It takes a special knack to create a new edible concoction that is truly unique – but still delicious. For example, who was the first person to think jelly on a peanut butter sandwich might be fun, or the brave soul who put that first dash of cream in their coffee?
Andrew Marsh is one of those inventors. As owner of Norman’s Unique Confections, Marsh is constantly trying new flavor combinations in his candy shop.
“Some of the flavors I make in my chocolates have just come to fruition by sheer accident,” he smiles. “Mostly I try to stick with seasonal fruits, nuts and berries as my primary theme, but I have made many batches of things that did not turn out the way I was hoping.”
When that happens, Marsh says he puts it on the back burner and does a little more research. “Sometimes it has taken me many pounds of failures to learn and realize how to perfect a certain creation,” he adds. “For example, I worked on a gingerbread truffle for three years before coming to the conclusion of how to mix the ingredients and at what proportions, and what steps I had to take to perfect this truffle.”
Some of his best sellers include “Winter Sunshine Orange,” a blend of orange rind grated into dark chocolate and topped with a strip of candied orange peel, as well as a truffle made of applewood-smoked bacon crunchies and rendered drippings of mesquite-smoked bacon stirred into a rich ganache, coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with hickory-smoked bacon in caramelized sugar. Other luscious treats include Lemon Mint Sea Salt, White Chocolate Cherry and Milk Chocolate Lavender.
Being a one-man dynamo means Marsh does everything from dishwashing to paperwork, ordering supplies and waiting on customers. Only a small portion of his day is actually spent cooking.
“Christmas is the biggest time of year for me, and the main highlight of the Christmas season is the Aunt Bill’s Brown Candy I make,” he says. “Others for the season include divinity, nougats, barks and various chocolate figurines and chocolate Christmas ornaments.”
Besides the artisan chocolates, some of his other top sellers include a dark chocolate English butter toffee, and also a truffle creation he stumbled upon by accident.
“I call it a ‘Nurdle,’” Marsh says with a laugh. “That’s just a word I made up. A ‘nurdle’ is a dark chocolate with vanilla inside, and it is coated in dark chocolate candied almonds in powdered sugar.
After studying in France and then spending time at New York’s Culinary Institute of America, Marsh came to Norman to open his shop – and Unique Creations celebrates its fourth anniversary in January. “I live and work in Norman, and have really tried to become a staple within the community,” he adds. “And not just for business, but also helping in various charities where and when I can.”
Unique Confections is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 1100 E Constitution, Suite 120, in Norman. Visit the website at ucshops.com – and feel free to add a little sweetness to your holiday season.