Hammond's Candy President and CEO Andrew Schuman
Like snowflakes, no two candies from Hammond’s in Denver are ever identical. Everything is made from scratch, start to finish, in a time-honored process that hasn’t changed all that much since Carl Hammond started his business a century ago.
For being a small, family-owned company, Hammond’s Candies sure has hobnobbed with some big names over the years. As their little factory in Denver churns out its famous handcrafted candy canes and other timeless confections for mom-and-pop retail stores, they also supply special-order goodies for the likes of Williams-Sonoma, Cracker Barrel and Target.
Remaining true to their roots after 100 years in business means always following the mantra of their founder: “Nothing is more important than quality.” Yet adhering to that principle can be a challenge if it means possibly turning down a large, lucrative order with an impossible request attached.
Kammy Stucker, the manufacturing operations manager who was the company’s first female candymaker 15 years ago, recalls how taken aback they all were when a big-name customer asked that the candies in their new order be perfectly uniform in size, weight and shape. Not willing to change their tried-and-true process, they were prepared to turn down the order, but the customer relented after hearing their reasons.
“Handmade is important, because it takes us back to a simpler time,” Stucker said.
Old-fashioned candymaking involves steps like stirring a boiling sugar mixture with an axe handle in a heavy copper pot, spreading it onto the large cooling table with a small spatula, and kneading warm slabs of the mixture with gloved hands until they’re the correct size and consistency.
Every single candy cane is hand-fed out of the open-flame batch burner, expertly rolled to the perfect diameter, hand-cut to the right size, then individually “crooked” while still warm.
Candymaking the Hammond’s way is truly an art form by artisans following recipes and techniques lovingly handed down through generations.
For the rest of the story see the January/February 2020 issue of Colorado Life.