Gobstoppers of various sizes and colors. The largest one is 3 inches (~7.5 cm) in diameter
|Region or state||Canada, United States|
|Main ingredient(s)||Sugar, flavoring, food coloring|
Gobstoppers, known as jawbreakers in Canada and the United States, are a type of hard confectionery. They are usually round, usually range from about 1 cm across to 3 cm across (though much bigger gobstoppers can sometimes be found in Canadian/US candy stores, some stores or stands in Europe and many theme parks, up to 8 cm in diameter) and are traditionally very hard.
Gobstoppers usually consist of a number of layers, each layer dissolving to reveal a different colored (and sometimes differently flavoured) layer, before dissolving completely. Gobstoppers are sucked or licked, being too hard to bite without risking dental damage (hence the name jawbreaker).
Gobstoppers have been sold in traditional sweet shops for at least a century, often sold by weight from jars. As gobstoppers dissolve very slowly, they last a very long time in the mouth, which is a major factor in their enduring popularity with children. Larger ones can take days or even weeks to fully dissolve.
Gobstoppers are made by slowly depositing layers onto a core (such as a pressed ball of sugar or a gumball ). Gobstoppers are made in large, rotating, heated pans. The candies take several weeks to manufacture, as the process of adding liquid sugar is repeated multiple times. Colour and flavour are also added during the panning process.
The Everlasting Gobstoppers, sold under Nestlé's Willy Wonka Candy Company brand, were first introduced in 1976 by Breaker Confections, and are named after the Everlasting Gobstoppers in Roald Dahl's children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In Dahl's story, Everlasting Gobstoppers are purported to last forever.
In 2003, Taquandra Diggs, a nine-year-old girl in Starke, Florida, suffered severe burns, allegedly from biting down on a Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper that had been left out in the sun. Diggs and several other victims' families filed lawsuits against Nestlé for medical bills resulting from plastic surgery as well as pain and suffering; the matters were later settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount.
A 2004 episode of the Discovery Channel television program MythBusters, in an episode subsection named Exploding Jawbreakers, then demonstrated that heating a gobstopper can cause the different layers inside to heat at different rates, yielding an explosive spray of very hot candy when compressed. This was tested with a microwave oven, but chemical contamination and heating while in a plastic bag were also considered confirmed. In the microwave oven test MythBusters crew members Adam Savage and Christine Chamberlain received light burns after a gobstopper exploded.
Jawbreakers in popular culture
The cartoon characters Ed, Edd n Eddy are perennially in search of large jawbreakers. In the pilot episode Eddy claims they only cost a nickel – yet in the later episodes Jawbreakers appear to cost a quarter each. These jawbreakers are also shown to fit inside characters' cheeks, ballooning the cheeks to the same size as the jawbreaker.
The film Jawbreaker features a character who is killed when she asphyxiates on the candy after it is stuffed into her mouth as part of a prank.
Jawbreakers are the subject of the ending bit of the episode "The Pez Dispenser" of the American television sitcom Seinfeld (Season 3 Episode 14). In that bit, Jerry Seinfield says that the idea behind the concept of jawbreakers must have been to "see if they'll pay to be hurt".
One of the subplots in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory centered around Willy Wonka's everlasting gobstoppers.
Jawbreakers are also mentioned multiple times in the 1991 movie, The Fisher King.
- How its Made Season 7 Episode 02
- Zeldes, Leah A. (October 30, 2009). "Willy Wonka lives in Chicagoland". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved November 4, 2009.
- "Florida Girl Injured In Bizarre Candy Episode | The Smoking Gun". thesmokinggun.com. 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Jawbreaker Candy Explodes, Burns Fla. Girl's Face - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando". clickorlando.com. 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Mythbusters : Will Heating a Jawbreaker Make It Explode?". dsc.discovery.com. 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- "Ed, Edd n Eddy: Jawbreakers! - Qwiki". qwiki.com. 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gobstoppers.|
- Police report on Taquandra Diggs' exploding jawbreaker (thesmokinggun.com)