Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chocolates for Gods and Divas

I was trying to think of a snarky name for Godiva since their employees are so uppity, when I realized that the name itself says it all : God/diva. Apparently you have to be one or the other to shop there. In any case, despite the snob factor (can you tell this just irked me or what?), I purchased a candy bar for the Sugar Baby at his insistence. It was a Mint Chocolate Chip and Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar. The aroma is a good, solid mint with the fruity undertones of the chocolate. The chocolate is snappy and the filling is a soft, green cream. My first thought was, "Wow. This is yummy!" My second thought was, "This tastes a lot like Andes Candies." It was definitely tasty, but at $2 a bar, you'd be better off buying a package of Andes (or going to your favorite restaurant where they hand them out with the check).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'll Take the Truffle, But Hold the Attitude

It's been a crazy, candy-themed kinda day around here. We started off early by painting egg carton cups to look like candy. (I did candy corn; the Sugar Baby did a chocolate-covered cherry.) Then it was onto the mall where I was cashing in on the birthday freebies. First stop: Sephora, for a free make-up kit, then over to Godiva, where I begrudgingly shared my free Chocolate Lava Cake Truffle with the boy. Let me tell you, it was pretty incredible. It was a dark chocolate shell, dusted with powdered sugar and had a gooey chocolate inside. One of the best truffles I've ever had, I believe. (But really, these Godiva people have *got* to quit it with the attitude. First of all, it's chocolate, not gold. Second of all, they're the ones working there. I'm the one buying. If anyone should have an attitude, it's me. But that's not the way I roll.)
The best candy story I'll save for tomorrow. In the meantime, my new computer battery has arrived, which means I can start posting pictures again! Hooray! Enjoy this goodie from Necco-Door Neighbor Big Tony. It's a kiddy menu from Howard Johnson's, circa 1961. My favorite is the "Miss Muffet Lunch": Petite Vegetable Plate, Bacon Strip, Roll and Butter, Ice Cream, Sherbet or Gelatine. 75 cents.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear Yumsters, What Do You Think?

It's the most wonderful time of the year! School supplies are disappearing and shelves are being stocked with preliminary Halloween candy. I went to Target yesterday and scored 12 gluesticks for .98 cents, but no candy. The Candy Corn Kisses and Caramel Apple Kisses are out again this year. Will Hershey's have a new flavor again?
In other news, the countdown to my 21st 30th birthday has begun. I've loaded up on candy for a buffet that only Oompa Loompas could dream of. Although I have yet to decide what the featured candy-- the centerpiece of it all-- will be. It should be something chocolate, since the rest of what I have is all gummy and sugary. What do you think? What would look stupendous in the middle of it all?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Ghirardelli is Coming Their Way!

Thanks to everyone who entered and voted in the Ghirardelli Dark giveaway. Usually I pick random people, but this time, since there are four lucky recipients, I decided to pick a loyal Yumster, a new Yumster, a Yumster with the best answer and one random name. So if you're:
  • Rodzilla
  • Philly
  • Coolcat or
  • Virga

you're getting a a big, bountiful basket of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate! Congrats, Yumsters. Please contact me at with your mailing information!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Breaking News! CORRECTION!

Oops, my bad. A few posts ago I wrote a review of the very excellent book "The Candymakers." The first thing I pointed out was that "confectionery" was spelled "confectionary," which I believed to be wrong. Well, the folks at Little, Brown (the publisher) have set me straight. Yes, the spelling with "e" may be more common these days, but "a" is an acceptable, traditional spelling according to Random House Dictionary, among others.
This information came in a kind of round-about way. My Necco Door Neighbor Big Tony (author of the Secrets of Droon series and more), knows Wendy Mass, the author of "The Candymakers." He set me up with an interview with her so I could learn more about her research process for the book. In the meantime, she read the original review here, and naturally freaked about the "e" vs. "a" conundrum. Happily, it worked out for her. I, on the other hand, willingly take a demerit for not doing my homework.
Wendy and I talked today and she revealed how she came upon her extensive knowledge of candy making. Stay tuned. You won't want to miss it. In the meantime, get yourself a copy of the book. You (and your kids) will love it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not Candy, But Still Fun

Just in time for the fall, Oreo has released new football-shaped Oreos! They are very cute and, of course, being Oreos, they're yummy. I'd post a picture, but you know ... the evil electronic force field is still surrounding my house.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Possible 2010 Candy of the Year: TJ's Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits

Seriously, I'm beginning to think I'm one of those people who have some crazy magnetic/electric field thing going on, because it seems that there's always something going on these days. First it was my computer, then my camera, then back to the computer, then the camera and now, the computer again. Hence, my lack of posts and also the future lack of pictures until I get this situation straightened out.
As a reward for your patience, though, I'm about to reveal my latest find that is so wonderfully crunchy/salty/sweet, so chocolatey good that I think this is very definitely a contender for the 2010 Candy of the Year.
Yumsters, may I present to you...
WAIT! Where have they gone? I just went to the closet to get the bag and it's not there. This is not a good sign. Methinks Mr. Goodbar has been in the pantry again. I can't even tell you how sad I will be if I find out they are all gone.
"They" are Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits. (And just to confirm, yes, I just fished the empty bag out of the garbage.)
The description says, "Our Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits are a crunchy mix of almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, pistachios and sweet toffee. They're kettle cooked in small batches, then dipped in rich, dark chocolate and sprinkled with just a touch of Fleur de Sel, for a superbly sweet and slightly salty treat."
I mean, honestly, does it get any better than that? These babies have everything I look for in a candy: smooth chocolate (not too sweet, not too bitter; it's 60% cacao), nuts and salt. If I recall correctly, they were about $3.50 or so for a 7 oz. bag. Kinda pricey, but so worth it.
Like I said, I have no pictures due to the alien chip that's been implanted in my wrist, but they're every bit as lumpy delicious as you'd expect. Run, don't walk to get these. In the meantime, I'm calling Mr. Goodbar and telling him he'd better stop at TJ's on his way home, if he knows what's good for him.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Could You Please Pass the Salt and Red Hots?

I'm finally repainting my hideous kitchen. It was a mustardy yellow that had been "antiqued" and had distressed teal green trim. Unfortunately, the "antiquing" made it look like old oil splatters, so it was kind of a French country fail.
In any case, I unloaded all of my cookbooks from the shelves and started to go through them, deciding which are going to be donated. My absolute favorite book is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything," and I have others by him as well that I use quite often. There's one, however, that I never even cracked open: "Bittman Takes on America's Chefs." It's billed as a "culinary battle of home-style vs. restaurant style."
I started flipping through it and saw a recipe for Broiled Squab with Jordan Almonds. Say what? Yep, the ingredients were squab (a.k.a. flightless pigeon), salt and pepper, butter, and 1 1/2 cups of chopped Jordan almonds. I've never had squab, but the picture looked pretty unappetizing. That recipe was provided by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Bittman's challenge to this was Broiled Cornish Hens with Red Hots: Cornish hens, salt and pepper, butter and 1 1/2 cups ground Red Hots. I can't say that this recipe looked much better.
In the notes, Bittman says that, "the sugar from the nuts caramelizes perfectly, and for a simple dish, the crunch and flavor are unbeatable. And the Red Hots melt into a cloak over the top of the bird and then harden to a brittle, candy-like topping that is both sweet and hot."
I don't know what to think. On one hand, I want to say no thanks, but on the other hand, it might be interesting to play around with candy and savory foods. Have any of you Yumsters tried this (or anything like it)? What's your opinion?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I Got Presents!

If you think I'm looking a little more fashionable lately, it's not a trick of the eye. Check out this super cool backpack that Gretl von Schokolat made for me. She made this beautiful bag, complete with Chips Ahoy, Fun Dip and M&M wrappers, from her own wild imagination. Totally cute, right? She is one talented Chiclet.And then today, No-Nuts said, "I have a present for you." I had just driven to the far stretches of Connecticut, along one of the longest, most boring roads you could ever imagine, to dump off her mattress, box spring and bottles of booze she left in my freezer "Collected Works of Shakespeare." Yes, she has flown the coop and entered the real world. So she handed me this bag:Oh how sweet! A Pandora bracelet. Or necklace. Or ring. Or ... a bag of Skittles Fizzl'd Fruits and two very sketchy pieces of candy she got from the international crowd she works with.I've pondered trying the Skittles for a while now, but was never motivated enough to actually seek them out. The flavors are Berry Punch, Melon Berry, Raspberry, Strawberry and Wild Cherry. They look like regular Skittles, except they're covered in a powdery substance that actually does fizzle on your tongue, similar to the center of a Zotz. I thought the Berry Punch was pretty gross, but the other flavors were good. I wouldn't choose these over Sour Patch Kids, but I wouldn't turn them away if someone gave me a package for, say, lugging their crap halfway across the state.
The other two candies have nary a trace of English on them, nor do they have a recognizable fruit. Given my recent experience with international candy, I'm hesitant to try them. I think I'll save them for another night when I'm feeling a bit braver, or after I've had a few shots of Shakespeare.