Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured:

 

How a rainbow cake is really made
Unicorn Love: the Eating Disorder Recovery Blog

 

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too! 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

Archives
Gallery

Fantastic appliance for cake making on DHgate.com

everyrecipe.co.nz

Craftsy Writer

Entries in candy (45)

Tuesday
May112010

Spice Up Your Life: The Wasabi Kit-Kat Bar

Now, I can't say it was an all-out taste test like the recent NPR feature on the unusual Kit-Kat flavors of Japan (thanks Julie!), but we did recently get to sample the unusual Wasabi Kit-Kat Bar.

Said bar was a treat from Danny's associate (and Exohxo violinist) Hiromi, who recently returned from a trip to Japan.

She brought two specimens for our examination: one soy sauce flavored, and one Wasabi flavored.

Sadly, I'm just gonna have to say it: the soy sauce was simply. Not. Good. 

But moving on, the wasabi presented an unexpected delight.

The first flavor that hits you is the sweetness of the candy coating, which tastes mostly like white chocolate--but then gives way to a surprising, and happily not overpowering, spiciness. Without having had the benefit of knowing the flavor, I'm not sure that we would have been able to detect exactly what it was--it didn't have that nasal passage searing quality usually associated with wasabi--but it did offer an intriguing dimension to the sweet candy.

This is all to say, if you're headed to Japan, the wasabi Kit-Kat gets a thumbs-up.

Read more about the Kit-Kat taste test on NPR here; learn more about the Kit-Kat variations available in Japan on Wikipedia.

Tuesday
May112010

Sweet and Tart: White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Fudge by Rose City Sweets, Portland OR

As a card carrying member of the White Chocolate Lovers Club, I'd like to introduce you to my newest obsession: 

White Chocolate Fudge with Cranberries and Pistachios.

This sweet manna from heaven is produced by the brand new Portland, OR-based confectionery company Rose City Sweets--in fact, they're so new that they just made their public debut last week at Crafty Wonderland, and their online store doesn't even have stock yet (I know, it is pretty mean of me to tell you about them, considering this). But when their store is stocked, you can expect to find small batch fudge, caramels, toffee, and other confections.

But what's so great about this white chocolate-cran-pistachio business?

For one thing, the fudge is unbelievably smooth and creamy--it is not plagued by the gritty candy-sand texture that is a characteristic of inferior fudges--not to mention extremely rich and flavorful. The sweet white chocolate flavor is perfectly accented by the slight savory saltiness of the pistachios, and nicely punctuated with tart bits of cranberry.

Let's just say that the brick of fudge I obtained at aforementioned Crafty Wonderland did not last long, and I predict a very sweet future for Rose City Sweets.

There's nothing in the shop now, but for future reference and shopping, bookmark the Rose City Sweets Etsy page.

Monday
Apr192010

Lucky Charms: Lollipops by This Charming Candy

Photos c/o This Charming CandyLollipops are an inherently happy food. They're the reward at the end of childhood doctor visits or trips to the bank--a small and innocent nugget of sweetness on a stick. 

But even happier is when they actually taste good. So it was very delightful to receive a tip about This Charming Candy by Melanie of Starry Nights Catering (featured on CakeSpy a while back), who has this to say about them: "They do amazing handmade lollipops featuring crazy-good flavor combinations like coconut-caramel and coffee-hazelnut. They have flavors to appeal to both kids and adults, and man do I love them!"

Certainly above and beyond the average lollipop, these handcrafted hard candies are made in small batches in the Seattle area. Not only are they visually stunning, almost like little confectionery stained glass objets d'art, but they come in a dazzling array of creative flavors such as Vanilla cardamom, Salted caramel, Pistachio-marshmallow, Nutmeg creme, and Honey Jasmine.

Special flavor collections--paired by seasonal flavors or themes, like the "Twilight"-inspired collection of "bloodsuckers" (above) are also available, as are Lollipop of the month subscriptions.

And--just saying--they have Birthday Cake flavored lollipops. Birthday! Cake! Flavored! Lollipops!

But really, I've said enough. At this point, I'm surprised you're still even reading this--don't be a sucker, go order some!

Find out more about This Charming Candy on their website; buy enough lollipops to make your mouth happy for a long time at their online store!

Wednesday
Feb102010

Sweet Hearts: Homemade Conversation Hearts for Serious Eats

Sure, conversation hearts are a sweet gesture. But are you sending the wrong message?

Do you really want, for instance, to say "text me" to someone from whom you'd rather not receive digital missives, or to downplay your serious crush by leaving it at "U R Special"?

Avoid etiquette blunders and tell them how you really feel by making your own personalized homemade conversation hearts. They're surprisingly easy to make, just as sweet as the store bought kind, and you have the freedom to set the tone you want--whether it's sweet, snarky, or confessional.

Find the full writeup and tutorial over at Serious Eats! Oh, and happy freaking Valentine's Day!

Monday
Dec142009

Stalking Sweetness: The Tale of the Modjeska


While leafing through the most recent Williams-Sonoma catalogue, my attention was captured by this description of their caramel marshmallows (pictured above): "dubbed 'modjeskas,' these soft caramel confections were named in honor of a beautiful Polish actress by a fervent admirer".

Sounded like a nice way of saying "serious candy stalker" to me--that is to say, I had to find out more. A bit more lore was available on the Bauer's Candy website:

It's not a word you'll find in Webster's dictionary; it's the name of a Polish actress. Madame Helena Modjeska, famed queen of the European stage, appeared at the McCauley Theater in Louisville, KY. Her appearance in 1883 was the U.S. debut of the play "A Doll's House" written by Henrick Ibsen. Her theatrical performance was enthralling to a patron attending this debut, Mr. Anton Busath, owner of Busath Candies, who was honored by an introduction to the beautiful actress. He asked and was granted permission to name his confection after her. After Busath Candies closed in 1947, we began calling our "Caramel Biscuit" the "Modjeska" in honor of the creator, Anton Busath.


Not only did Modjeska grant permission for her name to be used, says this site, but "in fact, she even agreed to autograph a photo, which Anton then used to promote the candy—an early example of a celebrity endorsement. The rest is confectionary history."

Alas, no information was available on whether or not there was a Mrs. Anton Busath, and if so, how she felt about the candy's name.

What else can be said? Stalking has never been so sweet.

To purchase modjeskas, visit williams-sonoma.com or bauerscandy.com.

Wednesday
Nov182009

Pastry Road Trip: Sweet Treats at Laura Little's Candies, Prairie Village, Kansas

Laura Little's, Prairie Village KS
It's hard to avoid a "you're not in Kansas anymore" pun here--but according to Cake Gumshoe MJ, Laura Little's, a chocolate and confection shop in Prairie Village, Kansas, will have you wishing you were in the state immortalized by The Wizard of Oz.

The shop, which is homey and sweet, offers a great variety of confections, including chocolates, fudge, brittles, pretzels, and toffees. But it's the fudge, says MJ, that is completely unbelievable. Just one look at their site reveals a tantalizing array of fudge, sold in thick slabs in flavors varying from vanilla and chocolate to more elaborate flavors like chocolate black walnut, chocolate cherry amaretto or penuche. And best of all, even if you're not in Kansas, you can order online and have it shipped anywhere.

Though the state's motto may be "to the stars through difficulties", obtaining and enjoying this fudge seems easy as pie (of course, the store has even more goodies, so if you're in Prairie Village, you know where to go!).

Laura Little's Candies, 2100 W. 75th St., Prairie Village, KS; online at lauralittlecandy.com.

Wednesday
Nov182009

Good to Gobble: Cookie Turkeys for Serious Eats

Cookie Turkeys for Serious Eats
Easy as pie? No, these cookie turkeys are even easier! I actually came across this recipe when I was assigned to illustrate it for a Taste of Home coloring book, and was so smitten that I had to test it out for my weekly entry on Serious Eats. They're not only simple but pretty delicious (in an admittedly guilty-pleasure sort of way) too!
Cookie Turkeys for Serious Eats
Check out the recipe here.

Wednesday
Oct212009

Big Fun: Tricked Out Treats Using Fun Size Sweets

Big Fun with Little Candy Bars
If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and punch whoever invented the Fun Size candy bar.

Because you know what? They aren't very fun at all. Eating just one is definitely not fun (too small!) and when you inevitably try to satisfy your candy appetite by eating 10-12 of the pint-sized treats, what you feel is basically the opposite of fun.

Can this sticky situation be salvaged in time for Halloween, when Fun Size reigns? In the name of science, I purchased an entire bag of Fun Size Snickers bars and tried in several different ways to put the fun back in Fun Size. I'm happy to report that it was indeed fun, decidedly delicious, and these ideas could easily be translated to other Fun size variations (perhaps not so much on the non-chocolate varieties such as Starburst or Skittles, though I encourage you to choose your own adventures). Ready for some fun? Let's do it:

Fun Size S'moreFun Size S'more
Fun Size S'more: Guess what? Making a s'more with a Fun Size candy bar instead of bar chocolate works fantastically! The caramel oozed in a most satisfying way, and worked in a sort of campfire-meets-rocky road sort of way. (P.S. if you like this, you may also enjoy the S'moreo).

Fun Size Filled CupcakesFun Size Filled Cupcakes
Fun Size Filled CupcakesInside of Cupcake

Fun Size Filled Cupcakes: Make a batch of cupcakes. Fill the cup slightly lower than you generally would with batter, and put a fun-size bar directly in the cup. Bake per the recipe's instructions, and then frost once cooled. It's like a sweet trick (and treat) in the middle of your already awesome cupcake. Score!

Fun Size Frosting Sandwich
Fun Size Frosting Sandwich: Sandwich together two Fun Size bars with a generous smear of buttercream frosting. Ignore any objections or concerns that may arise as a result of friends, arteries, or better judgment, and let the party in your mouth begin.

Fun Size Kebab
Fun Size Kebab: Alternate slices of your Fun Size candy with another small-ish confection, say a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll. Because two small treats make one delicious experience.

Fun Size ShortbreadFun Size Shortbread
Fun Size Shortbread: Kind of like a simplified Millionaire's shortbread. Simply make your favorite shortbread recipe and form as cookies or as bars (I used a mini scone pan, for no particular reason other than that it was clean and around), and before baking cut up an entire Fun Size candy bar on top of each serving. The candy will ooze into the shortbread as it bakes. It doesn't necessarily look pretty, but it tastes fantastic.

Let's be honest with ourselves. We can all eat four.Let's be honest with ourselves. We can all eat four.
Let's be honest with ourselves. We can all eat four.Let's be honest with ourselves. We can all eat four.

"Let's Be Honest With Ourselves" Fun Size Confection: Let's be honest. We've all eaten four Fun-Size candy bars (at least) in one sitting. So why not be honest with yourself by mashing them all together beforehand? Take four bars and align them together on a plate; microwave on high for about 20 seconds. Use a knife to smooth over the chocolate so that they stick together, and dig in while it's still warm. Use a knife and fork and your dignity will remain intact. Sort of.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now wasn't all that fun?
We're Having Fun!

 

Monday
Oct122009

A-Maize-ing: How to Make Candy Corn at Home

Homemade Candy Corn
Where does candy corn come from? Had you asked me a week ago, I would have said "from a bag, of course!". But when my friends at Serious Eats asked me to make a homemade batch for my weekly feature on their site, I quickly embarked on a crash course in DIY confectionery.
Homemade Candy Corn
While commercially produced candy corn is made using hella machinery and takes 4-5 days to make, the at-home version is surprisingly easy (even for candymaking novices like myself!), and far more flavorful than the store-bought type. Oh, and if you are so inclined, you could use the dough to make your own mellowcreme pumpkins too.

Curious? You can check out the full recipe here.

 

Sunday
Jul122009

Candy Mountain: The Story of the Mountain Bar, An All-Terrain Treat

Cherry Mountain Bar
Have you ever heard of the mountain bar?

It first hit the CakeSpy radar a few months ago when buddy Allison picked one up at the drugstore as a bit of a consolation because they had run out of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Not that it's a new thing, mind you: the Mountain Bar has actually been around since 1915.
Mountain BarMountain bar
The mountain bar is a thing of beauty. Upon opening it, you may remark that it looks not so much like a mountain as a present left under the sofa by a naughty pet. But there's a delicious secret inside, as shown at the top--this is the cherry mountain, but it is also available in the original chocolate-nut flavor as well as a peanut butter filled variety. These are dense and rich little nuggets--definitely not a subtle or sophisticated food, but they will give you a sweet fix, and fast.
Mountain Bar

But what is even more compelling than their flavor is their story, as discovered on their site:

The MOUNTAIN® Bar was first put on the market by Brown & Haley in 1915 as the "Mount Tacoma Bar". The bar began with a fondant vanilla center...Sitting before individual warm chocolate pots, the dippers would make a puddle of tempered chocolate mixed with freshly ground peanuts. After rolling the center a little bit more, they would take a scoop of the tempered mix, forcing the center into the scoopful of the mixture. Then, with the heel of the hand, the bottom would be smoothed off and deposited on a waxed card. After the bar was made, it was put in a blue, hand-folded box that had a picture of Mount Tacoma (now Mt. Rainier) on it. Today our state of the art machinery turns out 592 MOUNTAIN® Bars per minute under the strictest sanitary conditions.

By 1923 the name of the bar had changed to just plain "MOUNTAIN®" due to the fact that its sales were beginning to spread into regions beyond Tacoma and the name "Mount Tacoma" conflicted with Seattle's name, Mount Rainier, which was beginning to gain ascendancy.

When World War II arrived, Brown & Haley was making as many as 25 different candy bars. With a shortage of sugar, the company decided to concentrate all of its efforts behind the production and marketing of its leading candy bar, the MOUNTAIN® Bar. This had the effect of establishing the brand as a regional favorite. Shortly after that the company decided to change the name of one of its brands from Cherry Bounce to Cherry MOUNTAIN® Bar in order to capitalize on the brand's strength. In 1974, Brown & Haley introduced the Peanut Butter MOUNTAIN® Bar.


Of course, all of this learning may ultimately lead you to the same question being tossed around Chez CakeSpy: is it possible to make the Mountain Bar even more delicious?

 

The answer is yes: just add ice cream. For an amazingly rich and decadent treat, why not try the Mountain Milkshake?
Milkshake time!
Cherry Mountain Milkshake

Serves 2

  • 1 Cherry Mountain Bar (or two, if you're feeling particularly decadent)
  • 4 generous scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (or more, or less, depending on how thick you like it)


Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If desired, add more milk for a thinner shake, more ice cream for a thicker shake. Enjoy.

Milkshake!

 

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.