(from the Arabic "qandi," via French and Italian, from
Tamil "kantu," lump and from Dutch "Kandij") is
often used as a synonym for the more traditional term confectionery in
North America, whereas the word has become archaic in most parts of the
United Kingdom and survives today almost exclusively in the term "candy
floss". In some areas, notably Scotland, "candy" is generally
taken to mean confectionery made from crystallized sugar. In the United
Kingdom in general, a piece of confectionery is referred to as a sweet.
In Australian English, all such confections may be collectively referred
to as lollies. In New Zealand English, both terms are used. The variant
term "lollipop" is also used in North America and the United
Kingdom, but only to describe a certain type of candy that it is attached
to a stick.
Candies are prepared by dissolving sugar in water or milk to form a syrup,
and boiling it until it starts to caramelize. Depending on the solvent
and the end result of the process, the product may be called candy, caramel,
toffee, fudge, praline, tablet or taffy. The recipe used also predicts
how hard, soft, chewy or brittle the end result should be. The eventual
texture of candy depends on the temperature to which the sugar solution
is boiled, since the presence of a solute in a liquid elevates the boiling
point of the liquid. As the syrup is heated, it boils, which causes the
sugar concentration in the syrup to increase due to evaporation of the
water, which raises the boiling point even further. The relationship between
the boiling point and the sugar concentration is predictable, and so heating
the syrup to a particular temperature ensures a particular sugar concentration
with some accuracy. In general, higher temperatures — which imply
greater sugar concentrations — result in hard, brittle candies,
and lower temperatures result in softer candies. These "stages"
of cooking candy have been named and correlated with the cooking temperatures,
and is frequently specified in recipes:.