Nonpareil Candy is a showoff! Little buttons of chocolate covered with tiny sugar pearl sprinkles can’t help but be the center of attention. Who can resist all those sprinkles? Nonpareils are incredibly simple (just two ingredients), but incredibly elegant at the same time. Chocolate nonpareils are a nostalgic confection that are eye catching in holiday candy dishes and a special treat for food gifts and care packages.
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Some people think of nonpareil candy as a movie theater snack. Boxes of Snocaps have been sold in theaters since the 1920’s! I’m not a fan of snacking at movie theaters. I hate the sound of crunching while I am trying to watch a movie. My fond memories of nonpareil chocolates are instead connected to my maternal grandmother.
My family lived on Long Island outside of New York City, until I was 12. Though it wasn’t quite the time of dinosaurs, it was a long time ago and for whatever reasons, life was different for kids than it is today. It wasn’t considered at all odd (or dangerous) that at ages 10 through 12, my mom would take me to the railroad station where I would take a train alone into Manhattan to visit my maternal grandparents.
My grandmother would be waiting on the train platform when I got there. In retrospect, I guess my mother must have found a pay phone to call my grandmother and tell her which train car I was on, because my grandmother was always on the platform right in front of me when I got off the train. As the oldest of three grandchildren, those weekends in New York were my special alone time with my grandmother.
We didn’t do touristy things or fancy things. I remember being terribly impressed just visiting my grandmother’s office at Continental Trailways buses where she worked with chartered bus clients. Before we caught a different train to get to my grandparents apartment in the Bronx, we would stop at the candy counter at Schrafft’s. We would buy black licorice (a shared favorite) and my grandmother would buy herself the indulgence of a small box filled with nonpareil candy.
True confessions time. I was moderately allergic to chocolate as a child, but snuck nonpareils out of that candy box anyway. I couldn’t resist and repeatedly itched my way through mild allergic reactions. That never stopped me. Luckily, I am no longer allergic to chocolate and can happily nibble nonpareil candy whenever I wish.
FAQ’S ABOUT NONPAREIL CANDY
There is some confusion between nonpareil sprinkles and nonpareil candy. Let’s clear that up.
WHAT ARE NONPAREIL SPRINKLES?
Nonpareil sprinkles are sugar pearls, tiny balls of sugar and starch. The sprinkles are called nonpareils in the United States and in the UK are called Hundreds and Thousands. (I really like the British name!)
WHAT ARE NONPAREIL CHOCOLATES?
Nonpareil chocolates are little button-sized discs of chocolate coated in sugar pearl sprinkles.
WHY IS IT CALLED A NONPAREIL?
The word nonpareil comes from a French word meaning “without equal”. Perhaps these chocolates are without equal in deliciousness or perhaps, like snowflakes, each little disc is unique and “without equal”.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE NONPAREILS
I created a template of circles so that my nonpareils would be the same size. You can certainly create the chocolate discs freehand on parchment without using the template if you don’t care about the sizes or are good at guessing.
- If using the circles template: Prepare a baking pan with sides (10” x 15”jelly roll pan). Print the circles template and tape it to the inside bottom of the pan. Tape parchment paper over the template. The template should be visible through the parchment paper.Melt the chocolate and transfer it to a disposable piping bag or ziplock bag.
- Cut off a small piece off the tip of the piping bag (or a bottom corner of the ziplock bag) and pipe circles of chocolate onto each circle on the template by holding the open tip of the bag still over the center of a circle and squeezing out chocolate until the circle is filled.
- The nonpareil sprinkles must be added before the chocolate begins to set, after about 12 circles. The number of candies that can be piped before sprinkling depends on how quickly you work.
- Sprinkle the nonpareils over the candy to cover them and place in the refrigerator to firm.
Remove the firmed candies, pour off excess sprinkles to be reused, and repeat the process. The chocolate may need to be microwaved to re-melt. You can speed up the process by using two pans and templates, then alternating pans being filled and chilled.
NONPAREIL CANDY RECIPE
Nonpareil Candy are a special treat to make and share. Traditionally, nonpareils are made with white sprinkles. Change up the colors for seasons and holidays!
- 1 cup melting chocolate (I use Chocoley.com Bada Bing Bada Boom dark candy and molding chocolate)
- 1/4 -1/2 cup tiny sugar bead (nonpareil) sprinkles
- Prepare a baking pan with sides (10” x 15”jelly roll pan). Print the circles template and tape it to the inside bottom of the pan. Tape parchment paper over the template. The template should be visible through the parchment paper.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate at 50% power for one minute. Stir. If not completely melted, return the chocolate to the microwave and heat at 50% power for 15 second intervals until melted.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the melted chocolate into a disposable piping bag or ziplock bag.
- Cut off a small piece off the tip of the piping bag (or a bottom corner of the ziplock bag).
- Pipe circles of melted chocolate onto each circle on the template by holding the open tip of the bag still over the center of a circle and squeezing out chocolate until the circle is filled.
- The nonpareil sprinkles must be added before the chocolate begins to set, after about 12 circles. The number of candies that can be piped before sprinkling depends on how quickly you work. Sprinkle the nonpareils over the candy to cover them and place in the refrigerator or freezer for about 5 minutes to firm.
- Remove the firmed candies, pour off excess sprinkles to be reused, and repeat the process. The chocolate may need to be microwaved for 15-30 seconds at 50% power to re-melt. The process can be speeded up by using two pans and templates, then alternating pans being filled and chilled.
- Nonpareil candies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.
Nonpareil candies can be packaged in small bags for individual portions or in a larger airtight container. However they are packaged, the candies should be snug in their packaging with no room for movement in transit. Crinkled tissue paper or waxpaper can be placed in larger containers to keep the candy from moving.
I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive free product from Chocoley.com for use in this recipe. All opinions are 100% my own. I only use and recommend products I believe in.
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Be sure to check out Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge for another last minute Christmas sweet treat!