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Christmas

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peppermint Peep Stars

Peppermint Peep Stars PackagePeeps have become a large brand unto themselves. A huge line of products that includes the familiar marshmallow and has even branched out into lollipops.

Marshmallow purists probably don’t think much of flavored marshmallows, in fact I don’t usually care much for them beyond the kiss of honey or toasted sugar notes.

But Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars have changed that. They’re light, peppermint flavored marshmallows, just in time for Christmas.

Peppermint Peep Stars

The stars are very puffy and fluffy. The outer sugar coating seems to be well adhered, I’m guessing the flat surfaces have a lot to do with this. The whole marshmallow is peppermint flavored, rather strongly and the pink peppermint sparkle-flakes are also strong peppermint.

If I had any complaints at all about these it’s that they didn’t get stale very easily. I opened a package last week and left it open, but the marshmallow is still rather soft and only slightly tacky. It gives it a nice chew, but I was hoping for something a little drier.

I actually ate a whole tray of these.

And then read the ingredients to see that they contain Sucralose and AceK. Sigh ... artificial sweeteners. (It said less than .5% of the candy was composed of these, but when sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, they don’t need to put much in and it did shave 20 calories off the total for a serving compared to a regular Peep.) I felt really betrayed, though I can only blame myself for not reading the ingredients completely before eating them. (I did have a stomach ache for the rest of the morning, but that could have been caused by, well, eating a tray of marshmallows for breakfast or the ibuprofen I’ve been popping lately.) I thought they were really tasty and I would actually buy these and eat these again if they didn’t have those artificial sweeteners. I just have to ask ... why?

I can’t figure out how to rate them now. I was all set to give them an 8 out of 10. For now I’m going to give them a 6 out of 10.

Here’s X-Entertainment’s review and Candy Addict’s.

Related Candies

  1. Peeps Monster Mash Ups
  2. Peeps Spooky Friends
  3. Peeps Mash Ups
  4. Peeps Lollipop Rings
  5. Frankford Marshmallow Hearts
  6. Peeps
Name: Peeps Peppermint Marshmallow Stars
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: samples from Just Born
Price: 99 cents
Size: 3.375 ounces
Calories per ounce: 97
Categories: Marshmallow, Mint, United States, Just Born, Peeps, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:46 am     Comments (12)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg

I’ve talked a lot over the years about Candy Season and the accompanying seasonal candies that go with each. Slowly the candy companies are seeing that those seasonal favorites can be re-purposed into other seasons. Just like M&Ms are found in color combos for every time of the year and Russell Stover is making a marshmallow-filled pumpkin, Santa and egg, it seems that Cadbury doesn’t want anyone to miss out on incorporating their egg-shaped candies into the major holidays.

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This is where the Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg comes in. It’s just a Cadbury Creme Egg with a red foil wrapper.

It seems silly, but I’m going to re-review these, even though they’re no different than the Easter version. However, the last time I ate one was back in ‘06 when they were 1.38 ounces. This made for a very large reservoir of fondant ... which is not my favorite part of the Cadbury Creme Egg. (My favorite part of the Cadbury Creme Egg, for the record, was the clucking bunny commercial.) The more recent version is 1.2 ounces.

The egg has a wonderful sweet dairy chocolate smell to it that reminded me of powdered milk. Both of mine had a small sticky problem around the seam (and I tried to hard to pick good ones).

The nose cone of both seemed extremely thick, which gave a good dose of chocolate to the otherwise too-sweet fondant density.

The fondant creme center is sweet, it’s nice and smooth indicating its freshness (an old Creme Egg will have a slight grain to the fondant). But really, it’s just a big hunk of sugar, and while I often enjoy big hunks of sugar (rock candy anyone?), I still felt a little too much of a sugar rush aftewards.

I think I prefer the smaller one. I’d love it if they made a mint one (and I did find the orange one a bit better). That said, it’s still not a favorite of mine. But I’m sure fans of the Creme Egg will be happy to see it now as their stockpiles from Easter are probably long gone.

While I can fault them for doing nothing more than slapping a different color wrapper on it and the word “ornament” to make it a Christmas product, I did find that making the Mini Eggs into little spheres for their new Christmas thingies  did actually muck with perfection.

Related Candies

  1. Cadbury Ornament Creme Egg
  2. Cadbury Canadian Creme Eggs
  3. Cadbury Christmas Candy Thingies
  4. Cadbury Eggs: Creme & Caramel
Name: Ornament Creme Egg
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Cadbury (dist. by Hershey)
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Hollywood)
Price: $.50 (on sale)
Size: 1.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Fondant, United Kingdom, Cadbury, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:12 am     Comments (11)

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Recipe: Candy Cane Sugar

One of the most flexible things you can make out of old candy canes (or any hard candy) is candy cane sugar which can be used just like regular sugar in a variety of ways.

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I made mine from a couple of humongo peppermint sticks by Spangler (each weighs 4 ounces). Two of these sticks will make 1 Cup of candy cane sugar.

image      image      image

There are a couple of ways to make it, I use the old fashioned method.

Supplies:
1 cutting board
1 kitchen mallet or hammer (with a flat surface to it)
2 heavy duty (freezer) plastic bags

Put the candies into one of the ziploc bags and then into the other. Once you start pounding away the sharp pieces will cut the bag a bit and if you don’t want a powdery-sticky mess, it’s best to double bag.

Whack away. Break up the big pieces first, hitting them as best you can with the flat side of your mallet or hammer.

After breaking up the candy, dump it into a bowl. Shake the bowl gently to get the larger pieces to the top, scoop them off and return them to the plastic bag for further pulverization. Repeat until you get your candy sugar to the grind that you desire.

Alternate Method:

Break up candy canes into small pieces by hand.

Put into clean Coffee Grinder (or food processor).

Pulse grind to break up big chunks. Continue until you reach the desired consistency.

For best results:

When finished put into an airtight container. If you live in a particularly humid area keep it in the fridge to prevent it from reforming into a sticky pile.

Use single-colored candy. Multicolored candy canes (such as red and green stripes) will make for a rather muddy colored sugar once it’s pulverized.

Do not use plastic produce bags, they’re just too thin and you’ll end up with bits of plastic in your sugar.

See the grand list of 33 Things to do with Candy Canes for ideas on how to use your Candy Cane Sugar. I made the Peppermint Stick Layer Cake!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:54 am     CandyRecipesChristmasHard Candy & LollipopsMintsNewsComments (2)

33 Uses for Leftover Candy Canes

Here you go, oodles of things to do with those leftover candy canes. (Or maybe you want to pick some up on sale.)

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Use them whole:
1. Stir your hot cocoa
2. Stir your hot tea
3. Stir your coffee (works for lattes & cappuccinos, too)
4. Stir your cocktail
5. Stir your milkshake
6. Snap off the hooked end and dip the straight piece in the chocolate of your choice for homemade “reception sticks
7. Candy Kebabs (spear marshmallows and roll them in sprinkles or other crushed candies)
8. Valentine’s Heart (I’ll try to kitchen test this over the weekend)
9. Edible Fondue Sticks (best for marshmallows)

Crush them lightly:
10. Ice Cream Sprinkles
11. Cake Sprinkles
12. Cupcake Sprinkle
13. Frosted Cookie Sprinkles
14. On top of Whipped Cream in your Hot Cocoa
15. Roll marshmallows in them and eat them whole, toast them in the microwave or drop them in hot cocoa

Make Candy Cane Sugar:
16. Sweeten your Hot Tea
17. Sweeten your Iced Tea
18. Sweeten your Hot Cocoa
19. Sweeten your Coffee or Mocha
20. Use to rim your Cocktails (or this one)

Use them in recipes:
21. White Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge
22. Peppermint Four Layer Cake
23. Chocolate Mint Layer Cake
24. Chocolate Peppermint Bark (I like to pour mine into candy cups instead of making a bark.)
25. Make vanilla ice cream into Peppermint Ice Cream
26. Make your own Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
27. Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Cookies
28. Candy Cane Chocolate Chunk Cookies
29. Candy Cane Brownies (these are vegan!)
30. Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels
31. Peppermint Meringues
32. Add to Rice Krispies Treats
33. Candy Cane Cheesecake

So, what can you add to the list?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:53 am     CandyRecipesChristmasHard Candy & LollipopsMintsFun StuffComments (16)

Recipe: Peppermint Stick Layer Cake

This was my traditional birthday cake throughout my teen years: The Peppermint Stick Layer Cake. My mother came up with it as a way to use up the remaining candy canes from Christmas but it’s a great cake to make any time of year. The whipped cream is lighter tasting and less sweet than a buttercream or sugar frosting, but you’re free to create your own adaptation with your favorite frosting recipe. When the cake is well chilled it’s almost like an ice cream cake.

image

I like mine as a four layer cake because it means that the ratio of whipped cream to cake is about equal.

Ingredients:

2 8” Round Chocolate Layers (I make mine from Devil’s Food cake mix - use any recipe or mix you like)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream (well chilled)
1/2 cup of crushed peppermint candy canes (or starlight mints)

Allow your cake layers to cool completely before assembly.

Whipped Cream

Chilling is essential to great whipped cream. I make mine using a two bowl method.

Take a large pasta pot and fill the bottom with ice and then a bit of water. Fit a mixing bowl over it (I have a lipped bowl that fits inside my pasta pot well). Make sure the ice water mixture comes up to at least 1/3 of the side of the mixing bowl.

Pour in your pint of whipping cream. Add a dash of salt.

Whip using an electric mixer or whisk well.

At about the halfway mark (when the whipped cream starts to hold its shape) start adding your crushed peppermint candy.

Continue to whip and taste as needed.

I prefer my whipped cream a little less sweet but your mileage may vary depending on how chunky your candy is and how sweet you want it. Be prepared to add between 1/4 to 1/2 cup of crushed candy. If you want it really minty, add some peppermint extract. If you want it really pink, add some red food coloring.

Assembly

Once your cake layers have cooled, make sure that they are flat (cut off any mounding).

Either cut carefully or use dental floss to split each of the layers into two. (I’ve found cutting them easier if the cake is frozen.)

Place first layer on cake plate. Mound some whipped cream on layer and spread evenly.

Place next layer on top of that, repeat with as many layers as you have.

Frost top. Depending on how generous you’ve been with your whipped cream, you can also ice the sides, I kind of like being able to see all the layers without it being cut.

Dust the top with some remaining chunks of candy canes or whole starlight mints. Don’t add them until you’re ready to serve, they get a bit runny after about an hour in the whipped cream.

Chill cake if you’re not serving immediately. You can even freeze it and serve it that way.

Other variations:

● Use Cinnamon Candies instead of Peppermint
● Use white cake instead of chocolate
● Use a square cake pan and divide in half both in height and width to create stack
● Sunset magazine featured a Candy Cane Cake too, they used a bundt shaped Angel Food cake, which means no layers. So as a whipped cream delivery device it’s sadly lacking. But if you’re looking for, you know, a balance and perhaps something that’s not quite as fatty as eating a half a pint of whipped cream yourself, then go for it!
● Make cupcakes and use pastry bag to fill them with minty whipped cream and then frost them with it as well

Related: How to make Candy Cane Sugar and 33 Things to do with Leftover Candy Canes

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:43 am     CandyRecipesReviewChristmasChocolateHard Candy & LollipopsMints9-YummyComments (14)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

After Christmas Candy Sales

Yes, it’s time to prowl the aisles of your favorite store for excellent deals on holiday-themed candies.

imageCrate & Barrel always has good stuff this time of year. Stuff I’d never buy at full-price, but at half off or more, the sassy packaging and classy looks make for pretty good deals.

This year’s highlights in the sale include Cookie Joys for $5.95 instead of $17.95. The Chocolate Enrobed Caramel Corn is also a good deal (though I’m not sure if I’d want any) at $4.95 down from $14.95.

Check out the whole array of goodies here.

imageWilliams-Sonoma doesn’t have quite the deal going on though, with average discounts of only 25% right now. Mostly the stuff isn’t that interesting, though much of it isn’t exactly holiday themed.
10 ounces of Licorice Scottie Dogs is not bad for only $4.99, though it’s not in a festive tin, the packaging is also not Christmas themed, so you could get it for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day.

Check out the whole list here.

imageDean and Deluca is still super-expensive, but there are some deals to be had.

One that caught my eye before Christmas was this normally $100 array of nougats and candied almonds from Arnaud Soubeyran (yes, that fantastic confectioner that makes the nougats I love). It’s marked down to $50.

More modestly they also have a selection of Hammond’s hard candies (ribbon, citrus slices and cinnamon drops) for only $7.50.

See the entire sale list here.

Lake Champlain is also always good for a bit of a sale after any candy holiday. They have a good array on sale and not all of it is even holiday themed. Check here for the latest.

Godiva is also promoting their “Chocolate Covered Sale” boasting 50% off ... that means the 36 piece box that’s usually $42 is now a much more reasonable sounding $21. That green and red bow doesn’t matter, does it?

In stores you’ll find good deals as well, so keep an eye out!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:12 pm     CandyChristmasShoppingComments (2)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Classics Poll Results

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The most recent poll was about favorite Christmas candy classics.

I was suprised at how well Toblerone bars performed but of course nothing pleases me more to see that traditional homemade items are still by the far the biggest winner.

For those who picked homemade, what are these items?

(I voted for hard candies because Christmas has traditionally been the only time I could get a hold of barley sugar candies.)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:17 pm     CandyChristmasPollsComments (4)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to you, my sweet readers!

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I raise my Christmas stocking to you and wish you a healthy, happy and safe Christmas, wherever you are.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:34 am     CandyChristmasComments (4)

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Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.

 

 

 

 

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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

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