Andie and Jason Moore, the husband and wife duo behind the Dallas-based Etsy confectionery Andie’s Specialty Sweets, create works of art from candy and chocolate. Not only are their sweets beautiful interpretations of natural and man-made objects, but they believe passionately in using the highest quality culinary ingredients. We just had to know how they design and make such fantastical, yet realistic candy creations.
How did you get your start in making chocolates and candies?
It all started long ago, with the desire to make family gatherings and entertaining guests a special and unique time. But the drive to pursue it was born from too many experiences with overly sweet, cheap ingredient-confections and outdated cake apparel.
Everything we have learned has been from being presented a challenge with a blank slate. We are completely self-taught, and similar to giving a youngster a box of crayons and paper for the first time, we have delved into a world of exciting possibilities presenting its potential with every incidental scribble.
How do you determine what candy medium to use for a project?
We work with primarily three candy mediums: hard candy, chocolate, and our own proprietary candy recipe (which we are hoping to offer to the D.I.Y. public soon). Each of these mediums have a mind of their own. Some stay fluid long enough to coat tiny crevices, some support the weight of large objects without collapsing, and some are great for sculpting and manipulating. And, each has its own aesthetic that yields to the particular piece. We think about the object and ponder whether we want it to resemble glass, or a soft texture, or if it will need a multiple finish of shiny in some spots, but matte in others.
What’s special about casting chocolate?
Chocolate is great for picking up detail and working its way into tiny details like the tip of a pointed ear, and it holds its shape without collapsing. It does need to be handled with bamboo gloves in order to not leave fingerprints. And, it is soft enough (unfortunately), unlike hard candy, to break, say at the pointed ear, and cause long, aching ‘Noooo!’s’ to arise from one’s toes. We love chocolate though, and are tapping into exciting ways to incorporate it further in our craft.
How you decide what to design next?
We are most inspired by our customers, who never leave us lacking for amusement and amazing ideas. Most of our best sellers have been a direct consequence of customer genius, and really … the rest is just coming to know our customers and guessing what they would like next. Sometimes we’re right … sometimes we aren’t. And, to our demise, we have been forced to eat many of the “aren’ts.”
Many of your confections are inspired by nature. Is it difficult to replicate those colors and textures?
Yes, it is always a challenge to make something sugary resemble something brittle or knotty, or anything close to what we see in creation, and not have it look like a cartoon. We are always critical of this aspect in our work, and always on the pursuit to heighten the realness.
What is it like running a business together?
There are plenty of challenges; each day has its demands, wins and losses, many decisions -some critical and urgent. We suspect every small business has its share of all the things “they” say are hard on a marriage. Besides our business, we also have four young children that we are active in parenting. Despite all these things that require our thought and attention, we do find peace in spending time together, we laugh a lot and really are two peas in a pod, but far, far from being perfect. Sometimes our sweetest days are those where we are quick to confess our mea culpas and own them. Oh, and kissing…there is a lot of kissing to help run our business.
(Images Courtesy of Andie’s Specialty Sweets)