A unique pleasure from childhood that few baby boomers can forget. Sold in small pouches under the name Pop Rocks or Space Dust, these small pieces of flavoured hard candy were gasified with carbon dioxide (the same gas used in soda/pop). When the popping candy came into contact with moisture—the content of the small envelope was poured into the mouth—they produced a popping and sizzling sound and a tingling sensation.
Busting the Popping Candy Myths
So revolutionary was the candy that when it came on to the market in the 1970’s concerned parents called the manufacturer’s hotline to ensure that children would not be harmed consuming them. Google popping candy and you’ll find loads of videos refuting some of the more outrageous myth’s concerning the sweet.
Fun and Exciting
For kids, that unique sensation was fun and exciting—like amplifying the effervescence of pop. It’s no wonder that many of the chefs aligned with the modernist cuisine movement, looking to surprise and delight their guests in new and interesting ways, have turned to popping candy in their search for unique ingredients.
Chef Heston Blumenthal has long been interested in the effects that other senses have on the eating experience. At his Michelin 3 star Fat Duck restaurant he has developed several playful desserts featuring popping candy including Exploding Chocolate Gateau, Exploding Potato Doughnuts, and Spiced Popping Candy Chocolate Tart.
Handle with Care
Popping candy is sensitive to heat and humidity and needs to be stored in a cool, dry place. It will lose effervescence if stored for long periods of time. Popping candy is best used decoratively as it melts quickly in the presence of moisture. If adding popping candy to moist ingredients, do so just prior to serving.
Popping candies active properties can also be preserved if they are first coated in melted cocoa butter or chocolate prior to being incorporated into a recipe.
Recipes using Popping Candy
- Chocolate Truffles – Exploding Truffles
- Chocolate Bark – Maxime Bilets Exploding Chocolate (with puffed rice cereal)
- Elegant Petit Fours – Lily Vanilli Popping Candy Chocolate
- Baking – Nostalgic Popping Candy Cupcakes or New Year’s Eve Cake Pops
- Garnish – chocolate dipped strawberries or sprinkled on strawberry shortcake just prior to serving
- Rim a cocktail glass