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Friday
Nov052010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

 

Happy Friday! Happy November! The weather's cold, so here are plenty of sweet and buttery ways to start building up your winter insulation:

Psycho Killer? Nah, Psycho Donuts! Just take a gander at this menu. And get me back to the Bay Area! Thanks Mary for the tip.

What would Alice B. Toklas say: No, I'm not spouting any views on the subject, but I found this pretty hilarious.

Vanilla delight: Vanilla Lover's vegan confection gift set, from Allison's Gourmet.

The secret ingredient is crack: Crack Pie, as made by Apron Anxiety.

Sweet Discovery: I'm enjoying the new blog of Love and Quiches owner Susan.

Sweet and Salty perfection: Milk Chocolate Cream Pie with a Pretzel Crust.

Twist and shout: Auntie Anne's now offers a baking mix which is the foundation for some interesting recipes, like pretzel dough Monkey Bread and more!

Fascinating flavor: Kabocha Salted Caramel Cupcakes sound pretty amazing.

Over the moon: iconic Michigan foodie mecca Zingerman's makes homemade moon pies, and they'll ship too. (thanks Margaret for the tip!)

Sweet Specialty: Reader Colleen alerted me to something called the Calypso Bar, a "buttery cookie layer topped with toasted almonds, lime, and coconut." Sounds worth a trip to Nashville, where Calypso Cafe is its home.

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies. The three most wonderful words!

Stuff it: Magic In the Middles cookies, via King Arthur Flour!

Sweet Memories: start gearing up for Turkey day with these easy-to-make turkey-shaped confections.

Thursday
Nov042010

A-Maize-Ing: Creamed Candy Corn for Serious Eats

Halloween's over, and chances are, you've got a bunch of leftover candy corn. But what to do with all those extra tricolor kernels?

Here's an idea: cream them. That is, creamed corn style.

Starting with a recipe for creamed corn, I simply revised it a little, substituting candy corn for real corn, and leaving out the pepper and spices in favor of a little pudding mix to thicken the mixture. The resulting candy corn slurry is certainly one of those dishes that straddles the line between awful and awesome: that is to say, you might just like it, but you probably wouldn't confess that to your foodie friends.

Note: It is of utmost importance that you add the candy corn after the other ingredients. Add it at the same time and you'll end up with an orange, candy corn-flavored soup because they'll melt completely!

For the full post and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Thursday
Nov042010

Tour de Sweet: A Chicago Cupcake Run With Ryan's Baking Blog

CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post chronicling a very sweet visit to Chicago from Cake Gumshoe Ryan, whose sweet adventures can be followed via his great site, Ryan's Baking Blog! All of the text, photos, and opinions reflected below are his--read on, and enjoy! 

I'm in Chicago until Friday (then I leave for San Francisco) and was super excited to grab some delicious cupcakes. I've had a few bakeries recommended to me and I tried out a bunch so far. Chicago

Molly's Cupcakes 2536 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

I only have one picture for this section (photo pictured top), I wasn't sure if they wanted me sitting there photographing the whole store and everything so I just focused on the cupcake. I also didn't ask if I could photograph so I was trying to be sneaky (well, as sneaky as you can be with a big DSLR camera). This is a Chocolate Decadence cupcake. They have a ton of flavors ranging from this to peanut butter nutella, minty mash-up, peach cobbler, and so much more. This cupcake was amazing. Probably the best chocolate cupcake I've had. Honestly though, I think this one was meant to share. It is a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling, chocolate ganache on top PLUS chocolate frosting with chocolate shavings. It is a lot of chocolate and every element is so good. The cake was super moist, the mousse was smooth and chocolatey, the frosting and ganache were perfect. The shop itself is great. It is pretty large and cafe style. They have a bar you can sit at that has SWINGS. Yes, like playground swings for you to sit on to enjoy your cupcake. They also have a bunch of tables and seats to sit at, some people were working on things and a few people were having conversations. It was a really comfortable atmosphere and the staff was really nice. If all that wasn't enough to convince you to go, they have a "sprinkle station". It was a counter with shakers filled with different kinds of sprinkles, like little stars and moons or dinosaurs, that you could top your cupcake with. I thought this was a great idea. I really can't recommend this shop enough, if I lived in Chicago I'd be here every day. They are also open super early and super late. Sunday-Thursday they are open til 10pm and on Friday and Saturday til midnight.

Bleeding Heart Bakery 1955 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657

I came here twice actually, unfortunately the first time I forgot my camera.

This is a terrible picture and does not do this cupcake any justice. Like I said, I forgot my camera and had to use my blackberry. I had the Veruca Salt cupcake (above), a salted caramel cupcake with caramel filling and FOUR kinds of salt. It was amazing. The cake was dense in all the right ways, the caramel filling was delicious, the frosting was so smooth, and the salt added a ton of great flavor. My friend had a "Take A Hike" Scone, which was pretty much a trail mix scone, and he loved it. They also have a variety of vegan cupcakes in a lot of flavors. The staff was super nice and helpful, my friend had a ton of questions about the different items and the girl working knew everything.

I came back a second time to try a red velvet and I remembered my camera. I love how it was decorated and it was super delicious, a traditional red velvet. The frosting was super smooth and creamy, I don't have any complaints. The bakery has a very punk rock feel which I thought was great. They were playing punk music, had a ton of local flyers up and do a lot of community building and clearly care about the people that live in Chicago. The tables were cut out like cupcakes, there was a couch and coffee table by the front window, and they had pretty awesome shirts for sale (if I had more money to spend I definitely would have gotten one or five). They definitely make you feel comfortable. That is a big thing that I liked about both this bakery and Molly's Cupcakes. I felt like I should sit down and enjoy my cupcake there, it was a relaxing environment and very welcoming.

Sweet Mandy B's 1208 West Webster Avenue Chicago, IL 60614

Sweet Mandy B's is a bakery in Lincoln Park with a lot of pastel colors. Their frostings were all tinted light pink or light blue or another pastel and the shop had a cozy feel to it. It's has another section for an ice cream shop and that is where the seating is. It was hectic in there so I got my cupcake to go.

They had the normal flavors as well as orange and lemon and this french toast cupcake. It's cinnamon cake with maple frosting. This cake was made well, super soft and a strong (but not overwhelming) cinnamon taste. The frosting was a perfect consistency and it was just the right amount. It tasted exactly like french toast. They also offer a ton of cookies as well as cakes, puddings, and ice cream. It was easy to see why they had so many customers.

Sprinkles 50 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

Everyone knows about Sprinkles. The first cupcake-exclusive bakery to hit the world. They opened in 2004 and have enjoyed a ton of success. Many of their cupcakes sport the signature dot that many people have come to recognize as Sprinkles. This was the cupcake shop I was most excited about for the obvious reason: it was the first cupcake shop and EVERYONE talks about Sprinkles. I planned on going twice during my trip to sample various flavors because of how much I've heard but I don't think I'll be going back, not even to try the famous red velvet everyone talks about.

This is the key lime cupcake, a summer exclusive flavor. The frosting has a STRONG key lime flavor and the cake has a more subtle but noticeable flavor to it. Both were delicious. The cake was extremely soft and fluffy, perfectly moist, and overall delicious. I was satisfied. This is the milk chocolate cupcake: chocolate cake with milk chocolate cream cheese frosting. I think the frosting really killed this cupcake for me. Maybe I'm just not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting but it wasn't that chocolatey. I wanted that candy-bar-milk-chocolate taste and I just didn't find it. This cupcake wasn't that pretty compared to the key lime I had. The cake itself was pretty good but it felt kind of doughy in my mouth. It makes me believe the Sprinkles cupcake craze is about decent cupcakes and a lot of branding. They aren't bad cupcakes by any means, but not the best I've had. The store itself has a very modern look to it. I really like modern design, especially in homes, but I like cozy cupcake shops. Mismatched furniture, comfy seats, someplace you can sit down and feel comfortable. Sprinkles only had four or five stools and a lot more customers than that, it didn't seem like they encouraged you to sit and stay.

More Cupcakes 1 East Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611

More cupcakes is a small cupcake shop in downtown Chicago. Literally small. It's a tiny shop without any chairs and a small table to stand and eat at. The cupcakes are displayed in a big glass box thing. It was a little confusing and the labels were tiny, I also couldn't tell what flavors they had that day..maybe they had all of them? I had a black and white cupcake, a vanilla and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and covered in chocolate shavings. I originally wanted a white velvet but wasn't sure if they had it (I only saw the display one). The cupcakes are taller than normal cupcakes and this one had a lot of frosting. It took three or four bites to get to the actual cake part and it was awkward to eat because of it's height. The cake was a little dry too.

They also had mini cupcake samples, I grabbed the chocolate passionfruit, chocolate cake with passionfruit frosting. I've never had passionfruit before and it turns out I don't actually like it. The man in front of me did sneak an extra sample so they must have been good. Not all the cupcakes had a ton of frosting so maybe some of the others are better. I started feeling a little sick by the end of mine though. As much as I hate to say it, I wouldn't go back there.

(CakeSpy Note: I should say that I too have visited More Cupcakes, and had a much better experience than Ryan; like so many things, it could have just been his visit, or different tastes. Any reader thoughts?)

In Closing

If you are in Chicago, go to Bleeding Heart Bakery and Molly's Cupcakes. If you're in the Lincoln Park area, go to Sweet Mandy B's. Try Sprinkles, maybe you'll like it more than I did, it ended up being more of a "cupcake history" kind of thing for me. And finally, if you're a frosting fiend, go to More. Or get one of their cupcakes without a ton of frosting.

Don't forget to keep up with Ryan's sweet adventures at Ryan's Baking Blog!

Wednesday
Nov032010

Cake Byte: Why I am Feeling Famous Right Now

Like, OMG! I am feeling pretty big-time this week, thanks to sweet features both online and in print:

Seattle Magazine Feature! Like, OMG! OMG! OMG! CakeSpy Shop received a totally sweet feature in Seattle Magazine, both online and in the November print edition (in which, btw, they give a sweet shout-out to This Charming Candy, the sweetest lollipops ever, which are available at the store). Buy it anywhere magazines are sold in Seattle (it has meat on the cover, you can't miss it), and check out the online story here.

RAMBLINGS with Kelley L. Moore: A totally sweet interview online with Seattle's style guru, Kelley Moore!Go ahead, you know you want to learn more about what makes me, a professional Cake Gumshoe, tick.

A "Slice" of Sweet Validation from Serious Eats: Now, the subject of this writeup is savory, not sweet--but the validation that I received from the Slice blog that there's nothing wrong with eating pizza at 10.30 in the morning, no matter what Mr. CakeSpy says, was extremely sweet. How many people get such public proof that they are right and their husband is wrong? YES!

Thanks again to everyone for supporting all of my sweet dreams! Love, CakeSpy.

Tuesday
Nov022010

Happy Overload: Peanut Butter Crispy Nanaimo Bar from Savary Island Pie, West Vancouver, BC

If the subject of Canada comes up in conversation, chances are you're going to hear all about my deep and undying love for the Nanaimo Bar

If you don't know what a Nanaimo Bar is, then clearly you've been wasting your life up until today. It's a no-bake bar composed of three layers of pure pleasure: base of graham cracker crumb, cocoa, coconut and nuts all held together with butter, a middle layer of rich, buttercream custard, and a top layer of firm chocolate. They're messy, they're hella buttery, and they are pretty much the most delicious and decadent thing you could dream of eating.

And while I've embraced variations in the past, recently I came across one that stopped me in my tracks: the one at the Savary Island Pie Company (not a typo; pronounced the same as "savory" or, you know, since they're in Canada, "savoury") in West Vancouver.

What we thought was a Nanaimo Bar was actually referred to as a peanut bar--because you see, the bottom layer was not the chocolate crumb mixture, but instead it was like a peanut butter cereal treat.

It does bring up the important question: is it ok to mess with the perfect balance of a classic?

In this case, when you're doing a sort of scotcheroo-meets-Special K bar-meets-rice-krispie-treat-Nanaimo Bar-mashup, it's so, so very OK.

The crispy crunch of the base adds a wonderful texture contrast to all the soft creaminess on top, and the peanut butter offers a satisfyingly savory dimension to the flavor. 

All things considered? A successful riff on a sweet treat that I wouldn't dream of sharing with Mr. Spy (though he was quite satisfied with his raspberry rhubarb pie).

You can find this magic at the Savary Island Pie Company, 1533 West Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC.

Savary Island Pie Company on Urbanspoon

Monday
Nov012010

Live and Let Pie: Bourbon Orange Pecan Pie Recipe from megpies

CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from the very talented Megan of megpies--let's let her take it from here!

Hello Everyone! I’m Megan from megpies and I’m so thrilled to be a guest on Cakespy!

One year ago, I started a small pie business completely by accident. In fact, this Thanksgiving marks megpies’ first anniversary! Sharing its Anniversary with Thanksgiving is only fitting since it’s my favorite holiday. The smell of food cooking early in the morning, having people over, getting the linen napkins out…these are the things that make it special. Now that megpies is born, it makes it all the more dear to my heart.

In honor of the Thanksgiving season coming up I would like to share one of my most popular pie recipes – Bourbon-Orange Pecan Pie. It’s not Thanksgiving without pie! In fact, my family is so into pie that traditionally we will eat pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Our reasoning is that we’d rather not wait until we’re too full of dinner to enjoy the pie! So pie is first on Thanksgiving – it’s our favorite part after all! I hope you enjoy it at your Thanksgiving table this year.

Bourbon-Orange Pecan Pie

Photos by www.halliewestcott.com

  • 1 uncooked pie crust
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbl – 1 ½ tbl orange zest
  • 2 tbl bourbon
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (plus 1 cup for decoration) Pecan halves

 Procedure

  1. Place the uncooked pie crust into a 9” pie pan and gently form into the pan. Crimp the edges as desired. Place the pie shell in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Wisk the eggs and add the brown sugar and corn syrup. Wisk again to combine.
  4. Add the salt, orange zest and bourbon. Wisk again to combine.
  5. Add the melted butter and wisk until combined.
  6. Pour in 2 cups Pecan halves and toss.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pie crust shell
  8. Arrange the remaining cup of Pecan halves around the outer edge of the pie.
  9. Place the pie on a baking sheet and wrap the edges in foil to prevent the crust from burning.
  10. Bake on the bottom rack of your oven for 40-50 minutes until the top looks dry and starts to rise a bit. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

 megpies Tips:

  1. While forming the crust to the pan, be careful not to stretch your dough. Any stretching you do now, will shrink as it bakes.
  2. I use several pieces of tin foil to wrap the edges of the pie while it bakes. There are other methods such as the metal pie baking rings, etc. but I’ve found that good ‘ol tin foil works best. It’s a little harder to get it in place, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make sure the shiny side of the foil is facing the outside.

Thank you all for spending some time with me today. You can find more of my work here, and I would love to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions in the comments below! Happy Holidays!

Friday
Oct292010

Sweetness by the Bay: 50 Sweet Moments from a California Adventure

Well, well, well. Did you know that a couple weekends ago I went to a totally sweet and magical land called San Francisco? The adventures didn't take place solely within the city limits: I ventured out of the city to Oakland and Santa Cruz as well, and well, I would love to share some of the sweetest moments from my travels with you, because if they made me smile, surely they'll make you smile too.

Ready? Set? Let's go:

  1. First off: finding my artwork at Fireworks in Seatac on my way out! Way to start the journey feeling like a big deal.
  2. First stop after arriving in San Francisco? Oakland! I ventured over to visit CakeSpy customers (and buddies!) Jane and Rick, owners of Good Chemistry Baking, which specializes in baked goods which are devoid of gluten, but full of delicious.
  3. First item tried: chocolate cookie
  4. And a cupcake
  5. ...aaaand, a Lemon bar
  6. The reaction of Anya, who does follow a gluten-free diet, to said baked goods.
  7. Happiness: Dorie Greenspan was reading at Omnivore Books while I was there!
  8. BTW, I would like to mention that while this place (Hometown Donuts) may seem like it has it all--liquor, beer, Chinese food, and (though not visible in this pic) psychic readings--the fact is, when I walked in, they did not have any donuts.
  9. A sweet walk with coffee and an SF-themed Cuppie postcard.
  10. Dessert at Magnolia: chocolate chess pie a la mode. Ohhh yeeeah.
  11. The baked good case at Reverie, where we went for breakfast the next morning.
  12. OMG! NY Style crumb cake, at a hippie health food store on Haight Street!
  13. A visit to the always lovely Miette Patisserie.
  14. Sadly, Paulette was not open when we visited, but we did get to peek in the window.
  15. OMG! We drove by the Its-It Headquarters!
  16. Whale City Bakery!
  17. Chocolate covered potato chip, anyone? From Marinis on the Beach, Santa Cruz.
  18. ...no, clearly the choice is chocolate covered bacon! Also from Marinis. You can tell that Phil is taking his duties as Cake Gumshoe very seriously.
  19. A delicious cookie, from Cafe Delmarette.
  20. This cupcake, also from Cafe Delmarette.
  21. What is it? Not a cannoli. From Hoffman's, Santa Cruz.
  22. A Russian Teacake from Original Sin Desserts, Santa Cruz.
  23. Spied in Santa Cruz: my artwork, at Bookshop Santa Cruz!
  24. A chocolate mint cookie from Pacific Cookie Co, with vibrant green chips.
  25. Pies made from beads, outside of a bead store.
  26. Discovering The Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz.
  27. Bonbons from Penny Ice Creamery
  28. Philip got the fennel ice cream.
  29. Yam (!) ice cream, enjoyed by my incredibly good looking sister, Bridget
  30. Another Russian Teacake from The Buttery
  31. This cake, from The Buttery
  32. Finding my totally sweet buddy Erin in Santa Cruz! (Yes, she's really, really tall. AND I'm really short)
  33. Delicious beverages at 515, Santa Cruz.
  34. The "Goodfellow" from Kelly's French Bakery
  35. This little tart (Olallieberry?) from Kelly's French Bakery
  36. Anjalena roll, Kelly's French Bakery
  37. Pinching deer from a distance in Santa Cruz
  38. From Gayle's Bakery in Capitola: the Christopher Bun.
  39. From Gayle's in Capitola: Potato Chip Cookies
  40. This sign brought me joy.
  41. Finally, I met my Maker.
  42. Cool street art!
  43. California Suncakes! Made for hippies, but enjoyed by CakeSpy.
  44. At the Ferry building, savory macarons (with mushrooms!)
  45. Discovering the California Coffee Cake Company.
  46. Um...getting to visit the Twitter offices!
  47. Cuppie came too.
  48. This sign, which I suspect was put in place when they saw me coming.
  49. Bathroom Cake Graffiti!
  50. General observation: the houses in San Francisco kind of resemble petits fours. Yay!

 For more pictures of pastry adventures past and present in San Francisco, visit my Flickr page!

Friday
Oct292010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Boo! It's Halloween weekend, and therefore, I've put together a collection of mostly ghostly links for you to enjoy before you put on your costume and gorge yourself silly with candy:

Sweet skulls: Whimzkulls is a company dedicated to making cookies decorated like skulls!

DailyCandy offers up a very cute gift guide for baking enthusiasts.

The Best Chocolate Rugelach in Midtown (an exclusive from Blondie & Brownie)

Any establishment that offers a "Couture Cookies and Granola" menu is just fine by me!

Bakery lust: a London-based customer tipped me off to the beauty that is Fleet River Bakery.

What does Jell-O dress up as for Halloween? Halloween Jigglers, duh!

Because "Fun Size" is a lie: Ideas for how to put the "fun" back in "fun size".

Peanut Butter Cookie Pops: Scary-cute fun!

Things I want to eat: Choc-O-Lantern Fudge Pop-Tarts, a special edition for Halloween!

Scary delicious: Halloween treats by Jacques Torres.

Pie in the sky: Keep this one in mind for your Halloween candy leftovers.

Sweet Memories: Candy Corn Nanaimo Bars!

More Sweet Memories: Messing with leftover Halloween Candy!

Thursday
Oct282010

Taking it to the Sweet: Making San Francisco Sweeter with CakeSpy Magnets

So, here's the thing: I kind of like to think of myself as a big sugar cube in the coffee cup that is life. 

And as such, I am constantly doing little things that I hope will make life just a little sweeter for people. I've left fake cupcakes around the city; I give people candy and cookies; I write little love notes. For no reason in particular, other than to bring joy and maybe a little everyday delight to the masses.

And on my recent trip to San Francisco, I employed sweet magnetism: I brought a stockpile of magnetic CakeSpy postcards, and stuck them to unsuspecting surfaces.

Each one had a sweet little note written on the back (I did this while on the plane). Wonder who found my sweet handiwork?

First, a sweet little note left on a post office box, just off of...you guessed it...TREAT STREET!

Then, after some reflection, I decided my art was museum-worthy, and so I stuck one to the sign at the Oakland Museum of California. My first solo exhibit!

Next, a sweet little offering on someone's entryway. What a sweet thing to come home to!

Howsabout finding one of these sweet little things on the side of your Vespa? (Note: there was a scratch on the side, so really, I was also providing a nice patch too).

But for those taking mass transit, I left this one on the Muni.

And then, in Santa Cruz, one was left like a prize on the espresso machine at Cafe Delmarette.

...and I also left one with Carolyn and Lindsey at the Twitter offices to do with as they pleased. 

All said and done? I believe I made San Francisco just a little sweeter with this gentle street art. If you found one, I hope it made your day just a little sweeter--either that, or that the cuteness made you projectile vomit. Either/or.

For past sweet operations, click here and here and here.

Wednesday
Oct272010

Trick Or Sweet: A Look at the History of the Custom of Trick or Treating

Trick or treating. The very phrase evokes a shiver of sweet, sugary anticipation, because basically, it usually culminates in the consumption of candy.

But where on earth did this sweet tradition come from? Let's learn a bit about the history of Halloween and how it ultimately equaled candy corn overdose, shall we?

First: What is Halloween? Per the Encyclopedia,

The word comes from medieval England's All Hallows' eve (Old Eng. hallow = "saint" ). However, many of these customs predate Christianity, going back to Celtic practices associated with Nov. 1, which was Samhain , the beginning of winter and the Celtic new year. Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on this evening, playing tricks on human beings to mark the season of diminishing sunlight. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of dainty foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution.

Per this site, it is the Celts who are credited with bringing Halloween stateside:

Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrant fleeing their country's potato famine. New England added pranks like tipping over outhouses and unhinging gates to the practive of dressing up.

But what of Trick or Treating itself? From the same source cited above,

"Trick-or-treating" came from a 9th century European custom called "souling." On November 2, All Souls Day, Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes" made from bread and currants. People would offer paryers for the deceased believing it would speed up a soul's passage to heaven. The more cakes given out, the more prayers offered.

Of course, it wasn't really til the 20th century that Trick or Treating really began in earnest. Now, I'm just spitballing here, but it seems rather timely that this coincides with a large increase with commercial production of candy. Per an article I discovered on What's Cooking America,

"Sometime in the middle of the 1930s, enterprising householders, fed up with soaped windows and worse, began experimenting with a home-based variation on the old protection racket practiced between shopkeepers and Thanksgiving ragamuffins. Doris Hudson Moss, writing for American Home in 1939, told of her success, begun several years earlier, of hosting a Halloween open house for neighborhood children...The American Home article is significant because it is apparently the first time the expression "trick or treat" is used in a mass-circulation periodical in the United States...It is probably that trick-or-treating had its immediate origins in thy myriad of organized celebrations mounted by schools and civic groups across the country specifically to curb vandalism...It is the postwar years that are generally regarded as the glorious heyday of trick-or-treating. Like the consumer economy, Halloween itself grew by leaps and bounds. Major candy companies like Curtiss and Brach, no longer constrained by sugar rationing, launched national advertising campaigns specifically aimed at Halloween. If trick-or-treating had previously been a localized, hit-or-miss phenomenon, it was now a national duty." ---Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween, David J. Skal [Bloomsbury:New York] 2002 (p. 52-5)

As I also learned on What's Cooking America,

After World War II, the American practice of Trick-or-Treat began in earnest. Sprawing suburban neighborhoods delighted in watching costumed boomer children "beg" from door to door. Traditional Halloween party foods (candied/toffee apples, popcorn balls, nuts) were proferred along with pre-wrapped commercial candies. Savvy candy companies capitalized on this lucrative opportunity by selling seasonal packages containing smaller sized products. "Back in the Day" (your editor trick-or-treated on Long Island in the 1960s) it was fairly usual to get little decorative halloween bags containing all sorts of things. These were assembled at home, usually composed of loose candies (candy corn, Hershey Kisses, marsmallows, MaryJanes or Tootsie Rolls, etc.), some pennies and maybe a small toy. We also carried little milk-carton shaped boxes distributed in school and said "Trick or Treat for Unicef." Beginning in 1952, UNICEF's halloween program thrives today.

As for the Fun-Size treat?

As I learned here,

The "fun size" candy bar was introduced in 1968 by the Mars candy company. The resulting "fun size" Milky Way candy bars were 25 percent lower in total calories and had 50 percent fewer calories from fat.

But knowing that doesn't change the fact that if I could, I'd go back in time and punch the inventor. Because seriously--there is nothing fun about less candy (but here are some suggestions for how to bring the "fun" back to fun size).

Have a happy, safe, and sweet Halloween!

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