NPR

The Trick To Making Your Own Halloween Candy? Swallowing Your Fear

Jami Curl is a homemade candy evangelist. The sweet stuff can be made from "real" ingredients — and you can do it at home. The process can be intimidating, but also kind of magical.
Curl's Popcorn Caramel Source: Maggie Kirkland

Candy is not a food known for its use of wholesome ingredients. In fact, it barely qualifies as a food at all. But Jami Curl, the confectioner behind Portland's Quin candy shop, is trying to change that.

In her book, Candy is Magic: Real Ingredients and Modern Recipes, Curl crafts caramels and gumdrops and lollipops out of everything from roasted fruit to simmered-down wine to cream infused with freshly popped corn. Because it turns out that — despite what you might think from looking in a Halloween basket — candy can be made from actual ingredients.

But evangelizing homemade candy requires a bit of a public education campaign. Not only do most people think you can't make candy from real ingredients — they don't think the average person can make candy at all.

"I think it's scary to some people, because it's really hot, and it involves a thermometer. People don't want to do things that are fussy," observes Curl.

And candy different from other types of kitchen magic. Bake a cake a bit too long, or over-salt your soup, and you can still redeem things — trim off the burnt edges and slather on some frosting, or toss in a few handfuls of rice (respectively), and all is redeemed. But bring your sugar to the wrong temperature, and

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