Meet Katherine Duncan, the Wisconsin native and founder of Katherine Anne Confections in Chicago. Katherine Anne Confections is not only a local and organic based chocolatier in downtown Chicago, but their truffle, carmel, and marshmallow specialties have fueled the sweet tooths of Chicagoans everywhere. As we look forward to her class to July 10, we took the time to get to know Katherine and what inspires her delicious treats.
What inspired you to begin baking chocolate confections?
I grew up with my mom making truffles and caramels. We lived on a sustainable farm in Wisconsin, and would use the cream from our Jersey cows to make the treats for Christmas presents. I even had a company called “Katherine’s Karamels” when I was 15! I’ve always loved working with chocolate and sweets, and a few years after I moved to Chicago, I recognized there was a need for really delicious, artisan confections in Chicago. My husband and I put our plan together, rented a few hours a week at a commercial kitchen, and went at it. I quit my full-time job a few months after that, and a year later, quit working for “the man” for good. Now almost 6 years in, KAC is sold at 30 locations throughout Illinois, in addition to online and 7 farmers markets each week.
What’s been your biggest creative challenge in confectionary baking thus far?
Creating the “exact” flavor I want, within the limitations of the product. Some flavors are just too subtle to hold up to bittersweet chocolate, for instance, and fruit is so liquid that we have to reduce it somehow (we do a lot of roasting and stovetop reductions.)
If your class were the lovechild of two other things, who / what would the parents be?
I’d say a ladies night out (or couples night out) and a cooking class. Does that help? It’s just so much more fun than a regular “sit back and take notes” class!
If we take your Dabble class and love it (which, of course, we will) where can we go to learn / see / do more?
katherine-anne.com has everything: we do all sorts of fun events, from our monthly preview parties where we launch 9-14 new flavors, to Chocolate & Cocktails, where we work with local distilleries and brewmasters to create truffle and drink pairings.