Welcome to the April Edition of Culinary Queens of Colorado Springs! This month, I am featuring one of my favorite local Confectioners, Liz Deen. Liz is the owner and founder of Cotton Blossom Caramel. I first took note of Liz in the summer of 2021. She is very “social media savvy” and I started noticing her presence all over Instagram and Facebook. I was immediately attracted to her buffalo plaid aesthetics as well as her attention to detail. I love that her caramel sauce bundles include a wooden base from the felled trees of the 2013 Black Forest Fire. She also incorporates an adorable cotton blossom & a wooden spoon into each sauce bundle as a nod to her company’s namesake and to allow her customers to immediately sample their purchase. (Brilliant!) These little details made me want to head straight to The Backyard Market to seek out and purchase some Cotton Blossom Caramels for myself!
The Backyard Market is perhaps one of the best Farmer’s/Crafter’s markets, I have ever been to. I can thank Liz and Cotton Blossom Caramel for this introduction! On my very first visit, I made a beeline to the Cotton Blossom Caramel booth and introduced myself to Liz. To my surprise and pleasure, she had heard of me through my Instagram foodie page. We visited for several minutes and I was immediately warmed by her approachable and friendly personality. She talked me through all of her products and allowed me to take several pictures for my Instagram account. I purchased one of everything she offered, and she graciously threw in a free product as a “thank you.” After finishing The Backyard Market circuit, I made my way home with several bags of veggies, goodies, and handmade products. It was a good day!! My family wasted no time consuming all the delectable caramel confections that I purchased. It is safe to say that I won’t be purchasing caramel sauce from the grocery store ever again.
I recently reached out to Liz to interview her for my blog. I love supporting women in the culinary field and after meeting Liz, I felt a personal connection to her and the success of her business. I also want others to experience her outstanding products! Read on to discover what makes her business a success:
Tell us about your background I have been a lover of food and cooking as far back as my memory goes. My fondest memories are on my grandparent’s dairy farm, in rural Nebraska, in the kitchen with my Grandma Bonnie. She taught me so much about all things cooking & baking, specifically candy and caramel. All my life I have wanted to share my love in the kitchen with others. My greatest joy in life is being a momma. I am a momma of four boys (Both by blood and by heart). And I have a very wonderful supportive doting husband! I had been in management and customer service during my previous career and it has helped me tremendously in being a small business owner.
What inspired you to start Cotton Blossom Caramel? After having the very fortunate opportunity to step away from corporate America, my husband wholeheartedly supported me reaching for the stars and making my little girl dreams come true. We live in the Black Forest area and The Backyard Market in Black Forest started up in May of 2020. I could not wait for opening day to go and support my friends and neighbors. I never imagined the impact it would have in my life. During my visits, I met the amazing people of Sawatch Artisan Foods. I could not wait to go home and try their European Style Churned Butter! The very first thing I made was a batch of my caramel sauce. I knew immediately that their butter took my caramel to the next level. I took a jar to the Sawatch family, and they shared with their friends. Their feedback inspired me to start Cotton Blossom Carmel. As they say, the rest is history!
Click the link above to learn more about the Cotton Blossom Caramel & Sawatch Collaboration
What makes Cotton Blossom Caramels unique? Smooth, creamy, buttery goodness! I make my caramel in a slightly different manner than most and the result is an extra creamy caramel. And the Sawatch butter really shines!
What is your favorite product and why? My Salted Gourmet Caramel! It is so versatile and can be used in so many ways. My favorite way to use Salted Caramel is in my Cinnamon Toasties. Cinnamon Toasties are a spin on the classic comfort treat, cinnamon toast, that we all know and love from our childhood.
How do you use/cook with Cotton Blossom Caramel products at home? It goes in our coffee every morning!
What has been the proudest moment in your career thus far? My proudest moment was being accepted into Vintage Market Days, which is an “upscale, vintage-inspired, indoor/outdoor market featuring original and handmade goods.” (Quoted from the Vintage Market description) As a customer, this is my absolute favorite event. To have been accepted as a vendor is GOALS realized!! If all goes as planned, I will be in four Vintage Market Days events this year and I could not be prouder!
Besides shopping online for Cotton Blossom Caramels, where else can we buy your delicious treats? Market season is right around the corner! Starting May 21st, you will find me at the Backyard Market in Black Forest. Mid-June I will also be at the Old Colorado City Farmers Market and The Backyard Market at Ridgeline.
What are your future goals for Cotton Blossom Caramels? My future goal for Cotton Blossom is to build my own facility. This will allow me to supply more caramel goodness throughout our area! I also want to hold dear to my boutique feel and keep it local!
Who is your culinary hero and why? Hands down, my Grandma Bonnie. She is one of the strongest women I have ever encountered. She taught me to be a good momma, a good wife, a good friend, and a good cook! My momma is the spittin’ image of her and is my right-hand Momma Blossom!
What advice would you give to a woman thinking of starting a culinary business? Go slow, don’t grow too fast, and never lose sight of why you started your business. Don’t let that love and passion fade! Rely on your friends and neighbors. And most of all, you can do this!!
As you can see, Liz is a bonafide Culinary Queen! When she isn’t selling her products at local markets, she is constantly developing new recipes at home. She keeps her business fresh and relevant by continuously adding new seasonal products that incorporate her caramel products. For those unfortunate souls who do not reside in our beautiful state of Colorado, don’t fret, you can purchase her mouthwatering products online! Also, make sure to follow all of her social media accounts listed below!
I love utilizing Cotton Blossom Caramel Sauce anytime I use a recipe that includes caramel. I am not very experienced in candy making and appreciate that I can use this shortcut and know my end result will be fantastic! Here is my recipe for Caramel Apple Blondies, enjoy!!