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Candy Is Magic

Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes

by Jami Curl

Hardcover, 303 pages, Ten Speed Press, List Price: $35 |


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Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes
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NPR Summary

Using only real, natural ingredients, a candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin shares 200 achievable recipes for such delectable — and original — delights as Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels and Pinot Noir cotton candy.

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Candy Is Magic


My job is made of dreams. I’m a candy maker, and the tools of my trade are imagination and sugar. I believe in magic. Especially the type of magic brought about by spinning my wildest dreams into something sweet to eat. There’s no way to argue it, magic is responsible for getting me to where I am today. It’s squeezed its way into every facet of my being, and it’s given me the ability to approach daily life with a specific sense of wonder and enchantment—two of the required qualities of a candy maker, I’m certain. There’s very little that I do that I don’t approach with a bright-eyed sense of enthusiasm. And if you’ve heard me speak, have met me at a candy demonstration, or have taken one of my classes, you know that everything I’m saying here is the exact truth: I’m completely wild about making candy.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t speaking the language of sweets. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t analyzing bites of cookies or spoonfuls of ice cream. Chocolate and frozen treats, cakes and biscuits, candy and cookies, hot fudge and caramel sauce—these are my constants. They are my rewards, my gifts, my consolation prizes, my companions, and my coworkers.

In 2005, armed with a family of recipes and a tireless spirit, I opened my first retail bakery. I had just entered my thirties, I was not yet a mom, and I had just ended a successful career as a marketer for engineers and lawyers. Baking as a job was something I could visualize but never thought of as possible, until I made it possible. 

Right from the beginning, the days were long. I opened the business in November, and, leading up to that first Thanksgiving, I was easily spending twenty-two-hour days in the bakery turning out pumpkin pies and nutmeg ice cream. I was so happy to be baking that I wouldn’t even realize when twenty-two hours had ticked by. Elbow deep in sugar, butter, and flour was exactly where I wanted to be. 

strawberry lollipops 

Here’s a recipe for fruit lollipops made with roasted strawberry purée and natural flavoring.


267 grams glucose syrup 
400 grams granulated sugar 
150 grams water 
20 grams roasted strawberry purée 
18 grams natural strawberry flavoring 

Set up the lollipop station.

Weigh the glucose syrup, sugar, and water directly into a heavy-bottomed pot, then set the pot over medium-high heat and bring the lollipop syrup to a boil. Once the syrup is boiling, swirl the pot often to make sure the sugar is cooking evenly. At first the syrup will bubble fast and light. Then it starts to slow down and the bubbles get a bit slower and thicker. This means the syrup is nearly ready. 

Test the temperature of the syrup; as soon as it reaches 315°F, remove the pot from the heat. Give the candy syrup a good stir, then add the strawberry purée and the strawberry flavoring. (If you are making one of the variations, add any substitutions at this point.) Whisk together the contents of the pot until the candy no longer looks foamy and any active bubbling has stopped. 

Using great care, immediately pour the syrup into a candy funnel or spouted cup and pour the lollipops as directed on page 114. Let the lollipops sit for about 30 minutes, until completely cool and hard. They are now ready for wrapping.