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Origins of Our Favorite Candy Names (and a Tootsie Roll Recipe!)

Ever wondered what kind of strange name "Snickers" is for a chocolate bar? Why are they called that? Will that sweetness... make us snicker? And on that matter, what do the M's in M&M stand for? Are those initials of a name? Read on to find out.


Snickers chocolate bars were first introduced in 1930. The origins of that name will surely make you snicker: this beloved chocolate bar is named after a horse! The Mars family, who also manufactures Mars chocolate bars, named their new chocolate bar after their favorite racing horse.


The candy was introduced by Mars in 1941. In the 1930s, Forrest Mars Sr., son of founder Frank C. Mars, saw soldiers in the Spanish Civil War eating Smarties, another well-known candy. This inspired him to make a hard-shelled candy a decade later. The hardened sugar shell prevents the candy from melting. The M's are initials for the Mars company founders: Forrest Mars and William Murrie.

Milky Way 

Milky Way chocolate barThe third Mars product on the list, Milky Way was inspired not by the stars in our galaxy but by the Malted Milk drink. It is a powdered mix of malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk powder. It was planned to be an ingredient in the chocolate bar but it never was. 
Did you know there are two versions of this candy? A global one, which is sold as 3 Musketeers in the US and Canada, and a US version, which is also sold worldwide as Milky Way. The global version, called 3 Musketeers, has a lighter nougat center and no caramel topping. 

Milk Duds

Milk Duds were first invented in 1928. The original manufacturer (Hoffman and Company) tried making them perfectly round, but after having no success, they decided to market the product as "Milk Duds". The franchise had many different owners, eventually landing in Hershey's hands in 1996. In the picture, you can see the original packaging from 1928!


Skittles The word skittle appeared in Charles Dickens's Pickwick Papers from 1837. It was used as a reference to a popular pub game that was similar to bowling but never caught on in the US. Skittles are a fairly new candy: it was first introduced in 1974 in the UK. There's still a lot of mystery regarding the name, and whether or not it has something to do with the old pub game, but fans speculate it does. The candy's shape resembles the disk that was used in the game. 

Sour Patch Kids

The original name of this candy is Mars Men. It was created in the '70s in Canada. They were named after their shape: they looked somewhat like aliens. At the time, outer space-themed products were all the rage, so that was a marketing decision as well. 
The change of name to the current Sour Patch Kids was also made following trends. The name was changed in 1985, right when the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were all the rage. These were soft doll toys that were extremely popular back then. 

Tootsie Rolls

This taffy-like candy was invented by Leo Hirshfield in 1907. He wanted a candy that would taste like chocolate, but unlike it, wouldn't melt in the heat of the sun so quickly. He named his taffy-chocolate candy after his daughter Clara, whom he lovingly nicknamed Tootsie. Tootsie rolls have a big part in American history. They even took part in the Korean War! Check out this DIY video recipe for how to make tootsie rolls at home:

Dum Dums

These specific lollies were invented in 1924. Akron Candy Company's salesman I.C Bahr decided to name them a gibberish word that any child would be able to pronounce. Today the company that manufactures Dum dums is Spangler Candy Company. There were originally 7 flavors and now there are 16 regular flavors with periodical limited edition ones. The mystery flavor gimmick is comprised of the end of one batch mixing with the next batch, rather than stopping production to clean machines in between flavors.
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