Four Inane Questions with dessert designer Julie Stockwood
Julie Stockwood says she thought retirement would be amazing. Well, that is until the pandemic hit just a few months later. The one-two punch left her in “a bad place mentally,” she says. “I’m a very social person. Retirement combined with Covid greatly restricted doing things outside of the house.”
So, like any good cooped-up person, Stockwood went down a TikTok wormhole and discovered the fine art of making candies and other sweet treats. “I saw people dipping strawberries in chocolate,” she says. “And I was so intrigued by how satin-y and silky they looked—and how beautiful the final product was. I said to myself, ‘I bet I can do that.’”
After tons of research—and plenty of trial and error—Stockwood perfected her craft. “It’s been non-stop,” she says. “I discovered a hidden, God-given talent I didn’t know I had.”
Soon afterward, her Shawnee business, Showcase Sweets, was born. If it’s chocolate or chocolate-covered, Stockwood says she has you covered, uh, so to speak. Her artsy candies and decorative bonbons have been quite the hit—thanks to Stockwood’s shameless networking and killer product line. “I love creating and making people happy,” she says. “Life is short, so eat dessert first!”
We caught up with the chocolatier as she geared up for the busiest day of her year—Valentine’s Day. Somehow she managed to answer all our questions while she hurled perfectly aimed confections across the room and into our mouths.
The Pitch: Name an odd chocolate combo that works on various levels.
Julie Stockwood: I’ve experimented with lots of ingredients. I love to challenge myself to make something delicious but different. I’ve used tajin, Thai peanut sauce, raspberry chipotle sauce, and jalapeños. The combination of sweetness, tang, spice, and salt are wonderful together—especially when paired with a perfect cocktail.
I also make cheesecake parfaits with fresh ingredients like sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, and other fruits, especially from other countries.
What song causes you to change the channel in your car instantly?
SCREEEETCH! The JG Wentworth jingle. Kill me.
Finish this sentence: I own way too many…
Bedding ensembles. I love beautiful linens, pillows, and comforters. It’s said that we live one-third of our lives in our beds. I typically spend one day a week in bed, reading, updating social media, cruising the internet, and snuggling with my Yorkies. I can’t help myself. Some people are addicted to drinking or shopping—I’m addicted to bedding.
I convinced my husband that the cost is the same as taking a comforter to the laundromat, so it just makes good financial sense to just buy new ones. Might as well be comfy.
What’s the worst case of mistaken identity you’ve ever experienced?
When I was a kid, our family was on vacation. My dad was a big, tall man—The Great Dane. I can’t remember where we were. But I do recall we were outside, and it was warm and sunny.
I ran up to grab what I thought was his hand because the arm was tanned and had lots of blonde hair. I was pulling on him, saying, “Daddy, let’s go over here,” but the man wouldn’t move. When I looked up, I saw it wasn’t my dad.
Bonus 5th Question: What are your thoughts on competitive eaters? Go!
I can’t imagine practicing. The looks they must get in the grocery store when purchasing a gross of hotdogs and buns.
And how far in advance of the competition do they start “training?” For goodness’ sake, there’s a Professional League of Eating contest. And they have to pay an entry fee? I’m shocked by how many people find this entertaining.