Twice as Sweet: Candy inclusions gain popularity
Candy inclusions have ability to create new flavor profiles, provide added texture.
What’s sweeter than candy?
Arguably not a lot, but some innovative confectioners have started to use candy itself as an ingredient, either in other sweets or in snacks. Anyone who’s ever had a simple chocolate chip cookie can attest to the fact that chocolate chips make everything better. So it’s no surprise that other kinds of candy could have similar effects.
Atkinson Candy Co. is one candymaker that has capitalized on the popularity of candy in other treats.
According to Sarah Atkinson, marketing manager of Atkinson Candy Co., candy inclusions have been gaining popularity and traction. It can be used in baked goods, ice cream and as an inclusion in other candy products such as peppermint bark.
The relative versatility of candy as an ingredient comes largely from the fact that there is an almost endless array of candy types out there, from chocolate to hard candy to licorice, as well as any number of flavors. Those two in combination make it incredibly easy for confectioners to create potential combinations for new and innovative treats.
“There are many types of candies that can be used as an ingredient, but our specialty is crushed hard candies,” says Atkinson. “When crushed hard candies are added to a product they provide additional flavor profiles as well as added texture.”
Not only that, but Atkinson also makes candy as an ingredient for consumers to use in their own, home-made products. The company works closely with customers to create the perfect ingredient for their particular applications, with the end goal being to create a quality product that exceeds customers’ expectations.
Sanders Candy also understands the appeal of using candy as ingredients.
According to Nakia Mills, director of ecommerce and public relations, the possibilities provided by candy in combination with other sweets and snacks are endless.
Sanders Candy uses real pieces of chocolate and hard candy to add unique flavor to otherwise regular items, or to change the texture of a product. The company uses pieces of its chocolate as an ingredient in its brownies and cookies. It also adds crushed peppermint candy to its dark chocolate to make its signature peppermint bark.
The result is an extra delectable snack that can pack a flavorful punch.
“You might be able to find a cookie or brownie anywhere, but how often do you find a cookie or brownie made with real pieces of gourmet chocolates?” says Mills. “Adding bites of real candy to baked goods provides an explosion of flavor, or adding a hard candy to smooth and creamy chocolate makes it a crunchy snack.”
It’s all about finding the right combinations to highlight both texture and taste. Successfully doing so can mean creating unique and personal snacks. And just like Atkinson Candy Co.’s candy ingredients, the ones from Sanders Candy can be used at home as well.
“Right now it’s all about adding a unique flavor to everyday items,” says Mills. “For instance, you can take our Sea Salt Caramels and add them to ice cream, baked goods or coffee and suddenly you have a more rich and decadent dessert or beverage.”
And the process for discovering where these magic combinations are hidden is just as delightful as the products themselves.
“It’s a lot of fun! No idea is dismissed when it comes to research and development,” Mills adds. “If it sounds good, we will make batches in our test kitchen to see how it turns out. If reviews are good enough we review the ingredients and conduct shelf-life testing to make sure our new delicious ideas are feasible for production.”
But confectioners aren’t the only ones who have realized candy can take treats to a whole new level.
Atlanta-based Marble Slab Creamery has not only introduced a new line of ice cream and candy combinations, but it’s also partnered with the hit franchise Candy Crush for additional inspiration on the line.
Candy turned a simple game into a worldwide sensation. Paired with ice cream, it’s doubly sweet.
The ice creamery’s new line will include three new flavor combinations. Chocolate Mountains pairs Sweet Cream and Chocolate Ice Creams with fudge brownie pieces and rainbow sprinkles. Candy Clouds sounds suitably pink and rosy, pairing Cotton Candy Ice Cream and Raspberry Sorbet with gummy bears and rainbow sprinkles. Not to be outdone, Marshmallow Surprise combines Very Yellow Marshmallow and Sweet Ice Creams with chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles.
“Like the Candy Crush franchise games, Marble Slab Creamery is a tasty fantasy land where customers can use their imagination and cravings to create a memorable and unique ice cream experience – the combinations are endless,” says Allison Lauenstein, v.p. of Marble Slab Creamery. “Candy Crush is a pop culture phenomenon and our new flavors inspired by the game are sure to take our customers on a delectable adventure.”