Caramel Marvels

Caramel Marvels

How a Coeur d’Alene family turned their small-batch caramel into a thriving business

Stephanie Hunter began making caramel in her home kitchen more than six years ago. | Photo by Young Kwak

In Caramel Kitchen’s early days, Brad and Stephanie Hunter scrubbed sticky cooking pots in their bathtub.

The cookware wouldn’t fit in the kitchen sink, and demand for the family’s creamy, gooey caramel dessert toppings, created from a recipe developed by self-proclaimed caramel lover Stephanie, had quickly outpaced their ability to manufacture the decadent treat.

“We could only make six bottles at a time on the top of the stove,” recalls Brad. “She kept getting all these orders. We were doing lots of local craft fairs, and she would go and sell out.”

He describes many late nights of the whole family taking turns slowly stirring big pots of melting sugar, even using portable camp stoves so multiple batches could cook simultaneously. Stephanie would carefully monitor the temperature of each batch to make sure the sugar didn’t burn as she tracked the ideal time to add butter and cream.

Those days of scrubbing copper pots in the tub until the wee hours of the morning are now a fond memory. What started out in the Hunters’ kitchen, then moved to their garage as it grew, and into commercial kitchens around the region after that, has been based inside Coeur d’Alene’s Silver Lake Mall since the fall of 2016.

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