Saturday, May 26, 2007

Time for a break

The countdown to moving has begun. I've got to get serious, so I'll be taking a short break from Candy Yum Yum! Don't worry-- I'll still be on the lookout for candy inspiration. When I come back I'll tell you all about my experience with Gin Gins and Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Pretzels with sprinkles. I'll see you in about a week or so. Until then, happy snacking and sweet dreams!

Necco Update

I contacted the customer service people at Necco about the Smoothie controversy (see post below.) They sent a very kind e-mail saying that the flavor selection is indeed random, but they'd be sending my query on to Quality Control. In the meantime, Alexandra was sweet enough to share her four banana caramel wafers with me. They were lacking that slightly sour tang of real banana flavor. It was more of a cloying, artificial banana with some serious caramel notes. But I always like to see banana represented in the candy canon. I think it deserves as much respect as say, watermelon or green apple.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Candy Controversy!

After posting about the Necco Smoothies, Alexandra said she had to try them. So she bought a roll and proceeded to unwrap it. The first one she got was peach-- a bummer, since she doesn't like peach. But then the next one was peach. And then the next one. So she unwrapped the whole roll and here's what she got: a great big buttload of peach, a bunch of strawberry, four banana and ONE blueberry (just like my roll!) and NO tropical. What gives NECCO? She went to the website and found that the company claims that the wafers are randomly mixed, but this seems too suspicious to me. C'mon! What's going on here? I'll have to investigate. In the meantime, I think "One Blue Necco" would be a great name for a band.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Differences in Reese's: A Scientific Review

Welcome to the Candy Yum Yum! sensory lab where today we'll be comparing "Fresh From the Factory" Reese's to fresh from the vending machine Reese's.

As I noted in a previous post, Hershey's is offering some of their products fresh from the factory to your door in less than 96 hours. Yesterday I got a tub of Reese's. My first inclination was to just dive into it and have a PB & chocolate love fest. But I gathered my wits and set up this highly scientific test. Check it out:

Purpose: To determine if there is a difference between "Factory Fresh" Reese's (FFR) and a Reese's candy bar of unknown shelf-life that was procured from a vending machine (R).

Methods: Brian cut up three sets of Reese's. Each set had one piece of FFR and one piece of R. Using traditional sensory methods (appearance, smell, taste), the tester tried to determine which piece was which.

Results: 1oo percent accuracy. The tester was able to discern the FFR from the R.

Conclusions: We heartily recommend the Factory Fresh Reese's for candy lovers.

So how was I able to tell the difference? The peanut butter in the FFR was softer, not as crumbly and had a fresher peanut taste (although the aroma was more earthy than the R, which had a definite peanut aroma.) The chocolate had a nice snap to it, especially around the edges. This is not to say that I wouldn't eat a non-FFR, because frankly, almost any Reese's is a good thing. But, the FFR is just a little tastier, a little more special. A little more YUM.

Can I just say, I love sensory evaluation? In my next life, I want to be a food scientist. Fun stuff. You should try a test for yourself. Invite some friends over. Pop open the wine. Eat some candy!

As a sidenote, I really like this as a gift for candy lovers. The jar sells for $20-- great price!-- and it's just a fun thing to give.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


You know that annoying woman who sits in the waiting room at the doctor's office and rips out pages from magazines? I'm her. I used to be mortified that people would tear out articles or coupons or whatever from a magazine that didn't belong to them, until I realized that the office gets sent these magazines for free and they really don't care what you do with them. So I was reading Real Simple yesterday and there was an interesting article on food pairings. But the best part was the sidebar on foods that you shouldn't put together, like mint Mentos and Diet Coke. Maybe I'm hopelessly behind the times. Maybe this is common knowledge, like Pop Rocks and Coke, but according to the article, if you put a mint Mentos in a bottle of Diet Coke, you can create a geyser that can shoot up to 20 feet in the air! Holy cow! Apparently the carbon dioxide in the soda reacts with small holes throughout the candy causing a chemical reaction. This is so cool. I can't wait to try it. Yes, I should be packing. I should be out buying baby proofing stuff for the new house. I should be going to the post office and calling the utilities and all that garbage, but The Great Mentos Experiment is my next priority.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yumtastic news!

I seriously have about ten thousand things I should be doing right now, but I had to stop and let you know about this new thing that Hershey's is doing because it sounds so yummy fantastic. You can order Reese's, Twizzlers, Good & Plenty and Pay Days hot off the factory conveyor belt. (Well, not hot because then you'd have melted candy, but you know what I mean.) They'll ship you a box of these goodies within 96 hours of them being made. This just gives the taste-tester in me goose bumps. How would super-fresh Reese's compare with a pack you buy at the grocery store? I'll let you know as soon as I find out. In the meantime, you can get more info at their website,

Monday, May 14, 2007

What the devil is that?

"Holy canoli!" I can hear you say. "Why is there a picture of beer on Candy Yum Yum!?" Believe it or not, there is a candy reference to this delicious GERMAN beer that Sue, my kick-ass, firefighter, garden guru friend and her husband Neil brought over this weekend.
The beer is called Georg Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse and it's certified organic. When I first tasted it, I thought there was something very interesting about it, but I didn't have my tasting hat on. (Translation: it was more about catching a good buzz than savoring the delicate qualities of this fine brew.)
However, these lovely friends left a bottle for me to savor the next day and I was able to give it my full attention. I took a sip. "There's something very candy-like about this," I said. Another sip. Almost something ... minty? Sip. Ah ha! There is was. The subtle delicious taste of root beer barrels. It's hard to imagine, but this beer has a very delicious wintergreen (a.k.a. root beer) note to it that brings back memories of those childhood favorite candies. This is good stuff. If you can find it, I'd suggest giving it a try!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Can someone please help me clean off my desk?

Yes, I'm in the process of moving, but still ... it looks like my office has been ransacked. I really need to get organized and I have all this candy just sitting here, patiently waiting for me to do something with it. Like what, you ask? Let's see:

  • The Pawetek Smietanjkowy ("Milk chocolate bar with creamy filling") I bought at the Polish store
  • Hello Kitty candy necklace: it's so adorable I don't want to open it. The "beads" are flower shaped and there's a pendant with HK on it
  • Bourbon Cubyrop: Some really tasty hard candies I got at the sushi place, only now I can't go there anymore because last time they had a giant King Crab in the tank in the front (which was creepy looking enough all by itself), but then when I was leaving the restaurant, there were two waitresses standing around the tank squirming because there was a giant worm coming out of the crab. EWW.

So I've got some work to do. But alas, Henri calls.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Caramel Ecstasy

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had bought a bag of Nestle caramel eggs after Easter, thinking they were Nestle Crunch. As a candy, I wasn't too impressed with them. But as an ingredient in a recipe, well now, hoo boy, that's another matter.
I made these Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies from a recipe off of Basically it's a chocolate cookie dough that you wrap around a chocolate-covered caramel. I used Penzey's cocoa powder rather than a cheaper brand since the recipe called for so much of it. The cookie was almost like a brownie: soft and chewy with a nice, complex chocolate taste. The candy in the center got all melty and oozey so you'd bite into this warm caramel filling. These were a huge hit with my weekend guests. I actually took a picture, but it came out really atrocious, so I'll let you imagine them instead. Better yet, make a batch yourself. They're pretty easy and totally worth the effort. I'd like to try this recipe with peanut butter cups. I think that would phenomenol.

Goodie bag!

Yesterday I had my family over to celebrate Henri's first birthday. (Holy cow, I can't believe it's been a year!)

I made cupcakes using the Magnolia Bakery recipe (although, I must admit, they weren't that great. The cake was a little dry and the frosting a little too sugary, but they were still good.) At the last minute, I decided to make goodie bags because the party store had such good candy and I figured I might as well start a tradition of having kick-butt candy at the H-man's birthday. So here's the rundown of the goods: Mike & Ike's, Hot Tamales, Tootsie Roll Midgies, wax vampire teeth, giant Smarties, Sugar Daddy and a whistle pop.
Props to my sister and her husband for doing the food styling.