Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mmmm, mmm, Mint M&M's

I love mint. I love dark chocolate. I love M&M's. Therefore, I love dark mint M&M's. That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Candy Empire State Building!

I'm not exactly sure why I thought going to the top of the Empire State Building last weekend was a good idea, considering I've had vertigo for four months and it was one of the busiest weekends in the city all year. Nevertheless, up we went. It was great and all, but the real treasure was at the bottom. A candy replica of the sky scraper! So very cool.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea #2: Made in the U.S.A. candy canes!

You've heard me complain about candy made in China before and at this time of year I always seem to get a few e-mails from people asking about candy canes. I was so excited when I received a press release yesterday about a new candy cane on the market. Check this out: True Blue Candy Canes are red, white and blue candy canes for a cause. Twenty-five percent of profits from the candy canes benefit the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, which assists children who have lost a parent in the Marine Corps by allowing them to pursue higher education.

In 2009, Alexander Lynn—just 18 at the time—vowed to help families of U.S. service members after his cousin returned home from a nine-year assignment in the Marine Corps. It was just two weeks before Christmas, and Alexander glanced at his Christmas tree laden with candy canes, and the idea of True Blue Candy Canes dawned on him.

Each True Blue Candy Cane is handcrafted by Hammond’s Candies of Denver. True Blue Candy Canes can be purchased online at
Now, as is usually the case, these are more expensive than made-in-China candy canes. They're $9.99 for a box of three (don't choke!), but it should be noted that these are big and substantial. (I haven't tried them, so I can't comment on the taste.) And, of course, $2.50 goes directly to the charity. So it all comes down to how strong your political leanings are.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let the giving begin!

Let the countdown to Christmas begin! I'm going to start posting some ideas for holiday gifts here, so let me know if you have any ideas or are looking for something specific. In the meantime, here's Gift Idea #1 for Christmas 2011:

Lindt Bear
I think these bears are adorable and make great gifts because a) they're good-quality chocolate, so they feel like a real gift rather than just some last-minute purchase and b) they're a nice price (around $4 for the big bear). I was sent some samples from the company, and I fully intended on putting the little bears in the Sugar Baby's stocking. (You know, in case Santa forgets the chocolate.) But one night I heard the sweet Siren call of the chocolate bears and I couldn't resist. Oh yes, there was plenty of chocolate in the house, but for some reason, a little hollow bear seemed to be just the thing I needed. I was quite surprised when I peeled back the foil and was just overcome with the most perfect, intense chocolate aroma. It was like the good old days at the chocolate shop when I'd come home from work and sniff my hair which was permeated with the smell of cocoa. I thoroughly enjoyed my little bear, so much so that there aren't any left. Looks like Santa had better remember to bring some more with him. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spicy chocolates for Thanksgiving

There's definitely been a void in the confectionery department when it comes to Thanksgiving. It seems like every holiday has at least one special candy to call its own, but Thanksgiving has always been lacking. Not any more. Check it out, Yumsters. First, we have Lindt Holiday Spice truffles.
Let me just say that I love cinnamon. It's my favorite spice. But, like pumpkin, I've never really found it to be a good compliment to chocolate, so I was a little afraid to try these truffles. I feared they would taste like a Yankee Candle.
No worries, though. These are a nice balance of Lindt's sweet, creamy chocolate and just enough spice to make it interesting. These would be great for the Thanksgiving table.
I was in Target the other day and was surprised to find Cinnamon M&M's. As is often the case with Limited Edition M&M's, these are larger than Plain M&M's. The colors are pretty fall-inspired oranges and browns. Again, I was afraid they might be too cinnamony, but in fact, they were nicely balanced. I wouldn't call them subtle, but they weren't in-your-face, either. My mother-in-law gives them two thumbs up. Mr. Goodbar, on the other hand, feels that all Limited Edition candies are an affront to candy world. He likens it to cable tv. Too many channels (or in this case, flavors). "They're diluting their own brand," he says. I can't say I disagree, but it's also fun to try something new.
What will you be serving as your Thanksgiving chocolate?

Thank God it's over with

As you may recall, last year my friend Alexandra found some interesting stuff in her kids' trick-or-treat bags. My favorite is the empty Scooby Doo bubble bath bottle. This year was nary so interesting. Lots of political stuff, and a Kicking Daisies CD, but the rest was all pretty mainstream. They did score quite a few full-sized bars, though.

So that about does it for Halloween 2011: The Horror Story.

How did your Halloween stack up?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Halloween 2011: You can't keep us down

You didn't really think we'd stay in on Halloween, did you? Despite the odds, we decided we were going to keep up with tradition and do all of our annual Halloween activities. So after the downtown trick-or-treat, it was off to my parents' house to show off the mummy costume (and score a Russell Stover Chocolate Marshmallow Pumpkin). Then, onto the church to visit Father John!
As you may recall, last year 186 kids visited the church to get a full-sized candy bar. Every year, Father John tries to beat the previous year's record. He said he was hopeful that this year would be good, since school was closed and people were anxious to get out of the house. But since it was weird with the snow and all, it was questionable whether the turnout would be good or not.
Just a side comment, here. Father John does a great job of setting the scene in the rectory. There were candles burning and Gregorian chant playing on the stereo. He had cheese and crackers set out for the adults, a really cool frame that displayed old timey candy bags and-- you've gotta love this-- a table decorated with spooky stuff, including a copy of "The Exorcist." Now that is funny!

Of course, the focus of it all was the big basket filled with not just full-sized candy bars, but KING sized. Nice, right? He let the Sugar Baby take not one, not two, but THREE candy bars. He picked a Hershey bar, a Snickers and a bag of Skittles.
We talked a bit and then it was back in the car to drive home and contemplate what the night would bring. The Sugar Baby took a brief snooze in the car after all the exercise and candy.
By the time 6 o'clock rolled around, I was wiped out, but I saw some of the neighbors put their lights on. People were posted frantically on Facebook: "Are you going out tonight?" "Who's trick-or-treating?" "You can't cancel Halloween!"
So Mr. Goodbar and the Sugar Baby headed out into the vast unknown while I stayed behind to hand out full-sized Twix. One gaggle of teenagers nearly wiped out my full supply.
An hour later, the crew returned with a bucket brimming with candy. We dumped it out and began the ritual sorting.
As you can see, there wasn't anything particularly unusual, except for the Toy Story notebook. What was surprising was the absence of certain candies. No Smarties! No Necco Wafers! No pennies! The selection was kind of disappointing, really. I mean, it's great that he got such an abundance of top-tier candy bars, but it's nice to have a little variety.
All in all, it was the weirdest Halloween ever. Some kids went out, others waited until the rescheduled Halloween that took place this past Saturday. (Friends are reporting that it was just creepy. Desolate streets and hardly a spooky Halloween atmosphere.) Let's hope the rescheduling of Halloween never happens again.

And oh, as far as Father John, his Halloween wish came true! He had 262 trick-or-treaters and he had to run down to the corner gas station to get more candy. Now that's some Halloween spirit!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Scariest Halloween Ever.

Q: Why did the vampire love this year's Halloween?
A: Because it was a giant suckfest.

I began writing a detailed post about all of the elements that went into making this the most bizarre Halloween ever, but it was too painful to relive. So here's what you need to know:
1) Snow in New England.
2) School is cancelled.
3) The First Selectman cancels Halloween and reschedules it for this-coming Saturday night.
4) The vertigo which I've been experiencing for 3 months now takes a wicked turn for the worse.
and then this:

I took the Sugar Baby to my parents' town for the afternoon trick-or-treat in the downtown shopping area. On the green, all the local politicians and police set up booths where they give out candy and fliers. There was one table being manned by some grouchy old men offering up lollipops. The Sugar Baby took one just as another kid grabbed a handful, so one of the old men said loudly, "Just take one!" This freaked the Sugar Baby out, so he reached into his bucket and pulled out a Butterfinger, which he tossed back into their pile of low-rent lollipops. Oh the horror! A bad trade! I couldn't really reach back into the pile and pull out the Butterfinger, so we just moved on. But it was that kind of day.

Tired, dizzy and hungry, we took a short break where I had some soup and the Sugar Baby began sorting his loot, including the two glow-in-the-dark bracelets with politicians' names on them. (Who thought of this brilliant idea? Don't they know these are going straight into the landfill?)
So how did the rest of our Halloween go? Did we follow the rules and stay in on Halloween night, or were we rebels, hitting the streets as soon as the street lights went on? Stay tuned ...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween is cancelled?!

What can be more depressing than getting a rock in your trick-or-treat bag? How about this e-mail, sent from my town's superintendent: 

"There are a little more than 1,000 homes in Candyland without power.  While the storm is over, there are still downed trees and live power lines throughout Town.  As such, in light of this evening being Halloween, the Chief of Police and our Emergency Management Team are strongly advising residents not take children out this evening for Trick or Treats.  Accordingly, the Town of Trumbull is determining a make up date for this annual event. 

Once the Town determines that all downed power line and tree limb issues are resolved, a new Halloween date will be scheduled for later in the week.  Residents will be advised of this date as soon as it is determined.

With predicted high winds, tree limbs and downed power lines are still a major issue. In the interest and safety of our children and parents/guardians, we believe the above course of action should be considered."

A make-up date? You can't make-up Halloween! Stay tuned, folks. It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy ... Halloween?

Yep, this is the worst trick of all. You may have heard that New England was walloped with a storm last night. Giant, wet flakes of snow fell from the sky while the winds blew and tree branches snapped off. It was all kind of crazy. The Sugar Baby of course thought this was great, but in the back of my mind all day I just kept thinking, "What about trick-or-treating?" Let me tell you, nothing kills the candy-begging mood like the crunch of wet, cold snow under your feet. Fortunately, it warmed up pretty well today and the streets are pretty clear. School has already been canceled for tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, Halloween is ON!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No costume, no candy

This time of year, lots of candy statistics get tossed around. 35 million pounds of candy corn will be made this year. About one pound will be consumed in my house, one corn per day. The folks at Twix sent along some interesting tidbits to ponder.

According to their research, women prefer chewy treats more than men do (42 percent to 33 percent), while more men than women seek out treats with a crunch (33 percent to 23 percent). I don't know if I agree with that, but I did take a particular interest in the next statistic:

Nearly 7 out of 10 adults (69 percent) ages 18 to 24, and half of adults ages 25 to 34 said they would do it if they could. Trick-or-treating, that is. The only thing holding them back is dirty looks from the neighbors.

As I mentioned on my interview with The Sporkful, I love taking the Sugar Baby trick-or-treating. Heck, yes, I dressed him up when he was just a baby and strolled him around town looking for treats. I'm shameless that way, and so are many other parents. Sue me. 
I did mention, however, that I have a *special* bucket of leftover crap treats that I use for teenagers who call a baseball cap a costume. I freely admit that I've been known to clean out the pantry and collect all the granola bars, oatmeal packets, tea bags and raisin boxes that aren't going to be eaten and dole those out. I always thought that I was against trick-or-treating once you reached a certain age, say 17 or so. But the guys at The Sporkful made me realize that I'm not really an ageist, I'm a costumist. This was pretty revelatory to me. I feel empowered. So if you've got a costume, stop by my house on Halloween, even if you're 45 and don't have a kid in tow. I'll be giving out full-size Twix.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Post-The Sporkful Interview: When things got really scary

Hopefully by now you've listened to The Sporkful podcast I mentioned in my previous post and you've become instant fans of Dan and Mark. (I dare you to listen to the egg sandwich episode and not stop at the deli tomorrow morning.) If you haven't heard it yet, take a 1/2 hour and give it a listen. Then come back and read the rest of this post in which I reveal to you what happened after the taping. I'll wait here.
I went to bed that night full of nervous energy. I’m not a public speaker (if you couldn’t already tell), so I thought my nerves were all jangly over that. But then, suddenly! Terror raced through me! Ohmygosh … I realized that the Sugar Baby had never had a full-sized, four-fingered Kit Kat. I knew the challenge that lay before me.
The next day I went out and bought a Kit Kat. After I fed the Sugar Baby lunch and he was fully ensconced in Phineas & Ferb, I casually pulled it out of the pantry. “Hey,” I said, “check it out.”
His eyes grew when he saw, what very possibly might have been, the first non-Fun Size candy bar he’s ever had. “I can have it?” he asked. “The whole thing?”
“Yes!” I said, excitedly. “Your first big Kit Kat!” And then I got out the camera, as if I wanted to document this huge milestone in his life. Of course, what I was really doing was baiting him. I wanted to see what an unconditioned, un-candy-socialized soul would do with four connected Kit Kat fingers. And this, dear Yumsters, is what he did.

He bit into the whole thing. He grasped all four chocolate fingers at once and bit into them. Oh the humanity! I started laughing, not in a good way, but in an anxiety-ridden, holy crap kind of way. “Let me show you something,” I said, and pulled the bar from his grasp. “Look at these sections. Don’t you think it would be fun to break off each piece?” I asked.
He looked seriously ticked off. “No,” he said, and took the bar back. Eventually it split of its own accord, and that really aggravated him. 
Meanwhile, I was having a moment of my own, being transported back in time to that day at Grand Union when the little boy chomped on the Kit Kat and forever altered my world.
As I mentioned on The Sporkful, my own way of eating a Kit Kat is certainly not for everyone. (I believe Dan referred to it as "corn-cobbing.") It requires a certain level of patience and dexterity that I understand not everyone has. So then I was hit with a second blow. I was mentioning my typical Kit Kat attack plan to my Partner-In-Crime, and she said, “Well, that’s how I eat it, too.” WHAT? Now this was a shocker. I don’t understand how I’ve never seen her eat a Kit Kat and furthermore, I can’t believe she eats it the same way. We could’ve gone to our death beds and not known that we had this brilliant piece of confectionery minutiae in common.
Well, you know where this is all leading. I have to know how you eat a Kit Kat. Are there other four-finger biters out there? Or other deconstructionists? Tell me your technique and I’ll tell you all about yourself. A sort of fortune telling by Kit Kat strategy, if you will.  

The Sporkful talks Halloween candy

Hey Yumsters, I have a particularly sweet treat for you today. I had the honor of being a guest on The Sporkful, which, if you don't already know, is perhaps the most brilliant food podcast in existence. I mean, when you can do a whole show about ice and leave your audience wanting for more, you know you're doing something right.
Listen to it here.  (Episode 94: Halloween 2011).
This time, the hosts Dan Pashman and Mark Garrison dove deep into the multi-faceted world of Halloween candy. Their first guest, Gabe, wrote a manifesto about Halloween candy. I can't say I agree with all his proclamations, but he appears to be a kindred spirit. I talked about the correct way to eat a Kit Kat (or shall I say, the preferred method) and I name the most overrated and underrated Halloween candies. Check it out and then come back here later. I'm going to explain what happened after the show was taped and the incident that filled me with extreme shock and horror. You won't want to miss it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Disappointment at Trader Joe's

Standing in line at Trader Joe's the other day, I nearly dropped to my knees and wept with joy. There, in the checkout line, were bags upon bags of their new Milk Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips. When I worked at the chocolate shop in college, we had chocolate potato chips that were sublime, a perfect balance of sweet chocolate and salty chips. The chips used were Ruffles because, I was told, they didn't get soggy once they were dipped. The result was something akin to a Nestle Crunch, only with a hint of salt. They were $10.95 a pound back then (I'm shivering as I now realize that was 16 years ago), so I can only imagine what they go for now. Seeing them at TJ's for less than $3 a bag made the purchase a no-brainer.
After I distracted the Sugar Baby with a granola bar, I surreptitiously stole a potato chip out of the bag for myself. I bit into it, expecting to hear angels sing. Instead, I got "wah, wah, wahhhhhh." The chip was stale-ish tasting. It didn't mesh well with the chocolate. It was so not good that I still have the entire bag, untouched, in my pantry. Believe me, something's got to be pretty bad to stick around here.

My other purchase from that trip was the Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Caramel with Sea Salt. Again, this seemed like an instant win. The bar is super thin, which made it very difficult to break into sections. In fact, I ended up getting caramel all over the wrapper because it was impossible to get a clean break. As for the taste, well, it was much better than the potato chips, but it's not one of my favorite TJ's chocolates. The problem with this was that the chocolate was too dark (70%) for the rather large salt crystals. To me, it bordered on savory.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Candy Yum Yum in the news!

Here's a fun little piece from the folks over at Women's World magazine. Candy Yum Yum weighed in with Halloween Ghost Dots. I keep reading about Candy Corn-flavored and Pumpkin Spice-flavored M&M's (at Walmart and Target, respectively), but I haven't actually seen them yet. Have you tried them? Send me a note and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reminder: October 22 is Wombat Day

It's October 12, so you know what that means ... 10 DAYS UNTIL WOMBAT DAY! I almost forgot again, but thankfully Peter at Wombania emailed me a reminder. You can read all about it here, or simply bake a cake, buy a few boxes of wine gums and lots of booze and get ready to party, because Wombat Day only happens once a year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Free birthday goods

It used to be that Denny's was the place to go for a free birthday meal. Nowadays, things are different and a lot more places offer free goodies. Because I'm cheap New Englandy and frugal, I recently spent my birthday graciously accepting all the gratis goods coming my way. Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts both offer free drinks. (Sign up on their websites and they'll send you a postcard for a free beverage). I took the opportunity to try the Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks. I'm not usually much for flavored coffee beverages, but it just sounded yummy, so why not?
No dramatic lead-in here: it was so good. The roasty taste of the espresso was balanced by the sweet buttery deliciousness of the caramel. Since it was my birthday, I opted for the whipped cream, which was topped with sticky caramel drizzle and-- you know it's coming-- a shake of sea salt. "Caffeine and salt?" you cry. "That's a heart attack in a cup!" Well, yes, it may be, but it was also pure yummy decadence. For a once-a-year splurge, it was worth every penny. Or in this case, it was TOTALLY worth the free coupon.
Next on the birthday party free goods roadtrip was a stop at Panera, which yielded a free pastry (in this case, a brownie) which was handed over to the Sugar Baby.

Since I was already at the mall, I headed over to the Godiva store where I cashed in on my monthly free chocolate. I chose a pumpkin cheesecake truffle. Had I been thinking more clearly, I would've chosen the pumpkin spice truffle, which has a chocolate shell, as opposed to the one with the white chocolate (or, in this case, orange-colored chocolate) shell. The filling was half pumpkiny cream and half cream cheesey cream. It was pretty tasty, but also pretty sweet. One was definitely sufficient to meet my daily recommended truffle intake.
I still have yet to cash in on my free bubble bath from Sephora and hibachi dinner at the local Japanese place. And I got a nice e-card from Mini Cooper, but alas, no free car.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Repost from Halloween 2010: Oh the Horror!

Editor's note: In doing some Halloween-based research, I came across this post from last year that I'd forgotten all about. I won't give away the ending, because it's just THAT GOOD. I thought I'd post it again to get everyone in the proper scary mood.

A new Halloween tradition has started around here. It's called, "I can't wait to get the pictures of Alexandra's trick-or-treat haul." As you might remember, last year Alex's son came home with a big bagful of candy and ... a chocolate Easter bunny. I thought she'd get a kick out of our candy cane and nasty expired candy this year, but oh no, she has us beat again. And in a big way. Example Number One: Candy from her older son's bag. Let's see, there's some nice full-size bars there, Oreos, lots of Butterfingers and M&M's. But then, let's take a closer look. To the far left is a holiday foam kit to make a skeleton. Well that's cool. Up top, there's an "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" toy that appears to be from a Wendy's kids' meal. Okay, a little weird, but within the boundaries of acceptability. There's a Capri Sun. Um, hello? A bag of juice mixed in with all sorts of candy and other wackiness? Seems like a recipe for disaster. Fortunately it didn't explode. And then we have the coupon for one free week of karate (lame) and, in a bold and daring move that makes Charlie Brown's trick-or-treat rocks look almost tempting, we have a postcard from a mortgage broker. It says something about locking in a "Spooktacular" rate on your mortgage. Maybe next year I'll hand out magazine subscription postcards if this is the way things are headed. But wait! Just when you think you've seen it all, let's move over to the younger boy's Halloween haul. He's the same age as the Sugar Baby, which is a terribly cute stage and, according to my research, is likely to get you more candy. So here we have lots of full-sized bars-- nice score! There's a Skippyjon Jones book. Well, nothing wrong with that, I suppose, and a Where's Waldo toy (another kids' meal, perhaps?) There's something to the right that looks like a baby teether and some various other little toys. But, ladies and gentlemen, the piece de resistance, or perhaps more accurately, the coup de grace, the Scooby Doo. Cute, right? A big plastic Scooby Doo toy-- who wouldn't want one? Well, no one would considering it's an EMPTY BUBBLE BATH BOTTLE! Yes, dear Yumsters, you read that right. A used toiletry item.
So let's consider the questions these two candy hauls bring up.
1) Where in the heck is Alexandra trick-or-treating? (I asked her and strangely enough, it was in her parents' neighborhood which is quite lovely and not at all the type of of place you'd expect to find anything worse than a roll of Necco wafers.)
2) Where are people getting this stuff? Do they save all their kids' meal toys and plastic crap all year just to give out at Halloween?
3) Do they think kids are going to be excited to find an empty bubble bath bottle in their bags?
4) How can *I* lock in a Spooktacular rate on my mortgage?
So dear Yumsters, you know I want to hear from you now. What special goodies did your kids get in their bags this year? Don't be shy. We want to know! And if anyone can beat the Scooby Doo bottle, I'll send you a special surprise.

Russell Stover pumpkins: Made in the U.S.A.

I've been sorely lacking in my Halloween coverage this year. It's already the second week of October, for gosh golly sakes. What is wrong with me? At this point in time over the past few years, I'd already planned out my Halloween schedule/trick-or-treating route, jamming in as many candy-filled activities into 24 hours as I possibly could. I should be in training with the Sugar Baby right now, loading him up with carbs and doing practice runs throughout the neighborhood. But a kink has been thrown into the works. See, I've been dealing with a strange bout of vertigo since August. Basically, I feel like I'm standing on a boat, walking on pillows, after drinking a few too many rum punches. Now, if this were truly the case, that would be a good thing. Unfortunately it's just the feeling, minus the boat and the booze. Hence, I'm not sure what Halloween is going to bring this year. But I have hope that all will be okay by the time October 31st rolls around, at which time I will have some serious trick-or-treating to do.
In the meantime, I'm starting to slowly get back into the groove. With that, I present to you this year's initial Halloween offerings: Russell Stover Milk Chocolate Pumpkin and Caramel Mini Pumpkin. 

I bought these both for the Sugar Baby and he gave them both a thumbs up. I was drawn to them because a) they're festive and b) the wrapper specifically points out that the chocolate is Made in America, along with a little American flag. I'm big on supporting American businesses, and even more so when it entails food. I didn't get to try the milk chocolate pumpkin, but the caramel ones came in a bag of six or so and were on sale at Stop & Shop for $1. I have to say, I was mighty impressed with these. I'd go as far to say as these present the perfect caramel consistency. Not too soft, not too hard and chewy. The caramel is just sticky enough to have bite without fear of ripping your fillings out.
 I've been checking out the Halloween candy at different stores and I have to say that this year seems pretty lackluster. There aren't too many new products out there. What do you think? Have you seen anything that demands attention?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Oh the anticipation! New candy bars on tap from Mars

Breaking news from Mars! Check this out candy lovers. There's some good stuff here!
1) 3 Musketeers Coconut will hit the shelves in December. Unlike other coconut bars that I so looked forward to (Twix Coconut, for one), this one scares me a little. I'm not sure it sounds that good, but I'm certainly willing to check it out.
2) M&M's Dark Chocolate Mint. Now these, I'm anxiously anticipating.
3) In May, 2012, look for M&M Snack Mixes. Milk Chocolate Candies Snack Mix features milk chocolate M&M’s, mini chocolate chip cookies, mini pretzel twists and peanuts; Dark Chocolate Candies Snack Mix comprises dark chocolate M&M’s, raisins, almonds and mini pretzel twists; Peanut Chocolate Candies Snack Mix has peanut M&M’s, mini shortbread cookies, almonds and mini pretzel twists. YUM!
4) Snickers 3X Chocolate 2 To Go bars (that's a lot of numbers in a candy bar name) will feature peanuts in chocolate caramel on top of chocolate nougat, covered in milk chocolate.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Good Reads, Good Eats: Candy 1 to 20

Remember waaaay back when (two years ago) when the Sugar Baby was obsessed with a candy cookbook? (Take a walk down Memory Lane here and here.) His obsessions have turned from candy to the Titanic of late, but just the other day, he got off the school bus and said, "Mom! It's Hanukkah!" (They had just learned about Rosh Hashanah in school.) "You know what that means? We have to get out the menorah and the dreidels and say we're sorry for something we did, like the time I peed on the book!"
Wow. Pretty amazing that 1) he remembered that book and 2) made the connection of Rosh Hashanah to Hanukkah, especially considering that we're not Jewish. In any case, I have to wonder how he would've reacted two years ago if this book had shown up in our mailbox back then:

The title got a little chopped off there. It's called "Candy 1 to 20" by Laurie Wolf and Pam Abrams. The cover kind of gives the book away. Each page is dedicated to a number that's illustrated with real candy. Fun! (As an aside, I've always kind of wondered why these types of books have multiple authors. I mean, once you get the idea, it kind of writes itself, doesn't it? Not to knock children's authors. I know what a cut-throat business children's publishing can be.) 
The photos are colorful and crisp. Frankly, I think I liked reading it more than the Sugar Baby did. Now, just because I'm this way, I'm about to give away the ending. Spoiler alert! Stop reading here if you don't want to know how it ends. Here we go ...

How's that for a surprise ending? Such a cliff hanger!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Please Do Not Eat the Glass Chocolates

In my last post, I asked for your help with a gift. Shopping-savvy Alexandra sent me this link for these wonderful little glass chocolates from Hulet & Hulet Art Glass Confections. Aren't they cool? I didn't even realize they were glass at first. I love these. Not as tasty as the real thing, of course, but at least they won't melt!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I want your opinion!

Okay chocoaficinados, I want to hear from you. I have to buy a gift for a chocolate lover, and I want to hear your suggestions. If you were to receive a chocolate gift, what would it be? I'm open for any ideas. Truffles, bars, even cookies or brownies. Yes, I know that, as a candy blogger, I should be the one with all the great ideas, but frankly, I'm drawing a blank. So bring on the suggestions!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trader Joe's Comes Through Again With Candy-Coated Licorice

I was just sitting here thinking, "I wish I had some candy. Why don't I have any candy? What is wrong with me? I should have some candy." And then I remembered: the box of Trader Joe's Candy-Coated Licorice that I bought the other day. Hallelujah! The night is saved.

I love the retro box. How cute is that? I have to admit, I was a bit scared to try them because my past few experiences with "natural" candy haven't been great. Fortunately, this time was different. The candy shells are crisp and the colors are bright. (Candy companies are really doing a good job recently with making all-natural colors. No more dull orange and green.) The licorice is just the way I like it, sharp but sweet. (I'm definitely not a licorice snob; I just can't get into that salty Swedish stuff.)

I've forgotten how much these are, but I think they were $1.99 or something like that. In any case, I'd highly recommend them to Good & Plenty lovers. "Patti says, 'Really rings a bell!'"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

American Candy Canes

There's always lots of candy news coming my way, but I thought this particular tidbit would be of interest. Spangler has announced it's boosting its candy cane facility in Ohio. This is good news for folks who have to go on a wild goose chase at Christmastime looking for an American-made candy cane. Hooray! And now back to preparations for the upcoming Halloween 2011 season.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cute candy jar crafts

Just sitting around, waiting for Irene to come knockin' on the door. In the midst of some mindless surfing, I found this at This Old Chair:

Don't you just love these? They're candlesticks that have jars hot-glued to the top of them. So fun!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Necco gets with the program

The very fabulous June brought this to my attention:
Oh man, the image didn't transfer. Those "O"s are all Necco wafers. In any case, looks like Necco is finally getting on the retro bandwagon. What's your favorite flavor? Mine is the cinnamon, otherwise known as white. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Celebrations and Lindt Double Lait

I have someone new to introduce you to. Well, actually not new. I've written about my friend Kristina-from-Florida-now-from-New Hampshire before. (You might remember; she's the one who works at Lindt and is in charge of making sure the bunny car doesn't hop off.) In any case, she got married last weekend so she has a new name! She's now Mrs. Chocoletti. Well, not in real life, but her new name is pretty darn close and that's how she'll be referred to here from now on.

 Mrs. Chocoletti is in ecstasy over the thought of getting out of this dress and finally eating some chocolate after a six-month hiatus.
As you might guess, she had Lindt chocolate as the favors for her wedding. All the guests got to chow down on dark raspberry truffles while she ran around and said hellos and did dances and made toasts. A couple of nights before, however, the girls went out to celebrate her last few days of being able to own cheques with Hello Kitty on them pre-marriage bliss and she gave me the most enormous bag of truffles you'd ever want to see. There is no picture because I forgot to take one and the truffles have since been divided up, hidden and otherwise stowed away. But there must have been ten pounds of truffles in that bag. In amongst the mint, milk chocolate and white truffles were these:

Double Lait. Allow me to describe: a milk chocolate shell with a smooth, tangy white filling, almost like a yogurt. In there are some little crunchy bits. Creamy, crunchy, tangy. I love these. LOVE these. Quite surprising, because I would've never picked them out on my own, but I couldn't stop eating them. I think I've finally had my fill though. Now about those other nine pounds of candy ... that's another story.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nine out of ten dentists approve!

When this shows up on your doorstep, you know it's going to be a good day:

Last week I received a sample of Enstrom Almond Toffee. There are people who are totally gaga for toffee; I am not one of them. In general, I can take it or leave it. However, when toffee is really good, then I turn to hoarding mode. This, as you might guess, is really good toffee. Here's what makes it a winner: 1) There's a good balance of chocolate to toffee. Just enough chocolate to get the meltiness and the taste, while not overpowering the toffee; 2) the almonds are big and whole, which is always a good thing; and 3) the toffee doesn't stick in your teeth. I'm not sure how they managed to produce a toffee that I don't later have to pick out of my fillings, but they've done it.
The toffee came packaged in a sturdy, elegant box, so this would make a great gift. (And good price point, too: $19.95 for a one pound box, which goes a long way.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

r&d chocolates: A little chemistry, a little culinary magic

Yes, I'm still here. It's been a hot, humid summer in Connecticut, but that hasn't stopped one serious chocolate lover from selling her hand-crafted chocolates at the local farmers' market. Check out my story here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lindt Excellence: So Good, They're Gone

About a month ago, I received a package from the good folks over at Lindt. They had sent their two newest Excellence bars for me to try: Excellence 70% Cocoa Almond Brittle and Excellence 70% Cocoa Nut Crunch. Yum, right? As you can see here in this picture, I'm enjoying every last bite. Oh wait, there is no picture, is there? You know why? Because Mr. Goodbar infiltrated my secret stash and ate not one but BOTH bars before I had a chance to take pictures. I know that is so wrong. You don't have to tell me twice. 
The good news is, I did get to try both before he inhaled the majority of them and they were both up to the usual Lindt standards of (hee hee) excellence. I feel like an American Idol judge when it comes to Lindt. They've really mastered the type of chocolate they put out; there's nothing I can critique. But believe me, I've become more crafty when choosing my chocolate hiding spots. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gummy Madness!!

It's hot and it's summer so that can only mean one thing: Extreme Gummy Invasion! I received lots of gummy samples lately, so No-Nuts and I got down to business. I'd like to say beforehand that I really do appreciate that more and more companies are trying to make better-for-you candy, particularly in the area of colors and flavors. Less artificial junk, more real stuff. That's a good thing. We took that into account when we taste-tested these gummies and gave extra points for healthiness, but flavor was definitely important.
On a side-note, I took the Sugar Baby to a little seaside candy shack a few weeks ago. I figured I'd let him pick out a few little pieces of candy. Holy cannoli, what a scam. The cheapest thing in the place was a regular-sized Hershey bar with Almonds for $1.50. The lady tried to sell me on a tiny bag of gummy worms for $4.95. She kept telling me they were made with 30% fruit juice. Apparently she didn't know who she was dealing with. Anyhow, enough of that. Onto the gummies.

Goody Good Stuff Tropical Gummies:
No picture available because we ate them without thinking. The gummies came in cute shapes, including a bunch of bananas and a palm tree. 


"The first one I tried was banana-flavored and good, especially because I don't like banana-flavored things
Raspberry/strawberry-flavored: Okay, but definitely not my first gummy choice
Palm tree: I don't know what flavor it was but I didn't like it. Too much tropical, but with no specific fruit flavor. Probably palm tree flavor."

"I was impressed with the banana ones, as banana is a difficult flavor to do well. I have to agree with No-Nuts about the Palm Tree. I'm thinking it was probably papaya or some other stinky tropical flavor like that." (Addendum: we finally figured out it was supposed to be coconut.)

Conclusion: These gummies are all-natural, dairy-free, gluten-free, gelatin-free and fat free. In addition, No-Nuts would only buy them if they were free.

Goody Good Stuff Sour Fruit Salad
These are fruit-shaped gummies with a sour citric acid dusting.

No-Nuts: "They reminded me of Peach-O's, but not anywhere near as good.
The pear flavor was different, and I liked it but ... you know."

Me: "The grapefruit was good, but I like grapefruit flavor in general. The thing with these is I was waiting to be hit with "SOUR," but they were really just like fruit slices that you'd buy at CVS for 2 for $1."

Conclusion: I was ready to give major points to these for their natural ingredients, in particular the spinach. The first ingredient is corn syrup, but it's candy for cryin' out loud. A little corn syrup never hurt anyone.
Overall, three stars out of five.

Surf Sweets Sour Berry Bears
These are little gummy bears, all red and orange. They're all-natural, made with organic fruit juice, no corn syrup, gluten-free, vegan. That covers a lot of bases.

No-Nuts: "They were pretty good."

Me: "I really liked these. They had the sour punch I was looking for."
Overall, four out of five stars.

Welch's Tangy Fruits
These are jam-packed with artificial colors, flavors and other suspicious ingredients.
No-Nuts: "I love these. Four stars."
Me: "I hate these. One star."

 Gimbal's Sour Lovers
A giant, 11-ounce bag of cute heart-shaped gummies in 12 (TWELVE!) flavors that are thoughtfully listed on the back.
    " Fuji apple :)
     Blueberry: very sour
     Watermelon: +++"
Me: These were yummy.
Four out of five stars. Would've been five out of five, but the artificial colors drop it down a notch.