I thought I'd pop my head in. I've been trolling around this site for about a year ... I guess it's time to come out of hiding! I own a cafe and sweet shop in a small town. We started doing handmade confections about a year ago, and I've made lots of mistakes, but oddly enough, demand is super high. I need to figure out how to do these things faster and better, and if I make any discoveries, I'll try to share them here as well!
Can you elaborate on your mistakes? I'm just starting out, and will be at my first farmer's market in April. My goal is to get to my local Chocolatefest in January!
I, too, made lots of mistakes when learning to make candy. Some turned out to be for the best and we got something fun out of it, but usually it just went in the trash! :) I've found that I can't be everything to everyone and so I make what I'm best at (caramels, toffee, turtles, fudge, nut rolls, to name a few). I no longer do cream centers or nougets. It's taken me three years of farmers markets, craft sales, and online to perfect some techniques to speed up things. I now can plan better for multi-tasking when cooking to maximize productivity and minimize waste. But what works in my kitchen might not work in everyone's.
Usually I'll whip up all the caramel I need for the various items in the early morning. Then move on to the nut roll centers while all my various caramels are cooling. While those are setting in the freezer I move on to fudges while I start my chocolate tempering in my machine (best purchase ever!). Once that's done, I start all my hand dipping of the various caramels and turtles.
Right now I am working on opening a retail store in our area. It's fun and exciting - but a bit overwhelming, at times, too. I'm getting excited for my new venture.
I kind of love the running around doing everything at once feeling, it's invigorating!