I keep seeing them in old European paintings from 16th - 17th century. I think they still must exist present days.
White irregular shaped sweets on the left hand side.
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
I think user23614's comment is correct. They're ragged comfits, sugar coated seeds or spices.
These two paintings by the German painter Georg Flegel, have similar objects depicted, and are described by two different sources (Sugar-Plums and Comfits, Sugar Plums Demystified) as being ragged comfits:
They're apparently not very common these days, surviving in the form Pistoia confetti, also known as birignoccoluto. They're apparently primarily given out as treats at weddings. Coincidentally the Clara Peeters painting you're asking about may be, according to one interpretation, depicting the ragged comfits as a treat at a wedding.
They are still made in the Azores, with sugar and fennel seeds.
The Portuguese name of the contemporary candy is Confeitos de Funcho.