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A Sweet Look at the History of Jelly Beans

Nothing screams “Easter!” quite like a delicious handful of jelly beans, don’t you think?! Kids and adults alike love munching on these little sugary sweet treats, full of both sweet and savory flavors. While fruity tends to be the classic go-to, candy producers such as Jelly Belly have been a bit more creative in their tastes, with flavors such as toothpaste, glass, and lint!

Regardless of whether you opt for fruity flavors such as lemon or watermelon, or you dare to indulge on those unique tastes, it still remains a mystery as to where these little guys originated! However, we do know a few things…

Throughout the centuries, jelly beans have taken many forms before becoming what we know today. In ancient Rome, Turkish Delights were comparable to today’s modern jelly beans. Turkish Delights were made of a jelly-like sugar and rosewater mixture coated with powdered sugar. Over the decades this recipe was adapted to include different flavors and ingredients. Somewhere in history – though it is unknown where – a candy coating was introduced, which paved the way for jelly beans as we now know them.

Americans first began munching on today’s modern jelly beans during the Civil War when they were commonly sent to soldiers as a sweet (un-meltable) treat. In the 1930s, jelly beans made their way into Easter baskets. They were small, flavorful, and again, didn’t melt, making them the perfect spring-time treat! Today, Americans consume close to 16 billion jellybeans at Easter time.

While the true history of jelly beans remains a mystery, there’s no denying that we sure do love this classic Easter candy!

Perfect Your Easter Egg Hunt!

Once the weather starts to warm up after the long, cold winter, we all come down with a little spring fever! Those first days where the temperature reaches the 50s seem like a gift from heaven, and pretty soon, we know we’ll be seeing flowers sprouting! One of the best parts of spring is the Easter holiday. What says “warm weather” quite like an annual Easter egg hunt?

Easter egg hunting became a popular Easter tradition in America in the 1700s. German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania and brought with them this quirky annual Osterhase tradition. Soon, the fun family activity gained popularity all over the nation. Originally, hard-boiled eggs were used, but as time went on, delicious Easter candy was incorporated into the hunt.

At Blair Candy, we want you to have an Easter eggs hunt that your family will remember forever. Here are some yummy treats you can integrate into your hunt!

  • Wonka Outdoor Egg Hunt Kit – Willy Wonka does it again with this easy to use Egg Hunt Kit! This kit comes with everything you need to kickstart your Easter egg hunt.
  • Wonka Indoor Egg Hunt Kit – The thing about spring is you never know when it will be a rainy day. This kit from Wonka is specifically designed for indoor hunts, just in case your outdoor hunt is a wash!
  • Easter Egg Hunt Candy – This massive bag contains a mix of all the candy you and your family love. Be sure to be well-stocked!

Go Green on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular holidays in America. People all over the country don their finest green clothes and celebrate their Irish heritage with songs, drinks, and green-colored treats. We’ve always partaken in the festivities every March 17, but we always wondered why everything is so green on that day. Where did that tradition come from? Well, the story behind it is just as fascinating as the holiday itself!

Originally, the color blue was associated with St. Patrick. This blue tradition lasted for hundreds of years. Over time, the color most commonly associated with St. Patrick’s Day became green. Most people believe it is because of the lush, green lands that cover the majority of Ireland. They don’t call Ireland The Emerald Isles for nothing!

The prominence of green has some strong political undertones as well. In the late 1700s, the Irish faced repression from the British, and wearing a shamrock or green clothes was often seen as a strong act of rebellion against the British, and those who dared wear a shamrock or green were punished, sometimes with death.

Today, wearing and displaying green is much more celebratory than defiant. At BlairCandy.com, you can find a wide variety of green St. Patrick’s Day candy. Here are some of our popular selections:

Yummy Recipes with Necco Sweethearts

One of our favorite pastimes to do here at Blair Candy is try new recipes using surprising candy. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, we decided to find some unique recipes using the Valentine’s Day favorite, Necco Sweethearts! Sweethearts have been around for decades, so it’s no surprise that people have found new and tasty ways to use this lovely treat! Take a look at these delicious recipes from some of our favorite blogs!

Sweetheart Martinis

From:

http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/valentines-conversation-heart-martinis-for-the-adults/

  • 4 ounces strawberry vodka
  • 2 ounces peach schnapps
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • Cherries & Conversation Hearts for garnish
  • Pink sanding sugar for the rims

Directions

1. Rim two martini glasses with pink sanding sugar.

2. Mix the vodka, schnapps and pineapple juice in a shaker with two or three ice cubes and pour through a strainer into the rimmed glasses. Garnish with cherries and hearts.

Conversation Heart Bark

From:

http://thedecoratedcookie.com/2012/01/partying-with-conversation-heart-bark/

  • Silicone ice cube tray (hearts if you can find one)
  • White chocolate chips or candy melts, any color
  • Conversation hearts
  • Ziploc
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Disposable decorating bag
  • Scissors

Directions

step one: crush your hearts
Oh, that sounds so sad. Place some conversation hearts in a Ziploc and smash with the hammer or mallet. Best to do this over a cutting board or dish towel so you don’t destroy the counter. Sprinkle a layer of crushed hearts on the bottom of each heart in the tray.

step two: melt your chocolate
Add some chocolate chips or candy melts to the disposable decorating bag. Fold over the top so they don’t fall out of the bag. Don’t fill the bag too much, use about 1/2 cup of chips or whatever fits comfortably in the bag. Microwave at 50 percent power for a minute and a half. Massage the chips and keep microwaving at 30, then 20 second intervals just until the chips are melted.

step three: add your chocolate
Snip the tip of the decorating bag and pipe the melted chocolate on top of the crushed hearts to fill the tray. Pick up both ends of the tray and gently stamp it flat on the counter to tamp down the chocolate. Let set well, a couple hours. Pop out of the tray and that’s it!

Sweetheart Rice Krispies

From:

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/983695/funfetti-conversation-heart-rice-krispies-recipe

  • 1 package marshmallows (about 40 large ones)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • About 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • Conversation hearts
  • Melted white chocolate

Directions

  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add in large marshmallows. Heat until mixture is fully melted, stirring constantly, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Pour the cereal, mini-marshmallows and sprinkles in a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the Rice Krispies and stir to combine. Add additional sprinkles if you’d like.
  3. Using your hands, press the mixture into a large 9 x 13-inch glass-baking pan. Push it down with your hands to smooth out lumps. While the mixture is still warm, press in conversation hearts all over the Rice Krispies.
  4. Chill Rice Krispies for about an hour. Once chilled, stamp out hearts with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Drizzle hearts with white chocolate and enjoy!

The Lovely Story of Conversation Hearts

Every Valentine’s Day, there are a few things everyone expects to receive: flowers, a card, and Conversation Hearts from Necco! Also known as Sweethearts, Conversation Hearts are the wildly popular candies that are perfect for expressing how you feel in sweet little bite-size treats. Why? Each heart has a small message of love printed on the front, making them adorable delights for your own “sweetheart.” Even though everyone is familiar with Conversation Hearts, not everyone knows the story behind them. Believe us; the history is just as charming as the candy itself!

A man named Oliver R. Chase invented a special machine, designed to cut wafer candy into different shapes, in 1847, and soon opened up a factory to produce mass quantities of this novelty candy. In 1866, Oliver’s brother, Daniel, had the idea to print cheeky sayings on the candy. Since the candy grew in popularity for weddings, the sayings included: “Married in White, you have chosen right” and “Married in Pink, he will take a drink.” This type of candy only became more ubiquitous in weddings, and it eventually evolved into the heart-shaped candy we all know and love.

What’s really interesting is the fact that the Chase Brothers didn’t just make candy hearts. In the early days of their candy production business, they produced lozenges, horseshoes, watches, baseballs…even postcard candy! Even though they were originally pastel candy hearts, they have since changed their recipe, making them easier to chew and much more vibrant. These aren’t the only changes that have been made to Conversation Hearts. In the 1990s, Necco, the company that now owns the hearts, wanted to update some of the sayings and retire some of the dated ones. Necco accepts suggestions each year for new sayings, a tradition that continues to this day.

The Merry History of Christmas Candy Canes

Christmas candy canes are woven into the fabric of the holiday season, and just the sight of them puts you into the Christmas spirit. At Blair Candy, we make sure to stock plenty of candy canes, as they are easily the most popular kinds of candy we sell during the holiday season. Have you ever wondered where the candy cane tradition came from? We certainly have, so we decided to dig in and see what kind of story was behind the delicious peppermint treat.Christmas Candy Canes

The exact origin of the candy cane is a little murky. Stories have been passed down from generation to generation about the backstory. The most common tale involves a choirmaster in Cologne, Germany, in 1670. Wanting to keep the noisy children in his church quiet, he decided to ask a local candymaker to make candy sticks to be handed out to the children. In order to make it acceptable for kids to have candy in church, the choirmaster asked the candymaker to shape the candy to look like a shepherd’s crook. Soon, the popularity of these candy canes grew to all other parts of Europe.

There is another legend about candy canes that is often told. According to the story, a candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a religious candy, so he devised the candy cane. He colored the candy white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and red to symbolize the blood of Jesus. He shaped it to look like the letter J to represent the name of Jesus, as well as a shepherd’s crook.

As great as these stories are, they probably aren’t true. According to urban legends reference site Snopes.com, neither legend can be confirmed. The truth is, no one really knows exactly where they came from, but perhaps it is better that way. You can create your own traditions and memories!

Head Start on the Holidays – Christmas Peeps

We know what you’re thinking. “How could you be writing about Christmas? It isn’t even Thanksgiving!” Believe us – we don’t want to be thinking about Christmas any more than you do, but it’s always nice to avoid last-minute aggravation and scrambling. In this post, we’re going to shine a spotlight on one of the most popular kinds of candy, Peeps. Marshmallow Peep Snowmen

Just Born’s Peeps are primarily seen as an Easter holiday candy. Just the sight of those adorable yellow marshmallow chicks evokes the warmer temperatures and flower-scented air of Easter. For Christmas, the folks at Just Born have kept the same level of charm and applied it to well-known Christmas imagery. What Christmas would be complete without snowmen or reindeer? Not much of one, we say! And Just Born agrees! Let’s take a look at this yummy collection of Christmas Peeps!

    - Peeps Candy Cane Flavor – Talk about a match made in heaven! These incredibly tasty Peeps are shaped just like their trademark chicks, but they are infused with crunchy crushed candy cane pieces.

    - Gingerbread Men Peeps – Gingerbread is one of the many flavors closely associated with Christmas, and these Peeps are packed with it! These adorable little gingerbread men are the perfect stocking stuffer for the cookie lover in your home!

    - Marshmallow Peep Snowmen – These little guys are adorable! They look just like snow but they taste just like a marshmallowy heaven! These tasty Peep Snowmen certainly give Frosty a run for his money!

    - Marshmallow Peep Trees – O tannenbaum! Just the sight of Christmas trees transports you to your childhood, furiously ripping open wrapping paper to find the treasure inside. With these yummy Marshmallow Peep Trees, you can relive those memories all season long.

    - Marshmallow Peeps Chocolate Mousse Reindeer – Just when you thought Just Born couldn’t come up with anything more adorable, they go and create these amazing Reindeer Peeps! Rich, velvety chocolate flavor bursts from these cute treats. You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and the lot – get to know these Peeps!

    Give a Sweet Corporate Candy Gift!

    If you run a business, you know how hard it can become to think of new and exciting gifts to give to your employees and clients. You’ve gone down the typical route and simply can’t think of anything new to have engraved, and now you’re stuck with nothing to give that shows your appreciation for your employees. Don’t worry! At BlairCandy.com, we have some ideas we think are perfect for your company. Why are they perfect? Well, they all involve our delicious candy!

    We’ve curated a special selection suitable as corporate gifts for anyone at your business or organization. Here are just a few of our yummy corporate gifts!

    Do your employees love to reminisce about the good ol’ days? Or perhaps you run a nostalgia shop and want to keep that theme running for your gift. Take a look at our Can of Nostalgic Candy! We packed our favorite old fashioned candy into a reusable tin for lovers of yesteryear.

    Everyone loves a great movie, and what goes better with movies than tasty snacks? Our Movie Theater Candy Gift Tub puts all the candy you love to get at your local movie house into a great plastic popcorn tub that you can use again and again!

    Batter up! Every workplace has the guy or girl who simply can’t get enough baseball. Why not treat him or her with our Can of Ball Park Treats? Specially crafted using hand-picked fan favorites, this tin features everything you need for a great afternoon at the ballpark. What a home run!

    Top Five Less Common Halloween Candy

    Every year, people come to BlairCandy.com looking for those perennial Halloween favorites. People love our selection of classic Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins, Brach’s candy corn, and our great Hershey’s All Time Great Mix candy assortment. We love these candies just as much as the next Halloweener, but we also love go off the beaten path and look for some new and unique Halloween candy. Who knows – maybe these examples will become your new favorites!

    Bloody Bites Vampire Candy & Fangs – Everyone likes their Halloween a little spooky, and what better way to scare your friends then with these great vampire fangs! These fangs come with watermelon flavored gooey candy inside, so when you bite down it looks like you’ve just finished your first victim!

    Lightning Bug Gummi Candy – Not as scary as a creepy crawly spider, but definitely a spooky delight! Lightning Bug Gummi Candy comes with a special pair of reusable tongs that makes the gummi worm light up.

    Charms Candy Corn Lollipops – Most people love candy corn during the Halloween season, but we found a way to make the great flavor of candy corn last longer – lollipops! These candy corn pops from Charm have all the same flavor as the candy corn you love, but packed in a long-lasting lollipop!

    Gummi Brains – Zombies are always one of the most popular costumes on Halloween, and if you’re like us, you want to be as authentically scary as you can. With these new Gummi Brains, you can be the best zombie you can be!

    Reese’s Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups – If you love Halloween candy but don’t love all that sugar, have we got the surprise for you! We now carry Reese’s Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups! These cups feature the same great flavor loved around the world – but without all the sugar of regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Give them a try – you won’t regret it!

    Tootsie Rolls: All Wrapped Up!

    If you’re like us, you are absolutely inundated with Tootsie Rolls during Halloween, and with good reason. These small chocolatey snacks are the perfect size when you need to satisfy that midday chocolate craving. They also are great to keep in candy dishes, desk drawers, or in your son or daughter’s lunch bag. As a matter of fact, there really isn’t a place where Tootsie Rolls won’t fit!

    Since Tootsie Rolls are individually wrapped (they delightfully spin when you unwrap them!), the one thing you’re left with after indulging in a roll or two is the distinctive brown, red, and white wrapper. While you could simply throw out the wrappers, where’s the fun in that? We found some great tutorials online, showing fun and unique ways to use the Tootsie wrapper after you’ve eaten the candy.

    Over at Plum Pudding, they have a wonderful post detailing how to turn a bag of Tootsie Roll wrappers into a stylish belt. All you need are common household craft items like scissors, packing tape, and double stick tape and 2 d-rings, which can be found at your favorite fabric store.

    Poking around eHow, we found this great lesson about creating those crazy purses and bags out of candy wrappers. You’ve seen these bags in stores everywhere, but you might not have known that you can make them yourself. All you need is a free day and a LOT of Tootsie Roll wrappers. Once you master the initial fold technique, you’ll be on your way to having a “sweet” purse!

    Do you have any Tootsie Roll wrapper craft ideas? Let us know in the comments!

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