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Holiday Candy

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:

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.

Send Mom Some Old Fashioned Candy Favorites this Mother’s Day!

When we think of sending candy as a gift, the first image that typically comes to mind is a box of chocolates. And while I’ll be the first one to tell you that is a spectacular gift, we have a candy gift idea that just might be even better! This Mother’s Day, why not send Mom an assortment of nostalgic candy favorites that she may not have enjoyed for many years? Whether she grew up in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s, you’ll find a spectacular assortment of fresh candy delights to help her celebrate her special day the sweetest way possible!

If you’ll be spending Mother’s Day with your mom this year, you can go one step further and build her a gift basket of tempting treats. Live too far away to be there in person? A shipment of sugary delights is the next best thing! While some candies have been popular for many years and are a favorite that multiple generations grew up with, others are spotted a bit less often and will make an even more special surprise. Below are a few of Blair Candy’s retro candy top picks to consider.

We’ve included the decade the candies were released or were most popular to give you a better idea of whether they might have been one of Mom’s childhood faves. Just remember that some of the candy Mom enjoyed may have been Grandma or Grandpa’s top picks. I know that my parents’ favorite candies were among the first I fell in love with! Want to get even more insight? It can be as simple as asking her without letting her know why. Get the conversation going with something like this: “Hey Mom, I was just thinking about some of my favorite candies from my childhood. Airheads, Runts, Jolly Ranchers, Swedish Fish. What were some of your favorite candies?” And… mission accomplished! ;)

Flipsticks Taffy – A candy of the 1950s

Black Cow Chocolate Caramels – A candy of the 1920s

Atomic Fireballs – A candy of the 1950s

Chick-O-Stick – A candy of the 1930s

Chocolate Ice Cubes – A candy of the 1930s

Mary Janes – A candy of the 1920s

Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls – A candy of the 1930s

Slo Poke Caramels – A candy of the 1920s

Squirrel Nut Zippers – A candy of the 1920s

Teaberry Gum – Popular in the 1960s

Rock Candy Lollipops – Rock candy dates back hundreds of years – a favorite of all!

Want even more nostalgic candy goodness? Check out our Candy by Decades page!

Grab Your Christmas Candy Before It’s Gone!

We should start off this blog post with a genuine ‘Thank You!’ In a world full of big box stores, and grocery stores that nearly require a map to navigate, so many of you come back to Blair Candy time and again for your favorite candy, both nostalgic and new. We are proud to work for a family-owned and operated company where we might spend more time at work than home, but where work starts to feel a lot like home. None of that would be possible without all of you, and we’re sending you a great big virtual hug!

Just as we have been time and again, we’ve been wonderfully overwhelmed by our Christmas candy orders. You’ve all helped make it a Merry Christmas for us, and we hope the candy you ordered will play a part in your Merry Christmas as well. With Christmas less than 2 weeks away, we have sold out of quite a few Christmas candy selections, but our shelves aren’t empty yet! Whether you’re just starting your shopping now, or your sweet tooth got the better of you and you need another shipment, here are a few favorites that we’ve still got in stock. Just click ‘em and add them to your cart before it’s too late! :)

Peeps Rainbow Christmas Lollipops – $1.70 each
Candy Cane Tootsie Pops – $2.99 for a bag of 16
Christmas Swirl Lollipops – $55 for 48 (These are large, and include the reusable wooden lollipop tree!)
Brach’s Christmas Ribbon Candy – $2.39 for a 9.5 oz. bag
Coconut Bon Bons – $8.95 for a box of 27
Candy Cane Tootsie Pop Drops – $1.39 for 3.5 oz. box
Hershey’s Chocolate Santas – $5.69 for 6
Giant Gum Drops – $5.25 for 32 oz.

Candy Canes, Popcorn Balls, Christmas Trees, Magic and Memories

I am a ‘stuff’ person. There is a very real part of me that envies neat people who seemingly have no use for stuff. Their houses are always so open and spacious; they never have to slide anything out of the way before putting grocery bags on the counter. To visit homes like these is a treat for a few hours or even days – to take in all the room and see how easy it is for them to maintain a clean table or sweep the kitchen floor. But I will never be one of these people, and for the most part, I’m OK with that.

Sure, it takes me 20 minutes to move all my things off the bathroom vanity so I can wipe it down, but those candles and lotions and knickknacks are more important to me than the blank space they take up could ever be. I’m simply a stuff person and I was raised by stuff people and I feel blessed that I now have much of their stuff to remember so many good times by. The stuff I’m feeling most lucky to have right now is Christmas ornaments.

My mother’s collection of Christmas ornaments reads like a diary of her life. There are handmade ornaments she was gifted from crafty work friends and family members, ornaments honoring my and my siblings’ births, ornaments we made as children in school, ornaments from our first trip to Disney World and every trip thereafter. And many, many more. Each year, when decorating the Christmas tree, we would first string up the lights, then between the rows of lights hang the red beads, then get to unwrapping each of the ornaments. Once all the ornaments had been hung, it was time to fill in any space (of which there was little!) with shiny Christmas balls. Then, as if it simply wasn’t enough, we got about the very important business of hanging popcorn balls and candy canes. And while all the ornaments stayed just where they were until the time came to take the tree down, the popcorn balls and candy canes always disappeared almost as quickly as they could be hung!

When I was young, the only candy canes you’d find were peppermint candy canes. Perhaps there were other flavors, but I don’t remember them if there were. And to this day, peppermint candy canes are the ones I most often choose to decorate my Christmas tree. I love the look, I love the colors, and I love sneaking them off the tree to eat them just as much as I ever did! My appetite for popcorn balls hasn’t wavered a bit, either, and while the packaging may have changed, the taste thankfully hasn’t. Each year I go about the business of hanging at least 15 Humphrey’s popcorn balls on the tree, each with a smiling Santa on the wrapper. And each year if I turn my back on my husband for one minute, 15 popcorn balls becomes 14! We won’t even get into how many candy cane wrappers can be found next to his chair.

But that’s more than alright by me as it speaks to the power of the season. No matter how serious or busy or overwhelmed we may be in our day-to-day lives, there’s something oh-so-special about coming home to a tree right in our own living room – a tree full of glimmering lights, shiny beads, priceless ornaments, and the perfect snacks. Even if I have to replace those candy canes and popcorn balls a dozen times before Christmas, I stand by my belief that the ones picked from the tree taste better than the ones in the bowl. I think Christmas trees just might be a bit magical, or perhaps, more than a bit.

Christmas Cookies with Hershey’s Kisses – Santa-worthy Sweets!

A friend once told me that it was scientifically proven that the cutest thing in the world was a baby riding a puppy. That someone – somewhere – had done a cuteness study, and with puppies and babies being the cutest of the cute, the combination tipped the scales for the two to share the cute gold. Now, I don’t know if this is true, but it’s one of those fun ‘facts’ that I’ve heard and like to share, so I almost don’t want to know if it isn’t. Because you know what? I can’t think of anything cuter than that. So at least for me, I already have my scientific evidence!

Where am I going with all this talk of puppies and babies? Believe it or not, it’s my lead-in to talking about cookies and candy! Just as I can’t think of anything cuter than puppies and babies, I can’t think of anything tastier than cookies and candy. And applying the same scientific logic researchers somewhere may have applied to the baby and puppy combination, I’m going to have to say that while candy and cookies are delicious all on their own, they’re even better together.

With that in mind, I’ve sifted through too many delicious recipes to count to bring you some seriously tasty looking cookies with candy in the mix, just in time for Christmas cookie season. Which do you think looks the best? Let us know in the comments! :)

Image courtesy of rachelleunderwood.blogspot.com

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies Combining Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses with sugar, butter, vanilla, and other yummy goodness creates some of the most colorful Christmas cookies I found! These also look fairly easy to make, so I’ll be keeping the recipe handy for those days I want a fresh-baked treat but am not in a baking mood, or am pressed for time.

Image courtesy of hersheys.com

Hershey’s Kisses in the Middle Cookies I am a huge fan of peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s Kisses nestled into the top, but while I was searching for the best recipe for those, I found these! In my cookie-eating experience, it is usually the lumpy, bumpy cookies that taste the best, packed with chocolate chips, dried fruit bits, and all manner of yum for my tum. But I would never expect there to be a whole Kiss inside, and if I wasn’t prepared for it, I might just cry happy tears. Right there. At the dessert table. Happy, happy tears!

Image courtesy of cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com

Oatmeal Kiss Cookie S’moresOh my goodness. These Hershey’s Kisses topped cookies stopped me right in my cookie-searching tracks. How delicious do they look? So, so delicious. As someone who can’t control herself around oatmeal cookies – seriously, don’t get in my way! – I already know I’ll have to make a big batch of these if my family and friends hope to get so much as a crumb.

Halloween Candy Sale – Get Yours Before It’s Gone!

It’s a bit hard to believe that Halloween is just a week away. In the candy world, we start gearing up well in advance, but once the orders start rolling in, it flies by so fast! Luckily, we’ve still got plenty of ghoulishly good Halloween candy to choose from, and a lot of it is available at a scary good price. Rather than wait until after the holiday to start our sale, we’ve got it going on now so you can save in time for the trick-or-treaters.

Here’s a few of our Halloween candy favorites on sale – just be sure to get them before they disappear into the dark until next year!

Cadbury Screme Eggs – Nope, that’s not a typo. Building on the popularity of the Crème Egg, Cadbury whipped up this spooktacular sweet for the Halloween season. These bring the same taste of their Crème Egg cousins, but bear a green ‘yolk’ and wrapper all their own. This box of 48 Screme Eggs normally sells for $40, but is on sale for just $33 – 18% off!

Charms Candy Corn Pops – These are honestly one of my favorite new Halloween candies on the market; I’ve eaten more than my fair share, and we still have some left! The taste is definitely reminiscent of candy corn, but my taste buds also pick up on a rich, hint of butterscotch that is addictively tasty! Regularly $3.50 for a bag of 20 Halloween lollipops, they’re currently $2.95.

Mike and Ike Halloween Mix – Which of these assorted treats will be your favorite – Mummy’s Mix or Vampire Variety? There’s only one way to find out, and each assorted bag contains both! Inside you’ll find 45 individual bags of Mike and Ike candies, perfect for handing out to trick-or-treaters or including in yours or your children’s lunches. Now just $5.85!

Having Fun with Candy Themes this Halloween – Make Your Home a Candy Restaurant!

There are few things in this world as innately fun and exciting as candy, so coming up with clever ways to hand it out is hardly what we would call work. But sometimes you do hit a creative candy wall! If you’re looking for an inventive way to display your Halloween candy this year, we’ve come up with a fun idea that some of us just might have to try ourselves. And the extra good news is that it also solves the dilemma of what to wear…

Tonight, you’re the Server of Sweets!

Whether or not you don a waiter or waitress uniform is entirely up to you, but we think that getting into character is especially fun. Not up for the time or money involved in a full costume? Simply grab an apron and you’re set! As for what Halloween candy to serve at your restaurant, here’s a few ideas…

Breakfast

Gummi Fried Eggs
Gummy Strawberry Creams

Lunch

Gummy Burgers
Gummy Hot Dogs

Dinner

SpongeBob Krabby Patties
Gummi Pizza

Dessert

Gummy Cheesecake Candy
Caramel Apple Lollipops

Once you have all your candy mapped out, consider making ‘menus’ that you can give to kids that show up at your ‘restaurant’. These can be as simple as index cards or as elaborate as you’d like. Only get a handful of trick-or-treaters at your house? Let them choose something for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! Is the doorbell ringing a bit more often? Cut it down to 1 or 2 categories as fits the crowd. The memorable part won’t be how much candy you gave them, but the unique and fun way in which it was given. Be sure to maintain character as a server, carefully adding their selections to their treat tote and warning that the plate is hot!

The best part is that you can take the restaurant theme and make it as simple or as complex as you’d like. You can hang a restaurant sign outside, have a set of chairs at your entryway for those ‘waiting for a table’, and so on. Want to get your spouse or children involved? They can serve as hosts, or a restaurant manager who pops in to see how everything is going. Want to make the setting nostalgic? Have fun with a diner theme that can also be rather spooky! Think of restaurants from your favorite scary movies and set the stage in your own kitchen. And don’t forget the candy, of course – order up!

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