I was crushed earlier this year when Nina Wanat shut down her awesome candy company BonBonBars which produced some of the best candy anywhere, ever. But Nina must know the old adage, give me some candy and I eat for a day, teach me how to make candy and I eat for a lifetime, because while BonBonBars is no more, she has a new candy making book out just in time for the holidays.
Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy to Make at Home, is a fabulous book. It's got some of everything: caramels, fudge, marshmallows, toffee, after dinner mints, you name it.
The best thing about this book is that it is very accessible. I've made lots of chocolate but never made any other types of candy, and I was able to jump right in and make some great things out of Nina's book. The recipes are clearly explained and not overly time consuming. And for the most part, you can do them with ordinary kitchen equipment, although you will need a candy thermometer. Lots of recipes also require a stand mixer, but I found I was able to do fine with a food processer. The only caution I have is to watch how much the recipe makes; some of them make quantities that are larger than you may need (unless you're opening your own candy store) so you may want to halve them.
One thing to be clear about is that this isn't a BonBonBar cookbook. Very few recipes for the old BonBonBars appear (the exceptions are some of their marshmallow candies). My guess is the candy bars were just too challenging for the average home cook, so I will have to wait to see if there is a second volume that teaches me out to make those Scotch bars.
So if you're looking for a great gift for a home cook or lover of sweets, check out Sweet Confections, available for only $12 on Amazon.