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The best things in life are sweet

Carrie Manion in her kitchen in The Village at Castle Pines cutting out her caramels for her small business, Carrie’s Confections. She uses fresh ingredients and high-end liquors to make her treats.

There are delectable sweets being prepared in a kitchen at The Village at Castle Pines. Carrie Manion makes caramels which are rich and divine, custom made by hand with the best and freshest ingredients.

Historically a baker, Carrie began her in-home business by chance. Every December, she made treats for her neighbors as Christmas presents. When she made caramels for the first time, the neighbors asked her to stay the course.

“At first, I made plain caramels and then I thought alcohol might step them up a bit,” Carrie explained. “So, I started first adding bourbon and they were such a hit!”

Then the pandemic hit. Carrie’s neighbors reached out and asked for Easter treats in March 2020 during the lockdown. She obliged and then a friend asked her to make 75 boxes for her clients. And thus, Carrie’s Confections was born.

The caramels take three days to make. It is a labor-intensive process but she enjoys it.

First, in a large pot, Carrie adds butter, sugar, cocoa powder, condensed milk, corn syrup, vanilla and the desired liquor. She only uses high-end alcohol: Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek and Veuve Clicquot, for example.

“I have gotten it down to a science – the mixture has to get to a specific temperature,” explained Carrie.  “I use a digital thermometer to get to the exact temperature that I need.”

The second step is to pour the chocolate caramels into nine by nine pans with parchment paper; then she puts in the refrigerator to chill and set.

Carrie then cuts the treats into 144 pieces with a very sharp knife. Then, they go back in the fridge to get as cold as possible again.

“I use melted Ghirardelli dark chocolate and hand dip them,” Carie added. “I am washing my hands constantly.” After the dipping, she sprinkles the caramels with sea salt and they go back in the refrigerator.

The packaging is the final step, as Carrie meticulously packages the caramels in such a special way that they do not roll around in the box. The treats come in boxes of two (usually for wedding favors), four, eight and 15. The final touch is tying ribbons and adding a logo (if requested).

“It is a process,” Carrie continued. “I am busy; but it’s seasonal.”

Hailing from San Gabriel, California, Carrie grew up in South Pasadena. When she graduated from high school, she moved to Orange County, married and had two sons. The family moved to Colorado in 1995 and Carrie and the boys went back to California in 1996. As a single mom, Carrie worked in graphic design and event planning as well as being president of the PTA.

She met Kevin Manion and remarried in 2000, and the couple had two sons. In 2007, the family moved to Colorado and built a house in The Village at Castle Pines.

he four boys went through Buffalo Ridge Elementary (where Carrie was PTA president), Rocky Heights Middle School and Rock Canyon High School.

“Three football players and a runner, and I was involved in all the youth sports,” said Carrie. “I organized feeding 180 football players once a week and was a delegate for Raptors Athletics.”

When she is not in the kitchen, Carrie serves as the executive director of Denver Executive Association, a networking group for C-level employees and business owners in the greater Denver area. She also enjoys playing tennis, traveling, book clubs and her family.

Carrie wants to keep her confection business small and word of mouth.

“I am afraid to have a website,” she laughed. “I don’t know if I want to be that busy.” To learn more, email Carrie at

Carrie Manion and her family (from left to right) Chris, Danny, Kevin, Carrie, Declan and Jeff.

By Hollen Wheeler; photos courtesy of Carrie Manion




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