Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Building the Cinnamon Bomb

Nello Ferrara of the Ferrara Pan Candy family invented the Atomic FireBall in 1954, inspired by the postwar optimistic embrace of all things atomic. (Think of those George Nelson clocks.) A red hot candy that could blow your head off, great idea!

In True Confections, Little Sammies are panned for their thin hard-shell chocolate coating ("just a little more brittle than a Raisinet's, that gave them their signature sheen"), but a panned candy like the Atomic FireBall begins life as a grain of sugar to which liquid sugar is added gradually in the rotating drum (the "pan" in case you have never quite understood what the Ferrara Pan thing means and had visions of frying pans) in which the candies tumble for an astonishing two weeks as the microscopically thin layers of sugar build up on the original core grain. I wish I had devoted more attention to this peculiar process in True Confections.


  1. Thanks for reminding me of this little atomic age experiment. Whatever happened to all those images of mushroom clouds and orbiting atoms!

  2. Lovely boxes! The whole 2-week production process caused Ferrara Pan huge problems: they simply couldn't keep up with the huge demand!

    As you say, a great great example of a candy seizing the atomic Zeitgeist!