Local couple's decadent homemade chocolates are heaven in every bite

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - Heavenly Candys signature Truffles for Two are a decadent blend of chocolate-base paste and flavoring. There are 13 varieties of truffles available, including chocolate, mint, peanut butter and cherry, which sell for $10 each.

In the Disney film of the same name, Lady and the Tramp ended up smooching over a plate of spaghetti.

This Valentine’s Day, you and your sweetie could wind up doing the same thing with a Truffle for Two.

Meet Bill Butler, aka the Candy Man and co-owner of Heavenly Candy. His truffles and other chocolates are, well, to die for.

“You taste it and that’s what you get — a little bit of heaven in every bite,” Bill said.

Heavenly Candy is a 5-year-old cottage industry owned by Bill and his wife, Barbara. The Boring couple got into the candy business on a whim after Bill decided store-bought confections just weren’t fresh enough for his tastes. But instead of starting with something simple, like fudge, the pair went straight for the "wow factor" truffles and never looked back.

“The truffles were Bill’s idea,” Barbara said. “We made three different kinds and started doling them out to family to see what they thought. I made the centers, and it just snowballed to where we are now. The caramels and peanut brittle came after that.”

Bill and Barbara are both native Oregonians and accomplished cooks who credit their moms with teaching them the basics of cooking and some tricks of the trade. Bill applied those lessons on a much larger scale, as a cook, while stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

“We served breakfast, lunch and dinner and did it in shifts,” Bill said. “I used to get up early because the eggs were made to order and that was my favorite thing to cook. I can’t remember how many mess halls they had (on base). They were scattered all over to make it convenient for everybody, but we fed about 1,100 people each meal where I was.”

Bill learned the art of candy making from his mother and aunt. Mom told him to never use anything but a wooden spoon in the candy making process, and his aunt, who made a killer Divinity, shared her secret but not her recipe. by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - Bill and Barbara Butler started Heavenly Candy five years ago, after Bill decided store-bought candy wasnt fresh enough for his tastes. Their confections are all homemade and hand dipped, using family recipes.

“I was young when my aunt made Divinity, and I wish I’d gotten her recipe,” Bill said. “She always said Divinity should be made on a clear, cloudless day. Divinity is supposed to be fluffy, and for some reason it won’t be fluffy if you make it on a cloudy day.”

Heavenly Candy’s signature truffles are the size of a snowball, coated in chocolate and artfully drizzled with more chocolate. It’s a two-day or more process to generate the foundation for the more than 13 varieties available, but the effort is worth it.

“A true truffle is a chocolate-base paste with flavoring,” Bill explained. “It’s not the liquid center ones they sell in the store. All that is, is syrup with a chocolate coating.”

Truffles may have put Heavenly Candy on the map among a devoted following of fine chocolate connoisseurs, but it’s hardly the only sweet weapon in its arsenal.

It was no hardship to spend an evening with the couple while they made caramels and hand dipped them in chocolate. Which of course, had to be taste tested.

The resulting sugar high was intense but oh, so tasty. As one member of the newsroom staff said, when I shared the wealth of samples the next day, “I don’t know where this came from, but whoever made it can make candy for me any day.”

Bill uses his mother’s caramel recipe with a wooden spoon, of course, and a high-tech candy thermometer. The trick to making good caramel, he said, is to take your time and be patient. by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - Bill brings the sugar and corn syrup base for Heavenly Candys caramels to a slow boil in order to dissolve the sugar. Constant stirring is necessary to prevent the mixture from burning.

“The secret is to bring all the ingredients to a boil slowly,” he said. “And you always have to stir it. If you walk away, it’ll burn on the bottom.”

Once the mixture has thickened, reached temperature and surprisingly, changed color, Bill pours it into a jellyroll pan and lets it rest for 24 hours. He cuts fairly even ropes of caramel, which are then cut into smaller pieces. They’re hardly uniform in size and explain why a pound of Heavenly Candy’s caramels (which sell for $30 per pound) is always over weight.

Bill dredges the caramel pieces through a chocolate bath containing a blend of two different kinds of chocolate known only to him. He also does not add a touch of paraffin wax to the dipping chocolate, common in commercial chocolates to prevent the candy from melting as it’s eaten.

“There are no preservatives in any of our chocolates,” Bill said. “So be prepared — the chocolate will melt on your fingers.”

Try your hand at some homemade sweets for your sweetie, which, according to Bill, and said with a straight face, won’t add to anyone’s waistline.

“There is no sugar in anything I make.”

Contact info

Heavenly Candy, “A little bit of heaven in every bite!”

Hand-dipped, homemade candy, including caramels, creams, Truffles for Two, brittles and chewy coconut.

For a price list, or to place an order, call Bill at 503-351-2009 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Heavenly Candy Caramels

Bill Butler

2 cups corn syrup

4 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon vanilla

Heat milk, condensed milk and whipping cream in a sauce pan, just until it begins to boil.

In a stock pot or large soup pot, add all other ingredients. Over slow heat, and using a candy thermometer, bring mixture to 245 degrees. Add milk mixture and heat until temperature returns to 245 degrees. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Pour hot caramel into a buttered jellyroll pan. Let rest for 24 hours. by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - Bill cuts his homemade caramels into individual pieces before hand dipping them in a chocolate. Caramels are boxed and sold by the pound for $30.

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