A high school student is the mind behind this local spicy candy business

Like so many inventions, Caroline Sanchez’s Crazy Cajun Confections was born by accident.

Sanchez, a homeschooled high school student from Gonzales, was making crawfish pepper jelly one evening in February 2020, filling orders for the canning business she’d started at age 11.

However, Sanchez’s longtime ease in the kitchen notwithstanding, she overcooked this particular batch.

“I had completely the wrong ratio, and I noticed it was hardening on the spoon,” Sanchez recalls. “But we put it on a pan, and it was kind of like the peanut brittle my grandmother makes.”

An idea for candy was born. Like the sweet and spicy flavor of her crawfish pepper jelly, Sanchez aimed for a profile that brought unexpected heat to something ordinarily sweet. She started playing around with ideas for her own candy line, incorporating hints of cayenne, clove, celery salt, black pepper and other spices into candy brittle, pralines, caramels and popcorn. Crazy Cajun Confections was born.

After pitching her idea to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy in Baton Rouge, Sanchez landed start-up funding for the project, along with mentoring from Gaye Sandoz, director of the LSU AgCenter Incubator, recently rebranded Foodii. Sanchez now manufactures her Bayou Brittle, Crawmels, Craw-lines and Cajun Corn there.

Look for her at area festivals and the Red Stick Farmers Market, or find her at @crazycajunconfections on Instagram.

This article was originally published in the August 2021 issue of 225 magazine.