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Entries in candy (45)

Monday
Mar212011

Devilishly Delicious: Deviled Cadbury Creme Eggs Recipe for Serious Eats

It's the most wonderful time of year, when Cadbury Creme Eggs proliferate in food and drug stores, like sweet little sugarbombs just waiting to be hatched in your mouth.

Last year, I employed these sweet treats to create a masterpiece called Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict.This year, here's another classic (savory) egg dish reinterpreted in sweet form using these fondant-filled nuggets of joy: Cadbury Creme Deviled Eggs. Extremely easy to make and very sweet to eat, these are a sure-fire way to kick off Easter Candy season in style.

Note: To ensure that your "yolks" aren't runny, chill your Creme Eggs for about an hour before slicing them in half. This will ensure that the filling doesn't run all over.

Monday
Feb212011

Cake Byte: Introducing Madyson's Marshmallows

Oh, great. Another talented kid has come along to remind me of how little I was accomplishing at age 5.

At said tender young age, your dear spy was showing a great talent for eating macaroni and cheese, watching Danger Mouse on Nickelodeon, and playing with her favorite My Little Pony (her name, not that you asked, was Molly Ringwald). 

Impressive, I know, but not much compared to Madyson Wetzel, the wunderkind entrepreneur behind Madyson's Marshmallows. This 5-year old confectioner's tale goes thusly:

Madyson's Gourmet Marshmallows started with a young girl who asked her Daddy how to make a homemade marshmallow. They played around with different recipes and came up with a unique recipe that made their mouth water! They started blending and mixing this delectable treat together in their small kitchen. The first batch was so fantastic that they made another the very next day. They started sending their homemade marshmallows to friends and family and soon, word of mouth spread like wildfire and everyone they knew was calling to get these tasty homemade marshmallows.

Now, dad has a bit of a flair for cooking. In fact, he really should have gone (and he still should go!) to culinary school. Not too long after the first few batches of gourmet marshmallows, dad and Madyson were taking it up a notch and experimenting with chocolate dip, caramel drizzle, graham cracker bottoms, and peppermint flavoring in the marshmallows. If they could dream it, they would try it. Now, we're dreaming up new flavors every day! Our family is glad to be able to share these delectable chocolate dipped marshmallows with you. Our dipped marshmallows are perfect for so many occasions!

 

Whatever. Her parents help. (this makes me feel better).

Of course, proof is in the pudding, so how do these 'mallows taste? I haven't had the pleasure of sampling them myself (yet), but doesn't that story make you so, so curious? Especially since the online store has not only basic marshmallows, but all manner of marshmallowey goodness, including marshmallow candy bars, caramels, and espresso marshmallows? Oh yes.

Madyson's Gourmet Marshmallows are sold fresh from the Seattle area and are available to ship within the United States. They ship on Mondays so marshmallows will usually arrive fresh by end of week. You can order here, and follow them on Twitter here.

Monday
Nov152010

Life's a Gaz: Delicious Nougat from Iran as Tasted by Cake Gumshoe Nicholas

CakeSpy Note: So, I have a totally sweet customer named Nicholas. He's basically the ideal customer: he comes in and buys stuff, and then tells me all about the delicious sweets he eats when he travels the world. Just looking at his pictures is bound to evoke some seriously sweet wanderlust. Here's where he's been recently:

I've got another exotic treat for you, this time from Iran! No, I haven't been there but living in Sweden means meeting new people from all over and recently a friend of mine gave me a box of "Kermani Gaz" as a house warming gift from his home town, Isfahan in the center of the country. Food knows no borders, so I thought I'd share this with you!

The treat usually goes along with saffron tea and is a nibble, much like tea cookies are. From what I've been told, while it's popular all over Iran it's a specialty of Isfahan and this particular brand has been around since 1902. The treat itself is a type of nougat with pistachio, and the nougat is flavored which what I believe is rose water. It's not sweet like brownies, but the rather a delicate floral flavor mixed with a natural sweetness and a slight crunch of the pistachio. A very refined companion for tea!

Thanks Nicholas for making us all jealous! 

Of course, if you're like me, you like knowing the backstory, so here's a bit more lore on Gaz, as discovered on Wikipedia:

Gaz is the traditional name of Persian nougat originating from the city of Esfahan, located in the central plateau of Iran.

The name gaz is associated with gaz-angebin which translates to "sap of angebin"; a desert plant member of the Tamarisk family and native to the Zagros mountain range located to the west of the city.

The sweet, milky sap of the angebin plant is associated with manna, a food mentioned in the religious texts of the Abrahamic religions. This sap is collected annually and is combined with other ingredients including pistachio or almond kernels, rosewater and egg white. This combination of ingredients give gaz its distinctive flavour, rendering it unique when compared to European nougats.

Want more? I couldn't find a place to buy Gaz online; however, this recipe for Persian Nougat looks like it might fit the bill if you're feeling an intense craving.

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!

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!

Wednesday
Oct202010

Fry, Baby: Deep-Fried Halloween Candy for Serious Eats

It's a funny thing about Halloween candy: it actually makes you hungrier. At least, that's my theory behind how the same person who can't finish off an entire candy bar can easily put away ten "fun size" candy bars or 30 mellowcreme pumpkins in one sitting.

But there's a way to bring a substantial dimension of deliciousness to your Halloween candy: deep-fry it.

That's right. Batter up your Halloween candy and fry it in hot oil, and you've got yourself little nuggets that are beyond decadent, and bound to satisfy—one or two of these morsels is more than enough.

Note: I tried a variety of Halloween candies in this experiment, including candy corn, mellowcreme pumpkins, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Kit-Kats, and Whoppers. The biggest hit by far was the Peanut butter cups.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Friday
Oct012010

Candy-Coated: Delicious Sweets from Dufflet

I want to tell you about the most recent series of confections that I can't stop cramming into my mouth: Dufflet Small Indulgences.

A couple of weeks ago the fine folks at Dufflet asked if they could send some samples of their products, and being the good sports we are when it comes to sweet treats, we said sure.

But we weren't prepared for the total awesomeness that came our way.

First, the caramel crackle. It doesn't look too glamorous--kind of like a cross between brittle and crackers. But when you bite into it, something happens: a dance party starts in your mouth. Sweet and salty, crumbly and chewy, this falls somewhere between cookie and candy, in the best way possible. It's delicious alone, but it's perfection atop vanilla custard or ice cream.

But oh, the "Marvelous Morsels". We received two types--the Cherries and Madagascar Vanilla ("seductively tart cherries scented with fragrant Madagascar vanilla, enrobed in smooth milk chocolate and tinted with entirely natural colour") and the Crunchy Caramel Crusted Pistachios in Milk chocolate ("perfect pistachios coated in hard crack-caramel, enrobed in smooth milk chocolate and dusted with confectioners’ sugar"). 

And similarly, both varieties disappeared quickly. The cherries were deliciously sweet and tart, and made beautiful (and tasty) cupcake toppers; the crunchy caramel crusted pistachios are like another party in your mouth, with a variety of flavors crashing together beautifully in each bite. 

So we've got to say: free samples aside, we were very, very impressed and I'd definitely buy them with my own money.

Find out more, seek out a store, or browse the collection online at dufflet.com.

Wednesday
Sep292010

Maybe I'm A-Maized: A Brief History of Candy Corn

Image originally used for Serious EatsEating seasonal is of interest to everyone these days, and the freshest produce in the world of sweets right now is corn--candy corn, that is.

But in the same way that one might want to meet the producer, why don't we get to know the backstory behind those little sugary cones of delicious sweetness?

Here goes.

First off: Who invented Candy Corn?

According to this article, "Bill Plumlee, the public relations manager of Brach's Candy Co., said George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Co. created candy corn in the 1880s."

And, to answer another question you have ("what's up with the colors, dude?"), as I also discovered in the same article,

Creators chose the three colors of candy corn, to reflect the colors of the real thing.

"It's supposed to mimic corn," Plumlee said. "Yellow on top, darker as it goes down and whitish as it nears the end."

Now, I have to squint really hard to see it that way, but maybe the inventor had very poor vision (or maybe he was color blind?).

Interestingly, as I found out on Slashfood,

 The design apparently made it popular with farmers when it first came out, but it was the fact that it had three colors - a really innovative idea - that catapulted it to popularity.

Of course, though Mr. Renninger is credited with coming up with this sweet idea, many actually assign credit to Goelitz (now part of Jelly Belly) as being the ones who really brought candy corn into the public eye:"1898. Goelitz Confectionery Company begins making candy corn or "chicken feed." They continue to make this Halloween favorite longer than any other company." ---Candy: The Sweet History, Beth Kimmerle (discovered via Food Timeline)

And to expand on that, according to the Jelly Belly site,

Our beginnings are traced back to a family named Goelitz. When two young brothers emigrated from Germany to make their mark in America, they set the family on its candymaking course. In 1869, just two years after arriving in America, Gustav Goelitz bought an ice cream and candy store in Belleville, Ill., and his brother, Albert was sent out in a horse drawn wagon to sell their sweets to nearby communities.

Then the second generation of the family jumped on the band wagon of candy innovations by making a new type of candy, then called "buttercream" candies, including Candy Corn, a sweet we've made since about 1900 (and still use the same recipe). These candies carried the family through the Great Depression and two world wars. Today, the great-grandsons of Gustav Goelitz, the fourth generation, are still carrying on the tradition of making candy.

Was it always a Halloween treat?

Interestingly, as I found on Food Timeline, candy corn wasn't always strictly associated with Halloween, but more with fall--the transition to "Halloween Candy" was perhaps a subtle shift: "Candy corn, like many other candies we enjoy at Halloween, was promoted as treats for Halloween by candy companies after WWII." (a time when, by the way, the art of Trick or Treating really began in earnest). As the writeup goes on, "Candy corn might have been especially popular because it was also a seasonal (fall) confection. Popcorn balls and candied apples are other seasonal (fall) treats conventinetly transitioned to Halloween."

How is it made?

As I learned from this interview on NPR,

In the early days, making candy corn was hard work. It was done by hand. The ingredients were cooked in huge kettles. Then, the hot candy was poured into buckets. Men poured the liquid candy corn from the buckets into kernel-shaped trays. The workers had to make three passes to create the white, yellow and orange layers. Production was so labor-intensive the candy corn was made only from March to November.

Of course, now candy corn is made by machine--I could try to explain it, but the Food Network can show you in living color:

But that's not the only thing that has changed. Per Slashfood, the ingredient list has, too:

Originally, candy corn was made of sugar, corn syrup (not HFCS), fondant and marshmallow, among other things, and the hot mixture was poured into cornstarch molds, where it set up...The recipe changed slightly over time and there are probably a few variations in recipes between candy companies, but the use of a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and vanilla (as well as honey, in some brands) is the standard.

Of course, if you're brave, you can make candy corn at home too. I did it last year, for Serious Eats.

How do Mellowcreme Pumpkins play into it?

Mellowcreme pumpkins (and the other weird shapes that come in those "Autumn Mix" assortments) were a later addition:

Candy pumpkins first were produced in mid 20th century using a process similar to that of candy corn. Corn syrup, food coloring, honey, and sugar are beat and heated in large kettles to produce an ultra-sweet syrup.

This slurry generically is called "mellowcreme" by confectioners, since the resulting candy has a mellow, creamy texture.

They are said to appeal in a different way than candy corn because their different volume and weight makes for an "interesting texture". And in case you were wondering--yes, I prefer Mellowcreme pumpkins to candy corn.

The final word?

Even if you believe, like Serious Eats, that candy corn is "the fruitcake of halloween candy" and one of the 10 worst Halloween candies to give out, there's no denying its iconic status as a Halloween classic, and whether it's because of its classic look or simply because it's slowly going stale in your goodie bag, it's not going anywhere.

Thursday
May202010

Cake Byte: This Charming Candy Lollipops Now Available at CakeSpy Shop!

Can you say "Birthday Cake Lollipop"? 

Well, I'm sure you are capable of doing so, but wouldn't it be so much nicer to have your mouth full of delicious birthday cake lollipop?

You're in luck: CakeSpy Shop, my new retail gallery and gift shop in Capitol Hill, Seattle, is the newest stockist for This Charming Candy lollipops! 

These locally handmade, small-batch artisan lollipops are in the shop and available in flavors like Vanilla-cardamom, Birthday Cake, and Salted Caramel! I'm selling them singly, and by the package.

Looks like Capitol Hill just got sweeter!

This Charming Candy Lollipops, now available at CakeSpy Shop + Bluebottle Art Gallery, 415 E Pine Street, Seattle WA 98122, open Tue-Sun 12-7 p.m.!

Sunday
May162010

Just Say Nougat: Delicious Nougat from Sugar and Spice, Taiwan

The tooth fairy was pretty awesome. You lose a tooth and you get money. Sweet!

But getting older, I've discovered something even better: the Nougat Fairy. That's what I've found in Kairu, a customer/acquaintance who recently graduated to this (even better, in my opinion) title.

The first time I met her was in my store, when she came in and picked up a bacon-and-cupcake mug (good choice!). She was in a hurry as she was headed home to pack for a trip to Taiwan.

The next time I saw her, she was back from her trip, and toting a big ol' sack of what she calls the best nougat from Taiwan, from Sugar & Spice, a bakery with several locations.

And while I can't say I have extensive experience in tasting Taiwanese nougat, I can say that this stuff is very, very good--amazingly creamy, and punctuated by crunchy, roasted nuts which act as the perfect complement to the sweetness. Addictive, even, as evidenced by said big ol' sack, which is now lamentably empty.

Other offerings at Sugar & Spice can be spotty according to aforementioned Nougat Fairy Kairu and websites like A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei; however, this nougat is highly suggested and definitely worth hoarding by the brimming bag in your luggage.

Nougat from Sugar & Spice, Taiwan; online at sugar.com/tw. 

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