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Behind the scenes: WNY Sponge Candy

Posted at 10:20 AM, Dec 19, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-14 10:06:54-05

"There is a little bit more involved," that's what Kelly Nowacinski says of sponge candy. It's part of the sweet scene in Western New York, though many people take it for granted.

"The specific measurements, the type of gelatin, the type of baking soda you use could affect your sponge," said Nowacinski, who is operations manager at Ko-Ed Candies at 285 Abbott Road in South Buffalo.

Making sponge candy is actually a precise process that begins with two important ingredients: corn syrup and patience. "The beginning is definitely the hardest process," she said. "Making sure you're at the right temperature when you get the sponge off the kettle."

Then, two days later, the sponge is hardened and it's time to cut.

At Ko-Ed, each piece from a good batch gets a base coat, before heading down the line to be completely coated in creamy chocolate. Any that don't look perfect go through the line again while others are cooled, wrapped and ready to sell.

After nearly 70 years, Ko-Ed makes it look simple. "But anything can affect it," Nowacinski said. "Just the humidity, the air conditioning, any little bit can mess up the process. However, here at Ko-Ed, we have finally perfected it."

Those at Platter's Chocolates in the Tonawandas would claim the same. This summer, Nowacinski will marry into that family. But it's not a conflict of interest since Platter's bought Ko-Ed earlier this year and chose to keep everything the same.

"We use Ko-Ed's recipe. That's why we came to South Buffalo. We didn't want to change anything."

While Platter's keeps Ko-Ed going in South Buffalo, Platter's continues its tradition in the Northtowns and both shops are hoping for sweet success with loyal customers.

"There's a huge following all over Western New York," she said. "Once you have your candy store, you have your candy store."