Family tradition turns into toffee business for Marci Prolo
Santa Cruz’s Marci Prolo makes hand-crafted toffee that is simply splendid and will satisfy locals’ sweet tooth. Prolo’s toffee, which she sells as Goose’s Goodies, is handmade, based on a family recipe. She sells the candy online and also at local retailers like Chefworks, Buttercup Cakes, the Garden Company and others. Prolo agreed to answer all of our toffee-related questions.
GT: You don’t often hear about a toffee family recipe.
MARCI PROLO: It’s something that we made growing up. We would make it for all the holidays. Then I would make it for friends and family over the years, and I started experimenting and adding different flavors and textures to it. I make over 20 different kinds of toffee now. It’s really artistic. It’s chunky. What I love about it is it’s taking a traditional candy and adding a little flair to it. I always say “no one bite is alike.” You might get a little bit more chocolate, you might get nuts. My newest one is a popcorn, peanuts and milk chocolate with a little rosemary salt on it. There’s a lot of different layers to the toffee. It’s not just one-dimensional. It’s not cookie-cutter, and that’s what sets me apart.
What’s your most popular flavor?
My two biggest sellers are my white chocolate macadamia nut and my dark chocolate cashew sea salt. White chocolate macadamia nut is hands down my favorite. It has the richness of the white chocolate, the crunchiness and butteriness of the macadamia nut. They just complement each other very well. I actually like to cook with it as well. I like to put it in scones. The other popular one is the dark chocolate cashew sea salt. It has a little bit of the bitterness of the chocolate with the sea salt, which is really popular right now. Dark chocolate has so much hype right now.
The Mexican chocolate piqued my interest.
It’s Mexican chocolate, chile and pepitas. I love to pair that one with red wine, and I like to do it in order: have your sip of red wine, and then have a bite of the toffee. The heat is at the end, not the front. It’s not hot like habanero. It just complements it really well. It has a little bit of cinnamon and sugar in it. The Mexican toffee is more of a flat toffee. It’s not one of my chunkier ones. So you really get the different layers: the pumpkin seeds with a little bit of the salt with the heat and the chocolate. It’s a great combination.
TOFFEE BREAK Marci Prolo of Goose’s Goodies makes more than 20 different kinds of toffee from scratch. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER