Sunday, August 31, 2008

Caveat Mansor (Eater Beware)

Overheard today at the coffee shop:

Skanky girl behind the counter who's gone tanning one too many times: "How did you break your tooth?"

Manager: "Frozen Milky Way."

NASCAR Nibblies

I promised Mrs. Connection that I wouldn't let The Connection know how she stored the latest delivery in hot car for a couple of hours before giving me the goods. When she handed me the Big Mo' bar, it was in a rather liquid state. No worries, though, because it coagulated back into a fairly respectable shape, and I was able to try it with no problem.

The Dale Jr's Big Mo' is a Palmer product, which usually means "chocolate-like confection" rather than actual chocolate. In general, it's best to stay away from this stuff if you're looking for something resembling real chocolate. So, needless to say, I was a trifle hesitant to try this NASCAR-inspired goodie. The wrapper says "milk chocolate with peanut butter," and I envisioned the worst: waxy chocolate with icky filling. I was surprised, though. It wasn't terrible. I mean, no way in hell would I ever choose this over a Reese's, but at least it didn't make me gag. I suppose if I was a NASCAR fan, I'd make this my candy of choice, but well, I'm just not into that scene. Give me a Buffy candy bar, though, and I'm all over it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Time For Lunch!

My fabulous friend Kris (part of the super-secret writers' club) sent me this picture of a candy bar she had on a recent trip to St. Lucia. I just love its simple straight-forwardness, as if it's saying, "This is your lunch. Deal with it."

Free Candy! Young & Smylie Licorice

A few months ago, the kind folks at Hershey's sent me an e-mail saying they'd shipped me some of their new Young & Smylie licorice to try. (Gotta love that name. It makes me think of a toothless old man sitting out front on a rocking chair saying, "When I was a kid, we were all young and smiley. Now you whippersnappers are all moody and sullen with your e-Pods and your fancy phones with keyboards.") Anyhow, I was excited and I waited ... and I waited ... And then I kind of forgot about it, until I started seeing reviews of it on some of the other candy blogs. I sent back an e-mail and said, just FYI, I never received the licorice.

Hmmm, they said. We did send it. To this address: Candy Yum Yum's old residence.

Holy cow! Could that be the reason there was a party going on in my old house the night I drove by? (Not stalking. Really.) Were the new owners sitting back laughing devilishly as they plowed through MY licorice? Even though I told them that I sometimes get lots of strange candy-related packages and to call me if they ever receive any by accident? A pox upon them!

The kind Hershey folks sent out another package, though, and this time I received it. They've launched their new line of licorice: traditional black, strawberry and peach mango. The label says it's "Old fashioned soft-eating licorice." They weren't kidding. This is the softest licorice I've ever had. It has a really nice flavor to it-- deep and herby and sweet. Even No-Nuts liked it.

Next we tried the strawberry. I'm not big on strawberry or flavored licorice, so I wasn't particularly wowed by this. It was definitely in-your-face strawberry.

The last bag, peach mango, will be going to a randomly-chosen Candy Yum Yum reader. All you have to do is tell me about your fantasy licorice flavor in the comments. If you could invent a licorice flavor, what would it be? I'll stop taking comments on Friday, Sept. 5 at high noon, EST.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Belgique Chocolate: Worth Its Weight in Gold?

A few weeks ago Mr. Goodbar and I were feeling particularly sassy and decided that it was high time to hit the road and go explorin' like we used to do, way, way back when before the Sugar Baby. The New York Times had a piece about a street festival in Kent, Connecticut and it sounded so charming and small-town New Englandy that we decided to go. Okay, here's where I 'fess up: I mostly wanted to go so I could go to Belgique and buy some chocolates. I wrote about this tiny little chocolate shop a few years ago and told y'all that it was quite simply the BEST chocolate ever. Ever.

Mr. Goodbar had splurged and bought me an entire pound of it while I was pregnant, but alas, my stomach would have none of it, so he got to eat the whole darn thing himself. So I figured I was owed.

What can I say? This stuff ain't cheap. At $65 a pound, it costs more than, oh I don't know, lobster, filet mignon, overpriced seaside vacation fudge, Summer of '08 gasoline ... you get my drift. So being recession-minded, we got just a few pieces.

For me: a vanilla buttercream in dark chocolate and a sea-salt caramel. For Mr. Goodbar: a cognac chocolate and a raspberry heart. For No-Nuts: a raspberry heart and a regular caramel.
The woman handed us the bag (at these prices, even a single piece should be put in a box) and warned us that their chocolates are made with fresh cream so they MUST BE KEPT COOL. Yeah, okay, not a challenge on a sweltering summer day. So we drove for two hours holding the king's ransom in front of the air conditioner.
I can hear you already: "So ... how were they?!"
Well, here's the deal. I'd had the vanilla buttercream before and it's truly decadent. She wasn't kidding when she says fresh cream. It's like a chocolate shell filled with vanilla whipped cream. Lovely, light, flavorful-- a true treasure.
The rest? They were good. Very good. But $3 a piece good? Eh, not so much. Mr. Goodbar loved his selections and still contends that they're the best chocolates ever. No-Nuts was completely unimpressed. She said the raspberry was too thick. I will stick with my original declaration and say these are damn good chocolates. The problem arises when you compare them to say, a $2 bar of Ritter Cornflakes. Then you have some deciding to do: little piece of really, really good chocolate or big bar of really, really good chocolate?
(By the way, the street festival sucked.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

May Basket! May Basket!

During the most recent visit to the von Schokolats, we took time out of our busy candy-making, Whoopie Pie-eating schedules to attend the wedding of Uncle John, brother of Big Pop and Great Jeff. There are lots and lots of uncles and aunts in Mr. Goodbar's family, so it's always fun to hear about their childhood adventures growing up in rural (as in: no heat, no electricity, no indoor plumbing) Maine. There were oodles of stories about shoveling snow off the beds, sitting the baby down on the stove, digging a sewage trench to no where, blowing up bottles of gasoline and gun powder-- you get the drift. But I had never heard the following story, which, dear reader, sums up the spirit of Candy Yum Yum. Sit back. Close your eyes. (Well, actually don't do that, because then you won't be able to read this.) Sit back, grab some Tootsie Rolls and Pixy Sticks and just envision how candy makes the world go 'round.

The Story of May Baskets (as told by Aunt Tina)
"We'd get a shoe box and decorate it with crepe paper and put some sort of handle on it, then fill the box with penny candy. We'd take it to the neighbor's house and ring the door bell and shout 'May Basket!' Then everyone would scatter and hide and the neighbors would have to find everyone before we could all eat the candy."

And that, dear readers, is what Candy Yum Yum is all about. I say, why wait for May? "September Basket!" has a nice ring to it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coffee, Tea or Brewed Chocolate?

This morning when I opened the door to go out to get the paper, there it was: the first feeling of fall. Instead of being assaulted with sweltering heat, there was a crisp nip in the air so I knew it was time to finally try out the jar of Cabaret brewed chocolate that's been sitting in my fridge. I've been obsessed with this ever since I first saw it. The website clearly points out: It's not hot chocolate! No! No! No! This is brewed, like coffee. In fact, they say it's an "Adult Chocolate Beverage with Afterglow." Ooh la la.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but the best way I can describe it is that it's almost like chocolate-nuanced tea with a definite honey note to it. It's pretty sweet in a non-sugary kind of way. It can't really be compared to coffee-- it just doesn't have that same kick. In fact, the label suggests that it might actually relax you, which is what I'm hoping for. Perhaps it will give me some sweet dreams (instead of the endless vampire dreams I've been having from watching way too much Buffy).
The brewed chocolate comes in a jar and is liquidy, like chocolate syrup. You just mix a teaspoonful into a cup of hot water. If you're a tea drinker, I'd say this is definitely for you.

No-Nuts Has Left the Building

She couldn't take it anymore ... the crying Sugar Baby, the 9 p.m. bedtime, the 6 a.m. alarm clock, the constant quoting of Flight of the Conchords ... so No-Nuts packed her Vera Bradley bags and she's outta here. Actually, it's back-to-school for her. So, drumroll please ... After an entire summer of eating countless bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches; Trader Joe's caramels; four blueberry cakes; 2 dozen Forgettable cookies; Peach-Os; pizza bagels; tuna noodle casserole; licorice; Dove chocolates; an entire jar of hot fudge for dinner one night; and all of the Sugar Baby's leftover grilled cheeses and macaroni and cheese dinners, she LOST FOUR POUNDS. Son of a @&#($!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Dear Reader,

So much going on ... No-Nuts getting ready to go back to school, Sugar Baby's first trip to the dentist, our visit to Antiques Roadshow, possible big buttload o' work coming my way ... will write soon about the motherlode of Canadian chocolates from Sue MKAFFGGF, the most recent fix from The Connection, and my "I.D. Please" candy find at the liquor store. But first, much needed bed time.
Yours 'til Niagara Falls,
Ms. Yum Yum

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guest Review: Alexandra Goes Nuts!

My cousins just returned from Hawaii and brought back Hershey Kisses with Macadamia Nuts. The Kisses have a whole (maybe a half) piece of the nut in the center and throughout the chocolate is finely chopped macadamia nuts. Yummy! Bad news, you can only get them in Hawaii!

Candy Kitchen

Even though the cupboards were chock full o' Whoopie Pies (oh wait, that's not true. The Baron ate them all), the energetic Lake Glory Hi campers decided to attempt to make homemade Snickers and Peppermint Patties.

We chopped, we melted, we layered and refrigerated. We followed the dang recipes to a T and what did we get? A giant pan of break-your-teeth Snickers and lots of peppermint-flavored patties o' goop. What went wrong?? In the case of the Snickers, apparently we melted the caramel too long because when it set up, it became like shards of sticky evil glass that magnetized to any and all fillings in our teeth. Quite a disappointment, because otherwise, these would've been pretty darn good.

As for the Peppermint Patties-- who knows what went wrong. All I know is they weren't dippable (they crumbled under the weight of the chocolate, even after we added oil to thin the chocolate out), and we couldn't even just drizzle them. It was a very messy undertaking, and now the Baroness is stuck with lots of leftover weird ingredients that she'll never have another use for.
Lesson learned. Shell out the $1 and just buy a stinkin' pre-made candy bar.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jealous Much?

Yeah, yeah, yeah-- I've heard all about it. The new board game that some couple invented that's all about candy trivia. Whoop de doo for them. I hope they make millions. Whatever. I don't care.

All right, fine. It should've been me! I should've thought of that. Just like stupid Steve Almond's book "Candyfreak." I should've written that. Would've, could've, should've. Hey, I've got plenty of ideas relating to candy. Books! Magazines! Licensed characters! Jewelry! T-shirts! Have your people call my people. We'll talk.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Making Whoopie!

Back in June, I sent the von Schokolats on a quest to find a Whoopie Pie bakery* I'd read about. They went, and the Baron sent his whiny review. Good thing I didn't trust what he had to say, or I would've missed out on the pure chocolate ecstasy known as a "Whoop-de-Doo."

First of all, the Baron complained that it took him forever to find it in Freeport. All I have to say is, OPEN YOUR EYES! Okay, so it wasn't located right next to the Gap or the Mangey Moose. But it's not like it was shoved down some back alley with no sign. It was right on the corner next to the Town Hall.

The place only sells Whoopie Pies (well, and some muffins), but the scene stealer was the display of gigantic Whoopie Pies. Gretl had gotten one for her birthday and boy, were they huge.

On this visit, we opted to get a six-pack because, well, how could you not with flavors like mint, oatmeal, strawberry, lemon, chocolate chocolate and peanut butter?! I, however, was most interested in the Whoop-de-Doos, little chocolate-covered Whoopie Pies. The Baron and the Baroness both agreed that it was no big deal, that it tasted like a Ring Ding, but still, I had to try it. Oh how wrong they were! This was so much better. Imagine, chocolate cake with fluffy white filling covered in oozy dark chocolate. Bliss, I tell you, Bliss! Liesl agreed with me. This little piece of heaven was enough to satisfy my Whoopie Pie urges, so the only other ones I sampled were the lemon and mint, both of which were very good.

Of course, despite the Baron's negative review last time, he did manage to get in a few good chomps of each Whoopie Pie, and he determined the lemon to be the best. Whatever.

*It's called Isamax Snacks, which is a dreadful name for a bakery. Apparently it's named after the owners two children, but frankly it sounds like a corporate food service rather than a yummy-cakey-chocolatey bakery.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Every summer the Sugar Baby and the wee von Schokolats get together to create "Camp Glory Hi at Lake I" (an anagram of the girls' names) and we do all sorts of crafty, messy stuff. This year, the girls got a head start before we arrived and with a few scraps of fabric and a wicked hot glue gun, they made these awesome candy pillows.
But apparently the spirits of A.C. Moore, Michael's and Joanne weren't with me, because the rest of camp quickly progressed downhill. (Can you sense the doom?) Stay tuned to read all about our attempts to make home made Snickers and Peppermint Patties.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Watermelon Kit Kat?! Those Wacky Japanese!

I'm back from the Haus von Schokolat and I have lots and lots to report, but in the meantime, check out this gem from Kyoto Foodie: watermelon salt Kit Kat! Apparently the package says to "serve chilled."

Friday, August 15, 2008

F is for Fruit Slices

Two of my latest candy-themed ATCs. I just realized I forgot to put the big "F" on the fruit slices. Oops!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm Outta Here!

Well, I haven't quite left yet, but the plan is to head up to the von Schokolats' tomorrow, so things might be kind of slow here for the rest of the week. But be assured that I'll be doing some serious candy research while I'm away. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this beauty. You thought it was a cake, didn't you? Yeah, that's what I thought, too, when I first saw it. But no-- this, my friends, is a genuine slab of T-Bone's Barbeque Bologna Log. My father-in-law actually scored this big hunk o' processed meat goodness for yours truly, which is proof positive that I'm the favorite child-in-law. (Sorry, Baron, the truth hurts.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Guest Review: The Baroness Speaks!

Went to the wonderful Dollar Store yesterday, upon Gretl's request (Liesel stayed in the car, in hopes that no one would see her). We came upon these tasty treats and thought we'd tell you about them. Mr. Yummy Super Duper Gummy Worm has 6 big gummy worms that are individually packaged and very reasonably priced at $1.00, almost a steal! We opened these thinking that it wouldn't be any different then your normal gummy worms. Boy, were we surprised! The outside had a delicious crunchy candy coating and sweet strawberry gummy center. It was actually quite tasty. The Baron, being the romantic that he is, decided that they would be wonderful treats to share with his loved one. (This picture is the third that Liesel took for us, so the worm is about half the size it started at.) (Editor's note: I've positioned this picture at the end so you have the option of looking or not. You might want to skip it.) What fun!
Frankford Make Your Own Gummy Pizza was fun to make, but wasn't that great. The orange shape to the left of the picture is the very tough crust. A small spoon was provided to spread the red gel packet which was a very sour sauce, the cheese packet is the consistency of Pixy Sticks and the small toppings in various shapes were a small version of tastier gummies, that were pretty good if you ate them all by themselves. All put together, it was very nasty. We all took one bite and decided that it wasn't worth the calories to eat anymore.
(Editor's note: This is your last chance to shield your eyes.)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Return of the Candy Corn Kisses!

Okay people, it's official: the fall candy has arrived in stores. I saw lots o' boxes of candy corn at the grocery store and in today's newspaper, there was a flier from Rite Aid advertising none other than the Candy Corn Kisses of mystical lore. Be sure to stock up!

A (Candy Themed) Room of Her Own

Mr. Goodbar doesn't know it, but my secret plan is to decorate the entire house in candy paintings. Right now, though, I'm hiding them all up in the studio.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Chocolate Enlightenment

A while back a reader asked where she could get a Buddha-shaped chocolate mold. These are technically pudding molds, but I'd bet you could fill them with chocolate just as easily.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sweet Find!

Check out this retro gem I found at the used book sale! It's "A Ladybird Learning to Read Book: Numbers" from the pre-Leap Pad days when little children learned to count using an abacus. I couldn't believe it was still there on day four of the book sale! Each page has way cool graphics, and when I saw "Nine Sweets," I knew I had to have it. I'm ripping this puppy up and framing the pages. Who needs Pottery Barn? I got me some groovy art for 25 cents!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Life in the Candy Yum Yum Household

3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Everyone's asleep. All is quiet.

Suddenly, out of no where, the Sugar Baby screeches at the top of his lungs and starts bawling his eyes out.

Spring out of a sound sleep. Heart racing. Run into Sugar Baby's room.

"What's the matter?"

"Chacka bar! Open chacka bar!"

A nightmare. He was having a nightmare that he couldn't open the chocolate bar.

I guess I won't hold out for the Mother of the Year award.

Hello, 1980s? Snickers is Calling

Mars has announced their new Christmas offerings for 2008, including a Mr. T Snickers gift pack. Um, I know I'm hopelessly out of the loop, but wasn't Mr. T popular, like, almost two decades ago?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Candy Yum Yum Book Nook!

Okay Yumsters, it's now August which means only one more month of summer beach reading. So put down that Jodi Picoult book (and while you're at it, return it to the library so I can get a look at what all the brouhaha is about) and check out these fabulous candy-themed tomes.
First we have "Candy Darlings," a young adult novel by Christine Walde. It may look like I took a horribly fuzzy photo (and typically, that would be correct), but in fact the cover of this book had a weird wooziness to it. In any case, I started to read it and it was a story of two troubled teenage girls and the hijinx they get caught up in. The fun part was that one of the characters always had candy, so in one chapter she'd be sucking on a Ring Pop, and in another she'd be chomping on a Kit Kat. I didn't get very far in the book before I had to return it, though, so I can't tell you if it ends in candy tragedy or not.
Next up is "Harriet's Halloween Candy," by Nancy Carlson. This was a delightful romp about a dog (Harriet) who gets a boatload of candy at Halloween and doesn't want to share with her brother. In the end, she makes herself look good by giving him some, but the truth is, she gives him the candy she doesn't like, and only after she's eaten herself into a sugar coma. I particularly like how she sorts out all the candy. A dog after my own heart.
Finally, we have "Magus the Lollipop Man" by Michael Mullins. I found this gem at the local humungo book sale that's held every July. There are zillions of books and-- better still-- fantastic people watching. Nothing brings out the freaks like used books. (Chill out-- I'm including myself in that equation.) I haven't read this one yet, but I knew I had to have it when I opened it and skimmed a paragraph that said something about the Black Plague lollipops. Whoa.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ritter Sport Cornflakes


Dear Ritter Sport,
Candy Yum Yum has asked that you cease and desist any and all contact with Madame Yum Yum. Please do not make yourself known to her in the supermarket or at Target or anywhere else. She acknowledges her willing participation in your past relationships, but cannot continue with you anymore. This includes all varieties of Ritter Sport, but particularly the crispy-crunchy-chocolatey-super-yummy-best-candy-bar-she's-had-in-a-long-time Cornflakes version. Please respect her boundaries.
The American (Chocolate) Bar Association

(Editor's note: this is just to say that the Ritter Sport Cornflakes bar is so yummy delishus that you should go out right now and buy one. They're on sale at Target this week: 2 for $5. Worth every penny.)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bad Neighbors

Mr. Goodbar disappeared the other night, leaving No-Nuts and I to wonder: "Where the heck is he? It's time for Buffy!" Finally, just as I was about to lock the doors for the evening (oh, who am I kidding? We all know that's not my job), he bounded up the front steps bearing a giant teddy bear. I'm talking a humongous white stuffed teddy bear, the kind you only see on Christmas Day or during a Valentine's Day proposal. The kind you have no place for in your house, especially if said house is new and you're moving into it.
It would seem that Mr. Goodbar met the new neighbors while he was out moving the cars. He told them we had a 2-year-old and the wiley and sharp neighbor lady saw her opportunity to get Teddy out of the house once and for all. The Sugar Baby found it to be a willing participant in his new game of "Toss everything on the ground and jump on it," so I suppose it was a good decision for all involved.
Now it's my turn to walk on over and say hello, so I decided to bake them one of these fabulous Blueberry Coffee Cakes. This recipe is easy and sooo yummy. I made two, figuring one would go to the neighbors, and the other Mr. Goodbar could take to his Friday breakfast meeting. That was the story until No-Nuts came home and said, "Where's ours?"
Hmmm. That was the flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan.
I should probably be ashamed to admit it, but we ate the neighbors' cake. It was a tough decision on which cake to eat, but in the end, I realized I didn't have a nice plate to put the neighbor cake on, whereas I could send Mr. Goodbar's out on a paper plate. Our cake didn't even last 24 hours. The maniacs in the house ate it all. So today, I'm making the same recipe, but with strawberries. And this time, I'm not telling anyone.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A Visit From the Ice Cube Queen!

It's amazing how quickly time flies by when you have something other than bubbles, Sesame Street and grocery shopping to keep you occupied. Like this past week. The Ice Cube Queen and two of her progeny came for a visit which flew by in a flash. But check it out: she came bearing gifts! Here we have Big Elmo modeling the chocolate p.j.'s she bought for me. They say, "All I want is chocolate. Oh ... and a couple of other things!" (Editor's note: those "things" would be sleep, and a scone and coffee in bed with the New York Times Style section. And Mr. Goodbar and the Sugar Baby off at Home Depot.)

Elmo was the model because I'm too busy doing the Derfwad Manor 5k Ass Project.

And for the Sugar Baby, there was this:

An official Florida ChocoGator! As you can see, the Sugar Baby started with a bite of the tail. He ran around the house all night saying, "Baby's Chacka Alligator!"
Hooray! Big fun from the Ice Cube Queen!