How would you describe your style? Are there any artists / designers that you particularly look up to?
Clean and contemporary. Even though I run a confection company, the flavors are more interesting and adult so I like to have the packaging reflect that.
What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
think my unique flavors make me stand out. The texture too! I tested a lot of recipes to find one that yields a soft caramel that melts in your mouth, rather than pulling out your fillings! People are always surprised at how soft they are, which makes me happy to have spent all that time worrying about it. I also seek out the best, most flavorful ingredients using local purveyors whenever possible. Colorado dairy, fresh spices and tea and hand-zested citrus all give me the brightest flavors possible.
What sort of things inspire you? Where do you look for inspiration?
find the inspiration for my flavors from what I enjoy eating as well as what is available seasonally here in southern Colorado. The green chile caramel idea was planted when we received roasted chiles from Hatch, New Mexico in our CSA box last summer. I wondered what they’d taste like as a candy and started tinkering. The skins impart a lovely smoky flavor instead of just heat, which many people find surprising. I’m always on the search for the best horchata, so I thought, “Why don’t I just make it into a caramel?” It was tough to get the rice flavor to come through, but I think I finally succeeded. You’ll have to try them and let me know what you think!
What is your creative process like?
As a pastry chef, it’s all about precision and recipe testing. Once I have a new idea for a candy, I need to try it out in — tiny — batches to see if the flavor I’m trying to get across comes through. (This is definitely my husband’s favorite part!) I take copious notes about the weights of ingredients and any adjustments I make because I never remember what I did although I’m sure that I will at the time. After the recipe is dialed in, I pack the caramels in bags and let them sit at room temperature for 3-6 months to be sure the flavor and texture remain the same. I need to ensure that my customers will have the same experience regardless of when they purchase my confections. After all that, I’m finally ready to launch a new item!
Where can we learn more about you?
Please visit my website at www.peakcandy.com. In addition to learning more about me, you can see our current list of flavor offerings and find outlets where you can buy them.
Keep an eye on my site in November; I’ll be rolling out a cashew curry and classic peanut brittle just in time for the holidays. I’ll also offer the caramels in a smaller, 3-count bag, so you don’t have to choose between a few of the flavors you’re pondering!