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Meet the OMG Bar: A Local Candy-Maker's Answer to Snickers

By Patty Wetli | February 6, 2014 8:31am
 Confectioner Amy Hansen has invented a candy bar, and it's name speaks for itself.
The OMG Reinvents the Candy Bar
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LINCOLN SQUARE — It took confectioner Amy Hansen years to perfect the recipe for her very own candy bar, but just seconds to name it.

Introducing ... the OMG bar.

"It's literally what comes out of people's mouths when they eat it," Hansen said of the typical oh-my-God reaction. "It named itself."

With layers of sea salt caramel, hazelnut praline and chocolate ganache — all handmade by Hansen — the OMG bar, which debuted in late 2013, is an artisanal alternative to the mass-produced offerings of Nestlé, Hershey and Mars.

"It's a really unique tasting experience," said Hansen, who earned her candy-making bona fides at The French Pastry School.

Creating a new candy bar is no mean feat. The Big Three, for their part, tend to retread rather than reinvent the wheel (see: Reese's Minis, Reese's Big Cup, Reese's White Peanut Butter Cup, et al).

Developing an original bar is not only labor intensive but presents a creative puzzle. Hansen had to decide which flavors she wanted, while also envisioning the physical appearance of the final product.

She estimated she experimented with five or six prototypes before hitting on the right balance of sweet-salty-creamy-crunchy-chewy.

"You're just like, 'Yeah, this is it. Yeah, this is good,'" she said of her eureka moment.

At 3 inches long, the OMG is smaller than the average candy bar, but weighs in at a hefty 2.3 ounces.

"I'd say most people portion it," said Hansen.

For now, the $4 OMG is only available at Hansen's shop, Amy's Candy Bar, which opened in 2011 at 4704 N. Damen Ave.

Though Hansen said she'd eventually like to sell the OMG at other outlets, she's barely keeping up with production as it is.

Each batch of 50 bars, which she sells out of in a week, takes three days to make.

Day one is devoted to the caramel layer, which then sets overnight. Day two, Hansen whips up the praline and ganache. On day three, she cuts the bars down to size and hand-dips them in tempered chocolate (a process of melting and cooling chocolate so it will be smooth and glossy when it hardens).

Large-scale candy makers have special machinery they use to coat their bars. Hansen, much like any amateur home baker, relies on the trusty yet time-consuming method of fork-dipping.

"It took a while to find the right technique," she said. "You finally get it and it's like, 'Yes, thank God.'"

The processes involved in candy making are what appealed to Hansen in pastry school, she said, and pointed her toward becoming a confectioner rather than a baker.

And OMG, aren't we lucky she did.