My favorite thing about visiting my Aunt Tosca's Springfield, Massachusetts, house with my parents in the 1970s was the glass candy dish she kept on her coffee table. That dish was always filled with an assortment of hard candies: root beer barrels, red hots, butterscotches. I would discreetly dip my hand into it as the adults caught up on family matters. I've never lost my love for hard candies, those jewel-like confections that usually amount to little more than sugar, water, coloring, and corn syrup. The ingredients are cooked to a taffy-like consistency in a kettle, poured onto a cooling table, mixed with flavoring, then run into molds of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, there are plenty of producers, from the old-fashioned to the new and artisanal, making great versions of hard candy these days—so many that I've been thinking of copying Aunt Tosca and getting a candy dish of my own.