Mandy Zielinski of MandyZ CandyZ displays a platter of Cookie Monster cookies on Monday at her home in Lewiston. They start as Oreo cookies dipped in milk chocolate, then dipped in blue chocolate, then drizzled with blue chocolate, then, after adding eyeballs, “I mash his little face in the cookies so it looks like he’s munched them all,” Zielinski said. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — When Mandy Zielinski and her husband, Nick, were dating more than 30 years ago, he’d give her milk chocolate roses made in the kitchen with his grandmother.

Cookie Monster is an Oreo covered in milk chocolate, dipped in blue vanilla chocolate, drizzled and finished with crushed chocolate chip cookies. Submitted photo

Gram eventually taught her the craft, too. Four years ago, Mandy inherited her molds.

“I told her one day I would own MandyZ CandyZ, so I hope she’s proud,” said Mandy Zielinksi.

After years of looking for just the right time, she opened last month.

She’d kicked the idea around for at least 15 years, she said, until the pandemic provided an opening: business stopped abruptly at her longtime, single-chair salon, It’s A Beautiful You, and she had the time to get licensed, make a dedicated space in her home and plan.

On her menu is everything from sweet-faced bunnies to giant marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in pumpkin pie crumbs.

Salted caramel brownie truffle. Submitted photo

“The salted caramel brownie (truffle) has been a huge hit,” Zielinksi said. “I have s’mores, lemon, Reese’s, any flavor that you can really think of. … (I) love to work with milk chocolate, but I do work with them all.”

A few customers, who place orders via social media and pick up curbside at her Riverview Avenue home, buy for themselves, but most are gifts.

‘They have a love for my truffles and cakesicles — they’ll snack on those themselves, which I don’t find to be a bad thing,” she said. “Everybody loves chocolate.”

She’s also had customers order smash shells, hard chocolate shells to smash and find even more chocolate, or, in the case of one couple, a woman hid a key fob inside a heart shell for her boyfriend. He smashed it open and found his new car starter.

“I have millions of molds (from Gram),” said Zielinksi. “I can make a chocolate house. I have seriously way back to Bugs Bunny. I have all of her roses, all of her flowers, any holiday you can think of, we have. It was just a love she had of doing it for her family.”

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