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Quin Candy (Really Is) Magic!

Quin Candy (Really Is) Magic!


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This may come as a surprise (or not), but the Cooking Light team can get pretty intense when it comes to indulgences. When there is pie in the office (oftentimes that's Assistant Food Editor Darcy Lenz's doing), it is a mad dash to grab a slice. Working hard all day leads us to really crave the sweets at times.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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What better way to indulge than with candy? Yes—candy. We are talking lollipops, hard candy, caramels, chews, you name it! Quin Candy, made in Portland, Oregon, has us infatuated. The thing that makes Quin so special is that I can spell all the ingredients, see actual ingredients in their products, and they don't remind me of the supermarket aisle sugar overload. Extraterrestrial colorings don't belong in sweet treats, or anything for that matter, and Quin upholds this value to the highest extent.

Mind you, Cooking Light guidelines do put a cap on how many lollipops you can have, but honestly who needs to eat more than one? I have a personal virtue that a small amount of an excellent, decadent treat is better than a mass amount of something mediocre. One lollipop, one caramel, maybe two cinnamon hard candies ... but it's up to you and your caloric budget for the day. Be smart, be sweet!

Strawberry LollipopsIngredients: Sugar, Glucose, Strawberry Puree, Natural Strawberry FlavorNutritional Facts: Serving Size .30oz (8.4g), Amount Per Serving: Calories 30, Fat Cal. 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Total Carb. 8g (3% DV), Fiber 0g, Sugar 8g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (0% DV), Iron (0% DV). Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Salty Sweet Caramels Ingredients: Sugar, Glucose, Butter, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Bean, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt, Contains MilkNutritional Facts: Serving Size .42oz (12g), Amount Per Serving: Calories 57, Fat Cal. 28, Total Fat 3.1g (5% DV), Saturated Fat 2g (10% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 9mg (3% DV),Sodium 32mg (1% DV), Total Carb. 7.3g (2% DV), Fiber 0g, Sugar 7.3g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A (2% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (0% DV), Iron (0% DV). Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Cinnamon Hard Candy Ingredients: Sugar, Glucose, Natural Cinnamon Flavor, Vegetable ExtractNutritional Facts: Serving Size .2 oz (6.0g), Amount Per Serving: Calories 30, Fat Cal. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Jami Curl / Quin

It is unmistakably clear that Jami Curl has a calling. And that calling, is candy. Jami, founder of QUIN, has been concocting flavors for decades, first dreaming up ice cream sundae flavors as a child and today, devoting her days (and dreams) to the science of sugar. The QUIN approach to candy making is re-imagined, with a slight nod to the nostalgic, producing exquisite and often non-traditional results. Every piece is mixed and cut by hand from locally sourced all-natural ingredients. Flavor reigns over simply adding sugar. The possibilities are endless, luckily for us. Jami invited us into her home in Portland, Oregon to witness a homage to the classic chocolate chip cookie and to share some sentiments on the possibilities that food creates on both sides of the kitchen.

What originally drew you into the culinary world, and eventually, candy making? Was there a particular event, or more of a progression?

I have been drawn to the process of food for as long as I can remember. I was very fortunate to be raised by a very accomplished home cook – my mother made really perfect food from scratch and I saw the process behind getting a meal on the table nearly every evening growing up. My father was equally amazing in the kitchen – and where my mom was much more of a homestyle cook, my dad liked to pull out all the stops – seared Ahi tuna, Bananas Foster for dessert (it was the 80’s – these were the height of fancy!). And while I of course loved the end product of my parents in the kitchen, I loved equally (if not more) the work behind it all. As a kid I spent a lot of time in the South and one of my favorite things to do was go to these establishments called Fish Camps. You would walk inside a barn-looking building and arrive in a wood-clad reception area and then be taken to a table in the midst of a crowd of people all eating fried cat fish, hush puppies and french fries. I would sit through those meals thinking through the steps it must take in a kitchen like that to get that food out to customers. The exit required you to walk through a candy store I was mad for it – we’d fill up sacks with bulk candy of every kind imaginable. I’m not sure that I have had this restaurant experience topped – ever! So the draw to the culinary world in general started very young with a big emphasis on how kitchen magic was actually possible. As for candy and treats, I have been a devotee of the sweet life forever. I got my first job the summer I turned 12 at the Dairy D’Lite in Geneva, Ohio. My very favorite thing to do was dream up sundae flavors – I loved combining all kinds of things to create one of a kind sundaes that I would sneak on to the menu. I really think this experience is what started me thinking of sweets as more than something I could just eat – the idea of creating my own was so addicting.

To what do you most attribute to the development of your craft? Formal study? A certain mentor or personal practice?

When I was about to turn 30, I’d been baking all kinds of desserts from wedding cakes to party treats for a few years and I decided to open a bakery. For nine years I operated the business while also working as a production baker – creating recipes, managing staff and dreaming about flavor. Those nine years were really amazing – I learned so much about myself, about running a business and about making food in a production setting. I have no formal training in either pastry or candy making, but I do have pastry and candy in my soul. I am not kidding at all when I say that I think the majority of my thoughts are in food – usually sweet foods. I can be sitting in a meeting, stuck in traffic, watching a movie and I can pretty much guarantee you that part of my thoughts during these times are dedicated to sweets. I am very, very lucky because my life’s passion, my favorite hobby, my obsession is also my job. The things that I want to spend the majority of my time doing are things I have to do for work anyways, so I am almost always in a state of practice – constantly honing my own skills or learning more about the science of sugar or trying to test the science of sugar by working to create new candies.

What risks or challenges have you come across in getting to where you are now?

Turning your hobby into a business is tricky. Because what if you do it – you take the leap to make your life’s love your job and then it’s difficult? What if it gets so tough that you start to hate the thing you previously loved the most? Running a business is nothing like baking cookies or making lollipops. And I got into all of this because I love to bake and because I love to play with sugar and because I love to give treats to others and watch their faces light up. But none of that is really business. And business sure does have a way of taking the fun out of things – so my biggest challenge to date has been balancing all of that. Hiring the right people so that I can have the freedom to continue with recipe development and flavor exploration, understanding clearly my own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to operating a business or managing people or watching costs. I am so thankful for all of it, but balancing my love for it all with the necessary business side of things can be a challenge for sure.

When thinking about the future of your work, what are you most excited about?

I’m writing a book! It’s set to come out in March of 2017 (with Ten Speed Press) and I think it’s going to be a pretty amazing new approach to handmade candy. I’m also including some recipes for baked goods, ice cream and other sweet treats. I am so excited to share my approach with others – especially in book form!

What is something in your own home kitchen that would surprise most people?

Right now I’m deep in recipe testing mode for my book and I have in my pantry a tub of marshmallow fluff. Marshmallows are one of our best selling candies at QUIN, so to have a tub of mass-produced fluff is kind of embarrassing! But, really I’m trying to figure out how to replicate the texture without using egg whites, so it’s kind of “for work”…I think?

We love that all QUIN candy is made by hand, from natural ingredients. What’s the most rewarding outcome of this approach to candy making?

My favorite outcome (and also the most rewarding) is that we are able to produce candy that is very rooted in flavor where mass produced candy is very rooted in tasting sweet. Yes, we use sugar, but we use it in ways that allow other ingredients to really come through. So, the first lick or bite is never “oh this is sweet”, but instead its “WOW! This tastes exactly like strawberries.” I love what we are able to do with flavor. It’s a never ending quest for me to keep finding ways to make candy that tastes of more than straight sugar.

What advice would you give to aspiring cooks, chefs and bakers?

You have to put the work in. You will never get from A to Z simply by thinking you deserve to be at Z. Do the work, do the work, do the work. I promise you it’s worth it.

Jami wears the Richmond in Citrine Quartz / Photographs by Christopher Dibble


Portland To L.A.: Our Quin Candy Caramel Apple Obsession

About this time each October, candy takes the spotlight. And as much as we love our 󈨔s and 󈨞s store-bought classics, we’re reaching way back to true classics like caramel apples and homemade truffles to satisfy our sweet-toothes without the chemical overload.

Recently, we’ve become obsessed with Quin Candy of Portland, Oregon. Their handmade process and “real food” ingredients have us hooked. We’ve even tucked a few of their smoky caramels into this month’s The Shop! When we found out that one of our pals – and original TCM contributors – Sarah Simms Hendrix of La Femme Epicure was BFF with Quin founder, Jami Curl, we asked the duo to chat with us and share these instructions for the brand new Quin Caramel Apple Party Kit. Enjoy as these two chat below, get the instructions, then buy the kit – or win it in today’s Instagram contest that will make you drool! Here’s Sarah and Jami…

The lady behind the confectionery dream that is Quin, Jami Curl, is a baker turned full-time candy maker based in Portland, Oregon. To know her is to completely love her. This woman is pure magic, just like her candy. Back in May of this year, Fast Company named Jami one of the 100 most creative people of 2014 (#NBD). Needless to say, she’s pretty much taking over the world, one gumdrop at a time. I feel lucky to call her a friend and today I get to introduce her to all of you fabulous Chalkboard readers.

la femme epicure: Jami, first off, tell us where do you draw inspiration from.
Jami Curl: Nearly everywhere, but childhood memories definitely come in first place. For example: I am putting the finishing touches on a Cinnamon Milk chewy candy that is inspired by my need/desire (god, which is it?) as a kid to plop Atomic Fireballs into a glass of milk, stir it around and then enjoy the cinnamon-milky goodness. I remember specifically doing this after school on Valentine’s Day – hot cinnamon candies were super popular in our old-school handmade Valentine mailboxes!

LFE: What is your favorite Quin Candy of the moment?
JC: Twizzlie Rolls for life.

LFE: Where is your favorite place to eat out in Portland?
JC: With my kid (who is seven and is the love of my life and is dressing up as Willy Wonka for Halloween) I go to Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty – it’s nearly half pizza/half ice cream and I love it so much (and so does he). When it’s just me and the ladies and we want a glass of sparkling rose paired with a big bowl of mussels or the perfect plate of cheese, I head to St. Jack. That said, for being a candy maker, I have a real thing for vegetables. 100% of the time I’d pick a vegetable dish over any meat dish. And for perfect veggies I head to Ava Gene’s. (That’s three because just one is too hard and was causing me to sweat a little bit!)

LFE: What are some current favorites on your music playlist?
JC: I’m in a real Beyonce-Jay Z rut because I have agreed to attend a karaoke Halloween party as Jay Z himself. (Yes, I am a white girl from Ohio.) I have been studying all of Jay Z’s moves in hopes that I can really BE him for at least a 4 minute song (if only you knew me in person you’d know how hilarious this is going to be.) Of the Beyonce / Jay Z collaborations I love 03′ Bonnie & Clyde and Upgrade U the most. In addition to B and J, my rotating playlist includes: Radiohead, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright (she is my spirit animal), Sam Smith, Justin Timberlake and a dash of Van Halen.

LFE: What is your go-to order at your local coffee shop?
JC: Coffee with half and half. I am a gigantic believer in full-fat dairy.

TCM: What other makers are you currently crushing on?
JC: Marshall’s Haute Sauce, Starvation Alley cranberries, Mike’s Hot Honey, Red Wagon Creamery ice cream, H&H Collective linen napkins, Wylie West Creative (party everything), Clare Crespo’s new Hurray Today calendar, and Hilary Horvath flowers.

TCM: Since we are making caramel apples, what is your favorite apple variety?
JC: Belle de Boskoop. It’s a Dutch apple from 1800s. They grow quite large and no two of the apples ever look alike in color or in shape. They are sweet with just the right amount of acid, bake well, make great sauce and are the ideal snack. I currently eat at least three a day (because they are in season and I know a farmer who grows them!).

TCM: Who are some of your favorite instagrammers to follow?
JC: I really love Julia Kramer – she works for Bon Appetit and is really funny – plus food. I also really love Elizabeth Olson’s Instagram (@white_lightning) because she’s also hilarious, but has an eye for design that is just so good. Also I really love Jeff Selis’ Instagram (@selis) – he’s a dad, super creative and he has this gaggle of kids that are beautiful, but also always in some sort of trouble. He captures them at just the right moments – whether it’s laughing or crying or giving the ultimate stink eye.

LFE: What do we have to look forward to when it comes to this upcoming holiday season and Quin?
JC: We are doing a collection of orchard and bog gumdrops – apple, pear and cranberry. All using real fruit and all especially tied to the season. It’s the first time we’ve used the more wintery fruits in our candies and I’m super excited. There’s also the Caramel Apple Party, which apparently you’ve got your hands on…


How a Natural Candy Company Finds Balance

I'm not talking about sugar-coated, cotton-candy dreams my dreams are serious and science-based. I'm behind a chemist's table, beakers and flasks spewing and steaming, working on formulas and perfecting recipes.

My company QUIN prides itself on candy made with natural ingredients. In fact, we shun ingredients that would be developed in a lab and opt for those grown in fields, plucked from vines and delivered fresh from the dairy.

I developed our line of candy because I was looking to make something that spoke to me &ndash I wanted to make hard candy, gummy candy, chewy candy. Not chocolate, not bonbons, not truffles &ndash real candy.

The recipes came first. And once I knew I had a solid hit on my hands, I began to develop our brand. I'm a multi-tasker: I can write a recipe for blackberry-tangerine hard candy (and teach others to make it) in one minute. The next minute, I can write copy for our website or direct a new packaging launch. I'm our spokesperson, creative director, communications manager and branding specialist. If it has anything to do with making candy or telling the story of our candy, I'm leading the charge.

Once our product was solid, and a story began emerging, it was time to reach out to potential customers. We started with the types of shops we could only dream of carrying QUIN. We found addresses and contacts and put together packages featuring our favorite candy. I included handwritten notes, explained how we started, described our process, talked about our ingredients. Our approach was as natural as our ingredients &ndash making connections, talking just enough about the candy while allowing it to speak for itself.

From there we continued to grow our retail partner network, opened a store in Portland and started shipping candy nationwide thanks to our website. It was a flurry of learning and training, and at times it seemed that everything was going too fast while also moving so slowly. In small business, there's always work to do, even if sales aren't where they should be.

I'm our recipe developer and our marketer. I'm out facing the public, doing demos, teaching classes, signing books and tackling speaking engagements. It's a balance and while it can seem unruly at times, I usually handle it all in pieces. I create schedules with blocks of time for product development. Product development is loosely tied to our marketing plan, so once new products are ready, they are plugged into the plan. From there, I work with our lead candy maker on training and with our production manager on adding the new product to the production calendar. Next, our inside sales person handles all outreach to our retail partners. When the team is really working, and each member is fulfilling their role, the balance isn't as difficult.

Small business ownership can be lonely if you don't remember to utilize your team. I've been doing this for a dozen years, and I still forget to turn to my team for help when trying to solve a problem or juggle deadlines. It's easy to think I'm the only one who understands the ins and outs of a project. Often, I simply believe I can do a task faster than anyone else, or that in the time it takes me to teach someone how to do something, I could be done with it and on to the next assignment.

But when I get out of the way and allow the team to come together, I'm not running in circles trying to do it all &ndash I'm actually enjoying myself. QUIN could never be QUIN without the team behind the candy, and I'm thankful every single day for the people who are helping me make it happen.

About the author: Jami Curl is the founder of QUIN Candy and author of the candy cookbook "Candy is Magic" (Ten Speed Press, 2017). After graduating Ohio University in Athens, where she studied English and Theatre, Curl eventually moved to Portland, where she discovered a passion not just for eating sweets, but creating them. In 2013 Curl decided it was time to pursue her obsession of turning real food into great tasting candy by developing a line of confections and opening QUIN Candy. She currently resides in Portland with her 10-year-old son, Theo, and their cat, Birdie. When she's not creating confections, Curl proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Children's Theatre and volunteers at her local library and neighborhood school.


Description

Winner of the 2018 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Award for "Baking" category

This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Chai Tea Lollipops, Honey and Sea Salt Marshmallows, Chocolate Pretzel Caramels, Cherry Cola Gumdrops—this is not your average candy, or your average candy book. Candy-maker extraordinaire Jami Curl breaks down candy making into its most precise and foolproof steps. No guess work, no expensive equipment, just the best possible ingredients and stop-you-in-your-tracks-brilliant flavor combinations. She begins with the foundations of candy how to create delicious syrups, purees, and “magic dusts” that are the building blocks for making lollipops, caramels, marshmallows, and gummy candy. But even more ingeniously, these syrups, purees, and magic dusts can be used to make a myriad of other sweet confections such as Strawberry Cream Soda, Peanut Butter Hot Fudge, Marshmallow Brownies, and Popcorn Ice Cream. And what to do with all your homemade candy? Jami has your covered, with instructions for making candy garlands, tiny candy-filled pinatas, candy ornaments, and more—you are officially party ready.

But this is just the tip of the deliciously sweet iceberg--packed with nearly 200 recipes, careful step-by-step instruction, tips for guaranteed success, and flavor guides to help you come up with own unique creations—Candy is Magic is a candy call to action!


Quin's Candies Are Our Childhood Dreams Come Chew

From a storefront she personally describes as “'Yo! MTV Raps meets a Paris Metro station,” Portland, Oregon baker-about-town Jami Curl crafts candy both nostalgic and whimsical – like the candy you loved way back when. Remember the joy of stepping off that big yellow school bus and fixing yourself an after-school snack? Quin Candy’s sweets are like that, but for grown-ups with sophisticated palates.

Jami might be a successful business owner and expert candy creator, but in a way, Jami never really grew up. At least, her sweet tooth stuck around, and with it a childlike enthusiasm for all things candy. She started training in college, where she hawked baked goods to her professors and classmates (we assume they were so good, no one thought to accuse her of bribery). She went on to found Portland sweets staple Saint Cupcake, spending eight years establishing a veritable cupcake empire before moving on to her new, Willy Wonka-esque endeavor.

Jami now focuses on lollipops (traditional and “bakery-inspired”), gummies, marshmallows and other hard candies. She only uses real fruit, which she roasts first to capture the full range of its sweetness, and lots of natural, “straight-up sustainable” ingredients. The idea isn’t to wow you with wacky flavors, but rather to make much-better renditions of heartstring-tugging classics.

Remember Starbursts? So good. But: waxy, sticky, papery. Full of corn syrup and food coloring. Quin’s Dreams Come Chew Candies are smooth, made with fresh strawberry, tangerine, cherry and lemon, freshly churned butter and hand wrapped. Totally dreamy.

And future meets past in a colorful clash of equally vibrant flavors, like in her three gumdrops: Strawberry-Lemon (made with actual lemon zest and real strawberries!), Blackberry Tangerine (made from real blackberries and tangerine zest) and Smoked Cola (made with hand-smoked sugar – yes!). The gumdrops are all rolled in a fine sugar coating that dissolves sweetly away as soon as you pop them in your Mouth. Childhood in candy form.

Do you believe in magic? This adorable Candy Is Magic box epitomizes Quin’s nostalgic charm. It’s packed with 24 of their all natural, best-selling candies that are sure to satisfy a sweet tooth – buttery smooth Salty Sweet Caramels, fruity fresh Dream Come Chews and dark and chocolatey Twizzlie Chews.

All Quin’s treats are pure taste bud transportation: to the West Coast and to the placeless time of childhood memories.

We’ll just eat some more candy and put off paying those bills ‘til later.


Interview: Jami Curl

Feast Portland is just a week away. Today I’m talking with Jami Curl of Quin Candy about candymaking and her upcoming class at Feast.

Feast Portland 2015 begins on September 17th and I’m so thrilled to be taking part this year. There is just so much to look forward to: chef dinners, big tasting events, cocktails, wine and classes. One of the people teaching a class this year is Jami Curl the owner of Quin Candy. Locals might know it from their shop in Union Way. Quin is candy “reimagined, updated and modernized.” Jami uses local ingredients and creative, fresh flavors to make some amazing candy.

Credit: Maggie Hudson and John Van Pamer

Prior to Quin, Jami founded and owned St. Cupcake, and made the cupcakes for my wedding in 2008, so her work holds a special place in my heart. But I’m really interested in interviewing Jami because during the last few years, I’ve started making my own candy at home. She recently had a great interview with Chris Angelus on Right at the Fork (A great show for Portland foodies) but they did not talk nearly enough about candy, so I’m picking up where they left off with some candy talk. Here’s my interview with Jami:

Kristi: What made you fall in love with candy? Your slogan “candy is magic” leads me to believe you had a formative experience? Did you make it as a child or discover candymaking as an adult?

Jami: I have loved candy always. As a child I made candy with my extraordinarily talented grandmother, Dot. She would cover anything with chocolate, and as a child I thought that was essentially a magic power.
While working as baker (and owning a bakery) I made a lot of candy to use as garnish or for special events. But it wasn’t until I was able to take fruit grown in Oregon and turn it into hard candy that I really realized just how magic candy can be.


Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes [A Baking Book]

In reference to my original review below, I finally got the coffee syrup recipe to work. I still believe pictures would be really helpful. A lot can be said for having an all or nothing session. I used finer granulated sugar and when it did not dissolve into the glucose (in the manner I’m use to when making Carmel) I decided to let it sit on medium heat and if it burned it burned. Well, to my pleasant surprise I began to hearing bubbling noise inter the white, snowy looking sugar. I stirred it and realized the glucose sugar as beginning melt. I stirred occasionally and eventually it became liquid line I had thought I should. L was good in my candy land again.

Recipes look delicious. I’ve made Carmel before, so I was excited to find this book. But These recipes are not fool proof. I am on my third try with the coffee syrup it took me four times before I realized the coffee cream yields a quarter of what you start with (these kinds of tips would be helpful). As I mentioned, I’m on my third try with the coffee syrup and very frustrated. The glucose to sugar ratio appears to be approximately 1 part glucose to 10 parts sugar I have not been able to get the sugar to melt into the glucose. Pictures of the process would be a great addition to this book. I’m a bit disappointed with my purchase. I seldom pay over $5 for a book online unless I’m really excited about it. I am excited to try other recipes. And if my final attempt at getting the sugar to melt into the glucose is a failure then I’ll go with an online alternative I found. If you are not someone who bakes or makes treats often, then I am afraid you might feel like parts of this book set you up for failure. Good Lick (pun intended :0)). I’ll reevaluate as I try new things.


People we love: QUIN candy wizard Jami Curl

Jami Curl’s candies are like bite-size time machines. One lick of a strawberry lollipop or taste of a cherry cola gumdrop will take you back to childhood and the days of walking the candy aisle with wonder. Only this time around, these candies and caramels—made with nothing fake inside—live up to your memories. Actually, they are probably far better than you remember.

Jami’s attention to detail, talent, and creativity are just a few reasons we couldn’t wait to partner with her notable Portland-based candy company, QUIN , to make Osmanthus & Blackberry Crackle ice cream. Her commitment to building flavor with natural ingredients is another. Jami shares her candy-making tricks in new cookbook, Candy is Magic —more than 200 intimidation-free recipes for candies, caramels, gumdrops, lollipops and other confections.

We caught up with the candy wizard to talk inspiration, guilty pleasures, and how to build candy-making confidence.

When did your obsession with candy start?

I am a lifelong lover of sweets, and I grew up surrounded by family members very devoted to treats—ice cream, candy, cookies, cake. I didn’t grow up in an environment where sugary snacks were reserved only for celebrations that came up a few times a year. I never had to scarf down candy so that I wouldn’t be caught eating it. I credit my mom and her relaxed outlook on treats for my true affinity for candy today—because none of it was forbidden, I didn’t have to sneak treats. And not sneaking treats meant I had time to think about what I was eating. And it’s that thinking—especially about candy—that today makes me take candy as seriously as I do.

But there’s another sort of obsession, which is the candy making obsession, which is quite different than the candy eating obsession. I’m asked all the time about the way we make candy at QUIN (handcrafted, attention to flavor, premium ingredients)—and for me that’s not the story here because I never made a conscious decision to make candy the way that we do. It’s simply that it’d never cross my mind to make candy any other way. Turning real food into great tasting candy—that’s my real obsession, and the seeds were planted when I was a child simply enjoying candy.

You have a talent for taking nostalgic candies we love—starbursts, gumdrops, lollipops—and re-envisioning them in a way that makes them better than we remember. When you want to improve upon a classic, and make it uniquely QUIN, where do you start?

Thank you! All of our recipes begin with flavor and my goal of achieving flavor with natural ingredients. Once I have an idea for a flavor and its supporting ingredients in my head, it’s a pretty tough thing to shake. I will think and think on something—imagining the result in my head, deciding on texture (bouncy or smooth? Hard crack or buttery shatter?) for weeks until I’m ready to either commit the idea to paper and/or get in the kitchen and start working. I have a well-thought-out, start-to-finish plan in my head for a candy prior to ever experimenting with the how. I do that with intention because I have found that worrying about the how at the start of a recipe or project is a sure way to kill the project before it’s been fully realized. So, I put the how away for a while and just let myself dream.

Is there a candy that you make that’s near and dear to you? And/or one you just can’t resist eating?

I do eat candy every day because I’m constantly tasting stuff for work, but the candy I reach for the most—the one that I’ll get up from my desk and go seek out—is something we call a Dreams Come Chew. They’re beautiful, brightly colored candies. One-inch squares wrapped in clear cellophane in a variety of fruit flavors. Cherry, strawberry, pineapple-coconut, lime—all made with minimal (and natural) ingredients. Dreams Come Chew are super smooth, a little chewy, a little soft—and sort of melt in your mouth as you’re eating them.

What about a guilty pleasure candy … that you’re willing to share?

I’m not sure if there’s a particular candy that’s a guilty pleasure. I think the actual guilty pleasure is the sheer amount of candy that I’m able to eat. I seem to possess a talent for eating very large amounts of treats, sweets, candy, etc. without it making me feel ill or funny or off.

That said, any time/every time I see them I will always buy a box of Hot Tamales. I love that fake spicy cinnamon flavor! (GROSS and GUILTY).

What made you want to work with Jeni’s to collaborate on an ice cream flavor?

I’m from Ohio and went to school at Ohio University in Athens. I have been eating (and loving) Jeni’s ice cream from the start. As I traveled/moved and experienced other “artisan” ice creams, I would continually come back to Jeni’s as my point of reference/guide. There’s simply no other ice cream like it, anywhere. QUIN has had multiple requests for ice cream collaborations and I have turned down each one because the quality could never match what’s being done at Jeni’s. The fact that we did a flavor together is sort of a professional and personal dream come true and has been on my goal list (even above ‘Meet Oprah’) for as long as I’ve had a goal list.

What can you tell us about the (delicious!) blackberry candies we use to make Osmanthus & Blackberry Crackle?

At QUIN we love to use real fruit in our candy. The blackberry crackle candy is no different. We source blackberries from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and bring them into our factory to be roasted (enhances flavor, removes water), pureed, and magicked into candy. We leave the seeds and skins in the candy so the experience is almost like eating the fruit itself. We upped the tanginess of the candy a little bit so that it’d stand up in the ice cream—and I think the blackberry flavor combined with that tang is just the perfect thing when combined with the creamy, fruity/floral osmanthus ice cream.

You just released a gorgeous new cookbook, Candy is Magic. Can you tell us a little about why you wanted to publish a book and what you want readers to learn from it?

Most people I talk to are terrified of making candy OR think candy is the enemy because it contains ingredients that are terrible for you (all the artificial, fake junk). The book is a tool for dispelling those myths. Of course, simply making and selling top quality candy could also dispel those myths, but I honestly don’t think that’s enough to really get the message out. The book allows people to see candy how I see candy—through my eyes and brain rather than through their own. I don’t have a lot of limits when it comes to candy and imagination, and it’s this sort of “limitless” approach that is apparent on every page of the book—that limitlessness is what I hope people come away from the book embracing.

For those of us who are intimidated by candy making, what’s the best place to start in your book?

Lollipops and hard candy are real confidence boosters. If you have a working thermometer and follow the instructions in the book you can make a lollipop. My first lollipop making experience was the single thing that gave me the confidence I needed to see that I could make candy (and sell it!) There’s really nothing like seeing something transform from a hot, liquid-y syrup into a candy that stands up on a stick!

Ready to give candy making a go? Jami shares her recipe for Coconut + Toasted Pecan + Chocolate Caramels on the blog.


Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes [A Baking Book]

In reference to my original review below, I finally got the coffee syrup recipe to work. I still believe pictures would be really helpful. A lot can be said for having an all or nothing session. I used finer granulated sugar and when it did not dissolve into the glucose (in the manner I’m use to when making Carmel) I decided to let it sit on medium heat and if it burned it burned. Well, to my pleasant surprise I began to hearing bubbling noise inter the white, snowy looking sugar. I stirred it and realized the glucose sugar as beginning melt. I stirred occasionally and eventually it became liquid line I had thought I should. L was good in my candy land again.

Recipes look delicious. I’ve made Carmel before, so I was excited to find this book. But These recipes are not fool proof. I am on my third try with the coffee syrup it took me four times before I realized the coffee cream yields a quarter of what you start with (these kinds of tips would be helpful). As I mentioned, I’m on my third try with the coffee syrup and very frustrated. The glucose to sugar ratio appears to be approximately 1 part glucose to 10 parts sugar I have not been able to get the sugar to melt into the glucose. Pictures of the process would be a great addition to this book. I’m a bit disappointed with my purchase. I seldom pay over $5 for a book online unless I’m really excited about it. I am excited to try other recipes. And if my final attempt at getting the sugar to melt into the glucose is a failure then I’ll go with an online alternative I found. If you are not someone who bakes or makes treats often, then I am afraid you might feel like parts of this book set you up for failure. Good Lick (pun intended :0)). I’ll reevaluate as I try new things.


Watch the video: Queen - A Kind of Magic Official Video (May 2022).