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Entries in candy (46)

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!

 

Monday
Apr062009

Master-Peeps Theatre: The Art of Messing With Easter Candy

Master-peeps Theatre: Starry night in Peeps

In terms of candy, is Easter the new Halloween? This may be arguable, but there's no doubt that messing with Easter Candy--especially Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs, it seems--is au courant. We, of course, are not immune to the lure of this trend: case in point, a CakeSpy fine art take on it can be seen above in our master-peeps recreation of Starry Night.
But what is it about messing with our Easter candy that captivates us so? Just a few theories:
We love it, but we don't actually want to eat it: We love Easter candy. We love the bright, sometimes garish, pastel colors; we love the cartoonlike egg, chick and rabbit imagery. We love the idea of it all--but we don't necessarily want to eat it. Because the fact is, sadly, that most Easter candy is not actually delicious. So perhaps the movement in food installations and art involving easter candy is just another way to celebrate it. All we can say is, Andy Warhol would have loved it.

Peeps S'mores
We're deeply cruel: We're a nation of misguided youth. Growing up with violent video games and movies, our senses have been dulled and we've become callous and violent ourselves. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. And apparently, people also kill peeps.
We've never grown up: As children, we were admonished to "not play with our food". But now that we're grown up (sort of), we can mess with it all we want! We don't have to eat our food, we can draw faces on it, destroy it, make art with it--and the internet is all over it. Booyea!
We're bored at work: Well, doesn't that say it all? In the war between, say, answering customer service emails and watching a peep being killed in over a hundred ways, we think the winner is totally obvious. Which leads into our last theory...

Creme Egg Closeup
It's totally fun and awesome to mess with Easter candy. This is a statement, not a theory. No follow up questions.
If you're totally fascinated with messing with your Easter candy, run, don't walk, over to these web pages for more:
  • Unlikely Words has compiled a comprehensive and fascinating study on Marshmallow Peeps and their place in culture. Read it now!
  • Here today, Goo Tomorrow: Even Cadbury is in on the action, hosting contests and providing bulletin boards for users to enter Creme Egg murders and discuss the lure of the most incredible edible egg.
  • If baking with Easter candy is your bag (or basket, as it were), be sure to check out Baking Bites (there is a side bar with easter ideas on the right hand side of the site) for plenty of creative and delicious-sounding recipes.
  • Last year, we messed with Easter candy in a variety of fun ways: check out our ideas for how to use your leftover easter candy, and our interview with a Cadbury Creme Egg.

 

Thursday
Oct162008

Letter to the Editor: Mellowcreme Strikes Back

Mellowcreme strikes back!
To Whom It May Concern at "Cakespy":

My name is Mellowcreme Pumpkin and I would like to comment on your recent article "Cake Poll: Fall Treats". In reading through your reader responses I notice that the confection known as "Candy Corn" has attained far more votes than me in the race to determine the superior Halloween Confection. It has brought me to only one conclusion: either this poll has been funded by "Candy Corn" or "Candy Corn" has paid off said readers for a positive response.

Mellowcreme strikes back!
In defense of my superiority, allow me to point out some important issues which I hope will make readers reconsider their vote:

 

  • There's simply no delicate way to state it other than to say Candy Corn is a Conehead. Do you really want to associate yourself with a piece of candy whose claim to fame is a resemblance to a washed-up vintage Saturday Night Live character? 
  • Candy Corn is skinny. They say never trust a skinny chef--I say never trust a skinny candy. Even considering Candy Corn's unbecoming "junk in the trunk", you'd still have to eat at least three of them to equal one of me. 
  • Seeing green: There's a lot of value put on being "green" in society these days. Well, do you see a trace of green on Candy Corn? No way. I'm the only confection in this mixed bag of candies to contain green. You know what that means? I'm practically a vegetable! Clearly I'm the healthiest choice, not to mention I have a more visually pleasing palette. 
  • Mellowcreme strikes back!
  • The press agrees: According to Serious Eats, Candy Corn is "the fruitcake of halloween candy" and one of the 10 worst Halloween candies to give out. While some of you may argue that my ingredient list is the same, I don't see any pictures of Mellowcreme Pumpkins on that list, so clearly I am a confection of a higher caliber. 
  • I've inspired poetry: for a case in point, check out the beautiful poem "Ode to a Mellowcreme Pumpkin" by McPolack, Inc. Here's an excerpt:
Oh, sweet, sweet mellowcreme pumpkin...let's get together tonight in front of the Gilmore Girls
Where I will feast upon you until I very nearly hurl
They don't put nearly enough of you in the Brach's Autumn Mix.
Have you ever seen a poem about Candy Corn? Well, have you? William Wordsworth would surely agree, I am the superior candy.

Mellowcreme strikes back!
I will close by imploring the readers of "Cakespy.com" to reconsider their vote. There is still time to remedy this voting travesty; consider your integrity here. Sure, "Candy Corn" may have dazzled you, what with its showy three colors and unusual shape. But please, look deep in your hearts--and stomachs--because I've got a lot of sweetness to share, if you'll just give me a chance.
Respectfully yours,
M. C. Pumpkin

Mellowcreme strikes back!

 

 

 

Sunday
Mar232008

Hoppy Easter: Cakespy's Suggestions for Utilizing Easter Candy Leftovers

Peeps S'mores
Easter Day. A time for family, celebration, tradition...and candy. Oh, so much pastel candy.

But if you're anything like us, by noon the eggs have all been hunted, easter baskets have been doled out, and most of the good stuff (like the Cadbury Creme Eggs) is long gone. This is the moment of truth--is it time to break the ears off of that pristine chocolate bunny? Or should you bide your time by nibbling on the filler candy (you know, the Peeps, the jellybeans, those strange Brach's treats--all those candies the ones that look great in the basket but that few actually like to eat)? Luckily, we're going to make it easy on you this year by providing several ideas on how to make the most of that filler candy--treats so tasty, you might just forget all about that bunny (unless that is, it's tricked out like this):

Easter TrifleEaster Trifle

Idea 1: Easter Leftover Trifle.We assembled an impromptu trifle, using layers of muffin-crumbs (hot cross bun crumbs or cookie crumbs would work beautifully as well, we think), cake frosting, jellybeans and robin's eggs, topping it off with a happy Peep garnish. The result was crunchy, chewy, gooey, soft, tender, and amazingly sweet--all at once. Straddling the line between candy nirvana and instant heart attack, this concoction is surely a keeper.

 

Peeps S'moresJust out of the microwave
Idea 2: Peeps S'mores. Everyone loves putting Peeps in the microwave for entertainment (right?), but why not end up with something delicious for all that time and energy? We assembled the classic s'more ingredients substituting a pink rabbit peep for marshmallow, and popped the sweet stack in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once Mr. Peep had de-flated into a gooey marshmallowey mass, we enjoyed a sweet treat indeed; the sugar coating on the peep lent a wonderfully satisfying, slightly gritty texture to the finished product. (Cakespy Note: It was only today, after completing our own Peep S'more project that we learned there's a whole book dedicated to messing with Peeps! While it saddens us that we didn't think of it first, we are so happy this book exists.)

Cereal TreatsEaster Cereal

Idea 3: DIY Sweet Cereal. Many cereals are thinly masked breakfast-candy anyway, so why not pair your Easter candy to a vaguely healthy cereal for added flavor and delight? We added some of those strange Brach's candies (shaped like chicks and bunnies, though they look sort of evil to us) to a bowl of heart-healthy Corn Flakes, and lo and behold, we instantly had something on par with Alpha-Bits with marshmallows or Lucky Charms. The colors that remained in the milk after eating were simply incredible.
Robins Egg Malted Milkshake
Idea 4: Robin's Egg Malted Milkshake. Malted milkshakes are great, duh--so why not make your own using malt-flavored Robin's Egg Candies? We grabbed a hearty handful of the pastel treats and blended it with a few ice cubes and some soy milk; the result was a nostalgia-inducing, soda-shop worthy treat. Garnished with the last Peep in our 4-pack, it was pretty cute too.

Peep wants Treats! 
Idea 5: If all else fails? Well, they say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down--why not load up a heaping spoonful of frosting and jam it full of as many easter candies as you can? You might gross out people in your immediate vicinity, but hey--you've got to follow your own Easter bliss. Just don't forget to share with Peep!

 

Hoppy--er, Happy Easter!


 

Tuesday
Nov272007

Bend it Like Bequet: Chipotle Caramels by Bequet Confections (Via Cakespy Seattle)

Bend it like Bequet

When it comes to caramel, there are natural pairs that come to your mind. Caramel and apple. Caramel and chocolate. But caramel and chipotle? Big taste, or big mistake?

Intrigued by the idea we bought a small bag of the treats, which are made by Montana-based Béquet Confections. Robin Béquet started the company in 2001, after over 20 years in the tech world. After an industry crash, she turned inwardly, asking herself "what should I do now?". The answer: start making artisan caramels, naturally.

And we're glad she did. Caramels are, of course, inherently good: Cream, sugar, a little salt. But in the chipotle caramels, the unexpected flavoring added something special to the taste. While the chipotle wasn't necessarily spicy in a "hot" way, it did add a certain robustness to the overall flavor. The taste of chipotle wasn't immediately evident, instead developing as more of an aftertaste, rounding out the sweetness of the caramel with a satisfying savoriness.

Sweet, but slightly unexpected, and very addictive.

Béquet Confections' full product line, including caramels in the chipotle flavor as well as espresso, vanilla, celtic sea salt and chocolate, is available online at bequetconfections.com.

Saturday
Oct202007

So Corny: Vegan Candy Corn by Propamanda

Don't mess with Jersey. There have been some great things that come from the Garden State: tomatoes, Bon Jovi, Pork Roll. And now to be added to that roster is Vegan Candy Corn by Garden-state based Vegan Propamanda.

Now, we're not vegan at Cakespy, but these slab-cut, extra-large candy corn pieces seemed to transcend labels of that sort and we just fell in love with them. And the results were very rewarding: they were chewy, sugary and vaguely reminiscent of vanilla tootsie rolls, but without that waxy aftertaste. Vegan Propamanda's head baker Amanda Sacco tells us the recipe is inspired by the vegan candy corn recipe by The Urban Housewife, but with some small tweaks. And we certainly trust her baking judgment: Amanda has tested vegan recipes before cookbook publication for the likes of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Lauren Ulm and Joanna Vaught.

But watch out: her wares sell like hotcakes (dairy free of course) from her online shop, but we're sure that if you send her a message through etsy she'd accommodate your order.

Available at asacco9642.etsy.com.

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