Put the peanut butter balls and the sugar cookies down, because December 19 is all about the hard stuff as we celebrate National Hard Candy Day. While we’re a little sticky about the origins of this holiday, it can be safely said that hard candy has long been a preferred sweet snack by many societies. In the Medieval period, sugar (the only true ingredient in candy) was prohibitively expensive. Thus, the Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops of the dark ages were reserved for the royal and the wealthy. Quite a difference from the penny candy you can pick up for cents on the dollar today. Over the years, confectioners have refined the process to an exact science, and we now know exactly how hot we need the sugar to create sweet, sticky, crunching, and cracking hard candy, so get your Tootsie Pops (and your tooth brushes) ready.