Desserts/Sweets

Free Slurpees Today!

Today is July 7, or 7-11, so you know what that means—free Slurpees for everyone! If you head on over to your nearest 7-Eleven, you can get a free Slurpee while supplies last. (Click here to see if yours is participating.)

When I was a kid, my dad took me to get a Slurpee quite often—I would say at least every other week. I don’t remember them having nearly as many flavors as they have today, but good old cherry was always good enough for me anyway. Remember drinking them on heat advisory days—much like the days we’re having this week—and gulping so fast that you gave yourself a brain freeze, and all of your friends laughed at you while you screamed “Argh! Argh, my head!” until it was over—just so you could return the favor when they, too, froze their noggins?

The Blizzard: King of Ice Cream Treats

I confess: despite all my best efforts, somehow I accidentally slipped and bought a Blizzard today. I mean, come on, they are so delicious! How can you resist? Possibly by reminding yourself that it's basically the equivalent of eating an entire tub of Ben & Jerry's. But hey, sometimes you just gotta.
For those who live beyond the boundaries of Dairy Queen, a Blizzard is basically the King of Milkshakes. It's soft serve ice cream blended with a bunch of big chunks of stuff. A milkshake that requires a spoon, in other words.

Macarons: Poised to Unseat Cupcakes?

I had my first macarons yesterday, after having mooned over them online for months. It's clear to see why macarons are a darling of the food blogs: they are small, adorable, flavorful, and incredibly colorful. And oh so French!
Not to be confused with "macaroons," which are those giant delicious piles of coconut and marzipan. Macarons are small sandwich cookies, sort of like the evolutionary descendant of the Oreo cookie or the Whoopie Pie. These desserts are quintessentially French, and are thought to have been introduced to France in 1533 by Catherine Di Medici's pastry chefs.
However, the popularity of macarons particularly surged in 2001, when an innovative French pastry chef named Pierre Herme began introducing his pastries like a fashion show, brought onto a stage by models. The last pastry of each collection to be introduced was his seasonal macaron. The pastry world went wild!

Strawberry Shortcake: A Summer Treat

The strawberry crop is a little bit late this year in my part of the world. But strawberry shortcake is a treat I associate strongly with summer, even though it can be enjoyed year round with the use of frozen berries. And although I am a purist in most things, I frankly think that frozen strawberries are almost as good as fresh, for something like this. Assuming you get "real" frozen berries (unsweetened) and not the sliced-and-syruped kind that come in a square carton.

Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honey

Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honey are examples of what I think of as "convergent candy evolution." Although made by different manufacturers, from different ingredients, they have managed to produce two very similar candies - right down to the wrapper design.

Convergent evolution occurs in nature when two very dissimilar animals evolve similar structures or behavior. Birds and bats, for example, are completely unrelated - but they have both evolved very similar wing structures.

Sugar Babies: Down With Red 40!

Sugar Babies are the most easily available member of the Babies family. The primary caretaker in this family is Sugar Daddy, which is a funny rectangular lollipop made out of caramel. If there is a Sugar Mommy in the picture, I haven't seen her. Even Sugar Daddy is something of an absentee parent. I think the only place I regularly run across Sugar Daddy candies is at Rite-Aid and other oddball drug store candy aisles.

Snickers: The Classic, The Best

I spend a lot of time analyzing and writing about weird candy. Weird candy is fun! But at the end of the day, when I want a treat, more often than not I fall back on one of the reliable classics: the Snickers bar.

Snickers has spun off a lot of different off-shoots over the years. And don't get me wrong, those are interesting and add some nice variety to the line-up. Snickers Almond began as a special edition, and ended up sticking around. Dark Chocolate Snickers is always a welcome treat. Snickers Marathon: not a big fan. But in the end it all comes back to the classic Snickers bar.

Jelly Bean Poopers

I met my first jelly bean pooper at Easter, in about 1997 when I worked in the accounting department of a large travel agency. One of our managers was a far more interesting woman than you would expect from an accounting manager. She brought in a yellow plastic chick which pooped out jelly beans when you pushed it down.

Squirrel Nut Zippers

The other bizarre candy that I bought at Michael's Crafts yesterday is a bag of Squirrel Nut Zippers. Like so many people, I was entranced by Squirrel Nut Zippers (the band) in the 1990s. I vaguely knew that their name came from a candy (I probably heard it in an NPR interview or something). But for some reason, I thought a Squirrel Nut Zipper was something like a turtle or a Goo Goo Cluster. A blob of chocolate, nuts, and maybe caramel.

(What can I say? We didn't have Wikipedia back then.)

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