Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's a Candy Blogoversary!

I just realized that May 29 was Candy Yum Yum's 7th year Blogoversary! It's always kind of sketchy, because I started writing this blog in 2003 (it was originally called "Patti Cakes") and it wasn't solely about candy. I have no idea what else I must've written about, but eventually I came to admit that sweets played a major role in my life. Like, to an obsessive degree.
If you look closely at the archives, you'll see that 2005 is missing entirely. That was when I was pregnant with the Sugar Baby and is the only time in my life that I ever was, or will be, without alcohol, caffeine and chocolate.
In my very first entry, I list my favorite candy bars. Number 10 on the list:

"Sky Bars: Haven't had one in years, but there's something really special about a candy bar with four different fillings. What are they, you ask? Fudge, peanut, marshmallow (or vanilla) and caramel."

Well, since that posting, I've re-tried a Sky Bar and, ugh, not so good. Some childhood memories are best left alone. I saw the new Twilight Sky Bars the other day and was tempted to buy one, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Number One on my list was Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, which I actually don't think I've had since they made the recipe less molasses-y. Funny how tastes change. Did you have a favorite candy bar as a kid that you no longer like? Tell us about it! Don't be shy.

In any case, we're going on our 7th year here. What would you like to read about this year? I promise, I will not give in to the Seven Year Itch and start cheating with another blog. I'm hopelessly committed.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It Can't All Be Good: A Few Positive, and a Bunch of Negative Guest Reviews

Nice, right? I tell you that I have all sorts of new products to share and then I disappear for a week. I know, I know, I’m the worst. But it’s been busy around here in the old House of Yum. The Ice Cube Queen was visiting, No-Nuts graduated from college and the Sugar Baby had his last day of preschool. Hopefully we can now return to our regularly-scheduled posts.

I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that the Reese’s Kid and Carry-On Candy Girl were here. I figured since they’re teenagers, they’d like the more sugary, novelty stuff. My bad.

The official tasting panel (Ice Cube Queen, Reese’s Kid, Carry-On Candy Girl, Grandma and Pop Pop) assembled out on the patio one night and commenced their tasting. Here are their notes.


G'ma: "World War II rubber"

Pop: "Gimbal’s Scottie Dogs much better"

COCG: "Not the best"

ICQ: “Fake taste, funny texture, big disappointment -- not worth going off diet for”


G'ma: "ick"

Pop: "not bad"

COCG: "ok"

RK: "very sweet"

ICQ: "eww... horrible"... didn't finish bite

LOTS OF FRUITI CHEWS (blue raspberry)

G'ma: "worse than ick"

COCG: "alright"

ICQ: "tastes like perfume, bad aftertaste, wouldn't want another bite"


RK: "NO!"

COCG: "Don't like spray candy"


G'ma: "candy made in America is much better"

COCG: "start was good, but end was disgusting"

ICQ: tried cherry/orange. Soft gummy; fake orange taste

RK: "definitely NO; pukey taste"

FINI (bright colored fruit-looking candy & tennis balls)

ICQ: horrible tasting gum

COCG: "gum full of sugar inside (like a geode); pure sugar! No taste"


We all went back to the licorice at this point even though it tasted like plastic because it took the other horrible aftertastes out of our mouths.

Pop: "This taste testing was a DISASTER! ALL junk!"


(fat free candy straws in colors; listed fruit and veggie extracts so we were hopeful, made in Holland)

ICQ: "horrible taste - couldn't even eat one of the 9 pieces in the package!"

COCG: "tasted okay" (but went back for licorice after)

ALL had a piece of the grape/pomegranate Vitamingum to remove the fake tastes of everything else! The gum was small in size, but large enough to blow small bubbles.

Just want you to know Candy Yum Yum, you owe us something GOOD!!!!

(Editor's note: The grape/pomegranate Vitamingum was quite a big hit. COCG said it was the best gum she's ever had.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ghirardelli Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares Giveaway! I really appreciate all the new visitors; I hope you'll come back to visit often. And a big thank you to all the loyal Yumsters who make it such a pleasure to write this blog. Using a random number generator, I picked four winners out of the hundreds of responses. I'll be contacting you via e-mail. In the meantime, be sure to check back soon for my next giveaway. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mrs. Barsky and the Mysterious Penny Candy

(Image from I think I need this.)
About a month ago, I posted that a candy mystery has popped up in my life. It's all very intriguing. It started when the Necco Door Neighbor's Famous Author Husband mentioned something about Barsky's candy in the town we grew up in. Barsky's candy? Never heard of it. He said it was a little old lady who sold penny candy out of her house.
I found this to be very mysterious and exciting, but you know, you can never trust an author to tell the truth. They do, after all, have a way with words.
But then I started writing a column for a local website and in my research for other articles, I came across a few other people who mentioned "old lady Barsky." Crazy stuff! I'm hot on the trail because this contains all the stuff of a great story: penny candy, an old lady, nostalgia and intrigue. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet, sweet Friday

I had a banner day on Friday. 1) I was writing a nostalgia piece about a bakery from my youth-- a bakery that made the best doughnuts and giant chocolate chip cookies ever. They closed four years ago. By some sprinkling of magic fairy dust, I discovered that the bakery had re-opened just two months ago. I am pleased to report that the cinnamon doughnuts and the cookies are even better than I remembered and I'm now able to pass this tradition on to the Sugar Baby who ate such a huge cookie that he had a stomach ache. And 2) I came home to find a giant box of all sorts of candy on my doorstep. The National Confectioners Association will be hosting their Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago next week, but unfortunately, I won't be able to attend due to No-Nuts' college graduation. But the good news is, I now have 25 pounds of all sorts of new and exciting candy to share with you all thanks to the kind folks at the NCA. So between the new/old bakery and the candy extravaganza, my diet is pretty much shot. Luckily the Reese's Kid and the Carry On Candy Girl will be here for a week to help me taste test.
In the meantime, I couldn't wait to try the Reese's Minis. I suppose I should've saved them for the Reese's Kid, but I only have so much willpower. The package says, "Conveniently Unwrapped Mini Cups." These are ideal for the Sugar Baby, who often forgets that Reese's have a cup wrapper and doesn't remember until he realizes he's chewing paper.
For contrast, I decided to compare them to Palmer Peanut Butter Cups. Now, in the past I've been known to comment on the fact that Palmer "chocolates" don't really contain any chocolate. This, again, is the case. The ingredients are: sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, peanut butter, whey, lactose, cocoa, peanut flour, skim milk, salt emulsifiers and vanillin. Compare that with the Reese's which contain: milk chocolate, peanuts, sugar, dextrose, cocoa butter, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, salt, PGPR (an emulsifier) and TBHQ (a preservative).
Hmmm. It's safe to say that neither is a health food. Both contain partially hydrogenated oil, or as I like to call it, the devil's fat. Just because Reese's contains milk chocolate doesn't mean I should go getting all snotty about the Palmer peanut butter cups.
So here's the breakdown: the little Reese's Minis were cute and would be great for cookies. As for just plain eating, though, I prefer the larger cups. It's strictly a textural thing. I like the thick rim of chocolate on the normal sized cups.
The Palmer cups were actually not bad, especially considering the fact that I expected them to be gritty and nasty. Would I take them over the Reese's? No. But it would be interesting to a more in-depth blind taste test at some point. I'll put that on my list of things to do. In the meantime, here's a little teaser of just some of the candies I'll be talking about this week:
  • Mike and Ike Bubblegum
  • Wonka Whipped Wingers Gummies
  • Necco Wafers Chocolate
  • Starburst Summer Fun Fruits
  • Ferrara Chocolate Milk Chocolate Strawberry
  • Goetze's Double Chocolate Bullseyes ...
  • and much, much more!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Friend in Need ... Apparently is Me

First of all, several of you have asked me for the recipe for the giant Whoopie Pie. (I noticed no one asked me for the recipe for the Sugar Baby's cake.) It actually came from Wicked Whoopies; the Baroness brought it down from Maine as a Mother's Day present for Memaw. Do I even dare mention that she also brought a regular sized lemon one and an Orange Creamsicle one? There was no dearth of sweetness last weekend.
And speaking of Mother's Day ...
Do I have the most awesome friends or what? After the Sugar Baby's birthday party on Saturday, I hauled my tired butt upstairs and found this:
Signs created by my Partner-in-Crime (and encouraged, apparently, by my mom) that said: "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye... Today I am not a mother, wife or daughter. I am just me. Do not knock on the door. Do not ask what's for breakfast/lunch/dinner. The pediatrician's # is 555-5555. In case of emergency, call 911." There was also a sign on the Sugar Baby's door that said, "Go ask your father." But not only that. On my nightstand was this:
The chocolates were from Christopher Norman Chocolates and they are fabulous. One was mint, another was I'm guessing passion fruit, and I have two left. My PIC kept telling me about this chocolatier located off Wall Street where her husband works, but they had never gone there. (I just don't understand how people can pass by a chocolate shop and not even go in.) I checked out the website and I think I'll be making a trip there soon. I have to try their blue cheese truffles and their dark chocolate blood orange bar. So she bought me these chocolates and wine to savor for Mother's Day. I truly have the most fabulous friends in the world. Whoopie!!
Now I just need to get over the fact that people were in my bedroom which, quite frankly, at this point, needs a front loader to be cleaned.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Breakfast of Champions and the Lost Files

Here, ladies and gentlemen, we have a ginormous Whoopie Pie that was a gift to Memaw for her birthday. And here is the Baron enjoying a piece of it for breakfast, along with a chocolate muffin, a buttered croissant and a glass of milk. (But it's all good; he's doing PX90, after all).
I was fortunate enough to discover two pictures from my candy buffet: a jar of Mike & Ikes and a vase of gumdrop kabobs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ghirardelli Million Moments Chocolate Giveaway

Check it out Yumsters! Ghirardelli is having a fun sweepstakes on their website ( called "Million Moments." All you have to do to enter is visit their website and tell them where and when you enjoy Ghirardelli Squares Chocolates. There are thousands of chocolate prizes and a trip for two to a famous world square.
In the meantime, you can also enter the Candy Yum Yum Ghirardelli Giveaway. I have four baskets of Ghirardelli Squares to send to some lucky Yumsters. All you have to do is leave a comment here telling me where your favorite "square" is. (I'd have to say mine is a tie between St. Mark's in Venice and St. George's in Bermuda.)
Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in case you're a winner (that means don't post your comment anonymously!) I'll pick four recipients at midnight on May 18. (Continental U.S. residents only.) Good luck!
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Sugar Baby's Candy Blow-Out!

The Sugar Baby is officially 4!

Wait until you see the candy buffet I made for him.

Just wait ...

Wait for it ...

Here it comes ...

Guess what I forgot to take a picture of? Can you even believe it? I've been obsessing over this dang candy-themed brouhaha for weeks now and I forgot to take a picture of the sugary spread. Here's what I had: Haribo Raspberries, Haribo Strawberries & Cream, Haribo black licorice spirals, candy buttons, Mike & Ikes, gumdrop kabobs, Grapevines, wax bottles, M&M's, jelly beans, Ring Pops and sour fizzy marshmallow cones.It's hard to say who liked it more-- the kids or the adults. My Partner-in-Crime called me the next day to say that her husband got into bed that night with a goodie bag he made for himself,
complete with wax bottles. Awesome.

The day started off very stormy, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hang my decorations, but the sun came out just in time. I got some colorful balls and wrapped them in cellophane to look like candies. (I had also tried to make giant swirly lollipops out of foam board, but gave up halfway through.)
Since the Sugar Baby is into mushrooms as much as he's into candy, I tried to make a mushroom-shaped cake, but instead we ended up with this hot mess:
It tasted pretty good, though. Lemon cake with lemon frosting. I figured we'd need a break from chocolate.

In other news, I found Pretzel M&M's at the store and bought some for The Baroness to try. She looked at the package and said, "Only 150 calories for the whole package!"
That's something I forgot to mention. Yes, 150 calories, but there were a lot fewer in there than in a bag of peanut M&M's.
I talked to Alexandra Super Shopper today and she also has tried them. Her comment was that the chocolate/pretzel ratio should be more like a peanut M&M. I totally agree. She liked the idea of mixing them with plain M&M's. Perhaps there will be an M&M Fun Mix in the future?!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Free Chocolate from Godiva

I think I officially have more store cards on my keychain than keys. Last month I added another one-- for Godiva. Their rewards program is free (unlike the Barnes & Noble one which I just don't understand) and is quite a good deal. When you sign up for the card, you get a free piece of Godiva every month. Considering their truffles average about $2 each, that's pretty cool. And, if you spend $10 or more, the next month you'll get a free gift. Last month I had to buy a present for someone, and today I went in to buy another present and claim my free chocolate and gift. Being all cynical, I figured the "gift" would be a coupon or something, but it was actually a two-piece box. For my free chocolate, I chose a coconut cream truffle, and while I was in the store, I tried a dark chocolate lemon something-or-other. It felt like Christmas!
Godiva gets a bad rap in chocosnob circles. Of course it's not the best chocolate and yes, it's owned by Hershey, but I enjoy it as much as most other upscale brands (and their packaging is nicer than say, Lindt). The coconut truffle was good; my only criticism is that it was milk chocolate rather than dark, which would've been a much better complement to the creamy coconut center.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Pretzel M&M's in the House!

Finally. I've been waiting with baited breath all week to get my hands on the new Pretzel M&M's. As I mentioned before, I think the package is really cute. But would the candy stand up to my ideals?
First off, these M&M's are fat and round like gumballs. I tried to put them on a slanted surface and they rolled right off. My impression of these evolved as I made my way through the package. With the first M&M I thought, too dry. Not enough chocolate. Second taste: these are good, but yes, definitely need more chocolate. These would be great mixed in with a bunch of plain M&M's. Third bite: good salt/sweet balance. Last piece: where'd they all go?!
I tried eating them several different ways-- crunching straight into them, sucking on the candy shell and chocolate to get to the pretzel, and biting them in half. These are good, and I'd definitely buy them again, but next time this is how things will go down: I'll get a big bowl. I'll pour in the pretzel M&Ms and then add some plain M&M's in a 60/40 ratio. Then I'll wonder how they disappeared so fast.
These should be hitting the stores this week (if they haven't already), so keep your eyes peeled for the blue wrappers. Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends Before Sugar Shock '10

I figured I should post now before the candy flood gates open up in, let's see, five days. That's when the Sugar Baby's candy-themed birthday party will be in full swing and no doubt he'll be wound tighter than a yo-yo from all the sugar and plethora of grandparents and cousins.
This weekend was a carnival at his school, so I donated a basket full of candy goodies. In some sort of karmic retribution, it turns out that the Sugar Baby guessed the correct number of animal crackers in a jar, so we have 500 cookies headed our way. Oh my.
In other news, I'm anxiously waiting on pins and needles for samples of new Pretzel M&M's. It's been a long time since I was this excited for a new candy. I hope it lives up to my expectations. I love the package, which is surprising because I generally don't like the M&M characters for some reason, but the pretzel X-ray is pretty cute.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Countdown to the Sugar Baby's Birthday!

I've neglected to mention that the Sugar Baby will be turning 4 next week. How did that happen? In any case, the theme of this year's party will be-- wait for it-- Candy! Stay tuned for all the crazy surprises I have in store. (And of course, I'm taking suggestions!) In the meantime, the Sugar Baby celebrated his birthday in school this week and I made a batch of cookies that were shaped like cupcakes.