Sweetopia's Candylicious Pink and White Gingerbread House

It’s gingerbread house season and we’ve got tips from a master gingerbread house builder, Marian Poirer, founder of the tutorial-style baking blog, Sweetopia. She is also a guest speaker at this weekend’s Mixed Conference with Duff Goldman!

Marian takes gingerbread houses to new levels with her clever use of candy, foolproof recipes, and templates.

Her sweet pink gingerbread house (above) features pink rock candy sticks as the evergreen trees, pink Sixlets as the siding, and Necco Wafers and Shimmer Pink Bubble Gumballs as the rooftop. Simple ideas that you can easily build on at home.

Marian’s red and white gingerbread house (below) turns swirl pops into trees, and gumballs and Sixlets into Seuss-like shrubs.

Sweetopia's Candylicious Red and White Gingerbread House

 

We had a chance to talk with Marian about her gingerbread houses and gather a few tips. Here’s the abridged version …

Candy.com:  Your gingerbread houses are works of art. What got you interested in making them?

Marian Poirier - SweetopiaMarian: My fascination with making sweets began nine years ago, when a illness prevented me from engaging in physical fitness; what I had previously spent much of my free time doing. I needed to keep busy, and as gingerbread houses had always charmed me, I decided to try my hand at one. The first house I made wasn’t the prettiest, but I was hooked! The more I made them, the more I found there was to try. Thank goodness the illness only lasted about six months, and I’m grateful for it now, because it led me to find one of my favorite hobbies.

 

Candy.com:  What is your absolute favorite candy to use on a gingerbread house? (We love your use of pink rock candy sticks!)

Marian:  Candy canes first, and gumballs come a close second. Oh, and I do love the rock candy sticks, too! They have this pretty, kind of ‘candy gem’ look, and can easily be matched to any color theme.

 

Candy.com:  In your opinion, what’s the trickiest part to creating a gingerbread house?

Marian:  I would have to say putting the walls together and the roof on. As long as you’ve got a really good royal icing (nice and thick), that will do wonders in making the process much easier. Until I found the recipe I use now, I went through a few frustrating experiences.

 

Candy.com:  Do you have a rule of thumb for about how much candy to buy per small-sized and/or large-sized house?

Marian: It depends on the style I’m going for. If I’m making a house that I’d like to have a bit more of a realistic look, I’m a little more choosy and sparse with the candy. If I’m making a fun, whimsical type of gingerbread house, like the pink-themed one in this post, I pile on the candy! It’s always good to buy a little extra, as oftentimes I’m not sure how much I’ll need until I begin decorating. Plus, that way my husband and I can snack a bit, without being worried that there won’t be enough to finish the house! ;-)

Sweetopia's Traditional Gingerbread House

 

For more tips, check out Marian’s blog post Gingerbread House Ideas and video Making a Gingerbread House.

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Hanukkah Candy Menorah

 

The Celebration of Lights is almost here! To help celebrate Hanukkah on Sat., Dec. 8 through Sun., Dec. 16, food stylist Esther Ottensoser of Esther O Designs has created a clever candy menorah out of candy pearls and orange slices. It’s quite a conversation piece!

Esther is a genius at taking simple everyday products and transforming them into an extraordinary presentation. Her candied menorah is a perfect example. Here’s the how-to on this stunning, yet simple celebratory centerpiece  …

_ _ _ _ _

Here’s what you’ll need

Candy pearls – three colors
Orange slice candies
• Nine shot glasses
• Toothpicks
• Kitchen shears
• Glass tea light holder
• Narrow tray (optional)

Hanukkah Candy Menorah Ingredients

 

Here’s the how-to in 6 simple steps …

1. Turn one tea light holder upside down and place in the center of the tray.

2. Place one of the glasses on the tea light holder for the “Shamash” (the middle candle).

3. Place four glasses on either side of the Shamash.

4. Fill each glass with three even layers of candy.

5. Using your kitchen shears, cut “flames” from the orange candy slices.

Fruit Slicing

6. Place each orange slice flame on a toothpick and place inside the candies.

Enjoy the holidays making this with your loved ones!

 

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Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Petal Cake Pops

Our favorite cake pop designer, Joanne MacLennan of Merry Poppins, is back on the blog today with another gorgeous candy creation. This time, she’s incorporating vibrant red, green, yellow, and orange Jelly Belly jelly beans as the petals on her flowery pops and finishing them off with candy pearls and edible glitter. Perfect for fall parties!

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Here’s what you’ll need …

• 1 Cake mix
• Homemade or store bought frosting
• Candy melts
• Lollipop sticks
• SweetWorks Sugar Pearls and Sixlets, Edible Glitter, Non-Pareils
• Jelly Belly Sour Mix Jelly Beans
• Wax paper
• Parchment paper to catch falling glitter
• Flat plate or cookie sheet
• Microwaveable bowls for melting the candy melts
• Spoons
• Small plastic bag with the corner cut out to use as a tip for details, OR a decorating set with various tips.
• Styrofoam block to stand sticks while waiting for them to set
• Bowls to catch falling sprinkles and candy

 

Merry Poppins Jelly Belly Cake Pop Ingredients

Here’s the how-to
For the complete directions on how to make a cake pop up to the dipping stage, please refer to my last post on MyCandyCrafts.com , and complete up to the end of step 8.

Once the cake pop is completely covered with melted chocolate, tap off the extra, and set the dipped cake pop upside down on the wax paper until set.  This will leave the cake pop with a flat top to build the flower.

White Chocolate Dipped Cake Pops

I made the same rings around the cake pops as in post 1, and sprinkled the rings with white non-pareils.

Nonpareil Swirls

 Set the cake pop again upside down until set. Using a spoon or small plastic bag with the tip snipped off, cover the top of the cake pop with melted chocolate.

Piping White Chocolate

Place the Jelly Belly’s on the edge of the flat top of the cake pop, and continue all the way around until the flower petals are complete.  Set aside.

Adding jelly bean petals

Jelly bean petals

I always have a plan, but sometimes have to add something new at the last minute!  I changed my mind and needed orange sugar pearls.  They look smashing with the bright yellow Jelly Belly’s.

SweetWorks Orange Candy Pearls

Dip your spoon into the melts and drop a little into the center of the flower to fill in the middle.   There is nothing yummier than more chocolate.   Can you ever have enough?  Mmmm.

Drizzling White Chocolate

Quickly drop the sugar pearls onto the chocolate in the center before it sets.  Make sure a larger bowl is under your hand to catch the falling treats.

Candy Pearl Centers

With a toothpick or lollipop stick, drop a small amount of chocolate into the middle of the sugar pearls and place a larger candy on top.  Hold until set.

Dollop of White Chocolate

Finished flower center

Place a piece of parchment paper under you now as you sprinkle the middle of the flower with edible glitter.  It is really messy, so go slow.  Tap off any excess glitter.  A clean paintbrush may also be useful to brush off any extra glitter.

Sprinkling edible glitter onto cake pops

Adding edible glitter to cake pops

Finished jelly bean cake pop flower

One cake pop on its own is sharp, but when placed in a group with friends it is stunning.  Show them off with some cool candies in the bottom of a jar or bottle and let the “Oohs” and “Ahhs” begin!

Beautiful Jelly Bean Flower Cake Pops

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30 Oct

Candy Hall of Fame 2012 0

NCSA Candy Hall of Fame Head Table

On Oct. 19-21, the National Confectionery Sales Association held its 113th annual Candy Hall of Fame induction weekend in Tampa, Fla. Induction into the Candy Hall of Fame is a huge honor for candy industry professionals, much like induction into a sports-related hall of fame. This year, Candy.com was lucky enough to attend!

Nominated by their peers, Candy Hall of Fame members come from all walks of the candy industry: brokers, sales personnel, manufacturers, retail buyers, wholesalers, industry suppliers, retail confectioners, and others allied to the industry.

It’s pretty spectacular to sit amongst leaders of major candy companies like Jelly Belly, Ghirardelli, Mars, Hershey’s, Atkinson Candy, Necco, Goetze’s, Just Born, Brown & Haley, Ferrara Pan, Ferrero, Haribo, Promotion in Motion, Spangler, Smarties, etc.

The generations of candy history that is shared over the weekend is mind-blowing, as is the genuine collaboration between companies and competitors for the good of the industry.

Candy Hall of Fame 2012

2012 Candy Hall of Fame Inductees

This year, 12 confectionery professional were inducted into the NCSA’s Candy Hall of Fame, including (Standing from left in photo above) Fernando F. Pujals, Fernando C. Pujals & Bros., Inc.; A. Robert Fortunato, Sledd Co.; David G. Onorato, The Hershey Co.; P. Timothy Quinn, Mars Chocolate North America; Paul D. Minger, Walgreen Co.; Philip J. Shankman, Shankman & Assoc., Inc.; Pierson Bob Clair III, Brown & Haley. Seated from left: Anthony M. Rufrano, Maxim Manufacturing & Marketing; James S. Bourne, Hilliard’s Chocolate System; Judith K. Cooley, The Hershey Co.; James M. Finelli, The Promotion In Motion Cos., Inc.; and John H. Pola, Jelly Belly Candy Co.

Also  during this weekend event, top confectionery and snack product introductions in six categories, were honored. Product nominations across six categories came from candy and snack buyers, brokers and suppliers, and were narrowed down to 30 items by a panel of industry experts. Each nominated product offers significant innovation and/or sales potential to the candy and snack categories.

The winners in each of the six categories were:

1. Chocolate: – Air Delight Kisses and Bars, The Hershey Company

2. Licensed/Limited Edition:  Crunch Girl Scouts Line, Nestle USA, Inc.

3. Non-Chocolate:  Jolly Rancher Crunch ‘N Chew, The Hershey Company

4. Snacks: Brownie Brittle, Sheila G Brands, LLC

5. Premium/Gourmet: Dark Roca, Brown & Haley

6. Seasonal:  M&M’s White Chocolate Candy Corn, Mars Chocolate North America

Congratulations to the Class of 2012 and to the new product winners. Special thanks to the NCSA and its executive directors, Steve Forester and Teresa Tarantino, for hosting this special event. We had a ball!

Here are a few shots of the celebration …

NCSA Candy Hall of Fame Reception

The “After Hours” party on Sat. Oct. 20 was sponsored by The Hershey Company. Chocolate was plentiful!


Lunch at Clearwater Beach

Lunch on Clearwater Beach with wonderful candy industry friends (from left) Hans Becher, Ferrara Candy Co., Inc.; Mark Lozano, TNA North America; Jen Harmon; Sheryl Godwin, Godwin Associates; Gloria Becher, Bobbie McMichael; Joe Melville, Candy.com; Wayne Godwin, Godwin Associates; and Eric Atkinson, Atkinson Candy Company.

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