There are some candies that you just can’t wait to sink your teeth into. When it comes to Jawbreakers however, you might want to take things at a more leisurely pace, lest they become tooth breakers. By comparison, your jaw is in far less danger of breaking, although it is quite susceptible to aching. That’s the price to be paid for enjoying these little concrete-like treats. Of course, a little discomfort hasn’t stopped millions of kids from enjoying these popular candy balls. Some things (especially those involving lots of sugar) are just worth the risk.

Known alternately as Everlasting Gobstoppers to Willy Wonka fans, and Jawbusters to fans of Ferrara Pan candies, jawbreakers are legendary for their strength and ability to last… and last… and last. It turns out that the process for making them is even more time-consuming than eating them.

According to Ferrara Pan, makers of the Jawbuster, it used to take between 14 and 19 days to make a single candy using the hot-panned process, a process that has been whittled down to about six days on average. They start as single grains of sugar, tossed into revolving pans. During the layering process, flavor, color and other “candy” ingredients are added to the mix until the candies reach the proper size. As a result, though they might appear to be different flavors (and yes, there are subtle differences), the taste usually varies little from candy to candy. They simply taste like sugary spheres of goodness.

Jawbreakers are the generic name for these hard candies, particularly those made with the panned process. They come in a variety of sizes, from the miniature (and fairly easy to chew) version, which are a bit smaller than marbles, to those that are nearly as big as apples and certainly not suitable for the unsuspecting novice. One must work their way up in the world of jawbreakers. And sadly, science has yet to come up with a truly everlasting version. But surely if they can put a man on the moon, they will eventually accomplish this Willy Wonka-esque feat as well. In the meantime, a good-sized Jawbreaker is sure to keep your mouth busy for hours on end.

And all those hours of practice on these sugary treats should give your jaw muscles a workout of Olympian proportions, all while keeping a smile on your (and your dentist’s) face. Of course, he is secretly hoping that you will throw caution to the wind and aggressively chomp down on your beloved jawbreaker. Dentists have bills to pay just like everyone else.

If you have always held a fondness in your heart for these durable candy spheres, we hope you’ll take a moment and share your memories with us in our comments section below.

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