or even smell can trigger a memory in an instant. Additionally, the sense of smell and taste is closely linked to emotion so it’s no wonder why you have little moments of joy eating a few M&Ms.

    Different candies may have associations with specific holidays or times of the year because they are most plentiful and abundant. For instance, candy corn is typically eaten around Halloween, so if you are a fan of this corn shaped treat, you may think of your favorite Halloween costume. For another example, did one of your parents wear a distinctive perfume or cologne when you were growing up? If you were to smell that scent today, it might make you think of them – this concept is the same for foods. In fact, olfactory memories like those mentioned, seem to be first stored when we are aged around 6 to 10 years old.

    Smell and taste go hand-in-hand with memory storage which could be the reason why you remember such vivid experiences just by tasting your favorite candy. Maybe take a trip down memory lane and treat yourself to a sweet recollection.

  • 3 Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches You MUST Try!

    Are you looking for a unique recipe using your favorite dessert – macaroons? Then ice cream sandwiches are the perfect treat for you! Macaroons offer a more grown up version of the ice cream sandwiches you may have enjoyed as a child. Plus, they are super easy to make! All you need is your favorite macaroons from James' Candy and a scoop of ice cream to put in between! Here are our picks for the top three macaroon ice cream sandwich recipes you MUST TRY now!

    Image of coconut macaroons.

    1. Coconut Macaroon – Of all macaroons, coconut is perhaps the most popular. However, many people do not think of them in terms of ice cream sandwiches. This is because of their more delicate taste. The key to making this recipe work is to use a fruity type of ice cream. Strawberry is perfect, but you can also try cherry vanilla or raspberry if available. Don't be afraid to try a sherbet or fruity frozen yogurt, too. The coconut macaroon ice cream sandwich is perfect for a get-together with the girls or a special event such as a baby or wedding shower.

    Image of almond macaroons.

    2. Almond Macaroon – Almond macaroons are slightly more flexible than coconut ones, but they still have a very delicate taste and the dense texture that make the treat unique. You will still have to be careful with how you pair your macaroons with ice cream, as you don't want to detract from or overwhelm the dominant almond flavor. Vanilla ice cream always works well with almond macaroons, but if you are looking for a stronger flavor, try using ice cream that has caramel swirls or even butter pecan.

    Image of chocolate macaroons.

    3. Chocolate MacaroonThe best thing about chocolate macaroons is that they can go with virtually any ice cream flavor: if you're a self-proclaimed chocoholic, try adding a classic chocolate ice cream; if you want something a bit more subtle, vanilla is always a safe bet; you can also try mint, cookies and cream, or even fruity flavors. You really can't go wrong with the classic chocolate macaroon. These will be perfect for a "make your own macaroon ice cream sandwich" bar at parties. Simply supply your guests with the macaroons and several varieties of ice cream and watch them get creative with their combinations! They'll have a blast!

    Have you ever made an ice cream sandwich out of our macaroons before? What is your favorite combination? If not, what combinations are you most excited to try?

     

  • Salt Water Taffy Makes a Splash by Becoming NJ’s Official State Candy

    New Jersey natives won’t be surprised to hear that one of their favorite sweets has moved from traditional treat to official state candy of their beloved home state. Natively found on the boardwalks of NJ’s many beaches, Salt Water Taffy has been a delicious delicacy that originated from the shores of the east coast state over a hundred years ago. For many, the assorted flavors of sticky, chewy candy represents youthful memories or a nostalgic retreat to days filled with sun and sand. Perhaps that is why a group of 70 fifth-graders from Sayreville’s Samsel Upper Elementary School banded together to petition that the treat receive the attention it rightly deserves.

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    On Saturday, June 5th, student representative Tyler Graham informed State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) that selecting a representative candy for the state could help bring more business to boardwalks that are still recovering after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. By highlighting the local candy as the primary treat of the entire state, there is a strong chance that interest and curiosity will develop amongst other neighboring locations. Those interested in getting a taste of the Garden State will be more likely to order the candy due to its new title, thus increasing revenue for shops still trying to find steady ground financially after the natural disaster.

    As one of the major providers of Salt Water Taffy in the United States, James Candy is pleased to hear that our state’s favorite sweet may help attract attention to those in need. For over a century, NJ natives have enjoyed the sweet and chewy sensation as their own. Now, several other states will get to share in the wonderful snack with a fabled history that originates on our very shores. Join us in celebrating the new status of Salt Water Taffy by picking up and enjoying your own favorite flavor today!

  • 3 Desserts to Make with Your Leftover Fudge

    Most people consider salt-water taffy to be the staple sweet of Atlantic City, but there are plenty of other confections that people love when they're at the shore. Some chocolate lovers may be happy with the occasional bar or brick, but others need to go above and beyond to satisfy their chocolate cravings. When you're looking for something chocolate and sweet, there's nothing like old fashioned chocolate fudge to hit the spot. The flavor and texture alone are enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, but the real beauty of fudge is its versatility. We dare you to find a dessert that couldn't be improved by adding some fudge to it. Feel free to eat your fudge as is, but if you want to take a walk on the wild side, you may want to try out a few of these recipes.

    Image of old fashioned chocolate fudge

     Chocolate chip cookies with fudge

    There's nothing like a nice old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Everyone has their own favorite recipe they like to use, but you could tweak your old standby to really make something tasty and unique. If you want to experience your fudge in a new way, substitute your chocolate chips with pieces of fudge (or, if you're feeling adventurous, do half fudge and half chocolate chunks). Simply cut your fudge into chip size bits and you'll be ready to experience a new twist on your favorite cookie.

    Fudge cheesecake

    Cheesecake looks really complicated, but is actually a relatively simple dish to make. As long as you have a good mixer, cream cheese, sugar, condensed milk, and maybe some vanilla or lemon zest to spice things up, you can easily make a cheesecake. If you like having chunks of chocolate with your cheesecake, simply break your fudge up into smaller pieces and add it into the cheesecake mix. If you want to make a rich chocolate cheesecake, use a double boiler and some butter to melt down the fudge until it has a good consistency for mixing.

    Fudge Brownies

    Everyone needs at least one good brownie recipe they can whip up in a flash. If you want to make your next batch of brownies stand out from the rest, you should use some of your fudge to spice things up. As with the cheesecake, you have two ways to incorporate the fudge with the brownies: you could simply break up your fudge into small pieces and mix them in with the batter, or you could melt down your fudge and stir it in.

  • A Few Facts You May Not Know About Taffy

    June is a month that means a lot of different things to different people. For some, June is the start of summer; for others, it's the end of the school year. For us, it's a month for celebration since June is National Taffy Month. The National Confectioners' Association has been making sure that the candy you eat is safe and tasty since 1884. Taffy is a candy that people seem to universally love, and that love is the strongest in our neck of the woods. Some of you reading this may wonder why anybody would want to devote a month to something as common as taffy, but if you knew taffy the way we do you'd understand. Did you know that . . .

    Image of salt water taffy

    Taffy used to be major entertainment

    In the 19th century, eating taffy was only half of the fun of having the treat. You see, in order for taffy to have that light and chewy consistency, it needs to be stretched and pulled to let air get into the mixture. Today that can easily be done with a machine, and some people do enjoy having some fun making their own taffy mixture to pull. In the past, if you wanted taffy you had to put some major muscle into it. People would gather together and have taffy pulling parties. Just like today, it was a great way to entertain kids and guests and to also have a treat.

    Image of salt water taffy pull

    Legend has it that Salt Water Taffy received its name by accident. A young candy merchant opened a taffy stand on the first Atlantic City Boardwalk – then just two steps above sea level. One night, a generous tide brought in a lively surf, which sprayed sea foam over his establishment and dampened his stock of candy. The next morning, the merchant was dismayed to find his merchandise wet and responded to a girl's request for taffy with a sarcastic, but witty, "you mean Salt Water Taffy." The name, stuck!

    The name salt water taffy started a legal battle

    Back in the early 1900s, there were two people who were big players in the Atlantic City salt water taffy game: Joseph Fralinger and Enoch James. Fralinger made the candy popular by boxing it and selling it as a souvenir, and James cut the candy into bite-sized pieces and made it less sticky and easier to unwrap.  In 1923, John Edmiston outdid them both by getting a trademark for the name "salt water taffy," and demanding a cut of profits for anyone that was selling "his" product. The Supreme Court ended up ruling that the candy had been around too long and been used by too many people to get royalties. Luckily, the name still stuck.

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