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There is nothing I love more than finding other Southern artisans, designers & business owners that are passionate about their business. I believe the cultural and craft of the South inspires companies and products that are truly meant to tell a story, and Sweet Six Candy Co. is no different.

I have loved meeting Jenny DeWitt on our weekly #southernchats and really have enjoyed watching her business grow. This week’s Southern Sweets #southernchat will feature Jenny as our guest, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Her beautiful candies are family recipe inspired and I just love their round tin packaging, too. I hope you enjoy sitting back and reading more about Sweet Six! Sweet Six Candy Co

How did you come up with the name of your business?
I was actually gifted the domain name sweetsix.com and wondered whether it might work for a candy. When I realized the original recipe had six ingredients it just made sense. Also, if someone happens to be searching online for sweet sex and misspells it, I think that gives me a fair chance of making a sale. You just never know.

What inspired you to go into the business of sweets?

Last year, I started a personal home economics journey. I taught myself canning, started a small vegetable garden, learned to make cheese, bought a sewing machine, and finally got my mother to share her secret candy recipe with me. It’s a recipe she invented back in 1956 and had never written it down. We worked on it for about a month to get the measurements just right and I started giving samples and small batches away to friends. Everyone said I should start selling it. So, I worked on a label and branding with a designer friend of mine and opened up an Etsy shop back in September. The response has been great.

What do you love most about being in the sweets business?

Honestly, I love that look on people’s faces after they take their first bite of Sweet Six. It’s as if they light up with happiness. I also love the experimentation part of the research and development process. Testing new flavors and combinations is really interesting. Sea salt was a complete failure, while the newest flavor, ginger, was so much fun to figure out.

Sweet-Six-No1_Original

Are there any characteristics of southern sweets that stand out above the rest?

I’d have to say dependability and creativity. You always know it’s going to be good and a little bit different than anything else you’ve tried. Southern cooks are not afraid of sweets. In fact, I don’t know a Southern cook who is afraid of anything in the kitchen. Whether they follow the spidery handwriting of their grandmother off of a hundred-year-old recipe card or fly by the seat of their pants, southern cooks are fearless. That comes out in the dishes they makes and most definitely in the desserts.

What are your most popular candies?

Right now I have eight flavors of Sweet Six and the most popular flavor has been No.2 Espresso. I know people who buy it to use in their coffee as sweetener or as an after-dinner treat. I make it with a locally roasted espresso beans. It’s pretty intense. During the winter holidays, No. 7 Pumpkin Spice is really popular. It’s great crumbled on top of Sweet Potato Pie or ice cream.

What can we expect from you next?

I’m excited to start adding new types of candies to my repertoire this summer. I’m working on lollipops right now. I’m playing with flavors like rose and saffron. I’ve started doing custom wedding favors which is a lot of fun. I think it would be amazing to come up with a unique and exclusive flavor combination for someone’s big day or event.

It’s a great big, fun week here on heirloomed, with two very special new additions to the Heirloom Recipe Series!

I have been just bursting to share the delights of  Merrill Stubbs, part one of the dynamic duo behind fabulous foodie site, food52. {note: Amanda joins us tomorrow too – be sure to stop back!}  Merrill, who grew up in a home fortunate enough to have a mother for an amazing cook, has quite an extensive love affair with food. Along with her work on  The Essential New York Times Cookbook, she has also had stints at such amazing publications as Cooks Illustrated and Herb Quarterly (and you know how I adore herbs …).

Here with us today is Merrill, graciously sharing one of her very own family recipes from who else but her mother of course, adding to the collection that is the Heirloom Recipe Series!

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For years now, on the day before Thanksgiving my mother has made what my family refers to as “Tuscan Onion Goo” (slightly off putting, I know, so please don’t go by the name alone). Inspired by a visit to a family-owned trattoria in Florence called Ristorante del Fagioli, this sour-sweet onion confit was originally served to my mother as an antipasto. She enjoyed it so much that she asked, in halting but enthusiastic Italian, if the waiter would tell her how it was made. He promptly ushered her into the tiny kitchen, where the sweaty, grinning chef showed her how to put together the dish. She took mental notes and then came home and recreated it, with a few small adaptations.

The recipe has since become one of my mother’s signatures, and Thanksgiving would simply not be the same without “Tuscan Onion Goo.” It’s a great addition — or alternative — to cranberry sauce. While the flavors are very different, it serves a similar role: the sweetness provides a counterpoint to other, more savory sides, and the acid in the vinegar cuts through some of the richness that often pervades the meal.

The confit couldn’t be easier to make, although it does require a bit of a time commitment. You can use frozen pearl onions, but it’s worth trying with fresh cippollini. My mother insists that you have to be crazy to make it with anything other than frozen onions after the first time, but I find peeling cippollini somewhat cathartic. The confit keeps very well in the fridge, and it doesn’t have to be limited to turkey, or to Thanksgiving; it’s great with beef, pork and lamb as well.

Tuscan Onion Confit

Makes about 3 cups

1/4 cup pine nuts
12 ounces small cipollini onions or one 10-ounce bag of frozen pearl onions, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup medium sherry
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup raisins
Salt

1. Using a small frying pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth to keep them from scorching. Set aside.

2. Peel the onions — either by blanching them first in boiling, salted water for about 30 seconds and then using a sharp paring knife to strip away the skins, or by simply going at the raw onions with the aforementioned paring knife. (Personally, I find blanching a waste of time here and prefer to just have at it.)

3. Put the olive oil in large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook gently (without browning) for about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until mostly reduced. Add 3/4 cup water, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Stir well. Simmer the mixture over the lowest heat possible for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. You may need to add more water from time to time if the mixture gets too thick and gooey or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. It is finished when everything has caramelized well, and the flavors have blended together (you can take it as far as you’d like—I for one prefer a deep amber color).

4. Cool and serve at room temperature. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Be sure to connect with Merrill on Twitter, and with food52 on Twitter and Facebook too!

Part of our Heirloom Recipe Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

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heirloomed Blog may contain paid advertisements, sponsored posts and/or affiliate links at times. I will disclose when a post is sponsored and if a brand has provided product as a gift by marking it {c/o} within the post. These opportunities will allow me to do even more of what I love here on the blog. I will only post about things I truly love and enjoy, and appreciate the opportunity to share these things with you.