Monday, July 20, 2009

Dare to Clare!

Clare Crespo's books have been fun inspiration for us candy freaks here at CANDYMONIUM for a while. Now the "crazy cupcake lady" has created a new kids' cooking show called YUMMYFUN! She's written many a recipe using beloved candy. Here's her fantastic recipe for CHOCOLATE MICE!


CHOCOLATE MICE by Clare Crespo, author of The Secret Life of Food
Be Very Quiet And You May Hear The Scurrying Of Tiny Chocolate Mice As They Build Their Nest. Let's Hope A Chocolate Cat Doesn't Find Them! Try Making A Whole Mouse Family With Babies. These Would Be Fun To Have At An Event Where You Also Serve Cheese.

Yield: about 10 mice

  • 4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Small candies of your choice for eyes and noses
  • Black whip licorice for tails
Method:
In a double boiler (or microwave on low power), melt the semisweet chocolate, stirring thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 20 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chilled chocolate with the sour cream.

Add the chocolate wafer cookie crumbs and mix well.

By teaspoons, roll the dough into a slight oval shape. Form one end into a slight point for the nose.

Place the cocoa and powdered sugar into separate small bowls. For dark mice, roll the ovals in cocoa powder. For white mice, roll the ovals in powdered sugar.

On each mouse, press in candies for the eyes and nose and almond slices for the ears. Attach a licorice whip for a tail.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.


Clare Crespo, The Secret Life of Food. Photographs by Eric Staudenmaier. A Melcher Media Book, Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2002.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Candy Goes To Outer Space: Beth's Marshmallow Robot

Last week a magazine expressed interest in my candy crafting. They want to feature a variation on something I have created. While thinking about all the possibilities, I came upon this guy I made a while back.

While many of my recipes are orbiting, I realized that this one was lost in space. For those of you interested in attempting, please email for the specific recipe. He's fairly easy to make and the results, as you can see, are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Enjoy the sweet summer, Beth

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fancy Food Show Finds - Part 2

Butter Baked Goods: Fresh Marshmallows

If you have ever tasted a freshly made marshmallow, you will agree with me that the stuff you buy at your local mega-mart is nothing in comparison.  A real home-style marshmallow is light as air, melty in your mouth, springy to the touch and oh so gooey in your hot cocoa.  Such is the case with the wonderful confections from the Butter Baked Goods company out of Vancouver, BC.  And who says a marshmallow has to be white and plain.  Butter makes 12 distinct marshmallow flavors from the usual (vanilla, strawberry, peppermint), to the more obscure (matcha tea, egg nog, and pumpkin).  Hard to imagine what beverage you would float a matcha marshmallow in, but the idea intrigues me.  Also good to note in this allergy fanatic world we live in now is that Butter is a peanut-free facility, which can be very hard to come by.   Visit their website at www.butterbakedgoods.com for info on their marshmallows and other yummy baked goods. Image courtesy flikr.com


Divine Creazioni: Chocolate Ravioli

At the Fancy Food Show our goal was to find the newest, hottest confections…. but it’s hard to pass up a trip through the Italy section.  Who knew we could come upon chocolate ravioli, and a very mysterious ravioli she is.  Not only were the handouts in Italian, but the English version of Surgital’s website is mute on their new product.  In addition, we weren’t even able to taste it at the show! What I can gather from the photos and crudely (on my end) translated text from the Italian version of the site is that the ravioli itself it chocolate with a ricotta and orange rind filling.  Sounds delightful! Unfortunately for you and me both, Surgital is a wholesale operation, and with the covert chocolate ravioli only a limited edition item, we US of Aer’s might have to wait a while to taste it, if we get a nibble at all. And for the life of me I can’t figure out what it has to do with DNA.  Thoughts? Image courtesy surgital.it

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fancy Food Show Finds - Part 1


Every year anyone who’s anyone in the specialty food trade either has a booth at, or attends one of the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) Fancy Food Shows.  This past week was the Summer Fancy Food Show held at the Jacob Javits center in New York, and Beth and I were eager to attend.  Over three days the two of us, as well as some 25,000 other people walked the aisles and tasted goodies from 2,000 exhibitors representing 81 countries.  It gave us the opportunity to hob nob with current clients, catch up with our confectionary brethren and search out what hot and new in the confectionary world.  Below is a list of what I found to be new and exciting this year.


Glee Gum: Now there’s even more reason to be gleeful about. Glee Gum the all-natural gum using sustainably harvested chicle now offers DIY chocolate, candy and gum making kits.  Great for kid’s parties, school events or even a great rainy day project, these kits have everything you need to create your very own confections.  These kits are the real deal: the chocolate making kit includes not only cocoa powder, cocoa powder and sugar, but also the necessary starter crystals and thermometers to make sure your chocolate tempers correctly.  Fun for kid’s of any age (I’m 25 and 3/4 and would LOVE to have one of these kits…. hint hint Dan) and at only $13 each not too expensive either, Glee Gum’s “Make Your Own” kits are a no-brainer.  Order the kits on Glee Gum’s website: www.gleegum.com Image courtesy www.gleegum.com  


Peeled Snacks: GORP gets a makeover…. You know “Good Old-Fashioned Raisins and Peanuts” that high-energy snack that hikers, marathoners, and long car-riders alike go crazy over.  Well now you can have your GORP and eat it too!  Peeled Snacks offers single serving pouches of fruits, fruits and nuts, and fruits, nuts and chocolate.  What’s so different about Peeled Snacks?  They don’t use trans fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors or colors, or added sugar in any of their mixes.  Also different is their packaging.  Their fruit and nut mixes have the fruits and nuts in separate pouches meant to be combined at the very last second.  Why, you ask?  Nuts should be crunchy and dried fruits should be moist.  Peeled Snacks contends that packaging them together for long periods of time dulls the crunch of the nuts and dries out the fruits. If you say so…all I know is that they’re all natural, cute as can be, and delicious to boot!  For a list of vendors, or to purchase, visit their website at www.peeledsnacks.com. Image courtesy www.peeledpix.com


The Tea Room: I usually enjoy my tea the same way as Captain Picard: “Tea…Earl Grey…Hot.”  However, The Tea Room offers a delightful alternative with their line of eight tea-infused chocolate bars, organic too boot.  I had the pleasure of tasting their 58% Dark Chocolate Bar infused with Green Earl Grey Tea at the Fancy Food Show Last week and I was spellbound.  The flavors of the dark chocolate complimented the slight bitterness of the green tea and the bergamot sweetened the deal even more. Having done my college thesis on South Africa’s Rooibos tea I was also eager to try their “Red Raspberry Rooibos” concoction, but alas their booth was filled with interested tasters I had to make due with my one fabulous bite. At $3.35 for a scant 2 oz bar it’s definitely a luxury item, but well worth it on the rare occasion you feel the need to mix your chocolate with your tea.  Purchase The Tea Room tea-infused chocolates at their website, www.tea-room.stores.yahoo.net. Image courtesy www.tea-room.stores.yahoo.net.  

 

A Very Merry Unbirthday

On May 27th,  Beth and I were honored to be invited to Dylan's Candy
 Bar in New York City to help celebrate her Unbirthday (think Alice in Wonderland).  Thus all the funny hats. It was a great time, and we're looking forward to the airing of the party on the Food Network's Dinner:Impossible (maybe my interview about candy corn macaroni and cheese will make the air!).   Left: a fun couple decked out in candy outfits mugs for the camera. Center: The unbirthday girl herself Dylan Lauren. Right: Me signing a release form for the Food Network.