• National Chemistry Week 2014 (NCW 2014)

National Chemistry Week 2014: The Sweet Side of Chemistry: Candy

Remember the classic experiment Partial Thermal Degradation of Mixed Saccharides with Protein Inclusions (R. C. Adams, J. Chem. Educ., 49, 536, 1972 )?  Have you explored the chemistry of candy in your courses or at home?  Have you made any candy in the laboratory or as a home project?  Try some of the recipes or experiments below.

These are PDF files and require Acrobat Reader

Candy Sushi. Made with Swedish Fish, Fruit by the Foot and mini powdered doughnuts.

Safety with Food Chemistry Experiments

Recipes for making candy:

Partial Thermal Degradation of Mixed Saccharides With Protein Inclusions with Teacher Notes

Taffy: Partial Thermal Degradation of a Mixed Saccharides Triol Solution with Teacher Notes


Caramels Recipes for both vanilla and chocolate caramels.

Caramel Corn with a method for making microwave popcorn in a plain paper bag

Gummy Candy Make your own gummy candy. Two variations.

Pop Rocks Make a fizzy candy.

Tootsie Rolls Make Tootsie Rolls

Rock Candy (crystalized sugar) Grow your own edible sugar crystals.

Honeycomb Candy (Sponge Candy) Two receipes for making a carbon dioxide foamed candy.

Toffee Buttercrunch

Reference for the chemistry of candy making:

Edwards, W. P., The Science of Sugar Confectionery, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2000.

Books for candy making:

Gehring, Abigail R., Classic Candy, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY, 2013.

Kendrick, Ruth A. and Pauline H. Atkinson, Candymaking, HP Books, 1987.  

Sharrock, Jane, Who Wants Candy, HP Books, New York, 2004.  

Weinstein, Bruce, The Ultimate Candy Book, William Morrow, 2000.

Wilbur, Todd, A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes, Plume, 1999. Recipes for foods, cakes and candies.  

Look up specific recipes on the Internet.  You will find multiple versions for each recipe.  Read comments to help you decide which recipes, or modifications, are most likely to succeed.

Experiments involving candy:

Chromatography of Food Colors with Teacher Notes This experiment is based on an FDA procedure using a liquid ion exchange resin to extract the food colors.

Chromatography of Food Colors This experiment is a modification of the previous procedure. This uses a piece of wool yarn to extract the food colors.

Determination of the Volume of CO2 in Pop Rocks