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Chocolate candies are sweet confections made from chocolate or incorporating chocolate. They are popular sweets in many regions of the world, as a huge number of cultures are very fond of chocolate, in a variety of forms. Candy shops usually stock an array of chocolate candies, and people can also obtain them at drug stores, grocery stores, and directly through the manufacturer in some cases. Some manufacturers even allow tours of their production floors, giving people a chance to see how the candy is made before they purchase it.
Chocolate has its origins in Latin America, where it was originally used in the preparation of savory foods, a usage which continues to this day with dishes such as mole. When chocolate was brought back to Europe, people explored the possibility of using it in sweet confections, and people quickly acquired a taste for the exotic ingredient. The development of more advanced refining methods for chocolate made way for chocolate bars and other sweets.
Some chocolate candies are made from solid chocolate. More commonly, they include chocolate and other ingredients. The chocolate may be coated in a candy shell, or a candy may be dipped in chocolate to create a flavorful coating. Chocolate can cover cookies, wafers, bars, and candied fruit, and it can be used in a variety of ways. In addition to dipping, companies can also use techniques like enrobing, in which candies pass through a curtain of chocolate to become coated in an even layer of chocolate.
Chocolate candies may be made with milk, dark, or white chocolate, depending on the candy and the manufacturer. Some manufacturers may cut corners with a chocolate coating known as mockolate, which technically cannot be considered true chocolate because it does not contain cocoa butter, a key constituent in chocolate. Some companies have attracted ire from formerly loyal fans by replacing expensive chocolate coatings with mockolate in the interests of keeping production costs low.
In addition to being produced commercially, chocolate candies can also be made at home. People need some familiarity and skill with candy, and they also need to be comfortable with handling chocolate. Making candies at home gives people a chance to use custom ingredients and to play with flavors and designs. Basic candymaking kits are available from some cooking and home supply stores, and people can also order specialty products such as molds for chocolate candies, including custom molds which can be used to make personalized candies.
I live fairly close to a well-known chocolate candy manufacturer's outlet store. The day after a major holiday, the store puts all of its gourmet chocolate candies on deep discount. They also have plain boxes of wholesale chocolate candies that weren't quite perfect enough to be sold in retail stores. I'll buy up these bulk chocolate candies for pennies on the dollar and give them away later.
I really enjoy milk chocolate and dark chocolate candy bars, but I have to watch out for anything with caramel. It tends to get stuck in my bridgework and that could be an expensive problem.
My mother used to make her own chocolate candy at home, and I used to help her prepare the molds and melt the chocolate disks. We added all sorts of things to the melted chocolate, like chopped nuts, puffed rice and peanut butter. The candy supply store also sold flavoring syrups, like peppermint and hazelnut. I probably ate more chocolate than I ever poured into those molds.
If we actually made more than we could eat, my mother would create chocolate candy gift boxes and give them away to neighbors. Sometimes she'd donate homemade chocolate candy bars and chocolate lollipops to the school as a fundraiser.
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