Sweet and special confections
by Lily Raff McCaulou
Jessica Murray’s ’12 creativity in the kitchen is not limited to baked goods. She also has a soft spot for candy, especially chocolate.
When Murray is not creating dough, breads or pasta using a new one-of-a-kind flour, she’s developing a line of chocolates for the Washington State University School of Hospitality, called WSU Crimson Confections. The candy-making enterprise is actually its own business, created to produce chocolates for retail. The business is a partnership that draws together students from all corners of the university.
“It’s a huge interdisciplinary thing,” Murray said. “There’s a marketing team from the school of business. Engineering students are creating specialty molds with the (school mascot) Cougar logo.”
Murray filled out the USDA-FDA application and got the food processing license to launch the business. She also developed six truffle recipes: peppermint, salted caramel, toffee milk chocolate, white chocolate, cinnamon milk chocolate and espresso.
A unit on chocolate during her studies at Clark College prompted Murray to float the idea after she was hired to work for WSU’s School of Hospitality’s Catering department when she was an undergraduate student.
As a trial, the confections were sold over Valentine’s Day in a few Pullman stores. Eventually, the students hope to sell the candies at the Cougar Connections stores in Seattle, Spokane, all of the WSU campuses and Whole Foods locations.
“If we succeed,” Murray said, “it would open up more jobs for students (producing the candies and running the business) and also fundraising opportunities for scholarships.”