Thursday, December 28, 2006

You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!

Hello friends! I hope you've all had a wonderful Hannukkah/Christmas/Solstice/Kwanzaa/timeofffromwork and I hope it was filled with lots of sugary goodness.
Alas, I didn't get anything off my wishlist, but I did get a great reference guide/cookbook on chocolate. I'll report back on that later.
In the meantime, I've started a new blog with my friend Alex dedicated entirely to peanut butter and chocolate. Come on over and visit us there!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas with lots of candy canes and sugar plums, marshmallows and peppermint bark, chocolate truffles and LifeSaver Storybooks, chocolate Santas and all those other good things that come once a year.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My wish list

Dear Santa,
I've been really good all year, so I've put together a list to help you with your gift selections for me. I don't think some of these things really exist, but hey, you're Santa, you can make anything, right?

My Wish List
1. A lifetime supply of Belgique chocolates. Or at least a pound of assorted dark chocolates.
2. A bracelet and necklace that looks like candy but isn't.
3. One of Frank's perfect chocolate cakes. Or enough free time to make one myself.
4. A giant box of Munson's dark chocolate-covered orange jellies, which they no longer make.
5. A permanent chocolate fountain that's continuously flowing.
6. A case of Tim Tams, the very delicious cookies from Australia.
7. A metabolism that will allow me to eat with abandon and not gain an ounce.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mac attack

Despite my grumpiness about Limited Edition candies, I had to try the new dark chocolate Hershey Kisses with macadamia nuts. I'm not one of those people who obsesses about macadamia nuts; I tend to save my passion for cashews, but I will admit, these kisses were pretty darn good.

The dark chocolate was the right choice. Milk would've been too cloying.

I found these at Walgreens. I typically don't shop there because I find most Walgreens to be creepy and dirty. But I had a coupon for baby formula, so I relented. The thing is, they had a pretty good selection of candy. Better than Brook's, where I usually shop. And while I was there, something interesting happened. A rather non-descript, frumpy middle-aged woman with a cart full of stuff came up to the counter and told the check-out girl, "Red three." From my days at CVS, I knew they were about to snag a shoplifter. I was all psyched, but then I saw it was a little old man and that made me sad. But let that be a lesson to all potential shoplifters: beware of the lady in sweatpants. She's really an undercover cop.

What's new?

Well, I finally finished my article for the trade magazine on chocolates and confections. It was good fun and I learned a lot. Like what, you ask? For one, why organic candies aren't as visually explosive as the mainstream equivalent. One company I talked to, College Farm Organics, makes lollipops and hard candies. According to Libby Moyer, the marketing/sales manager, they would love to make bright greens and blues and pinks, but it's just not possible because there aren't any organic ingredients that produce those colors. Another problem is white. She said they'd love to make candy canes, but typically titanium dioxide is used to create a bright white. The closest they can get with organic ingredients is a light beige. Who knew?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The motherlode

Here's a picture of my birthday gift from my brother-in-law. Isn't it a thing of beauty?

Sealed with a kiss

Just in time for Valentine's Day this year, Hershey's has unveiled the first-ever chocolate stamp. According to the press release, the "With Love and Kisses" stamp will be available beginning in January 2007 in conjunction with Hershey's Kisses 100th anniversary celebration.

Every heard of Snirkles?

My in-laws K.C. and Judy were here a couple of weekends ago and they were commenting on how, in a recent picture, Henri looks like Urkel because his pants are up to his chin. Only Judy said "Snirkle" by accident and said, "Oh yeah, Snirkles are those candies." My ears perked up. Snirkles? Never heard of 'em. So I did a quick search and, sure enough, they were a caramel candy popular in the Midwest. Apparently they're like those caramel bulls-eyes, only in a spiral. Or perhaps that shaped is called a snirkle. In any event, it's always exciting to learn about a new candy. I guess they're not made anymore, but Judy remembered them fondly. I'm not so much for caramel in that form. I hate those bulls-eye things but some people really love them. They also make the licorice version, too, which is probably the only licorice thing I don't like. Too much like shoe leather.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Got a gummi match?

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about candy cigarettes. What a bizarre concept. Think about it-- it's like having candy booze bottles or gummi rolling paper. Who came up with the idea to make cigarettes out of candy??
When I was little there were three different types. First, the skinny, chalky sticks with the red "ash" on the end. They tasted terrible and didn't even look like cigarettes. Then there were the gum ones. They were the size of a real cig and wrapped in paper. The gum was usually hard as a rock and flavorless. And then there was the granddaddy of them all: the chocolate cigarette. It looked like a real one and tasted pretty good. I think I only had these once, in fourth grade after school with my friend Jennifer. Of course, she was already smoking actual cigarettes so the chocolate ones were just pure candy to her, no novelty at all. Do they still make candy cigarettes? If so, how much longer will they do that?

Friday, December 01, 2006

More peanut butter and chocolate

Alexandra wrote to me yesterday to tell me of her disappointment with a Russell Stover peanut butter Christmas tree. So sad. Nothing compares to a Reese's. Sorry Alex. Just stick with the original!
But I have found a new yummy treat: Dunkin' Donuts' peanut butter cup cookies. I was always pretty safe around Dunkin' Donuts; I can take 'em or leave 'em. But now I've found these out!

Candy cane fun

At least once a year or so we try to get up to Stowe, Vermont. To me, it's paradise on earth. A cute town center, lots of places to walk, great restaurants, fantastic spas ... the list goes on and on. And there's a store called Laughing Moon Chocolates where they make all sorts of yummy things. At this time of year, they make homemade candy canes and they give demonstrations to show how they do it. It's actually really fascinating. The candy starts out soft like taffy and they put it on a hook where they pull and twist it. They add the color and flavor and then knead it into shape. They do the traditional shepherd's crook, but they also do fun shapes like hearts and wreaths and initials. (Fun flavors too: peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon.)