Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candybars Circa 1979

Here's a wonderful display of .25 cent candy bars. This vintage black and white photo is dated 1979. It's found a new home in the Kimmerle Candy Collection.

In '79 Reese's Pieces (right corner) were brand new on the market. They would go on to gain massive popularity when they were prominently featured in the 1982 movie, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beth’s Chocolate and Candy Trends for 2012

From Bond Street Chocolate's
Devine Collection
1.             Odd Ingredients: Bold flavors and ingredients are back. Watch for unique combinations of herbs and spices, like lavender-pepper along with tropical ingredients like lemongrass and ginger. Some companies are employing seaweed as a gelatin or salt enhancer. These intense flavor solutions are handy when compensating for lower salt, fat and sugar levels.

2.              The Ultimate: While sensible shopping is still very much in vogue increasingly consumers will indulge in “the ultimate”. Expect confectionery items made with over the top ingredients like 24k gold dust served in decadent packaging. These are not just pricy treats these are products that make a statement. Confections are seen as an affordable and somewhat practical edible luxury, so consumers will be willing to splurge on these premium treats in place of big-ticket items.
Righteously Raw Maca Chocolate Truffle Bar 2.3oz Truffle
Raw from
3.              Raw: Concerned about over processing consumers want not just under processed but naked and raw. They are looking for ingredients as they were meant to taste. Just picked and fresh isn’t just talk, it is a lifestyle.
4.             Chain Reaction: More people want to make confectionery and dessert with products they know. Practicing extreme “artisan”, they are acquainted with everyone along the food chain, from the producer to the farmer and they claim it on their packages or websites. Ingredient origins will be linked to quality--makers and consumers both will continue to ask where their food comes from and seek out locally sourced ingredients.
5.              Grab a Toque: Many consumers are raising their social status through their knowledge of store locations and pictures of food. Cooking and eating treats have become social events through twitter and blogs. It’s also easier to take and post your own “how-to” video on line allowing everyone access to being a food star.
6.              "Scandy": Americans enjoy the petite size and natural ingredients in Scandinavian treats. You'll see more licorice and sweets with infused with cardamom. Scandinavian sweets 
7.               Breakfast: Customers love breakfast and the theme showing up is sweets inspired by waffles, butter, maple syrup and French toast.
Florida`s Natural Fruit Juice Nuggets: 12CT Display
Opportunity alert...more juice candy!
8.             Juice Candy and Chocolate: Juice bars are cropping up everywhere. Starbucks recently bought Evolution Fresh, a super-premium juice maker with a growing presence in grocery stores. Expect more juice related snack items and juice sweetened treats to supply juice bar counters and to-go areas.

9.             Free-From: Gluten-free snacks and products designed for consumers with food allergies will continue to be hot. More consumers will also opt to cut out gluten and dairy ingredients simply for health reasons. Watch for great whole grains like quinoa to show up in candy and granola bars. More and more confectionery products will claim gluten-, dairy-, soy- and nut-free in a niche that is sure to grow.

10.          Mediterranean Sweets: A growing interest in eating healthy, vegetarian, and ethnic foods are among the factors in Mediterranean flavored or inspired sweets. Watch for an increase in pistachio, honey, pomegranate, olive and olive oil in chocolates and confections.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beth's Best: Spiced Vanilla Hot Chocolate

Chocolate was first consumed in Mesoamerica as a spicy, frothy beverage. The below piquant version honors chocolate’s true roots. Top your mugs with fresh homemade marshmallows or whip some cream and top with shaved chocolate and cinnamon for an extra touch. A splash of dark rum makes this drink very adult and oh-so delicious.


·      8 cups whole milk
·      1 cup half and half
·      3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
·      15 whole cardamom pods, crushed
·      15 whole cloves
·      3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
·      3 whole star anise
·      1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
·      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·      1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
·      4 oz. chopped and melted semisweet chocolate
·      1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·      1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
·      1 cup dark rum, optional


  • Bring first 10 ingredients to simmer in heavy large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let steep about 20 minutes.
  • Add melted chocolate, cocoa powder and vanilla. Bring to simmer, whisking vigorously until blended.
  • Strain hot chocolate into another large pan and discard spices.
  • Add rum if desired
  • Pour hot chocolate into mugs and garnish as desired

Makes about 10 cups 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Penguin Pops

For the upcoming Winter holidays we made a huge flock of homemade Penguin Pops. Recently we served them at a very special birthday party and indeed they gave many a case of happy feet. Email if you'd like more details for the recipe!

Molded using pound cake, I dipped fully in white and then partially in chocolate coating.
Beaks and wings are chocolate sunflower seeds while eyes are simple 
dragées or confectionery pearls.

These were decorated a little differently--eyes and happy feet are small sugar discs.
These eyes are dabbed with extra chocolate coating.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All About Candy Thermometers

In all of my classes I typically extoll the benefits of making candy with a good thermometer. A reader writes:

I just recently found your blog and wanted to get some advice.  I am an extreme novice when it comes to cooking/baking but I am trying my hand at different things.  I have even taken cooking classes and found that I love it!  For Christmas, I wanted to make different candies, fudge, caramel sauce as gifts.  I was wondering if you could recommend a candy thermometer that will work the best?  I am on a budget but willing to spend a little extra.  Also, is there anything else I might need to get started?  Please let me know and I love your blog!  

Back in the day, before the advent of commercial home thermometers, a "water test" method was used to inform cooks about their candy. This requires the cook to pop a small amount of the hot candy into a bowl of cold water and then feel the candy with their fingers to predict it's "done-ness". However, even for advanced candymakers the method was inaccurate as a taffy can quickly become a hardcandy. Candymakers stepping away from cooking batches to test if their candy was complete would often burn batches. But now that we have access to thermometers, which ones are the best?  I like the classic metal stem thermometers that have an insulated plastic handle, grip top so you can remove it safely and quickly. They are about $10 and I find them easiest to use. The kind to look for should have a clip on the back to secure it to your pan and the numbers should be legible before you do any cooking with it. There is a difference often between these basic thermometers. If comparing a few, do get the "heaviest" stainless steel kind as I have found those tend to hold up longer than the lightweight models. Also, get one that has RED color in the glass bulb as they are the easiest to read, especially if you have hot, dark carmel dripping from your thermometer. The temp on the thermometer should range from 100-400°F  for candy as most of your cooking is happening between 250-350°degrees.

An accurate thermometer should read 212°F in vigorously boiling water. To test, hold the thermometer in the water and take your reading. If your current thermometer is off, you can mark your thermometer accordingly with permanent marker. Or better, treat yourself to a new one and make sure you test your new one once you get it home. Return it straight away if it does not pass the test. I do not recommend probes and/or thermometers with temperature sensors for candy making. They are too burdensome and I have not found them to be accurate.

An accurate basic thermometer is really important, vital even, when making candy. You will be amazed at what you can make with one. Go forth and cook candy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Candy: The New Essential

While Americans are skeptical about our economic future, they are optimistic about candy. According to a study by Leo Burnett gas, smartphones, cable TV and even CANDY were items Americans deemed "essential" during a recession. Candy has long been called "recession proof". Now, it's in the pudding.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sundance Channel

Has a series called LOVE LUST: TO EAT about the foods we love to eat. They have a an episode on Chocolate and I discuss chocolate's rich history from its ancient origins to modern times. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

14TH Annual NEW YORK Chocolate Show

Beth and Susan Whiteside from NCA snuggle with
an open cacao pod backstage at the show
The New York Chocolate Show or Salon is fabulous this year. You'll find chocolate made the "old" way by American Heritage Chocolate and chocolate made the "new" way by Liddabit Sweets. Chocolate beverages are fully represented and even chocolate wine. While we are on the subject of chocolate wine--have you tried ChocolatRouge yet? The best in this new category of chocolate wines, ChocolatRouge tastes stunningly like your favorite creamy chocolate combined with a delightful dessert wine. People have been talking about the wine and chocolate combo for years but this one is truly a beautiful ode to bons bons captured in a bottle.

After my demonstration yesterday, I was interviewed by a Mexican journalist. She writes:

El New York Chocolate Show contará con la presencia de los escritores Maricel Presilla –The new taste of chocolate-, Beth Kimmerle –Chocolate, the sweet history-, Johnny Iuzzini –Desert fourplay: sweet quartets from a four-star pastry chef- y Paul A. Young –Adventures with chocolate: 80 sensational recipes-, entre otros, quienes firmarán ejemplares de sus libros y charlar con sus seguidores.

How fun to be included with Chef Maricel PhD as I was just recalling a wonderful cacao-filled evening at her restaurant with my hosts Eric Case and Curtis Vreeland. Also, not too long ago Johnny Iuzzini and I talked at length about our shared interest in candy science.

The annual chocolate show runs through Sunday. See you there!

Beth begs audience to use heavy cream and a candy thermometer
for her caramel recipe

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Cacao (Ka-Kow!) tree grows in Ohio

I am thrilled to say that this wonderful cacao tree has officially been planted in North East Ohio. Painted by a local muralist, you can see that's it's already beloved by tropical birds and even came bearing ripe fruit. The seeds from the cacao fruit, or pods, get fermented and dried on the tropical areas in which they are grown. The seeds then undergo a roasting process and later, mix with vanilla and sugar to eventually become our favorite flavor. This, and other amazing chocolate related facts and exhibits are soon to be unveiled at a fabulous location in Ohio. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Candyland Class at ICE in NYC

I taught a really fun class last weekend at the Institute of Culinary Education. You can see the agenda pictured. I demoed my now famous Goat Butter and Honey caramels while the class produced fluffy Marshmallow and nutty Nougat. We then headed into chocolate work and I demoed an easy (and alt white sugar) Chocolate Toffee. Following, the class made Tipsy Truffles and Chocolate Bark. Read below for one of many sweet notes I received following the class:

Hi Beth, I took your Candyland class last weekend at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. I just wanted to thank you for showing me that candy making is not as intimidating as it is made out to be and I am now excited to begin a new journey of candy-making obsession! Your enthusiasm on the subject of candy is truly inspiring and I have a new found passion for the subject as well. I ordered both your candy and chocolate books and I can not wait to begin reading them and making delicious creations! I hope that you will be teaching more classes in the NYC area on the art of candy making-I would love to take a class or two on caramel making. Thank you SO much again for instructing the amazing class-I learned so much and am obsessed with the thought of making more candy!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

VIP Gum/Dessert Tasting at the Standard Hotel

The Standard Hotel here in NY is the sort of hotel where, on any given day, a million things are happening. As we walked up last week after lunch at the SOHO House we were offered an ice cream tasting from a cart outside the hotel while pondering the large-gloved, KAWS sculpture. As soon as we took in the outdoor cafe we were ushered into The Wine Room, poured a glass of prosecco and greeted by Jean-Georges pastry chef and Top Chef Just Desserts judge, Johnny Iuzzini. We there for an exclusive tasting of Extra Dessert Delights gum along with the desserts that inspired them.

Fresh out of the R&D lab we tasted Bananas Foster, Lemon Square and Root Beer Float gums.

I was joined by Ben Mims of Saveur Magazine and Niko Triantafillou of www.dessertbuzz.com, among others. I will tell you that all three new exciting flavors had merit but it was Root Beer Float that I cast my vote for! Now it's your turn to vote!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Candy Is For Counting

Do check out this cute little book from Chronicle Books. 

Colorful candy pieces are turned into a sweet numerical display. 

Count from one to twenty in the most delightful way. 

CANDY 1 to 20

-Beth Kimmerle

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How Chocolate Products Are Made

I am working with some amazing chocolate archives for a new project. This chart about HOW CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS ARE MADE is glued inside the lid of a 1940s era blue box. In interior of the small box contains cacao in various forms is displayed in small translucent packages. The packages contain: No. 1 Cacao Beans, No. 2 Cacao Nibs, No. 3 Chocolate Liquor, No. 4 Cocoa Butter, No. 5 Cocoa Powder, No. 6 Semi-Sweet Chocolate. See above for descriptions.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lucky Magazine FABB Event featuring

Here we are at the Lucky FABB event showing off the Fannie May Artisan Chocolates. They have received much attention from the fashion industry and food bloggers. This new line of chocolates launches in October. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

North Canton Candies

I have been working on a project for Fannie May Candies in North Canton and ran into this wonderful image in the archives. It's a Fannie May Candies Easter billboard in what looks to be Chicago's Loop. Along with Mrs. Snyder's, Fannie May also bought candymaker Fanny Farmer along the way. If you like your candy history complete with all the sordid yet sweet details stay tuned for this new project in North Canton, Ohio.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Destination Food: Italy via Chicago

Last May, I was interviewed by a trio of thoughtful Italian journalists. They were exploring food in the United States.  Their project took them to Detroit to explore community gardens and to Cleveland to taste beer. Along the way they stopped in Chicago to discuss one of my favorite topics. We met at the University of Chicago where my confectionery exhibit was on display. We discussed American candy but all I really wanted to do was hear about confetti, Leone and my favorite Italian licorice. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

We Love Trade Cards

Sometimes, however, they start to blend together and all the cupids, frolicking children and flowers make for a generic looking business card straight from the stock book-- circa late 1800. Other times, they are perfectly sweet. Check out this link if you'd like to add some to your collection!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lady Bird and Lobster Tail: Estonian Candy

One of the first things that I gravitate towards while traveling is local food. Candy, of all foods is, of course, a reflection of culture. Estonia is part German, Swedish and Russian but always so very Baltic. In Estonian Komm means sweet, candy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Candy Killings

My "new" 1940s novel is either about adulterated candy,  Helen Brach or the profits from confectionery business.

Helen Brach was the heiress to the Emil J. Brach & Company family fortune. She was married to Frank Brach, son of the founder of Brach's Candy. Frank invented the concept of Pick-A-Mix (bulk candy at grocery stores) and he later sold the lucrative candy company in 1966.
Helen disappeared in 1977 and was declared legally dead in 1984. Richard Bailey was sentenced to life in jail for conspiring and soliciting the murder of the candy empire heiress. Bailey, the owner of Bailey Stables and Country Club Stables, specialized in defrauding older women who had recently been widowed or divorced. After meeting them at the stables he romanced them and among other cons, would sell them worthless "thoroughbred" mares. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Astronomical Event

A fantastic total lunar eclipse occurred on June 15th. The eclipse was not visible in North America but my private eyes saw an amazing red moon in Sullivan County, New York. It came up during the Hall & Oates show at Bethel Woods. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sweets & Snacks: Day Three

We're currently setting up for our last day at the Sweets & Snacks expo and it's time for one of those updates I promised! The week has been a whirlwind of candy and great Chicago restaurants and although I'm sad it's almost over I think I'm ready to sleep for days. Everybody who has stopped by our booth has loved the exhibition. You can see pictures of our setup below:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweets & Snacks Expo

Beth and I are heading to Chicago in less than a week to set up the Sweet & Salty Artworks exhibition at the National Confectioners Association Sweets & Snacks Expo. The show will be happening May 24-26 and we’ll be keeping you updated as we set up and explore during the event!

Friday, May 6, 2011

An anniversary tribute to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film Photo: Paramount Pictures

In honor of it's 30th anniversary, Warner Bros. will soon release the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory on DVD. We've all agreed that this movie version is far superior to Tim Burton's. It comes down to this: Gene Wilder was just too hard to trump, even for the super talented Johnny Depp.

Shown below is an image of a poster that was produced for French markets. The 70s graphics are supreme and capture the film's psychedelic, sinister yet sweet feel. I really like how Mike TV is depicted, trapped in a blue TV gas bubble.

1971 Poster for French Markets
I have a fantastic addition to add to this WONKA news tidbit. Below is  a preview of a colorful item that will be on display at our upcoming candy art exhibit. The first FIVE responders to guess what it is get a FREE Wonka Bar.
Patty Botello made this wonderful item for our art show. Tell us, what is it exactly??

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magnum Disgustis

To introduce their latest launch, Magnum, the Unilever ice cream bar made with Belgian chocolate, consulted with fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Under Lagerfeld's direction, chocolatier Patrick Roger, used over 10 tons of chocolate to create 'The Magnum Chocolate Suite'

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Make Candy for Mother's Day

The vintage ad shows sweetly dressed children presenting their mother with a box of chocolates. Why not try something different this year and make mom candy? I remember my mother being more touched by a homemade gift than she ever was by a little blue Tiffany & Co. box. Try my Blackberry Truffles, Goat Butter & Honey Caramels, or if she's a fudge fan, try Penuche. Let me know how your batch turns out.

Here's to a wonderful, sweet day to all the mamas. x

Goat Butter & Honey Caramels (recipe featured on Martha Stewart Show)

Beth has mentioned the Goat Butter and Honey Caramels recipe from her upcoming book several times since I started interning for her. When I finally saw a picture of them last week I couldn’t resist attempting them myself. They were simple to make and words cannot express how delicious these candies were. Every single caramel was gone within minutes of having cut them into individual pieces (and some before that).

Monday, April 25, 2011

History of the board game Candy Land-Let's play!

Eleanor Abbot created the concept and submitted the idea to the popular game maker, Milton Bradley. The first CANDY LAND games were introduced in 1949 and sold for a dollar a piece. The game was promoted as "A Sweet Little Game for Sweet Little Folks". The candy theme and sweet dreams it evoked made it an instant hit. Today, over 40 million CANDY LAND games have been manufactured. 

The original 1940s Candy Land game

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Watch All About Candy, 1972 Candy PSA from my film archives

For your viewing enjoyment a 1972 UPI, Films Incorporated Movie
"All About Candy"

This incredible (almost 40 year old!) 10-minute movie is voiced over by a young girl who's exploring the world of candymaking with her longhaired friends. There's scenes of ingredient sources: milk from cows, sugar from sugarcane, and a tropical cocoa farm. This stunning period PSA features groovy music and unbelievable interior shots of large scale hard candy making, plus vintage chocolate production filmed at the Hershey factory. The movie shows chocolate bars being molded, Hershey Miniatures coming off a bag filler line and chocolate enrobers. It's very Charlie and The Chocolate Factory & very fabulous. "All About Candy" is from my vintage confectionery collection. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Bunnies

Beth’s office is heaven for a candy lover. From the vintage gumball machine on the shelf in the hallway to the candy-themed graphic prints, just about every candy-related item you could wish for is lurking in some corner. For example, in the middle of work on Monday afternoon Beth pulled out an entire basket full of antique tin chocolate molds. Looking through them I realized many of the molds were Easter themed. It turns out the first edible bunnies were found in Germany in the 1800s and Whitman’s Chocolates was one of the first to produce chocolate bunnies in the United States in 1842, but these adorable chocolate confections didn’t gain popularity until the 1900s. Now we see them everywhere from February through April. So what better time to learn how to make molded chocolates than for a holiday that evokes childhood memories of biting the ears off countless chocolate bunnies? 

Monday, April 18, 2011


Elizabeth Victoria Knowles
 Soft and Fuzzy Johnson in the Lollipop Forest 
Craig Kanarick
Round Candies I

New York, NY – Beth Kimmerle, in partnership with the The National Confectioners Association, presents Sweet&Salty:Artworks (see complete slideshow on lower right) an exhibition of 15 works made by artists who are inspired by chocolate, snacks and candy.Curated by Beth Kimmerle, writer and confectionery historian, the exhibition is made up from pieces from her private collection and will be on view at the SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO® at McCormick Place from May 24-26, 2011. The show is organized by the National Confectioners Association and made possible by support from its members.
Edie Harper, Penny Candy
Kimmerle's contemporary artwork collection showcases painted works, fabric, photos, and graphic images. Also exhibited are 3-D works including custom made piñatas and light-up gummy bears. A hanging chandelier made of 3,000 acrylic candy pieces is displayed in the area where visitors can become sweetly inspired while resting on a colorful candy button bench.
Beth, who has painted literary portraits of some of America’s most famous candy companies in her book Candy: The Sweet History, will provide context for each piece. This is the first contemporary art exhibition organized by Kimmerle who's worked
on historical confectionery collections and exhibits internationally. “Our aim is to tell cultural stories about the treats we eat,” said Beth Kimmerle, curator. “These artworks truly capture the sweet--and savory-- side of life.” 

The selected artists found muses of the sweet and snack-worthy variety; the artwork includes odes to favorites from licorice to lollipops and pretzels to peanuts. Featured artists include: Craig Kanarick, Elizabeth Victoria Knowles, Edie Harper, Jason Chase and Danielle Byrne, a designer who illustrates sweets and snacks as they remind her of celebratory times as a child. Along with their good memories and "sweet teeth", the artists respond to the vibrant colors and iconic shapes of the products.

Danielle Byrne, Pretzel
The SWEETS & SNACKS EXPO® is the largest confectionery and snack trade show in the United States, featuring more than 500 exhibitors and nearly 15,000 attendees. This year's inaugural art gallery will educate and also explore the ways in which people are creatively motivated by candy. The gallery will create a forum and an area for exchange of creative ideas surrounding candy.
Jason Chase, All Day Sucker
PRESS TOUR AND IMAGES A press tour may be scheduled. High-resolution digital images are available to the press. Please provide contact information to receive detailed download instructions. mailto:media@bigtipscandy.com.
ABOUT Beth Kimmerle, chocolate and candy expert and historian, has served the confectionery industry as a writer and consultant. She has worked on candy museums and exhibits in the U.S., Japan, Canada and currently, San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the author of four books documenting the history of America's confectionery industry. Her latest is titled Blommer: An American Chocolate Legacy. Beth has made appearances on the Food Network, History Channel, National Public Radio, NBC's The Today Show and Martha Stewart Living. Beth has been a featured candy-making instructor and lecturer at The Chicago History Museum, Princeton University, University of Chicago, and the New York Chocolate Show.