Make Your Own: Sweet Pete's Cherry Cordials March 04 2016, 0 Comments

Sweet Pete's Grand Marnier Cherry Cordials are All Natural and Gluten Free. My favorite, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordials are also Vegan. The full recipe for Sweet Pete's Cherry Cordials is available compliments of a Health Source, Fresh Local Flavor video. Check out Episode Two of The Show to experience #candyinsanity and for more tips! Subscribe to Sweet Pete's YouTube Channel for the latest recipes and episodes. 

Sweet Pete's All Natural, Gluten Free and Vegan Grand Marnier Chocolate Covered Cherry Cordials are available on Sweet Pete's Website and Amazon.

Sweet Pete's Grand Marnier Cherry Cordials

Natural Maraschino Cherries
Pour out half of the jar of cherry juice
Fill jar up with Grand Marnier
Cover and Refrigerate at least overnight

4 Cups Sugar 
½ Cup Corn Syrup 
¾ Cup of Water 

Stir thoroughly together in a 3 qt pan
Bring to a boil over high heat 
Once boiling cover for 2 minutes 
Remove lid and insert candy thermometer
Once reaches 240 degrees F, remove from heat
Pour into an oiled ¼ sheet pan
Insert candy thermometer. 
Set timer for 10 minutes 
Once reaches 120 degrees F, scrape mixture into mixing bowl
Using paddle attachment beat on low speed for 8 to 12 minutes- Mixture will cream or seize up- DO NOT WALK AWAY, this could cause damage to motor if not turned off once mixture thickens.
Cover tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate for storage. 
Can be made in advance. 

Spread cherries on a paper towel to drain. 
Heat fondant in microwave until liquid. Repeat as necessary
Mix in 2 tsp Invertase. Available at specialty confection sites. We recommend Sugarcraft
Dip cherries in fondant. 
Dip cherries in tempered chocolate
Make sure to dip part of the stem to prevent leaking. Some leaking is normal. 
Package in Candy Cups. 
Allow to sit several days.

Enjoy and Stay Sweet, 

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Recipe by Sweet Pete February 08 2016, 0 Comments

Ever wonder how to make that perfect chocolate dipped strawberry you see at your local chocolatier? We’re really excited to share this recipe with all of you as Valentine’s Day rolls around. This is such a fun activity for you and any loved ones in your life!

These chocolate dipped strawberries are amazing and incredibly easy to make at home! Pete uses spades that you can find at your local hardware store. You can purchase slabs of marble or granite if you don’t have either in your kitchen.

Without further ado, here is the recipe!


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries


Premium chocolate



Marble or granite

Spades- available at any hardware store

Gloves (optional)


Slowly, but carefully, melt chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. If using microwave, heat in 30-second intervals and stir in between. Pete’s chocolate was melted in the factory!

chocolate dipped strawberries

Pour melted chocolate out onto the marble. Try to be quick about this but keep it concentrated so it’ll be easy to manipulate and temper.

Sweet Pete tempers chocolate

pouring tempered chocolate onto marble

Temper the chocolate using the spades. This can be done by quickly moving the chocolate around the marble and mixing it. This is another step that is timely. After too long the chocolate will begin to harden!

Sweet Pete tempers chocolate with spades

tempering chocolate with spades for chocolate covered strawberries

Test chocolate on your wrist periodically.  Once it is slightly cool to the touch use spades to put it back in the bowl. 

premium chocolate

Clean hands or change gloves.  Pick up berries using the stem.  Gently dip 3/4 of each berry into the chocolate and place onto a tray or wax paper.

dipping strawberries into chocolate

chocolate dipped strawberries on wax paper

Allow berries to harden. This should take approximately 5 minutes. Then the best part: Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

We also carry Sweet Pete's own version of chocolate dipped strawberries. Available in store or local delivery

Candy Coated Fruit Lollipops Recipe February 07 2016, 0 Comments

Pete calls this “a center-piece you can eat!” Doesn’t that sound like a dream? Your guests will think so!

This recipe is incredibly easy and the end product? Incredible. Pete is going to show you how to make your own candied fruit lollipops in a few easy steps.


Go on, you know you want to try!

Candy Coated Fruit Lollipops


1 1/2 Cups Sugar

1/2 Water 

3/4 Cup Corn syrup

Fruit (Fruits with skins are suggested —think grapes, kumquats, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries)


Candy thermometer


Place fruit on long wooden skewers. We advise one piece of fruit per skewer. You can double grapes and small berries. 

Add ingredients for candy mixture to a pot.

Stir ingredients until well mixed.

Bring to a boil and then cover for 2 minutes. 

After 2 minutes insert a candy thermometer. Check that the mixture has reached 310 degrees. Remove from heat. 


Quickly, but carefully, dip the fruit skewers into the hot candy mixture.  They should cool instantly and can be sat on a tray or plate. We recommend wax paper for something easy at home! If you’re using a marble or granite countertop you can use that, like Pete! (Just note -- he did spray with cooking oil beforehand!)

After dipping all of the fruit arrange them in a vase for the sweetest presentation! 

The fruit will begin to deteriorate in two to three hours, so be sure to enjoy these delicious and beautiful treats before then! Enjoy!

10 Awesome Chocolate Gift Ideas December 31 2015, 3 Comments

Are you shopping for a gift for a chocolate lover? Whether you're looking for a birthday gift, a thank you gift, or you just want to surprise someone you care about, there's no better gift than rich, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. From chocolate variety packs to gourmet chocolate treats and kits, here are 10 chocolate gift ideas that will blow them away. 

1. Dark Chocolate Bar Variety Pack

Sweet Pete's chocolate bars are made with fine dark Belgium chocolate and packaged in a signature red and white box. These chocolate bars are above and beyond what you will find on a store shelf; each bar packs a presentational punch with an assortment of nuts swirled into the chocolate.
The variety pack includes six bars: solid dark chocolate, cashew dark chocolate, pecan dark chocolate, peanut dark chocolate, raisin dark chocolate, and almond dark chocolate. At $18, this vegan-friendly gift is sure to impress.

2. Milk Chocolate-Dipped Cape Cod Potato Chips

Chocolate-covered potato chips are an American original and the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Also known as chippers, it's believed that chocolate-dipped potato chips originated in North Dakota where they are still enjoyed as an appetizer, dessert, and snack. Sweet Pete's milk chocolate potato chips are made from all-natural Cape Cod potato chips that have been dipped in high-quality gluten-free milk chocolate. Gift these tasty chippers alone or add a beautiful bowl to complete your gift.

3. Pete's Signature Peanut Butter Meltaways

Meltaways are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Sweet Pete's signature peanut butter meltaways are made with rich whipped peanut butter and creamy white chocolate for a melt-in-your mouth surprise.
Pete's meltaways have a unique fudgy consistency and they are made with all-natural ingredients. Nothing quite compares to these cloud-like treats! Pete's meltaways also come in a dark chocolate variety.

4. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Sweet Pete's chocolate-dipped strawberries combine the naturally sweet delight of dried strawberries with the velvety goodness of creamy milk chocolate. Chocolate-covered fruit is a perfect gift for any celebration.
These sweet treats make the perfect hostess gift, baby shower present, and office gift exchange idea. Sweet Pete's chocolate-dipped strawberries are available in two sizes: a small 4.5-ounce cube of treats or a party-size 5-pound container.

5. Dark Chocolate Rose Petals

Are you shopping for a chocolate lover who loves trying new experiences? Surprise the person who always seems to be whipping up new chocolate creations on their own with Sweet Pete's dark chocolate rose petals.
Rich dark chocolate is infused with natural rose petal oil for a truly sensuous experience. The natural rose oil imparts a delicate herb flavor to the dark chocolate to produce a smooth, rich chocolate with a bit of spice.

6. Chocolate It's A Girl/Boy Lollipops

Looking for the perfect gift or treat to bring to a baby shower? Delight guests and the mommy-to-be with all-natural chocolate lollipops imprinted with the word's "It's a Girl" or "It's a Boy." Sweet Pete's baby shower lollipops are available in white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.
Why not surprise guests with an assortment of flavors to mark the happy occasion? You can even use these lollipops to make a baby shower display. Add ribbons to the lollipops, display them in a small colorful bucket with tissue paper, and add a bow around the bucket for the perfect centerpiece.

7. Mixed Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

There are few treats as decadent and sensuous as chocolate-dipped strawberries. Sweet Pete's selection of white, milk, and dark chocolate-dipped strawberries are truly irresistible and the perfect choice for an anniversary, Valentine's Day, or a birthday.
While this gourmet treat is often associated with romance, anyone can appreciate the natural, crisp sweetness of strawberries topped with all-natural chocolate. Sweet Pete's mixed chocolate-dipped strawberries includes 11 strawberries in a red box with a clear heart-shaped window. If you need to ship your gift, you may prefer another option like Pete's chocolate-dipped dried strawberries.

8. Chuao Chocolate Strawberry Waffle Gourmet Chocolate Bar

Are you looking for something unique for the chocolate lover in your life? Chuao Chocolatier's line of gourmet chocolate bars are sure to be a hit. This handcrafted all-natural chocolate bar features crunchy bits of waffles with tangy strawberries nestled in rich milk chocolate.
Chuao Chocolatier is an artisan chocolatier based in San Diego. All Chuao Chocolatier bars are made with ethically sourced cacao and all-natural ingredients. Other fun varieties include Salted Chocolate Crunch, Popcorn Pop Chocolate, Chocolate Potato Chip, and Chocolate Orange A Go Go.

9. Milk Chocolate-Covered Bacon

What's better than chocolate? Chocolate-covered bacon! While some would argue that chocolate and bacon can't get better on their own, Sweet Pete's chocolate-covered bacon proves they can. Chocolate-covered bacon is an American classic that turned up at the Minnesota State Fair as "Pig Lickers" in 2008 and is now making its way across the country.
This incredible duo is a sure crowd pleasure, combining the salty crunchiness of hickory smoked bacon with the sweet, creamy goodness of chocolate. This gift is a great way to surprise the bacon lover in your life and it makes a fun novelty gift for friends.

10. Make Your Own Chocolate Kit

What better gift for a chocolate lover than a kit they can use to make their very own chocolate? Sweet Pete's Make Your Own Chocolate Kit includes everything necessary to make chocolate at home.
This kit includes everything required to make 8 ounces of rich dark chocolate, including organic cocoa butter from Costa Rica, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, starter crystals, paper candy liners, and a temperature indicator. This fun gift is perfect for adults as well as kids.

How To Make Gummy Bears - Sweet Pete's All Natural Gummy Bears November 11 2015, 0 Comments

There is something about gummy bears that almost no one can resist. Though you might reach for just one to satisfy your sweet tooth, don't be surprised if you find yourself eating half the bag or more in one sitting. The problem with those gummy bears that you buy in most big box stores is that many contain a number of artificial ingredients that you can't name and chemicals that are potentially dangerous to you.
Sweet Pete's always uses all natural ingredients and now we want to teach you how to make your own all natural delicious gummy bears. You can generally whip up a batch in an hour or less.

Tools for the Job

You really only need a few key tools for making homemade gummy bears, including measuring cups and a saucepan. The most important tool you need is a mold. Though some companies make molds that are roughly the same size and shape as those candies you buy in stores, you'll also find molds that let you make gummy animals of all shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that it may take twice as long or longer for larger molds to finish drying. If you have a hard time finding a gummy bear mold, use a candy mold designed for chocolate. Silicone molds are usually best because the candies pop right out, but you can also use molds made of plastic or metal.

The Classic Gummy Bear Recipe

The classic gummy bear recipe only requires three ingredients: water, unflavored gelatin and flavored gelatin. You can use any flavor that you would like, but you will need to completely clean your saucepan and mold before making a second flavor. Cleaning your tools prevents the older flavor from combining with the new flavor.

Place your saucepan directly on the stove, add ½ cup cold water and turn the heat to low. Add two tablespoons of unflavored gelatin and one full package of flavored gelatin to the water. Stir over low heat with a plastic spatula or a wood spoon. Keep mixing until all the gelatin dissolves into the water and there are no sugar crystals on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the mixture into a small measuring cup or a pitcher.

Making the Gummy Bears

You can make the gummy bears in just a few seconds after pouring the mixture into a cup or pitcher. Place your molds on a flat surface, and slowly pour the mixture into each space on the mold until it reaches just below the top edge. Give the molds a small shake to ensure the mixture settles to the bottom. Place the bears in the refrigerator or your freezer for 10 minutes or until the mixture sets. You can then remove your finished bears and enjoy your snack.

Storing the Leftovers

Commercially produced gummy bears have a number of chemicals and other ingredients that keep the bears fresh for days after opening a package, but homemade gummy bears lack those ingredients. The best way to store any leftovers you have on hand is in the refrigerator. Toss the gummy bears in a plastic sandwich bag or in a plastic container with an airtight lid and store in your refrigerator. If you find that the candies stick together, sprinkle a small amount of powdered sugar or cornstarch over the bears and shake before storing.

What About Vegetarians?

Never serve vegetarians homemade gummy bears without first informing them that gelatin is a primary ingredient. Gelatin contains some animal byproducts that many vegetarians will not eat. If you want to make the sweet treat for those who do not eat meat, you can use agar powder. Agar powder is a type of natural thickener made from plants that is safe for vegetarians. Use the agar powder in place of the flavored and unflavored gelatin. You can then use natural ingredients for flavoring and coloring the gummy bears.

What If You Don't Have Molds?

Gummy bears are gummy bears because the finished candies look just like adorable little bears. If you do not have any molds on hand or cannot find animal molds, you can still make gummy candies. All you need is a piece of parchment paper. Print off a picture of a gummy bear you find online, trace the shape onto your parchment paper and repeat the process until you cover the paper with small bears. Leave at least one inch in between each to prevent the bears from spreading together.

Instead of using a measuring cup, pour the slightly cooled liquid into a plastic bag and snip off one of the corners with kitchen shears. Hold the bag in one hand and slowly squeeze until the mixture comes out. Pipe around the edges of each bear before filling in the centers with more of the liquid. This method will leave you with flatter bears that still taste great.

Making Gummy Worms

Turn this same recipe into gummy worms that you and your kids will love. After removing the mixture from the heat, let it cool for no more than five minutes before pouring into a plastic bag and cutting off one corner of the bag. If you let the mixture cool for longer, it will solidify in the pan, but if you don't wait long enough, it may melt your bag. You can also use a pastry bag for this step.

Squeeze the top of the bag down to remove any air bubbles and force the mixture into the corner. Using a steady hand, slowly pipe the mixture out into worm shapes on a piece of clean parchment paper. You can draw the worms on the paper first or freehand the worms. Transfer the candies to the refrigerator or freezer until set. If you love the sugary gummy worms that you see in stores, remove the candies after five minutes. The worms should feel set but still slightly wiggly. Pour granulated sugar in a small bowl. Carefully roll the worms in the mixture before placing back on the paper and cooling until completely set.

Making Sour Gummy Candies

Do you love sour gummy bears and wonder how you can make similar candies at home? With citric acid, which is available in most grocery stores, making sour gummy candies is easy. Once you finish pouring the mixture in a mold or placing on parchment paper, lightly dust the tops with a little of the citric acid before cooling. The acid gives the candy that great punch that you want.

Using Natural Flavors

One of the best reasons to make gummy bears like Sweet Pete's makes them is you know your candies will be gluten free and all natural. Instead of using flavored gelatin, increase the amount of unflavored gelatin by one tablespoon and add ½ cup of orange juice and ½ cup of lemon juice. If you prefer berry flavored gummy bears, use ½ to 2/3 cup pureed berries and two tablespoons of either powdered sugar or honey. With this simple gummy bear recipe, you can mix and match all your favorite flavorings to create your own customized gummy bears that taste better and are better for you than the candies you buy in the store.
Make your own dummies kit

How To Make Chocolate Lollipops November 04 2015, 0 Comments

Chocolate lollipops are a cute treat for holidays, birthday parties or any other time. They’re also surprisingly easy to make. With just a few materials, you’ll be able to make your own cute creations and listen as the compliments pour in.

Lollipop Molds
In order to make the chocolate lollipops, you’re going to need lollipop molds. You can usually buy these at craft stores, big-box stores like Target or through websites like Amazon. When you’re just getting started, you may want to stick with molds that will look great in a single color. Simple hearts or stars, for example, are perfect for beginners. Other molds like animals or ballerinas can also look fine in a single color, but will look better when you’re advanced enough to add multiple colors. Take care when making your selection, though. There are molds for chocolates and molds for chocolate lollipops. The lollipop molds will have a small space for the stick. Those are the ones you want.

Melting the Chocolate
Chocolate for lollipops comes in small discs. You can usually purchase the discs in dark chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate. Many also sell the discs in colors, which can be a nice touch if you want to make pink hearts or yellow ducks. One way to melt the chocolate is in a microwave safe dish. Put it in the microwave at half-power for about a minute, then take it out and stir it. Repeat this process until all of the chocolate is melted. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over a pan of boiling water.

Pouring the Chocolate
The lollipop molds shouldn’t need any special preparation, and once the chocolate is melted, you can begin pouring the chocolate. In most cases, it’s best to pour it into the mold using a spoon. This allows you to take only small amounts of chocolate out at a time. You should aim to fill the mold as close to the top as you can. When you add too much chocolate, it starts to spill over and make a big mess. If the melted chocolate starts to harden as you’re pouring it, you may need to melt it again.

Adding the Sticks
You’ll be able to purchase lollipop sticks wherever you bought the molds and chocolate. Lay the stick into the mold so that it’s sticking about halfway into the chocolate. The larger the mold, the more stick you’ll need to use so that it doesn’t fall off when the person is eating it. Make sure to roll the stick around at least once to completely cover it with chocolate. This will help the stick stay firmly in the chocolate.

Cooling the Chocolate
The chocolate needs to harden and set before you’ll be able to take them out of the mold. The best way to do this is by putting them in the freezer on a level surface. If the mold is tipped to the side, the chocolate will not set evenly. In most cases, the lollipops will be fully set in five to 10 minutes. However, the time it takes depends on the size of the lollipops. Smaller lollipops can be done in five minutes while large ones may take longer than 10 minutes. If you can touch the lollipop without leaving a fingerprint, there’s a good chance that it’s done. Some people choose to set the lollipops by placing them in the refrigerator rather than the freezer, and this usually works fine, but it may take longer for them to set.

Removing Your Lollipops
If the lollipops are fully set and hard all the way through, you should be able to easily turn over the mold and have them fall right out. In some cases, a gentle push on the back of the mold can help pop them out if they’re a bit stuck. When removing the lollipops, make sure that you’re keeping the mold close to the counter or plate. If they have a long way to drop, they are more likely to break. Lollipops that don’t come out easily are probably not yet fully set. Try putting them back in the freezer for a few more minutes.

Using Multiple Colors
As you get more comfortable with making chocolate lollipops, you might want to make lollipops that use different colors. This is easy to do and not much harder than making single color lollipops. Simply melt the color you want to use first, then dip a decorator brush into the melted chocolate and paint the mold in that color. Let that color set by putting the mold into the freezer for a few minutes, then add a second or third color. In between each color, you need to let the chocolate set.

Painting the Lollipops
Another way to make more decorative lollipops is to paint on them after they’ve set. To do this, create your lollipops in a single color. When they’ve finished setting, pop them out of the mold and start melting the color you want to use for decoration. Place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag with a small hole and use that to pipe the other color onto the lollipop. Once you’ve done this, you’ll again want to place the lollipops back in the freezer to allow them to set.

Adding Extras
You may also want to add a few decorative extras to the lollipops. In most cases, it’s easier to do this by adding the extras to the mold first, then pouring the main chocolate in. For instance, you could add a few sprinkles or crushed cookies to the mold, then pour in the melted chocolate on top of that. It will incorporate the extras into the lollipop. An alternative method is to use melted chocolate as a “glue” to add decorations on after the lollipops have come out of their mold.

Making chocolate lollipops is a fun and easy activity, but it can be time consuming. The smart thing to do is have enough molds on hand to make all of the lollipops you want at once rather than using the same tray over and over again.

How To Make Gourmet Jelly Beans October 05 2015, 0 Comments

Jelly beans have been a popular candy for decades, but most home cooks would scoff at the idea of making them at home. Surprisingly, it's not difficult to produce quality, gourmet jelly beans in your own kitchen. Patience, imagination, and some basic instructions are all you need!


Step 1:

1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon plain gelatin
1 cup pulp free fruit juice or pre-made drink mix (Margarita, Pina Colada, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon salt Bowl of ice cubes
Cooking spray

Equipment Needed:

Wooden spoon
Candy thermometer
1/2 dozen jelly bean molds (available online)
Wax paper Colander

Step 2:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon extract (a flavor that will compliment the filling of the jelly bean)
Food coloring (any color)

Equipment Needed:

Stainless steel pot with a tight-fitting lid OR a mason jar with a lid.
Colander Cookie sheets
Wax paper


Step 1: The Middle

1) Combine the 1 1/2 cups water, 2 1/1 cups sugar, and the gelatin in a large saucepan. Over medium heat, allow the liquid to come to a boil slowly. If the syrup heats too quickly, it is likely to burn before it reaches the desired temperature. Stir slowly and continuously while the mixture heats up.

2) Check the temperature of the syrup from time to time with a candy thermometer. The desired temperature is 230 degrees. Do not try to speed up the process by raising the heat too high! If the syrup is too hot, the finished product will be too hard and the distinct chewiness of the jelly bean ruined. It will take about 25 minutes for the syrup to reach 230 degrees, so patience is key. IF the syrup is heating too quickly, lower the temperature and continue cooking, monitoring the temperature carefully.

3) Once the syrup has reached 230 degrees, remove the saucepan from the heat and place it on top of the ice in the bowl to stop the temperature of the syrup from rising further.

4) While the saucepan is on the ice, add the juice or mix of your choice and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix the syrup and flavoring together thoroughly and quickly, then allow the syrup to cool completely.

5) Spray the jelly bean pans lightly with the cooking spray. Fill the molds with the syrup, keeping the edges as neat as possible. This can be done with a spoon, but some people find it easier using a food syringe or a freezer bag with a very small corner snipped off to pipe the syrup into the molds like icing. Any method is effective and the choice is up to the cook. However it is done, it should be accomplished quickly to avoid the syrup becoming too thick or gummy as it stands.

6) Allow the jelly beans to stand in the molds for 4-6 hours or overnight to become firm.

7) Spread wax paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with a good amount of cornstarch. Pop the jelly beans out of the molds and set them on the cornstarch. Throw jelly beans pans in the freezer for about 10 minutes if stubborn jelly beans that won't easily leave the molds. Sprinkle with more cornstarch or gently stir the jelly beans around in the cornstarch with your fingers, making sure that no two jelly beans are touching. Allow the jelly beans to sit until they are dry. This can take several hours or overnight, depending what time you began the process.

8) Once the jelly beans are dry, use the wax paper to transfer the jelly beans and cornstarch into a colander. Shake until all of the excess cornstarch is off the jelly beans. Move on to Step 2: The Shell.

Step 2: The Shell

1) In a pot or jar, combine the cup of sugar and the 1/2 water. Add the extract of your choice, any food coloring, and mix well.

2) Add the jelly beans to the mixture. The goal is to mimic a rock tumbler to coat the jelly beans. Tilt the jar and rotate the jar, keeping the angle the same at all times OR put the lid on the pot tightly and swirl the jelly beans in a circular motion while holding the lid, keeping your movements smooth and steady. Both methods should maintain a steady pace and continue for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, or until the jelly beans appear well-coated when checked.

3) Drain the excess liquid (there should not be a lot if the jelly beans are properly coated) by dumping the jelly beans into a colander.

4) Cover cookie sheets with wax paper and place the jelly beans on the paper without allowing them to touch. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours, or until completely dry and hardened. It is recommended that you turn the jelly beans over once the top side is dry to get them to dry evenly.

5) Once done, the jelly beans can be stored in a jar or airtight container or poured into decorative cellophane bags to give away as party favors or holiday treats. *Experiment with flavors as you please! Try any of these on their own, in combination with each other, or something that is all you!

Juices and Drink Mixes:

  • Apple
  • Grape
  • Pineapple
  • Cranberry
  • Orange
  • Margarita
  • Pina Colada
  • Strawberry Daiquiri
  • Mojito
  • Lemonade
  • Fruit Punch
Extracts and Spices:
  • Vanilla
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Rum
  • Orange
  • Mint
  • Cloves
  • Peppermint
  • Cherry

How To Make Gourmet Candy Apples September 09 2015, 0 Comments

Candy Apples Are A Memorable Treat

Gourmet candy apples are considered a delicious treat all around the world. While sold and enjoyed from the markets in China to the streets of England, many people find that candy apples bring with them nostalgic thoughts of falling leaves, festivals, and rows of the confectionery bliss cooling on the counter top on a crisp, autumn day. Bright red candied apples are a cheerful delight that are welcomed by young and old alike from all ends of the earth.

How To Make Gourmet Candy Apples

Candy apples don't have to be a reserved specialty only for festivals, fairs, and fall holidays. You can make gourmet candy apples in your own kitchen with just a few ingredients. Candy apples also make the perfect party favor, neighbor gift or even just a treat for yourself and your family. Although very few ingredients are needed to whip up a batch of candied apples, it is important to remember that the process requires a careful eye and fairly precise timing, since it does involve traditional candy making.

One of the secrets to making a perfect candy apple is actually in the apple itself. Some apple varieties are definitely better than others when it comes to making candied apples. A few of the best apples for this recipe are Braeburn, Fuji, McIntosh or similar varieties. The less firm apple varieties, such as Red Delicious and Rome apples, tend not to work out as well for candy apples due to their mushier, inner consistency.

Additionally, if you purchase your apples from a local orchard or farmer's market you will typically end up with smaller-sized apples, which are great for making candied apples. The local varieties are also free of the wax in which most grocery store apples are coated, and you are supporting local farmers, which is just an added bonus. If you do obtain apples with a waxy coating, dip them in boiling water and use a soft cloth to rub off the wax. If the waxiness isn't removed, you may have trouble with the candy sticking and staying put on the apple.

The following recipe is a commonly known recipe for candy apples, and will make six medium-sized candy apples. The key to making perfect, delicious candy apples lies more in a watchful eye, good apples and a specific candy making process than it does anything else.

Ingredients Needed For Gourmet Candy Apples

  • unsalted butter (to line parchment paper)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 6 medium apples
Supplies Needed to Make Candy Apples

  • parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • wooden sticks
  • candy thermometer
Instructions On How To Make Candy Apples

The first step in making gourmet candy apples is preparing your area. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and set the baking sheet aside, ready to hold apples once they are dipped in the candy concoction.

After your parchment-papered baking sheet is ready, wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Insert a wooden stick into the top of each one. You can purchase rounded sticks that are specifically purposed for candy apples, but you can also get creative with your sticks, as well. Wooden craft sticks are one option, or you can find, wash and lay out to dry sturdy twigs and branch-style sticks from trees in your yard. The last option adds a little rustic, autumn flair to your candied apples.

Now that your apples are prepared, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and red food coloring in a medium-sized saucepan. Place the pan over high heat, and stir the ingredients together just enough to make sure that the sugar is dissolved so that it won't crystallize. Continue to heat until your confectionery mixture is boiling, but once a boil is reached, make sure you do not stir it anymore, and reduce the heat to medium-high. At this point, insert the candy thermometer and continue to boil your mixture until it reaches the hard crack stage. This stage is between 300 and 310 degrees and takes approximately 20 minutes to reach. Make sure your candy reaches this stage, because if the candy is not cooked to the hard crack stage, your apples will end up being gooey and too sticky to enjoy.

Once your sugary mixture has reached the proper temperature, immediately remove it from the heat. Start dipping the apples in the concoction, making sure they are entirely coated with the red candy. Once coated, place each candied apple on the parchment-lined baking sheet. It is crucial to work as quickly and efficiently as possible during this step, as you don't want your candy to harden and no longer be pliable before you are finished.

For variation, you can add toppings to your candied coating. If you add toppings, sprinkle them on the candy-coated apple once you remove them from the saucepan. Some topping ideas include sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, candy corn, and mini M&M's.

Packaging And Storing Candy Apples

Allow the candied apples to cool and harden before handling, eating or packaging. Candied apples can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry place. Humidity and heat will cause the candy coating to grow sticky.

Candied apples are the perfect fall treat. They make great party favors, fall festival fare, and you can even sell them as a fundraiser. To wrap them individually, cellophane treat bags work wonderfully, and you can tie them closed with a satin or grosgrain ribbon, or for a rustic touch, you can embellish the bags by tying them closed with strips of burlap.

Nothing beats a yummy candied apple from your kitchen shared with loved ones on a crisp fall evening. You can create memories making and eating gourmet candy apples with your family that will last forever. The next time you pass a farmer's market or an apple orchard, stop, pick up a bunch, and head home to plan a candy apple making party!

Top 10 Candy Buffet Ideas From Sweet Pete's Candy Store August 10 2015, 1 Comment

If you're sweet on the idea of a candy buffet for your next party, here are ten ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  From baby showers to kids' birthdays and holidays, candy buffets work for anything you want to celebrate.  All you do is pick a theme, gather your supplies, and make some cute bags for your guests to take home their collection of wonderful treats.

Below, you'll find 10 of our best ideas, complete with coordinating candies that fit the theme.  Feel free to substitute your own favorite candies- remember, think about appearance as well as tastiness.  Your guests won't want to fill their goody bags with just any old candy!  If you're on a budget, you can interlace your candy buffet with a few dollar-store fillers but try and offer even just a few gourmet candies to make it special and mark the occasion with some style and class.  Most important of all:  have fun!

#1.  The Classic: a Pink Candy Buffet for Baby Showers

Adorn your buffet table with everything under the sun that's pink.  Your supplies will include apothecary jars to put your candies into, lots of pink ribbons, pink goody bags, and some cake pedestals and pink bows everywhere.

Candies used for the Pink Candy Buffet:

#2: Another Classic: The White Wedding Candy Buffet

Here, we want to consider the guests: you'll have men in attendance too.  That's why it's nice to include some not-so-sweet "candies" like chips, nuts, and popcorn...all done up in white, of course!

Candies used for the White Wedding Candy Buffet:

#3: Kids' Birthday Party: Forest Theme

Here, it's essential to use your candies as part of the scenery.  For example, root beer jelly beans are used as the forest floor.  Lollipops are "trees", and blue jellybeans will become a meandering stream.  Your gummy worms live in the "stream" with the candy fish.

Buy some real-looking trees or use plants that look like trees and they become the forest.  Candy owls hide among these trees, looking for guests to pluck them out and take them home.  Matcha green tea almonds and cappuccino dark chocolate almonds become smooth rocks placed in the forest and along the stream.  Chocolate rocks complete the picture.  Of course gummy bears are throughout!

Candies used for the Forest Theme Candy Buffet:

#4: Sweet Sixteen or Quinceanera in Princess Blue

Everyone loves a princess, and what a great idea for a candy buffet: princess blue for a sweet sixteen or quinceanera party.  Adorn your table with silver accessories and sprinkle lightly with strands of fake pearls for a truly regal look.  Even try a silver candelabra or two, and hit up a Claire's (costume jewelry) for some silver and blue "jewels" to adorn your candy buffet.

Candies used for the Princess Blue Candy Buffet:

#5: Bon Voyage Tropical Cruise Party Candy Buffet

Here, you must make the most of your labels.  While the tropical colors of your candy choices will lend to the cruise theme, the fun flavors you choose can add an extra dimension of fun and excitement to the party.  Tropical flavors like coconut, lime, and mango are perfect for this candy buffet.  A fun addition is a "make your own gum kit", useful for that plane ride to the cruise ship.  Use colorful beach towels as a backdrop and table top cover, and don't forget a beach umbrella to frame your candy buffet.

Candies used for the Bon Voyage Candy Buffet

#6: Kids' Birthday Party: Curious George Theme

With the resurgence in popularity of everyone's favorite monkey, Curious George, accessories are a cinch to find.  That makes this candy buffet super easy and fun to put together.  Gather your stuffed monkeys, your CG yellow books, and set up a yellow candy display accentuated by some chocolate pieces and you've got yourself a great kids' party.

Candies used for the Curious George Candy Buffet:

#7: Love is in the Air (Valentine's Party) Candy Buffet

Valentine's Day and chocolate have a long history together, but the chocolate candy buffet is taking it to a whole new level.  The theme is red hot love, chocolate, and your wildest imagination!  Think "decadence", so choice treats for adults are perfect, such as chocolate covered strawberries, for instance.

If ever you were to rent a chocolate fountain, now's the time!  Make that your centerpiece, use lots of red velvet as your buffet tablecloth and backdrop, set the mood lights low, and put out the most sumptuous gourmet chocolate candy you know of.  This is not a kids' party!

Candies used for the Love Candy Buffet:

#8: Magic Kids' Birthday Party Candy Buffet

Since candy buffets make so much sense for kids' parties (provided they don't eat their loot all at once, that is!), here's another idea.  This time it's in wizard purple.  Accessories could include some magic wands placed here and there on the table, plus a big old top hat with magician's top hat to hold some candies.  A few disappearing candy rabbits to complete the picture and you're halfway there!  Now for the candies...purple please!

Candies used for the Magic Candy Buffet:

#9: Retro Themed Candy Buffet

This is a great all-purpose adult candy buffet idea: use it for birthdays, office parties, and anniversaries.  We love to add special touches like retro-packaged candies, if you can find them.  Of course the sky's the limit but if you want to add a subtle touch, "old-fashioned" candies like malted milk balls are great too.

Candies used for the Retro Candy Buffet:

#10: Nuts About You! Candy Buffet for Anniversaries

When there's a special anniversary that needs celebrating and the couple loves nuts and chocolate, the Nuts About You Candy Buffet is born.  Since the focus is on the couple and their relationship, use mementos from their life together...framed photos, scrapbook items. and songs from their courtship days.

Make your candy buffet special for nut lovers but include some nut-free choices too for guests who don't eat them.  Color-wise, deep chocolaty brown is the leading color but choose a fun contrasting shade to spice things up.  Try and keep your colored candies to the nut theme too, like the chocolate sweet soy lemongrass almonds we used in our buffet.

Candies used in the Nut Lovers' Candy Buffet:


The Many Health Benefits Of Dark Chocolate July 15 2015, 0 Comments

When one thinks of eating a healthier diet usually the first thing to go is candy and other sweets, but thanks to dark chocolate those days are over. All chocolates are made from cocoa beans.

What makes dark chocolate a healthier choice over milk chocolate and white chocolate is the higher concentration of seeds used to produce it. The seeds are what contain all the chemicals the human body reaps rewards from.

Recent studies have shown that when eaten in moderation, dark chocolate provides numerous health benefits in many different areas of the body without the guilt that is usually associated with eating sweets. 

Heart Health

Eating a square or two of dark chocolate a few times a week can have a tremendous effect on heart health. One of the many beneficial things that dark chocolate contains is an antioxidant compound called flavonoids. These chemicals help to keep veins and arteries loose and flexible. This in turn helps the blood to flow easily, keeping blood pressure down. The improved blood flow also helps to prevent the formation of blood clots by keeping platelets from clumping. It is this clumping that can lead to a heart attack. It also reduces hardening of the arteries. Dark chocolate has also been shown to lower LDL, or the ‘bad cholesterol’ while boosting levels of HDL, or ‘good cholesterol.’ 

Brain Health

Just as dark chocolate helps increase blood flow to the heart, it also increases the flow of blood to the brain. This not only helps to improve cognitive functions, but also reduces the risk of having a stroke. A flavonoid called epicatechin has possibly shown that it protects the brain after it suffers a stroke by increasing the signals to cells that protect nerve cells from damage. 

Regular consumption can also help with mental health. One chemical contained in dark chocolate is phenylethylamine (PEA). The brain naturally produces this chemical when a person is falling in love. It stimulates the release of endorphins the brain normally produces that make a person happy. The natural caffeine contained in dark chocolate helps to keep the brain alert and focused aiding in improved productivity. 


It may seem to come out of right field to talk about the benefits of eating what is considered a candy to help with type 2 diabetes, but dark chocolate can do just that. Dark chocolate has a low glycemic index so it won’t cause the huge spikes in blood sugar levels that typically occur when sweets are ingested. The flavonoids found in it also help to reduce insulin resistance allowing the body to use insulin efficiently. It is the inefficient use of insulin that causes the body to have the reactions that type 2 diabetics deal with. 

Full of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are an essential part of every healthy diet. They help to rid the body of the free radicals that cause cell damage, speed up the aging process and are thought to be the cause of the formation of cancer cells. There is no escape from free radicals as even the act of just breathing introduces them to the body. Dark chocolate is full of compounds that function as antioxidants. These include flavanols, polyphenols and catechins. One study showed that dark chocolate contained more of these compounds than blueberries and Acai berries. 

High in Vitamins and Minerals

Dark chocolate contains many highly concentrated vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, copper and magnesium. The copper and potassium are useful to the body for cardiovascular health. The magnesium helps to ward off type 2 diabetes, while the iron prevents anemia. Dark chocolate also contains good amounts of vitamins A, B1, C, D and E. There is a decent amount of soluble fiber contained in dark chocolate helping to keep the digestive tract regular. Unlike other forms of chocolate, the fats found in dark chocolate are of the healthy group of saturated and mono-saturated kinds. These are easier for the body to break down and use as opposed to unsaturated fats. 

Cough Relief

Dark chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine. This chemical has been shown to work almost as well as codeine when it comes to suppressing coughs. It is thought to subdue activity in the vagus nerve. This nerve is located in the collarbone area and is responsible for the physiological action of coughing. Dark chocolate suppresses this nerve without any of the side effects of traditional medication.

Diarrhea Relief

For centuries, cultures in both Europe and South America have used cocoa leaves to treat bouts of diarrhea. Scientists have discovered that the flavonoids contained in cocoa bind themselves to the proteins in the small intestine that are responsible for regulating the secretion of fluid. This reduction in fluid allows bile to congeal and possibly stop diarrhea affliction. The added benefit of the chocolate’s fiber content helps to keep movement in the intestines flowing normally. 

Menstruation and Pregnancy

The high magnesium levels in dark chocolate aid in the absorption of calcium. This absorption helps to reduce menstrual cramping. It also allows the uterus to relax thus lowering premature pregnancy cramping. Magnesium is also helpful in reducing symptoms of morning sickness such as nausea and vomiting. The lower blood pressure aided by dark chocolate is important for pregnant women. Considering most women crave chocolate during these times, dark chocolate proves to be very rewarding. 

Dental Benefits

In addition to helping relieve coughs, theobromine also helps harden tooth enamel. Some studies show that it is more effective than fluoride. When used alongside proper dental hygiene, eating dark chocolate can lower the risk of cavities and in turn make trips to the dentist more pleasant. 

Stress Reducer

As if there weren’t enough great qualities about dark chocolate, it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. The natural chemicals in dark chocolate stimulate endorphin production, which is the ‘feel-good’ chemical produced in the brain. Dark chocolate also possesses serotonin, a chemical that behaves as an anti-depressant. These work together to suppress the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on the body. Cortisol is considered the ‘stress hormone’ because when the body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode, it is secreted in high levels. For people prone to anxiety, cortisol proves to be a formidable foe.

Weight Loss

As well as create stress cortisol causes the body to have a tendency to retain weight, especially around the mid-section. So reducing the levels of cortisol can have a large effect on overall weight. Dark chocolate is also more satisfying than other chocolates and therefore takes care of cravings faster and in a healthier fashion than other junk food options. 

Sun Protection

It may seem strange to look to food for protection from the sun’s rays, but studies have shown that regular consumption of dark chocolate can do just that. Researchers studied the minimal erythemal dose (MED), which is the lowest level of UVB rays needed to turn skin red 24 hours after exposure. They found that eating dark chocolate could raise the MED level by absorbing UV light. While it should not be used in place of sunscreen, it can offer an added line of protection against sun damage. 

Due to the high caloric content in dark chocolate, it is unadvised to eat it in large quantities. But just by adding a small amount (about four bars a week) to the diet on a regular basis, huge rewards can be obtained. Dark chocolate should be about 70% cocoa allowing for an abundance of benefits while only ingesting small portions. There is no sweeter way to improve health.

Sweet Pete’s Dark Chocolate

Now that you know the many health benefits of dark chocolate come try some of our delectable dark chocolate treats from the world famous Sweet Pete’s candy store.