Edible leaves from Andie's Specialty Sweets Store on Etsy. Photo Courtesy of: Andie's Specialty Sweets.

Whether it’s a wedding, bat mitzvah, 100th birthday party or silver anniversary celebration, whomever else might be on the guest list, cake is almost always in attendance. But Andie of Andie’s Specialty Sweets would like to change that.

“So many grand events are accompanied by an overly sweet tradition that no one really cares to eat–cake. We hope to do our small part in restoring some of the appeal,” Andie says.

Brilliant red and gold fall leaves, fiddlehead ferns, vintage buttons and spotted toadstools, all edible, grace Andie’s Etsy.com store. What is unique about the confections is the painstaking attention to detail in even the smallest candy acorn. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference, until you popped the treat into your mouth.

“We find the balance of taste and harmonious structure in a strict list of guidelines,” Andie says. “It has to taste delicious and unique and be aesthetically appealing, no ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts.’ We’ve made some items that taste great, but after looking at it for two days we’ll say, ‘What were we thinking?’ And it’s back to the drawing board.”

Each piece in the shop is thoughtfully designed and intricately crafted. The elegant sugar ferns look like they might crop up in a tropical rain forest. A gift set of edible scrabble tiles, custom made with unique letters for different customers, is nearly indistinguishable from the real wooden game pieces. Vivid fall maple leaves have tiny veins etched over their surfaces, giving them the perfect texture of a crunchy, fallen leaflet.

Andie’s patience for perfecting every tiny piece of candy comes from a dedication to artistic integrity to the item she replicates as sweets.

“From the conception, my main goal, whether I had two items or 100 items in our shop, was to really pay attention to the artistic nature of the piece and the flavor as well. I never intended to make a business out of it, so my direction and focus was on the sheer pleasure of the work itself. ”

One of the shop’s more popular items is candies that come in the shape of beautiful vintage buttons, with authentic designs that delight an online community of “button enthusiasts.”

“We have been endeared to a whole culture of button lovers and bloggers,” Andie said.

Andie and her husband Jason founded their shop almost two years ago “to fulfill an artistic itch.” Since then, it has grown enormously and has become a livelihood for the couple and their children, who live in Los Angeles.

Andie says the little ones enjoy the sweet smells of candy being prepared and even help in providing new ideas for designs.

“We will be introducing a few of the kids’ great candy ideas in a new decorative candy line we are currently working on, and hope to debut around the first of the year,” Andie said.

“They would love to help out with the physical production but are a little young. We do, on occasion, let them practice with the same ingredients we use, but for their own muse and consumption. With their artistic ability, I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up running the show,” she added.

In addition to her children, Andie finds inspiration for design everywhere.

“In general, I am inspired by imagery and emotion, whether it be others’ artistic expressions and renderings of the world around them, or a chilling evening with the smell of wet leaves and smoke pluming from chimneys. Everything contains a sensory response and almost a need to translate it to the sugary realm,” Andie said.

In addition to a sense of whimsy, the element of surprise and wonder at candy in disguise give the treats a real sense of humor.

“I’ve always relished shock value, in the purest sense, and it’s manifested in my life at every stage,” Andie said. “In my youth, I accomplished this by dying my hair every color of the rainbow. Now, the intrigue of sweet conspiracies has captivated me, finding pleasure in wielding and dispensing sugary delights that tantalize with illusion.”

Her customers’ reaction to the incognito delights?

“The reaction, most decidedly and thankfully, is that of joy.”

For more information visit the store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/andiespecialtysweets.

Cincopa WordPress plugin