Anyone with a sweet tooth can be glad that Carrie Abbott has a strong sense of survival.
The one-time geography major has been working with food for 13 years, ever since “my husband and I decided that one of us should learn how to cook so that we could survive,” she jokes.
She labels herself a “nostalgia candy maker” and added her own confection, Frittle, to her candy kitchen in 2011 after experimenting with the idea for three years. It’s a slightly soft, nutty brittle. It is unique not only in taste, but also in texture.
“I thought of Frittle Candy while catering a specialized dessert bar,” the Marion County food artisan says. “I noticed at the end of my events that something was missing: a nice, luxurious, decadent treat to take away. I played with the candy and starting working it into my catering menu proposals. Now I focus only on nostalgia candy-making as gifts or treats.”
Carrie started with a tried-and-true recipe, but found it inconsistent. She worked for months to perfect the consistency and texture, making it the sweet peanut treat a true original with Midwest influences along the way.
“Hoosiers like tradition with a surprise element. This comes across in my candies,” she says.
There’s a little surprise element in this Hoosier, too. Born in Korea but raised in Indiana, her nostalgic bent for candy can be traced to a statewide tradition: Hook’s Drugstore.
“When my grandpa would take me to the Hook’s candy counter in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s he would say, ‘Pick you out something, anything,’” Carrie recalled. “At first I would just choose the candy he liked, a Bun candy bar. Then I learned I could make my own dreams come true with lemon, cinnamon, fruity, and licorice-type candies. I love those flavors.”
To have the distinction of carrying the Indiana Artisan brand attached to her name and product is very meaningful in the food industry, she says.
“If you are a small business and have created an edible on your own or on a small team, this is the highest name you can be awarded. To receive the distinction in the first year you apply probably validates that you’re onto a good thing.”
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