Ever since I was introduced to sugar as a kid, I've always had an immense sweet tooth. I'm talking licking unhealthy amounts of cookie dough off the beaters, sneaking brownies past mom after midnight, eating gelato almost every day when I studied abroad and so much more. Although it was so satisfying, it always felt as if I was partaking in a frowned-upon activity, feeding my body excessive amounts of sugar to please my ever-craving stomach.

chocolate, cream, ice cream, ice
Cara Hutto

21 years later, I've finally found the perfect sweet that I can indulge in and feel proud of.

It's a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth-delicious caramel. This summer in Durham, NC, I've had the amazing chance to intern for the candy company, Tom & Jenny's, that makes them. Tom & Jenny's makes original and chocolate flavored soft caramels, and they are truly the unicorns of candy. In addition to making your mouth water, they're sugar-free, gluten-free and the natural sweetener used actually reduces cavity-causing bacteria. This combination surely surpasses many candy-lovers expectations. So how did this ground-breaking company get its start?

spam, chocolate, sweet, milk, candy
Cara Hutto

It all started with a dentist, Dr. Jenny. She was tired of feeling like the bad guy, always advising her patients not to eat sugar when she herself had a huge sweet tooth. She searched far and wide for exceptional candies to recommend to her patients that wouldn't wreck their teeth, but she was disappointed with the lacking selection. So when you can't find a solution to a problem, you create your own solution--and that's exactly what Jenny did.

She and her husband, Tom, spent endless hours in their small NYC home kitchen testing different recipes. Some days their kitchen looked like a scene straight out of Breaking Bad--powdered sweeteners covered every surface and you could almost imagine Walter White pacing around. But their hard work paid off and after a year of experimenting, they concocted a recipe that they were proud of. They then partnered with a James Beard-Awarded pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis, to perfect the recipe.

Cara Hutto

The caramels started out as a solution for parents desperate for a dentist-approved sweet that their kids would love. But they've evolved into so much more. Compared to Werther's Original Soft Caramels, Tom & Jenny's caramels have 3 fewer grams of net carbs and 7 fewer calories per piece. So they're perfect for those on low-sugar and low-carb diets, diabetics, ketogenics and much more. Amazing flavor doesn't have to be sacrificed in order for something to be healthy. Tom & Jenny's caramels are pushing the boundaries when it comes to healthy and delicious candy, and I couldn't be more excited to be taking a seat on the startup ride. 

#SpoonTip: Spoon readers can get 15% off a purchase on the Tom & Jenny's website with the coupon code "spoon15." Click here to start indulging.