This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
The making of candies at home is, unfortunately, generally considered such a task that it is seldom done; perhaps because most of the recipes for home-made candies are too complicated and the results gained are not nearly so palatable as when the candies are purchased ready made. But when it is realized that most of the candies on sale contain impure and injurious substances, which cannot help but tear down or harm the tissues of the body, any mother will count it worth while to make candies for her children, unless she is absolutely sure of the purity of the commercial product. Or, better still, she will teach the children themselves to make the candies, giving them the double joy of creating and partaking.
The "penny candy habit" is especially to be condemned. Although there are a few grades of pure candies on the market, they are usually high-priced and almost never on sale at a penny a piece. The majority of the manufacturers of cheap candies do not hesitate to use any material to produce an alluring effect. Shellac, glue, talcum, paraffine, stearin, artificial chocolate made from iron oxide and cocoa shells, lamp black, sulphurous acid, coal tar dyes and the whole gamut of flavoring ethers contribute to make these candies lurid and tempting to the child who is taught to judge by appearance rather than by substance. For example, shellac is used to coat candies, like burned peanuts or "Boston baked beans," to render them impervious to dampness and to keep them perpetually fresh. Shellac contains wood alcohol - a deadly poison - and yet such candies are constantly being bought by children.
As a general rule a child that is properly fed will not require excess sweets unless he is very active, and they may then be introduced in the form of dates, old-fashioned molasses candy (made from Barbadoes molasses), home-made, sugared popcorn, maple syrup, or any of the maple syrup candies. If the child is allowed the inestimable privilege of making it himself, the candy will become the greatest treat possible. Give the child enough sweets with his meals to balance his desire in the form of bread and jam, home-made biscuits and honey or maple syrup, fresh fruits, and stewed, sun-dried fruits. After school answer the clamor for "a penny to spend" with a generous slice of bread and butter thick with brown, or scraped maple, sugar, or a date and nut sandwich - and keep him away from the corner store. If a child is well-nourished and not taught to eat candy, he will not demand it.