(This article appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
We are a family owned and operated business. We focus on old world confections like toffee, caramels and pralines, while respectfully using new world methods and technologies. We do have a retail space with great accessibility and parking, though a large percentage of our business is online, wholesale, and corporate gifting, and we see that increasing.
We are known for our toffee. The family that we bought the company from, Sam and Cynthia Timpa, built a real legacy with their second generation toffee recipe. During the holidays, we ship thousands of pounds of toffee nationwide. It’s an incredible recipe, really. Every second is accounted for throughout the process. We have been making chocolate and confections for many years and have seen many recipes for toffee. But none have the crumbly texture and breakdown like ours. There’s no sticking to your teeth. The only thing we’ve changed since taking over of the business is the type of chocolate we are coating the toffee in and a higher quality nut. We do pecan, almond and coffee toffee. The coffee toffee is truly exceptional.
All of our panned items have really become signatures as well. Our bourbon candied pecans coated in milk chocolate, our custom-roasted coffee beans coated in blonde chocolate are two items we have a hard time keeping on the shelves. The pecans we candy in a brown sugar bourbon caramel in the oven at low temperature. Most of our nuts are caramelized on the candy burner with the copper kettles, but as you know, pecans are just too soft of a nut and require a more delicate process.
We don’t have the space currently for heated tables, so when we pour the toffee, we place trays in the oven for a minimum of 10 minutes. This helps us spread the toffee to our desired thickness. We don’t add any preservatives to the toffee, so of course it likes to set up as soon as it leaves the fire.
We have candy burners and copper kettles outfitted with agitators that help us cook not only our toffee, but all of our caramels as well. I couldn’t imagine not having the agitators with the amount of toffee we cook daily. We use the same agitators switched out with a nut plow that we use to make our praline base and candied nuts for panning. Our large melanger refines our praline and nut butters. It yields a better finished product compared to a food processor. Our Betec chocolate enrobing line is a staple in our production as well. While we are not so much a colorful bonbon company, we do offer a wide variety of enrobed chocolates and pralines.
Secret of Success
Along with confections, we also offer fresh baked goods – cookies, brownies, cupcakes, macarons, tarts, etc. These offerings are baked fresh daily. We also do a ‘Saturday Bake’ that brings in a lot of excitement. It’s our version of weekend brunch. So far, we’ve sold out even before we open. With the use of social media and the loyalty of our regulars, it’s been a very fun and successful program.
We are in the process of remodeling the building we are in. There are essentially three phases to this. Phase one we just completed, which was a full remodel of the showroom/retail space for our guests. We put a real personal touch on this part, which was fun. It’s a bit art deco, if you will. Second phase we will get into hopefully in the coming months, which is to remodel the kitchen production space. The focus there will be to create a better workflow, bring in some machines and increase efficiency. Stage three possibly next year will be to expand on the packaging and fulfillment space. In this industry, packaging and fulfillment space is hyper critical. Our goal is to take Thomas Craft Confections and establish ourselves as a leading brand in gourmet confections. Of course, the chocolates, toffee and other items must be first class and taste great but there should be a positive experience overall. From the product to the packaging to the time our guests walk in, or call or receive their product in the mail, we want to make sure they are engaged and taken care of. We want to stand out as a brand you can trust to deliver the best confectionary experience. We do see Thomas Craft scaling and possibly moving into multiple concepts. There are a lot of projects and partnerships we are focusing on in the next year and there is a lot of excitement that comes along with that. We have been approached for several collaborations, but right now, we want to focus on the projects that we’ve committed to, taking care of our guests and being a part of a growing community.
Visit www.thomascraftconfections.com for more info