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Mention the “candy” word and you’ll get a reaction: a turn of the head, a smack of the lips, perhaps even an instinctive reach of the hand.

Where do you find candy? In any store checkout line. You can be buying a book on viral diseases at Barnes & Noble and there is a stack of Godiva treats right there as you pay. Temptation is everywhere.

And while I appreciate the convenience of a ready candy supply, and while Godiva products are good, the thing is, if I am going to expend candy calories, I want them to be exceptional.

Just as upscale bakeries are popping up, so too are opulent candy stores and exquisite candy cookbooks. Sweet Things by British author Annie Rigg is a grand and very sugary introduction to candy making. With a dozen serious dessert cookbooks — yes, dessert is serious business — flowing from her creative mind, Annie is an established and trusted authority. Sweet Things is her latest, and possibly greatest, creation. You’ll certainly feel that way about Sweet Things if you love:

  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows
  • Fruit [as in fruit squares]
  • Toffee, Fudge, and Caramels
  • Nougat, Nuts, and Honeycomb
  • Hard Candy

Now those happen to be the chapters in Sweet Things and each one is filled with ideas that will stir your imagination and your saliva. Yes, this cookbook is instantly mouthwatering. And, yes, different. British-based, Annie comes to candy from a very British perspective. If you travel to Britain or France or Italy, for example, you readily find that each nation has a deep love for candy, but those loves all have distinctive national landscapes.

In Sweet Things the Fruit chapter is devoted to those soft fruity cubes that you especially discover in the Middle East. So, if you have a craving for Pomegranate and Blood Orange Turkish Delights, you’ll want to visit Page 83. From the days of Empire, a world of candy infiltrated Britain and you'll find fruit treats aplenty in the ethnic neighborhoods of London. Annie's recipes can introduce you to that treasured world.

Marshmallows are here, in abundance, but with flavor profiles you will not have encountered:

  • Rosewater and Pistachio
  • Summer Berry
  • Blueberry Lemonade
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Gingerbread
  • Marbled Mocha

Marshmallows, real ones, are a tad complicated to make. There are multiple steps that require a precise synchronization to achieve mallow perfection. The recipes here display the full detail and meticulously guide you on your way. If you have never made a marshmallow in your life, if you think marshmallow means Kraft, then you have great surprises in store for you. All the recipes in Sweet Things reflect this very professional development and refinement.

There is fudge here, of course. But British style fudge:

  • Chocolate and Ginger
  • Vanilla
  • Cherry Brandy
  • Maple Pecan
  • Coffee and Toasted Almond

The recipes in Sweet Things are studded with extra treats, both to tempt you and to make each recipe yummy in some sophisticated way. My very next post is for that Maple Pecan Fudge with an ingredient that does not pop up in the title: 2 tablespoons of bourbon, the ideal flavor accelerator to join with the maple syrup.

The pages in Sweet Things are divided between [1] recipes replete with chocolate, nuts and sugar and [2] photos that are still life masterpieces. If the recipe title does not seduce you, the photo will overwhelm you. Resistance is impossible. Better to just surrender.

After all, you can always just eat one piece. Just one.

Perhaps I’m fooling myself there. Not one, but just two or three. I won’t say that Sweet Things is a threatening book, but I’m sure it will test your self-control. In any such test, Sweet Things is a solid bet to win. It may be sweet but sweetness can be oh so powerful.

Please, go find a copy of Sweet Things and turn the pages. Indulge. Do you have candy-loving friends? Here’s the perfect present for them. And for you.