Made On Delmarva: Dolle’s Candyland

Dolle's Candyland has been curing sweet tooths' for over a century.

"We are an Ocean City tradition, and that is our family tradition that we are putting out there," says Anna Bushnell, one of the owners of Dolle's Candyland.

"We come into work, we eat candy everyday, we make candy everyday, we look at it when we go on vacation, we buy it, we taste it. It's really part of our blood ," says Bushnell.

Bushnell is a 4th generation candy maker at Dolle's, but the ones who started up the business was her grandfather and great grandfather. In the early 1900's her family was part of a carousel business, but they switched gears when they caught a sweet tooth.

"There was a man that was making salt water taffy in a little cart on the property as well. My grandfather fell in love with that little business and he ended up buying the business in 1910 and renamed it Dolle's," says Bushnell.

The business has now become an Ocean City staple, that also ships out sweets throughout the country.

"We make salt water taffy, that's our number one seller, than the caramel popcorn, fudge, chocolates, all kinds of caramels," says Bushnell.

Their two top sellers are their caramel popcorn and salt water taffy, and 47 ABC got a look at how they're both made.

For the taffy, Bushnell first cooks down the main ingredients.

"All of the ingredients are put into a vacuum cooker. It is corn syrup, sugar, water. The special thing about our salt water taffy is that we really emphasize what flavors we use," says Bushnell.

Bushnell tells us they use chocolate to flavor their chocolate salt water taffy, but use natural oils such as peppermint oil and lemon for their other flavors.

When the taffy has finished cooking it is placed on a cooling table, and then on the pulling machine.

"During this process is when the salt water taffy is aerated. The air gives the taffy it's right consistency. If you were to eat that raw taffy without that air pulled into it will be so sticky you couldn't eat it,"says Bushnell.

The candy makers then check on the temperature of the taffy one more time.The big piece of taffy is loaded into another machine known as the batch former.

"And what will happen is that it goes through the rope sizer. It makes the rope for salt water taffy, but it goes from big to small so it can fit perfectly in the machine," says Bushnell.

The machine cuts the rope of taffy into small pieces and packages them in their individual wrapper.

Bushnell then takes 47 ABC to where they make their caramel popcorn.

"We use a special corn, it is actually called mushroom corn, so it's a big piece, so when they are actually stirring the popcorn it doesn't breakdown and turn into a lot of little bits," says Bushnell.

The kernels are first placed into the popper. Once the popcorn is popped, they begin making the caramel.

"All we use is brown sugar, a little bit of corn syrup, a, little bit of salt, and a lot of butter," says Bushnell.

When the caramel reaches a thick consistency, the popcorn is dumped into the pot with a little bit more butter. The popcorn is covered in the sticky gooey caramel and then it's ready to be scooped and enjoyed!

Categories: Local News, Maryland