There are hundreds types of sweets out there and jawbreakers are among the most common. Jawbreakers have very high sugar content and this contributes to its exceptional hardness. This results in unmitigated joy that we feel, as we struggle to deal with its hardness. Before sugar was invented, people use honey to make their candies. The sugar making process from sugarcane juice was first performed in India, which was passed down to the Arabs and finally to the Europeans. Eventually, people started to make comfort food out of sugar, by adding spices and other flavour enhancers. Sugar is no longer a rare commodity in the 16th century, due to the widespread sugarcane in the New World and other colonies. Food producers in Europe made hard candies and large quantities. Sugar gets completely crystallized when we cook it at a high temperature and it will become hard candy. Jawbreakers are quite similar to hard candies that are commonly found in the United States during the 19th century.
Hard candies are typically sold by single pieces and storekeepers remove them from glass jars. Penny candies were also quite popular in the United States in the 18th century. The jawbreaker started to become popular when a company in Forest Park, Illinois, the Ferrari Pan Candy produced jawbreakers using the cold pan and hot pan process. The company is still operational today and it is known for the original Jaw Breaker brand. It also produces the Red Hots and Boston Baked Beans. Today, there are many companies that produce jawbreakers, including the Scones Candy Company and the Williy Wonka Candy Company, which is a subsidiary of Nestle. Even so, the Ferrari Pan is still considered as the most prolific maker of jawbreakers in the world. In the United Kingdom, jawbreakers are known as gob stoppers. Gob is the British slang for the mouth and stopper as in blocking an opening. For people who have weak or sensitive teeth, they shouldn’t try to break or chew jawbreakers inside their mouth. It is better for them to choose jawbreakers that contain a filling, so they can chew it once the hard, outer layer has dissolved.
A jawbreaker can be as a small as a candy sprinkle; while some brands can be as big as golf ball. When we break open a jawbreaker, we could see dozens of layers that look like concentric of a tree cross section. It is clear that jawbreaker isn’t something for someone who is in a rush. The candy won’t dissolve in a matter of minutes and if we will be in a formal situation soon, we should choose a softer candy instead. It is important to be aware that jawbreaker can be quite explosive. An episode of Mythbusters showed that different layers inside the jawbreaker will heat at different rates inside the microwave and at a critical point, the jawbreaker will splatter in a massive spray of very hot shards of sugar. There’s also a report that jawbreaker exploded when exposed under direct sunlight, potentially causing serious injuries.