Candy Girls is a business born out of Christian fellowship right in my home in Key West, Florida. As the Youth Director at my church, I hold regular Saturday hangouts for our kids and teens. One Saturday, we decided to try our hands at making homemade candy - specifically Glass Candy once popular and sold in the Bahama Village Community of Key West. From those first batches of Glass Candy made in my home I decided to continue experimenting with candy-making in the hopes of reviving a lost art in our community. I remember the delicious candy sold during my childhood and how amazing it was, we had to recreate it. After we made our first batch all those same memories came flooding back to me and my church family once they tried it.
Our Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint and Old-Fashioned Fudge are two of our most popular products and intrinsically part of the Candy Girls History and Key West history. Back in the day, homemakers that made the Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint candy commonly fixed a stainless steel hook on their kitchen walls for candy-pulling. Initially intimidated by that as I was not putting any hooks in my walls! In our first try we pulled our candy by hand; talk about hot! Since those early days of Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint my husband, being the handy man that he is, has invented a device that we use to pull the candy. Now, we make all of our Old-Fashioned Peppermint using the “Gadget” and a time-tested recipe, and our customers love it!
Our Old-Fashioned Fudge made with the secret ingredients rediscovered from a recipe used by my Great-Grandmother Ma Vera. There are lots of great recipes out there for fudge, but none of it tastes like the fudge she made before she passed in 2004 at the age of 107, never leaving behind any clues as to how she made such wonderful candy. In our first batch of Old-Fashioned Fudge we decided to see if we could discover her secret. We several batches we had my cousin Pat (94 years young), and also a master candy maker, critiqued it and after many tries Pat confirmed that we had rediscovered something magical that was only ever present in the original fudge made by Ma Vera.
Many of the young ladies who first experimented with candy-making in my house make up Candy Girls, and spend their time to learning the reclaimed art that has become central to our business. Candy Girls Key West established and continues to be a proud supporter of The Phyllis M. Allen Scholarship fund for youth at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, Key West.
We invite you to experience a rediscovered bit of Key West’s history in every morsel.
Adriene Lynne Leggett Casamayor
Candy Girls Key West, LLC
Check out this great video of Candy Girls Key West getting ready for Goombay!