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D.C.-made candy to pass out at Halloween

Photo by Victoria Milko
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Local artisanal candy-makers are out to change the way people think about candy, sprinkling their own twists into classic candy recipes and making life a little bit sweeter. Here are three candy-makers bringing something different to the candy bowl, including alcohol-laced lollipops and preservative-free caramels — just in time for Halloween.

The Capital Candy Jar

Available at various locations in D.C.;
Using his mother’s recipe, candy-maker
Dave Burton began making lollipops in elementary school, selling them to his friends to earn spending money. “The principal eventually told me that I was diverting too much money away from the school’s vending machines and ordered me to stop,” Burton says, chuckling. “It only seemed natural for me to return to candy-making later in life.” Producing colorful lollipops, fluffy marshmallows, s’mores and more, Burton wants customers to experience candy in a different way. “Most people have never had a fresh-made marshmallow. They don’t know just how good they can taste,” Burton says. “I’m doing the best I can to change that.”

A Sense of Whimsy

Available at Union Kitchen Grocery, 538 Third St. NE;
After months of experimentation, chef Jill Keller of A Sense of Whimsy created an “adults-only” cocktail-inspired line of lollipops including booze-infused flavors such as Manhattan, mint julep, and strawberries and Champagne. Keller cites her father, an engineer, as part of her inspiration. “There’s a lot of science behind making candy, which I love,” Keller says. “You can’t just add pinches of random ingredients, you have to really understand how the candy is made.” Keller is expanding her roster of flavors, hinting that a Negroni lollipop might be available in the future. “I have some taste-testing to do before that flavor is ready,” she says. “I usually don’t have a problem finding volunteers.”

Surcee Confections;
While working previously as gourmet brownie-makers, Melynda and Steve Britt, the minds behind Surcee Confections, received requests from customers to turn their brownies’ caramel filling into candies. The duo happily obliged, and they currently distribute their caramel morsels out of Union Kitchen. (Products are expected to hit the shelves at local markets by the end of the year.) Their all-natural, gluten-free and preservative-free caramels come in flavors such as sea salt, pineapple and coconut. “Surcee” is a Southern word with European origins that is used to describe “an unexpected gift, something done for the sake of kindness,” Melynda says.

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