When you think of candy, you probably think of a very specific kind of sweets. Is chocolate considered candy?
There is constant ongoing debate around the topic, and there’s no real agreement around whether chocolate really qualifies as candy or not.
Some chocolate products can be considered candy, while others can’t. The two main things are that the product should not contain flour, and should not need refrigeration. Therefore, chocolates that do not fit either of these two can be considered candy.
But there are still a number of things to consider when it comes to whether something qualifies as candy or not – especially chocolate!
We looked into the different things taken into consideration when it comes to arguments on either side – whether chocolate is candy, or not!
How to Define Candy
Before we decide to lump chocolate in with candy, first we need to ask – what is candy?
Most commonly, when you think of candy, you probably think of sweets or lollipops. These are definitely candies, but there is a wide range of items that also count as candies. For example, chewing gum would be candy, caramelized drops would be candy – even some mints would be candy!
Usually, there are three main things. The first is that candies are made primarily of sugar. But there are plenty of things made entirely of sugar that don’t count as candies. For example, cakes and pastries have a large sugar composition, but they don’t count as candies.
The second is that they do not contain flour. This is the main thing that differentiates between cakes and candies, because cakes, by definition, need flour to be cakes.
Candies are also generally meant for individual consumption. You wouldn’t want to share a lollipop with someone else, would you? Of course not! But you could share a slice of cake or split a cookie in half.
On top of that, candies are meant to be consumed much more casually than these other items. The chances of you eating a candy because you came across one in your bag is a lot higher than you eating a cupcake on a whim just because you happened to come across it.
Candies are also generally very neutral when it comes to taste. Since they’re made pretty much entirely out of sugar, unless you add flavoring, all candies would be pretty much identical.
Is Chocolate a Candy?
So, keeping in mind all the different things that make candy candy, will chocolate fall into that group? Or does it belong elsewhere in a category of its own?
Chocolate is made of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, with sugar and milk added in for taste. With the amount of sugar kept in to make chocolate sweet, you’d think it’s a given that chocolate definitely falls under the category of candy.
But the debate continues! Not all chocolates use sugar in their recipes. Some use other forms of sweeteners, like honey, molasses or xylitol.
Then, by definition of candy being made primarily of sugar, chocolate shouldn’t be candy, should it?
On top of that, some chocolates, like dark chocolate, don’t contain a lot of sugar at all, pushing the label of ‘candy’ even further away.
So then, is chocolate not a candy?
Then, why are chocolate bars called ‘candy bars’? After all, they could just be called chocolate bars, right? Why add the candy label?
In reality, pure chocolate wouldn’t be considered a candy, since it doesn’t contain any sugar at all. Even some processed chocolate bars with sugar added to them wouldn’t count as candy, since there are still plenty of differences.
But that’s not really all there is to it! Unless you’re talking about a very expensive chocolate bar that boasts its purity, most chocolates do, in fact, count as candy.
Consider your average Kit Kat, or Snickers bar. These are technically ‘chocolates’ but they’re not actually chocolates as much as they are candies with a chocolate component. Think of it like chocolate cake: the actual item is a cake, but it includes chocolate. You wouldn’t think of a chocolate cake as chocolate, would you?
Similarly, candy bars are just candies which include chocolate in their recipes. These candy bars meet a lot of the standards for what is considered candy and what isn’t. For example, a regular Snickers bar will contain about seven teaspoons of sugar, and unless it’s really hot, you don’t need to put it in the fridge either.
You also eat Snickers casually, and don’t necessarily share it with anyone else (okay, maybe you can, but why would you want to?).
You might ask, what about the neutral taste profile? A Snickers bar (or any other candy bar, for that matter) definitely tastes a lot more like chocolate than it does candy, and it doesn’t fit the physical profile either. This isn’t untrue, but let’s look at some other kinds of candy that are pretty much the same: marshmallows, chewing gum, jellies, caramels, toffees.
All of these are unanimously considered to be candies, though they are nothing like your regular sugar candies. As such, it’s not that difficult, nor much of a stretch, to put chocolate into the category with them.
Candy is a broad category, covering a whole number of things. Chocolates may not be like the glossy sweets or lollipops you’d think of, but it would be unfair to exclude them entirely just on the basis of a few things.
Sure, not all chocolate fit in, because some pure chocolate slabs will be too different from candies to be considered candy, while others fit right in with ease.
At the end of the day, your dentist would hate them either way, so why not just go ahead and call them candy, anyway?
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore