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Department of Food Science and Technology


It takes sweet molecule science to concoct your favorite treats like rock candy

Oct. 27, 2014

After you divide up your Halloween loot and before you dive face first into a peanut butter cup, think about this: A whole bunch of molecular reactions had to occur to bring you that gooey goodness. 

We know, we know — trick-or-treating is about eating candy. But there is science behind those Snickers, Skittles and Blow-Pops you worked so hard to gather in your plastic pumpkins and pillowcases. It doesn’t matter whether you crave creamy chocolate or fruit-flavored candy. All of it relies on crystals, developed over often-painstaking processes that involve precise temperatures and specific chemical reactions. 

“There’s a lot of science that goes into it,” said Mary Kay Pohlschneider, a food-science lecturer at Ohio State University who teaches a course on the science of chocolate. “Certainly, we get most of our cacao beans from west Africa. So not only is there that science of making it, but there’s the politics and things going on in the world that affect it.”

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