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

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
Mulvaney Walks Back Ukraine Remarks, Admits It Wasn't A 'Perfect Press Conference'
The acting White House chief of staff denied what he previously said: that defense funding to Ukraine was frozen in part over the demand that Kyiv dig up dirt on Trump's political rivals.
NPR4 min read
Justin Trudeau Battles For His Political Survival As Canada Gets Ready To Vote
Stung by a series of recent scandals, the prime minister is locked in a virtual tie with Andrew Scheer of the opposition Conservative Party ahead of Monday's election.
NPR2 min read
Jovino Santos Neto Trio: Tiny Desk Concert
Along with his trio, the pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer cast a spell over the NPR Music offices in this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.