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The term confectionery refers to food items rich in sugar. Different dialects of English also use regional terms for confections:

A note on spelling: a purveyor of confections, a confectionary, retails the product confectionery. Thus "Mr. Smith's confectionary sells confectionery made by Mrs. Smith."

Confectionery items include sweets, lollies, candy bars, chocolate and other sweet items of snack food. The term does not generally apply to cakes, biscuits or puddings which require cutlery to consume, although exceptions such as petits fours or meringues exist. Speakers in the United States do not refer to these items as "candy."

American English classifies many confections as candy. The many categories and types of candy include:

  • Hard candy: Based on sugars cooked to the hard-crack stage, including suckers (known as boiled sweets in British English), lollipops, jawbreakers, lemon drops, peppermint drops and disks, candy canes, rock candy, etc.
  • Fudge: Although some people regard any soft, chocolate-flavored confection as 'fudge', the name properly refers to a confection of milk and sugar boiled to the soft-ball stage.
  • Toffee (or Taffy): Based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage and then pulled to create an elastic texture.
  • Swiss Milk Tablet: A crumbly milk-based soft candy, based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage. Comes in several forms, such as wafers and heart shapes.
  • Liquorice: Containing extract of the liquorice root. Chewier and more resilient than gum/gelatin candies, but still designed for swallowing. For example, Liquorice allsorts.

However not all confections equate to "candy" in the strict sense. Non-candy confections include:

  • Chocolates: Used in the plural, usually referring to small balled centers covered with chocolate to create bite-sized confectionery. Chocolates should consist of almost all chocolate.
  • Pastry: A baked confection whose dough is rich in butter, which was dispersed through the pastry prior to baking, resulting in a light, flaky texture; see also pie and tart.
  • Chewing gum: Uniquely made to be chewed, not swallowed.
  • Gum/Gelatin candies: Based on gelatins, including gum drops, jujubes, Turkish delight, jelly beans, gummies, etc.
  • Ice cream: A suspension of microscopic ice crystals in cream; also ice cream cones.
  • Marshmallow: "Peeps" (a trade name), circus peanuts, etc.
  • Marzipan: An almond-based confection, doughy in consistency, and often formed into shapes mimicking (for example) fruits, which marzipan-makers can then paint with food colorants.
  • Halvah: Confectionery based on tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
  • Divinity: A nougat-like confectionery based on egg whites with chopped nuts.

See also


  • Spangles - for a British iconic confectionery.

Further reading


  • Sweets: A History of Candy, Tim Richardson, Bloomsbury, New York, 2002, hardcover, 392 pages, ISBN 1-58234-229-6
  • A Treatise on the Art of Boiling Sugar, Henry Weatherley, London, 1864 (generally found in an American reprint by Henry Carey Baird & Co., Philadelphia, 1903)de:Sware

eo:Dolcxajxo pl:Słodycze sl:Slaščica sv:Konfekt


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