Why You Should Embrace Imperfection When Making Candy, According To An Expert

Candy-making combines science and art, which makes it a little intimidating for those new to the process. To take some of the mystery out of making sweet confections, Daily Meal consulted with Mika Shino, founder and CEO of Issei Mochi Gummies. Shino was inspired by her children to create homemade gummy candy, whose love of sweet treats conflicted with Shino's concerns about the ingredients found in many store-bought gummy brands (such as the use of animal-derived gelatin).

Shino eventually turned her homemade candy into a thriving brand that's sold in stores all over the nation. And while the entrepreneur puts much thought and effort into her products, she encourages fellow candy makers to become one with imperfection. As stated by Shino, "I think it is good to embrace the beautiful imperfection of homemade candies and lean into it with pride." She describes cutting candy by hand as "a labor of love," which means you shouldn't get too hung up on creating the perfect shape.

How ingredients shape Shino's process

Mika Shino's mochi gummies are inspired by traditional Japanese mochi confections, which have been enjoyed since ancient times. Mochi is made from glutinous rice flour and is sometimes filled with bean paste. Modern versions, including soft and chewy mochi ice cream snacks, feature relatively few ingredients. Shino's gummy candies are similarly pared back when it comes to ingredients, as the candy maker insists on natural flavorings and avoids the artificial components found in many other treats. The result is a candy that's free of GMOs and gluten, as well as being a vegan-friendly snack.

Because Shino's gummy candy is made from rice, she runs into a common issue shaping her treats — uniformity. The candy maker explains: "Since my candy base is not liquid, it will not shape uniformly, so I just bake and cut it by hand." Despite this challenge, Shino does not fret over the lack of uniformity and encourages other candy makers to take the same approach. After all, "You made it with your hands," states Shino, which means that the resulting treat will likely "be better than anything that is industrially made."

Handmade candy comes from the heart

Achieving a perfect candy shape is a bit overrated, according to candy maker Mika Shino, who finds the act of cutting her mochi treats by hand "so rewarding." Additionally, the diverse shapes of Issei Mochi Gummies show that this product is lovingly hand-crafted. Keep in mind that different types of candy can require different processes. For instance, the process of making homemade gummy bears requires candy molds to create the signature cuddly shape. Conversely, Shino's mochi gummies and other sweet treats (such as artisanal marshmallows) are cut by hand. While the resulting confections may not be precisely shaped, they do offer a charm of their own.

Accordingly, Shino urges novice candy makers to "Be proud of the varied shapes!" Variations in shape show that your treat was created by an individual, and not merely stamped out at a manufacturing plant along with scores of other products. Taking a page from Shino's candy-making playbook can lessen anxiety when creating homemade confections, which allows you to enjoy every step of the process and admire the resulting candies.