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Hard Candy Past and Present

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Hard Candy Past and Present

Shelves of Gilliam's colorful candy sticks, lemon drops and penny candy were magnetic to young and old alike in old-time drug stores, and keeping in that tradition, pharmacy checkouts are still stocked with tempting morsels today.

As we celebrate the holidays and enjoy the seasonal candy canes and mints, let's not overlook National Hard Candy Day on December 19th and its invitation to experience our favorite types of hard candy, past and present.


Perfect for soothing scratchy throats or a sweet tooth, candy drops boast a wide range of flavors such as fruit, citrus, honey, horehound and sassafras.

Tootsie Roll Pops

Children have been licking their way to the centers of these lollipops since 1931. Though Mr. Owl claims it's only three to get to the interior, scientific studies have provided inconsistent results.

Life Savers

Originally sold in a roll of five mints for 5 cents, these sweets have been enjoyed year-round and as stocking stuffers for over a century. Though the price has gone up, the number of varieties has increased too.

Jolly Ranchers

Though Jolly Ranchers are available as candy canes, lollipops and chewy versions today, they were first sold as hard candies in stores throughout Denver, Colorado, in 1949.

Filled Hard Candy

Selections such as red raspberries, strawberry bon bons, honey filled and Charms Blow Pops provide two tastes in one.

Root Beer Barrels

While fathers may try to use the Dad's Root Beer Barrel brand name to horde these timeless candies for themselves, kids love the soda pop flavor just as much as adults.

Novelty Candies

Buttons, candy bracelets, Gobstoppers, Ring Pops, Nerds, Saf-T-Pops, Runts and Whirly Pops are just a sampling of the unusual and fun treats that existed as hard candies.

Carbonated Candy

Whether you are a Pop Rocks or Zotz fan, these fizzy candies create a unique sensation on your tongue as you eat them.


A shortened version of the German word Pfefferminz which means peppermint, Pez and its collectible dispensers are one of the most recognizable candies on the market.

Dum Dum Pops

These lollipops have been handed out in banks and small businesses for decades and were given their iconic name in hopes that it would be easy for young children to remember and pronounce.


The exciting range of peppermint, cinnamon, butterscotch and fruit flavors makes this simple looking standby an excellent choice for prizes during games or as candy dish offerings.

Ribbons, Pillows and Straws

Mixtures of these Christmas candies were often found in a grandparents' homes by kids or given as a holiday gift bag by local churches.

Werther's Originals

A classic of hard candies, these caramels are popular around the world.

Homemade Candy

A fun way to spend National Hard Candy Day is to invite a few friends to make your own confections in your assisted living apartment or in the country kitchen here in Park Regency Loveland.

A true holiday classic, this nut brittle uses the microwave instead of the stove top. A good safety tip from readers is to use an 8-cup Pyrex measuring bowl with a handle to heat the sugar.

These award-winning butterscotch candies include honey and rum extract to boost the rich flavor.

 A list of hard candies wouldn't be complete without a mention of rock candy. To further simply this recipe, reviewers suggest using a box of Jell-O to quickly add flavor and color.