HODGENVILLE, Ky. (8/16/14) — Located on 218 N. Lincoln Blvd., in the back of an old antique store, stands the home of perfected, traditional, Kentucky candy, that was first started in the early 1920s, by owner Rooney Mark Gray’s grandmother.
“I taught school for 30 years and during that time, at night, I made candy for my friends and family,” said Gray. “I made most of the candy during Christmas time to give away.”
It wasn’t until Gray was in her 20s that she learned how to make treasured recipes her grandmother left behind.
“Growing up, we weren’t allowed to be around when the candy was being made,” said Gray. “I finally told my mom, ‘Unless you’re going to take these recipes to your grave, you best be teaching us how to do this.’ So, one weekend, my sister, her husband, my husband and I went to Mt. Sterling to learn how to make cream candy. ”
Gray said when they were in the process of making cream candy, it became “wormy.”
“It was like trying to hang on to a mass of fishing worms,” said Gray. “I remember my daddy sitting in his recliner laughing and laughing and telling us, ‘Hang on girls, just hang on… it will get better.’ Lo and behold, it did, and I was addicted right then.”
Gray said pulling candy is one of her favorite things to do.
“I think pulling candy is the most fun,” said Gray. “It’s the neatest thing since sliced bread in my opinion. It’s how I get rid of all my stress, it’s exercise and delightful.”
Gray said that cream candy starts out the color of caramel and then turns white.
“You have to pull and pull until it looks white as the driven snow,” said Gray. “We also make caramels, turtles, bourbon balls, variety of bon bons: coconut, amaretto, Grand Marnier, crème de menthe, chocolate, raspberry, chocolate bourbon, Kahlua and lemon. We also make peppermint patties, white chocolate coconuts, chocolate covered peanuts and dipped Oreos. You can also request special orders.”
All Mam candies are made from the finest ingredients – all handmade and dipped in the finest paraffin-free chocolate – dark chocolate, semi-sweet and white chocolate. All ingredients are hand measured, cooked, hand pulled, hand dipped and hand packaged.
“You will find nothing in our kitchen that was not in our grandmother's,” said Gray. “There are no preservatives in our chocolates. They aren't around long enough to need any.”
Gray said she will be attending this year’s “Incredible Food Show” in Lexington and “October Court Day” in Mt. Sterling.
“Ree Drummond, or also known as the ‘Pioneer Woman,’ will be there this year,” said Gray. “She will be the main guest speaker. We will be doing the Incredible Food Show and then head to Mt. Sterling and do the October Court Day. So, come out and see us.”
Gray said she has been perfecting her candy-making methods for making delectable, handmade candies, that she gladly shares with the rest of the world.
“Over the years, I have enjoyed making and sharing my candies with my family and friends,” said Gray. “Now, I offer it to everyone else for their enjoyment as well.”
SurfKY Lead News Reporter
Photos by Amber Averitt
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