When Pam Bolen tasted a bit of homemade toffee at a church occasion greater than a decade in the past, she simply needed to have the recipe. But when she requested the sweet maker for the elements, she was advised the recipe was a secret. That rejection impressed her to start out experimenting with recipes for toffee.
"It took a number of tries, however I lastly got here up with a toffee that was good," Bolen stated of her crispy, skinny toffee topped with creamy chocolate and finely-floor almonds. This dedication to create her personal recipe turned out to be a candy funding sooner or later for her and her husband Ernie.
For a number of years, Bolen made the toffee for mates and household. Then within the fall of 2010, the household of 5 who lived in Montgomery on the time, obtained some dangerous information.
Ernie Bolen misplaced his job and there was a must shortly earn some cash. Pam Bolen noticed a information clip about a brand new Jersey mother who made her specialty - apple cakes - to pay a mortgage that was about to be foreclosed.
"Pam known as me and advised me that we must always promote toffee to shortly increase cash," her husband recalls. "I advised her 'no method.' I did not actually suppose there was any approach this might work. No approach."
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But his spouse was decided. She contacted the Knights of Columbus in Oswego, who agreed to let the couple use its business kitchen to make the toffee. They wrote letters to associates, arrange a web based site for gross sales and prayed for steering. An acquaintance at Pierson Photography in Oswego took tempting photos of the toffee to promote the product and the couple started to stir the pots full of sweet elements.
"Within three weeks, we offered near four hundred pounds of toffee," Ernie Bolen mentioned, admitting now that the toffee enterprise was a good suggestion. They had been grateful that buddies pitched in to assist package deal and mail the numerous orders throughout these first weeks.
The couple cautiously determined to proceed making toffee with a plan to additionally promote the sweet at craft reveals. "We went to our first craft present and it was a catastrophe," Ernie Bolen mentioned. "The primary day we offered solely two containers."
Fortunately, a present veteran provided some pleasant recommendation.
"She informed us to do three issues. She instructed us to get some mocha-scented spray and spray it everywhere in the sales space so individuals can be attracted by the scent.
Then she advised us to make smaller samples as a result of our samples have been too generous. Then she instructed us to get engaging meals-grade packaging and supply smaller quantities as an alternative of just one-pound containers," Ernie Bolen mentioned.
The couple hurried residence and adopted all of the recommendation. "We offered out the following day," he stated. Within the final 9 years, the couple has expanded their sweet line, which they name Mamie's Toffee & Treats.
"People stored asking us if we made peanut brittle. We stated, 'No we do not, however we are going to' and began making peanut brittle," Ernie Bolen mentioned. Through the years, there have been a number of taste developments, together with beer brittle and espresso toffee.
"I take pleasure in taking part in with flavors," stated Ernie Bolen, who has grow to be the chief sweet maker. He makes use of a sweet thermometer, however after making a whole bunch of pounds of sweet, he can often inform when the mixture is prepared by the aroma and colour. "You have got to remain on prime of it the entire time. It isn't like cookies that you could put within the oven and neglect about for a couple of minutes."
He makes the toffee in 5-pound batches and the brittle in 2 1/2-pound batches. Each batch takes about forty five minutes, so he spends many hours stirring and watching to make the sweet from scratch.
Certainly one of their large breaks was when a big Indiana sweet maker agreed to hold the brittle of their candy store. They even have been employed to handle occasion concessions at Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Josh, their 17-12 months-outdated son with particular wants, helps with the enterprise.
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Giving again has at all times been a part of the marketing strategy. In February, the couple, who now dwell in Oswego, arrange a pop-up store at Capitano's Deli & Sweets in Yorkville with plans to donate a part of the gross sales to Special Olympics. Capitano's proprietor, B.J. Gerl, has dedicated to hiring particular wants people and can be an avid supporter of Special Olympics and the Kendall County Foundation.
Mamie's Toffee & Treats can be identified for awarding "random acts of sweet," a shock supply of sweet to people who make a distinction in native communities.
"We wish to at all times give again," Ernie Bolen mentioned. The couple may have a sales space on the Easter within the Country Craft Fair in Sandwich on March 9. Products could be ordered on their webpage, www.mamiestoffee.com.
Making sweet requires apply, Pam Bolen mentioned. "But there are many desserts which can be actually easy." She will not be able to share that toffee recipe she developed years in the past, however she does share two easy treats. The primary is for a cake constructed from pre-made ice cream sandwiches. The second is for a shortbread cookie sprinkled with toffee that has solely 5 elements.
There's a distinction between actual chocolate and chocolate-flavored coatings. While you need high quality chocolate, test the bundle elements for cocoa butter. There should be cocoa butter to have actual chocolate.
ICE CREAM SANDWICH CAKE
10 caramels (about 2.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon milk
18 rectangle-formed ice cream sandwiches
2 8-ounce containers non-dairy whipped topping
1 cup Mamie's (or different model) English Almond Toffee, crumbled
Unwrap caramels and place in a microwaveable bowl. Add milk. Heat within the microwave, checking continuously, till caramels melt. Stir to make a easy mixture. Put aside. Make a single layer of ice cream sandwiches in a 9" by 13" pan.
Spread one container of topping over the sandwiches. Sprinkle one half of the toffee crumbles over the topping. Drizzle with half the melted caramel mixture. Repeat all of the steps to create a second layer. Cover with plastic wrap and place within the freezer for a minimum of one hour. When able to serve, reduce into squares.
Makes 12 servings
TOFFEE-TOPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES
2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
four cups all-objective flour
eight ounces Mamie's (or different model) English Almond toffee, crumbled.
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Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and combine till mixed. Place dough in a cookie press and make into desired shapes. Sprinkle toffee crumbles on high. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or till flippantly browned. Makes 2 to four dozen cookies, relying on measurement.