Monday, February 28, 2011

A model of my next house

After the previous post about "Ye Olde Sugar Wafer Castle," I got an e-mail from Yumster Philly. She sent these awesome pictures of a castle her Grandmom had created, along with an original magazine article on how to make this fantasy structure. How cool is that?So on Day 2 of the Dreaded Winter Break (as opposed to the Dreaded Spring Break which will occur in just a few more weeks), the Sugar Baby and I headed to the grocery store with nothing but an empty cart and a sense of wild abandon in the candy aisle. We bought sugar wafers and gumdrops, licorice and Puckerooms, Vienna Fingers and vanilla wafers. I unearthed some Smarties, lollipops and ice cream cones out of the closet.
We started by ingesting as much as we possibly could until our stomachs hurt, then we got to work.
Two hours later, Voila! A sugary sweet hot mess.Some things I learned along the way:
  • Use frosting like most normal people would. Yes, for some bizarre reason, I initially started gluing the sugar wafers onto a shoe box with Elmer's. Why glue, you ask? I don't know. Even the Sugar Baby questioned my decision. Frosting works so much better.
  • Have a vision before you start. Otherwise, you'll end up with something that looks like it was crafted by Antoni Gaudi.
  • And, most importantly, eat lunch first.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Make Your Own Creme Eggs!

I'm not a big fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs-- way too sweet for me-- but when my friend KrisFromHawaii sent me a link on how to make your own on Instructables, I thought that was really cool. But then when I saw that they are having a candy making contest, well now.... Check it out.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ye Olde Sugar Wafer Castle

For many children throughout this great country, this week is winter vacation. Which means that many parents are counting down the hours until happy hour/bedtime/next Monday. What is one supposed to do with all these endless hours of free time? Take a cue from my friend's friend's niece Brooke who decided to get crafty with sugar wafers, frosting and gumdrops. Sour fruit roll-ups were used for moss and flags. Apparently there's a guillotine in there somewhere, too. In any case, I think this is a brilliant vacation week activity. Clean out your cupboards. Unearth all that leftover Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's candy and give the kids some some frosting and detailed blueprints of the Parthenon, then go to town! Only four more days 'til the weekend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Product of the Year!

This really doesn't come as a surprise, but M&M's Pretzel Chocolate Candies were named the 2011 Product of the Year in the candy and snacks category by Product of the Year USA. If someone were to ask me (and no one has, but that's okay), I'd say they succeeded on several different levels. One, I love the packaging. So cute. Two, who doesn't love pretzels and chocolate? An obvious choice for M&M; just surprised it took them so long! And three, they are a dieter's friend. At 150 calories per bag, you can have your daily dose of chocolate without the guilt. Congrats to Pretzel M&M's!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baking with Hershey's

I don't know about you, but this crazy winter has made me want to bake like a crazy lady. And I've been whipping up some crazy stuff. I finally turned to Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook out of desperation with the Sugar Baby's eating habits and started whipping up brownies with spinach and carrots (very yummy), cookies with chickpeas (not bad), muffins with peanut butter and squash (very tasty), black bean brownies (good at first, then pretty gnarly after they cooled down) and chocolate chick pea cake (a hit with the Sugar Baby; not so much with me).
Before I went on this baking frenzy I received a package from Hershey's with their dark chocolate and traditional cocoas. (It was a sign!) Actually, they weren't reading my mind. They were kicking off their "Iconic Recipe Sweepstakes." They're looking for chocolate lovers to vote for the most iconic recipe. What would you pick? Cocoa Crinkle Cookies? Chewy Peanut Butter Blossoms? Chocolate Truffles? Head on over to the website to vote and you may just win a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day Yumsters!

It's the night before Valentine's Day. I've just tucked the Sugar Baby in and he says to me, "Did you buy me a heart?" Despite the fact that I've just spent the past 15 minutes tearing my hair out trying to convince him that he does not need his shell collection, presidential dollars, Easter Island statues and ukulele all on his night stand, and all I want to do is sit down and watch Lady Gaga emerge from her egg on the Grammy's and drink a glass of wine, I say "you'll find out tomorrow." Then I turn out the light and bolt out the front door to the grocery store.
Somehow, I managed to a) not only forget to buy the Sugar Baby a candy-filled heart but I also b) have absolutely no candy in the house that could possibly serve as a Valentine's Day present. I think I've lost all credibility as a candy blogger.
To make things even worse, I wrote an article about Valentine's chocolates this week. I mean, hello! I was at a bunch of different chocolate shops. I could've picked something up at any time. This is serious, people.
Fortunately, I scored a really cool balloon and a box of chocolates. Whew.
In the meantime (just so you don't think I'm a complete failure), I saw these Jelly Belly Jelly Bean Chocolate Dips. I love the combination of orange and chocolate, so this is probably the only jelly bean flavor I'd ever want to try with chocolate. At first, I was unsure. The jelly bean lacked the usual punch of a Jelly Belly ... it didn't scream ORANGE! But then I ate a few more and decided I liked them. They're similar to chocolate-covered orange peel.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Convo Me!

This has been the strangest Valentine's season. I just realized the other day that there's usually a lot of hoopla around what the year's new mottoes will be on Necco Conversation Hearts. You know, it was a big deal when they switched from "Fax Me" to "Text Me," showing they know how to keep up with the times. But this year? Not a peep. Nary a word. What's up with that? I'm off to investigate today. I'll report back!

Monday, February 07, 2011

It's Spelled 'Liquorice,' Mate!

The children of the world enjoy liquorice from Australia.

Have you noticed that licorice is really hot these days? It seems like everywhere you look, there's another brand of licorice out there to try. Recently I was sent samples from Darrell Lea Soft Eating Liquorice. No, they're not trying to be all fancy-pants with the spelling. This "liquorice" is from Australia, and comes in Original, Strawberry, Green Apple and Mango. The first thing that surprised me about these were the size. I was expecting short little stubs of licorice, but instead found long tubes. One was plenty for a before-bed treat for the Sugar Baby.
The second thing that surprised me was the ingredient list. All of the flavors contain real liquorice extract and there are no artificial ingredients or colors. Huzzah! Our Australian friends know how to do licorice-- or should I say liquorice-- right! The flavors are bright and clean and have a nice balance between sweet and sour (for the fruit flavors) and the black licorice has that faint wheaty taste without too much salt.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Oreo Bark! (Need I say more?)

What do you do when you receive a package containing a piece of chocolate Oreo bark? You devour it, of course, and then realize you didn't take a picture for your blog. A company called 2 Chicks with Chocolate makes not only Oreo bark, but also milk chocolate pretzel bark and coconut lime bark. They also make adorable chocolate frogs for Valentine's Day, and you can make your own custom bar or Valentine box. I'm loving this company. You can check them out at, where you'll find a plethora of other Valentine's ideas, too!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Jive talking

You might've heard about all the crazy snow we've been having up here in the Northeast. If memory serves me correctly, we've had five snow days since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Crazy. Yesterday I had 2 1/2 precious hours to myself while the Sugar Baby was in school, so I went to the spa went to Costco, the dollar store and, for some unknown reason, Aldi's. Well, actually I know the reason. I made a wrong turn and ended up in the Aldi parking lot and thought, what the heck. Let me just go in. I've decided that place completely and totally creeps me out, but they do have some interesting candy. (At least from what I could see, thanks to the woman who parked her cart right in front of all the chocolate and couldn't be bothered to move it. Harumph!) In any case, I found two things of note. The first was a Route 1 Jive bar: "Crunchy biscuit topped with caramel and a creamy milk chocolate coating." Uh oh, chocolate "coating." But since it was only 49 cents, I figured what the heck. I love the description on the back of the wrapper:
"Candy bars are loved by millions worldwide. With so many made every year, they could easily stretch right across the USA-- all along Route 66!" Um, what? The bar is called Route 1 but now they're talking about Route 66. To further confuse, it's made in Germany. I don't pretend to understand. As for the taste, it was very similar to a Twix, although ever so slightly larger. These weighed in at 2.1 oz., whereas a regular Twix is 2 oz.
When I eat a Twix, I like to pull part of the caramel off the top with my teeth to reveal the little holes in the cookie part underneath. You couldn't really do that with the Jive. The top layer of cookie came off onto the caramel, so I couldn't tell if there were holes in the cookie or not. All in all, though, this was a pretty good candy bar, even if it was chocolate "coating" and for 49 cents, it was a bargain.The other find was a Choceur "Deliciously Crispy Peanuts & Flakes" (Rich Milk Chocolate with Crunchy Peanuts and Cornflakes). Now, you know how I feel about Ritter Sport Cornflake. It is my favorite candy bar of all time. So I was nervous to try this. Frankly, I thought the peanuts wouldn't be a good addition. But I have to say, this is a damn good candy bar. The combination of peanuts and cornflakes gives it an almost peanut brittle-like taste. I still prefer the Ritter, but then I did the math. The Choceur was $1.99 for 7.05 oz., versus the Ritter which is $2.69 for 3.5 oz. Clearly the Choceur is the better choice. I just wish Aldi wasn't so creepy.