Shopping & Reviews

One Good Find: Clear Toy Candies

These nostalgic sweets are almost too pretty to eat

By Kristen Martin

Published on November 27, 2013

I'm a sucker for old-timey sweets, and Shane Confectionery in Old City, Philadelphia is about as antiquated as it gets: The shop has been dishing out handmade buttercreams since 1911, and when brothers Eric and Ryan Berley took over in 2010, they gave Shane a time-machine-like makeover, restoring the fleur-de-lis woodwork that frames the original display counters and returning the facade to its pre-war glory days by reinstalling curved glass display windows. The Berley brothers also introduced a new-old sweet to the Shane repertoire: clear toy candies, shiny molded treats made from a solution of corn syrup, sugar, water, and food coloring. In the 1700s, Pennsylvania Dutch families would give clear toys to children during the holidays; now Shane keeps up the tradition with their brightly-colored hard candies, which are poured by hand into century-old Philadelphia-made molds. The clear toys vary in shape with the seasons. I love this autumnal collection, with its tiny, shiny trio of turkey, squirrel, and acorn. This year, they'll adorn my Thanksgiving table—and get gobbled up at dessert.

Shane Confectionery Clear Toy Candies, $15 for a set of three at

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