LTH Home

G-Shaft Coal Candy - a really local story.

G-Shaft Coal Candy - a really local story.
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • G-Shaft Coal Candy - a really local story.

    Post #1 - November 4th, 2004, 11:38 pm
    Post #1 - November 4th, 2004, 11:38 pm Post #1 - November 4th, 2004, 11:38 pm
    Hi,

    Last night, Erik M. sent me an e-mail regarding a question on CH about g-shaft candy. His initial reaction was it was a pornotroll, but a quick google found a sober serious explanation of G-Shaft Candy origins in a coal mine tragedy in our region.

    Erik thought I'd find the question interesting and maybe with my research skills I could help this person locate this candy. I did some research and found someone else also looking for G-Shaft Candy sources. I contacted him by e-mail to learn:

    Joliet Professional Pharmacy
    2100 Glenwood Avenue
    Joliet, IL 60435
    815-725-9314

    I found a potential recipe at: http://www.webtree.ca/ktc/cookies/coalcandy.htm

    I found other commercial sources at:

    http://www.pelhamfuel.com/candy.html

    http://www.stermer.com/IBS/SimpleCat/Pr ... 52705.html

    Several years ago, I was able to buy coal candy in a little red bags at Walgreens. I gave it to my nieces and friend's kids for Christmas. I heard they went out of business, but I will keep an eye out.

    The next time you are looking for a regional specialty to send someone, then consider G-Shaft Candy. A hidden gem of a story, as well as a candy, almost lost in our midsts.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #2 - November 5th, 2004, 7:45 am
    Post #2 - November 5th, 2004, 7:45 am Post #2 - November 5th, 2004, 7:45 am
    C2,

    Yes, I noticed this thread on CH and thought it might be good to follow up on...thanks for doing it for me.

    I usually troll the aisles at Walgreen's in search of new and unusual "penny candy"; I'm surprised that I missed this one.

    David
  • Post #3 - November 7th, 2004, 12:32 pm
    Post #3 - November 7th, 2004, 12:32 pm Post #3 - November 7th, 2004, 12:32 pm
    Hi Cathy,

    There's a hard non-licorice flavored version that's sold all over Italy called carbone. This might be a stretch, but that area of Illinois coal country was largely populated by Italian immigrants, and maybe there is a connection. Though I'm uncertain if the influx was as early as 1872.

    Mike
  • Post #4 - November 7th, 2004, 12:49 pm
    Post #4 - November 7th, 2004, 12:49 pm Post #4 - November 7th, 2004, 12:49 pm
    Hi Mike,

    The originator of the recipe were English immigrants.

    I would guess anywhere licorice is popular, there is probably some variant of this coal candy out there.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - November 7th, 2004, 12:56 pm
    Post #5 - November 7th, 2004, 12:56 pm Post #5 - November 7th, 2004, 12:56 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:The originator of the recipe were English immigrants.


    That's too bad. I was really digging Mike's theory. I love it when foreign favorites are transplanted, kind of like the tripe sandwiches that RST has theorized were the basis for Italian beef sandwiches.

    Hammond
  • Post #6 - November 7th, 2004, 1:10 pm
    Post #6 - November 7th, 2004, 1:10 pm Post #6 - November 7th, 2004, 1:10 pm
    DAvid,

    English are foreign!

    When I first met my Russian teacher, he claimed to be the embodiment of the United Nations in one person. He later took up geneaolgy only to learn he was English, English, English. Terribly unhappy not to be a more colorful creature, just plain vanilla English. The tides turned again when he learned he was distantly related to an English King ... I just don't remember who. Another plus to his geneaology search, he was able to join the Sons of the American Revolution.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - November 7th, 2004, 1:23 pm
    Post #7 - November 7th, 2004, 1:23 pm Post #7 - November 7th, 2004, 1:23 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:English are foreign!


    C2,

    Hey, thanks for the clarification ( :lol: ) -- what I meant, though, is that it's apparently not a "transplant" of any foreign candy.

    David
  • Post #8 - November 7th, 2004, 1:29 pm
    Post #8 - November 7th, 2004, 1:29 pm Post #8 - November 7th, 2004, 1:29 pm
    Hi,

    Did you read the article I linked to, which explains the history? This woman emmigrated from England. Her Father handed her the family recipe for this candy, just in case she needed the income someday. The fates conspired against her when her husband died in a mining accident in Illinois. She had no income and children to raise, she used the old (English) family recipe to keep her family afloat, just as her Dad intended.

    So the recipe is indeed a transplant from England. Sometimes people don't consider English transplants foreign enough because they are really seeking exotic.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #9 - November 7th, 2004, 2:06 pm
    Post #9 - November 7th, 2004, 2:06 pm Post #9 - November 7th, 2004, 2:06 pm
    C2,

    I did read the linked information...then promptly forgot it. Thanks for the memory,

    Hammond
  • Post #10 - November 7th, 2004, 5:10 pm
    Post #10 - November 7th, 2004, 5:10 pm Post #10 - November 7th, 2004, 5:10 pm
    David Hammond wrote: I love it when foreign favorites are transplanted, kind of like the tripe sandwiches that RST has theorized were the basis for Italian beef sandwiches.


    Anyone that atttended the Culinary Historians meeting, where Pat Scala lectured on the subject of Italian Beef and its provenance, now knows this to be a completely bankrupt theory. ;)

    Erik M.
  • Post #11 - November 7th, 2004, 5:15 pm
    Post #11 - November 7th, 2004, 5:15 pm Post #11 - November 7th, 2004, 5:15 pm
    Hey Erik,

    I didn't say I believed RST's theory -- I just like it. :lol:

    Hammond
  • Post #12 - December 4th, 2006, 6:57 pm
    Post #12 - December 4th, 2006, 6:57 pm Post #12 - December 4th, 2006, 6:57 pm
    Hi,

    The link to Coal Candy is dead, fortunately I made a copy of the recipe:

    Posted by Caroline in Sask on Sun, Dec 5, 99 at 20:51

    Coal Candy
    2 cups sugar
    3/4 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 tsp. black paste food colouring 1/2 cup water
    1 tsp. anise extract
    Line 8" square baking pan with foil, extending edges over sides of pan. Lightly grease foil with butter. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water into heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil, being careful not to splash sugar mixture on side of pan. Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan ( do not let bulb touch bottom of pan). Cook about 15 minutes until thermometer registers 290 degrees F., without stirring. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in anise extract and food colouring. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool completely. Lift candy out of pan using foil. Place candy between 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Pound with mallet to break candy into 1-2" piececs.


    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - January 29th, 2012, 12:13 am
    Post #13 - January 29th, 2012, 12:13 am Post #13 - January 29th, 2012, 12:13 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,
    Cathy, I hate to burst your bubble, but that is NOT the correct recipe for G-Shaft candy (NOT Coal Candy). The original recipe that came over from England was bought out from the family by Dan's Homemade Candies in Joliet IL. It is not a recipe that was ever published correctly or they would lose their business sales. I can tell by looking at it that you've left off at least one ingredient and have 2 others that are not at all part of it. Whoever gave you this recipe was pulling your chain. I know of what I speak since I'm from the area where the candy originated at in IL. My great-grandfather was also a survivor of the mine disaster that the candy was named after, G-Shaft.



    The link to Coal Candy is dead, fortunately I made a copy of the recipe:



    Posted by Caroline in Sask on Sun, Dec 5, 99 at 20:51



    Coal Candy
    2 cups sugar
    3/4 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 tsp. black paste food colouring 1/2 cup water
    1 tsp. anise extract
    Line 8" square baking pan with foil, extending edges over sides of pan. Lightly grease foil with butter. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water into heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil, being careful not to splash sugar mixture on side of pan. Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan ( do not let bulb touch bottom of pan). Cook about 15 minutes until thermometer registers 290 degrees F., without stirring. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in anise extract and food colouring. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool completely. Lift candy out of pan using foil. Place candy between 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Pound with mallet to break candy into 1-2" piececs.




    Regards,
    I'm very late in replying to this post, but I was born and raised in Coal City/Diamond IL. I know about the G-Shaft Diamond Mine Disaster and Marker because my great-grandfather was a survivor of it. In the last few years, the original recipe for G-Shaft candy (not G-Shaft coal candy which used to only come out at Christmas time), was bought out by Dan's Homemade Candies in Joliet IL, www.danshomemadecandies.com/, and is availalbe year round in store and on-line purchasing. I just bought some and it's as good as ever! They also have wonderful caramel corn, best I've ever eaten! :D
  • Post #14 - January 29th, 2012, 12:17 am
    Post #14 - January 29th, 2012, 12:17 am Post #14 - January 29th, 2012, 12:17 am
    m'th'su wrote:Hi Cathy,

    There's a hard non-licorice flavored version that's sold all over Italy called carbone. This might be a stretch, but that area of Illinois coal country was largely populated by Italian immigrants, and maybe there is a connection. Though I'm uncertain if the influx was as early as 1872.

    Mike

    It's not licorice or anise flavored. It did originate in England and was brought over by a woman whose husband died in the 02/16/1883 Diamond IL coal mine disaster. The candy is known as G-Shaft after the shaft that flooded and where the men died. The candy recipe was bought out from the originating family, who lived in Braidwood IL, by www.danshomemadecandies.com in Joliet IL. It is now available online and in store year round and is just as good as it was way back then.
  • Post #15 - January 29th, 2012, 12:20 am
    Post #15 - January 29th, 2012, 12:20 am Post #15 - January 29th, 2012, 12:20 am
    There's a hard non-licorice flavored version that's sold all over Italy called carbone. This might be a stretch, but that area of Illinois coal country was largely populated by Italian immigrants, and maybe there is a connection. Though I'm uncertain if the influx was as early as 1872.


    It's not licorice or anise flavored. It did originate in England and was brought over by a woman whose husband died in the 02/16/1883 Diamond IL coal mine disaster. The candy is known as G-Shaft after the shaft that flooded and where the men died. The candy recipe was bought out from the originating family, who lived in Braidwood IL, by http://www.danshomemadecandies.com in Joliet IL. It is now available online and in store year round and is just as good as it was way back then.[/quote]

    The area of Coal City, Diamond, Braidwood were populated by the Italian, Irish, Czech immigrants. My Irish descendants came over in 1881 and I'm sure there were other heritages already in the area before that.
  • Post #16 - January 29th, 2012, 12:22 am
    Post #16 - January 29th, 2012, 12:22 am Post #16 - January 29th, 2012, 12:22 am
    David Hammond wrote:C2,

    Yes, I noticed this thread on CH and thought it might be good to follow up on...thanks for doing it for me.

    I usually troll the aisles at Walgreen's in search of new and unusual "penny candy"; I'm surprised that I missed this one.

    David



    It never was considered a penny candy as far back as I can remember and I grew up on it in that area.
  • Post #17 - January 29th, 2012, 11:06 am
    Post #17 - January 29th, 2012, 11:06 am Post #17 - January 29th, 2012, 11:06 am
    Tahoe Teddy,

    My only access to the this recipe was one clipped above, which does use anise (licorice) flavoring.

    I had heard a few months ago about Dan's, what I have not yet done is contact them about it.

    I knew they stopped making it after a key death with the final blow a shortage of sugar during WWII. I had heard the family was holding tight to the recipe, though a local Joliet Pharmacy would make some around Christmas. I had the sense this pharmacy was not to the original recipe, but a close approximation.

    It has been on my short list of things to do to get down to Dan's for their G-shaft candy. Dan's also has a great reputation with LTH for their caramel apples.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #18 - January 29th, 2012, 7:25 pm
    Post #18 - January 29th, 2012, 7:25 pm Post #18 - January 29th, 2012, 7:25 pm
    Hi Cathy! I live out of state from IL, but just ordered some online from Dan's www.danshomemadecandies.com . They have awesome caramel corn too.
    Tahoe Teddy


    Cathy2 wrote:Tahoe Teddy,

    My only access to the this recipe was one clipped above, which does use anise (licorice) flavoring.

    I had heard a few months ago about Dan's, what I have not yet done is contact them about it.

    I knew they stopped making it after a key death with the final blow a shortage of sugar during WWII. I had heard the family was holding tight to the recipe, though a local Joliet Pharmacy would make some around Christmas. I had the sense this pharmacy was not to the original recipe, but a close approximation.

    It has been on my short list of things to do to get down to Dan's for their G-shaft candy. Dan's also has a great reputation with LTH for their caramel apples.

    Regards,

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more