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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Candy Cocktails for a Sweet New Year

Now that we’re through Christmas and the stockings and desserts, there’s New Year’s to consider.

It’s not a very candy holiday, but you can make it that way if you want. I found two great lists of candy cocktails:

Chocktails - 10 recipes for chocolate cocktails including Raspberry Truffle and what I think sounds good, Italian Licorice. (Link found via Chocolate Obsession - thanks!)

And the Candy Addict has a roundup of 15 recipes as well for all sorts of candy oriented cocktails including a Tootsie Roll and Peanut Butter Cup. The SweetTart sounds pretty good to me, although I’ve never been particularly fond of sweet drinks (I pretty much drink water, unsweetened tea and milk though I will indulge in hot chocolate from time to time).

This leads me to a recipe The Man and I formulated this summer for a Lemon Martini:

1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part limoncello
1 part lemon vodka

Shake with ice, serve in a chilled martini glass, rub the rim with lemon rind or if you want a festive look, try yellow sugar or cocktail sugars. You might also want to drop a lemon drop in there or if you can find one of those lemon stripe candy sticks, that’d be pretty cool as a stirrer. The drink is VERY zesty, as it has a lot of lemon in it. We make our own lemon vodka by simply taking a lemon and using a peeler to get just the best yellow zest off of it, placing the strips in a jar and covering with good vodka. Stick in the fridge until insanely yellow and the zest strips star to curl. If it’s too lemony (is that possible?) dilute with plain vodka.

Of course always be safe - it’s easy to over-imbibe when the drinks are sweet and tasty. I want everyone around for the New Year!

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:27 am     ReviewFun StuffNewsComments (1)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Make This: Christmas Stockings

Stockings are one of my favorite traditions of Christmas. I’ve written before about my love of the stockings Santa brought us as children. They were eclectic mixes of little gifts, novelties, traditional American chocolates, gelt and international confections. These were candies that we didn’t get any other time of the year, not in Easter baskets and certainly not in Halloween trick-or-treat bags.

For the past few years I’ve also continued this tradition with my friends when I’m in town for the holidays. We often host a Christmas Eve dinner for friends and I give out a version of these stockings to my guests.

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Our family tradition is that everyone has a stocking and it must be at my mother’s house in order for Santa to find it and fill it. Instead for my guests I put their goodies in fabric wine gift bags. They’re pretty and because they’re reusable they’re a gift as well. I found this excellent assortment in Chinatown much less expensive than at the wine store or Cost Plus. As this year was an all-couple affair, each couple got a stocking.

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The cornerstone of a stocking is candy. The Santa of my childhood seemed to favor a mix of nuts in the shell (which were obviously pretty but were also intended to minimize the actual candy content). Those nuts were immediately sorted out of the candy mix and placed in a bowl on the kitchen table. My stockings skip right to the punch - chocolate. This year we picked up a mix of chocolate coins, Hershey’s Kisses (plain, thank you), Hershey’s Mint Miniatures Mix & Butterfinger Jingles, Brachs hard candy/toffees and the Trader Joe’s Torrones.

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A stocking wouldn’t be much fun without some sassy little toys and additional candy. So I assembled a bunch of stuff, some from the 99 Cent Store, others I picked up here and there. Everyone gets a special big candy, usually just for their tastes: Toblerone bar, Jelly Belly Assortments, Bazooka bubble gum, mints (those round things are mints that look like roller blade wheels) and some grapefruit pastilles. The things that look like ice cream cones are scented bubbles (non toxic for those folks who have pets who like to play with bubbles like we do).

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imageThe gelt is more fun when packaged up. I got some cute little coin bags and pencil keepers in Chinatown as well that are even better stuffed with candy.

And there it is, all stuffed to the seams! (Okay, I have a problem with trying to stuff too much into them.)

Everyone goes home happy and if they have a long way to travel they’ve got a snack along the way. Of course you can scale up or down for finances and it’s always a good idea to keep your eye out year round to find the stuffers. Things like little notebooks, lip balm, ornaments or even CDs are good fun things to add.

(click on any photo for larger, yummier goodness)

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:11 pm     Christmas10-SuperbFun StuffNewsShoppingComments (3)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my Candy Blog readers.

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May your day be as sweet as your sugar plum dreams.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:48 pm     NewsComments (6)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Trader Joe’s Torrones

Name: Italian Soft Almond Nougat
Brand: Trader Joe’s
Place Purchased: Trader Joe’s
Price: $3.99
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Type: Nougat

When I was a kid we got rather eclectic Christmas stockings filled with candy treats that we never got any other time of the year. Christmas candy was unlike any other in our house or for any other holiday, it was a trip around the world in an oversized sock. English hard candies, Swiss & Belgian chocolates and Italian Torrones. I’ve been having a hard time finding Torrones the past few years here in Los Angeles, I used to get them at Cost Plus World Market, but haven’t seen them for quite a while. This is why I was so excited to see that Trader Joe’s had these when I was there last weekend.

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Torrones are soft nougat usually flavored Amaretto, orange, vanilla or

orange

lemon. Most European countries have their own version of the Torrone, the French do nice nougats, in both the soft and hard varieties and the Swiss Toblerone bar has hard honey nougat bits in it and the Spanish are well known for their version, the Turron. The European nougat is rather different than what you find in the American candy bar trade. Trader Joe’s has carried nougat in the past in long bars, but I’d never seen these Christmas classics before. They’re individually wrapped pieces in its own little box and gives a little history:

According to legend, nougat was born in Cremona, Italy in 1441. It was during a wedding of a local nobility that the bride and groom were offered a sweed made with honey, almonds and egg white. It was in the shape of the Torrazzo, a 13th century tower, for which the Italian word “Torrone” originated.

There are 18 of these little individually wrapped packages, boxed together. The torrone is soft and pliable white nougat that is and is sheathed in an edible, tasteless wafer to keep it from sticking. The slice of nougat has a lot of nuts but is not as “fluffy” as some others, in fact, it looks downright flat. The pieces are ample, like one of those big block pencil erasers. The scent is very nice, sweet and with a good

does

dose of honey in there. It’s good and soft, so it’s not going to remove any dental work, sweet and it dissolves quickly and mixes with the delicate almonds. The flavoring is a little odd. Most Torrones are one flavor but this one seems to be a mix of lemon and amaretto. But neither is very apparent so it just ends up being a subtle essence.

Overall, they’re not quite satisfying my jones for a good Torrone, but they are fresh and here so they’ll do for now for the stocking stuffers. They’re certainly cheaper than some others I’ve bought but I miss the fanciful pictures of Italian royalty on the individual boxes. The biggest drawback of the overpackaging (plastic wrap, boxes inside bigger box) is that it’s quite obvious how many you’ve eaten when there’s a huge pile of torrone detritus next to you on the couch.

More about Torrones: Best of Sicily & Wikipedia.

Rating - 8 out of 10

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am     CandyReviewChristmasTrader Joe'sNougatNuts8-TastyUnited StatesComments (11)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gelty Pleasures

imageSomeone’s gone out and done the legwork for me! The Washington Post published a taste test of Hanukkah Gelt or Chocolate Coins, so if you’re looking for the pretty and tasty stuff, take a look at their list before you hit the store.

The good and unsurprising news is that See’s is at the top of the list along with Godiva as the best (See’s is far more affordable).

Full list here.

Of course there are dozens more brands, but always good to have something to go on.

More from the Washington Post here. (May ask for registration ... check bugmenot).

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:51 pm     ReviewChocolateNews

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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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COUNTDOWN.

Halloween Candy Season Ends

-50 days

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Which seasonal candy selection do you prefer?

Choose one or more:

  •   Halloween
  •   Christmas
  •   Valentine's Day
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ON DECK

These candies will be reviewed shortly:

• Hachez Braune Blatter (Chocolate Leaves)

• Dandelion Chocolate

• Trader Joe’s Holiday Roundup 2014

 

 

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