January 2011

Sweethearts Twilight Eclipse

Conversation hearts are the candy everyone loves to hate. But I'll tell you what, I kind of like them. Chalky, yes. Silly, yes. But conversation hearts have a texture that's more than a crunch but less than a chew. It's an eating experience, not unlike Jordan almonds.

Now, to say I'm not a Twilight fan is to understate the case. But I appreciate a bit of silly tie-in marketing as much as the next person. And the box made it quite explicit that these candies sparkle. How could I resist sparkle candy? I love candy… I love sparkles… what's not to like?

Even cynical though I may be, my cynicism circuit failed me. These candies don't sparkle, save for exceptionally generous uses of the word "sparkle." If you tilt them carefully under a bright light and scrutinize them closely, then yes, there is a hint of a sugar crystal sort of coating. It sort of reminds me of that faint touch of glitter you find in a fancy composite or granite floor, like in a bank lobby.

Pudding Cup Prevarication

With New Year's resolutions wavering, I have noticed that a lot of diet foods are going on sale at the grocery store. Maybe they always stock a lot of fat-free sugar-free stuff for the new year, and then sell off the extra at the end of the month.

This week, a sale on pudding cups caught my eye. I'm not a big fan of pudding cups. If I have a pudding craving (which I rarely do) I'll just buy the real stuff and make it myself. It's not that hard to make instant pudding, it tastes a lot better, it costs a fraction of the pre-cupped version, it doesn't leave you with a lot of non-recyclable plastic waste, and it doesn't have that unsettling "shelf stable" thing going for it.

But I grabbed these because it was a six-pack of cups on sale for a dollar, and I thought they were non-fat. "Made with nonfat milk," the label said. What the heck, I thought. They will make a decent emergency afternoon snack.

If only I had stopped to read the label!

Cadbury Eggs: The King of Easter Candy

I know there are a lot of Cadbury creme Egg haters out there. I get that, I really do. But seriously, these things are amazing. Iconic; filled with sweet goo; undiminished in their glory (although smaller in size).

Cadbury creme eggs are also one of the few resolutely seasonal candies left in the world. Even Peeps have stepped outside their traditional boundary. Once found only at Easter, holiday Peeps now exist for every possible holiday, including Independence Day. But to my knowledge, the Cadbury egg remains Easter only.

One day I imagine they will find a way to plausibly construct a Cadbury creme-filled Christmas tree, and the egg, too, will spread throughout the calendar year. But until that date, let us celebrate the creme Egg as an Easter treat, thankfully gone within a few weeks. Because even egg-lovers can only eat so many of these things.

Pecan Pie: MLKJr's Favorite Dessert

Yesterday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day I learned (from several different sources) that King's favorite dessert was pecan pie. As well it should be!

I know that there are plenty of pecan pie haters out there. They claim that pecan pie is "gummy" and "too sweet" and that it's weird to make pie out of nuts. I think Martin Luther King Jr. himself would want us to understand and respect these opinions, even if we don't necessarily agree with them.

Pecan pie began as a traditional Southern dessert. The South is the home of all things pecan (and praline, and this northerner must confess that she's a little vague on the difference). Pecans are also famous in Texas, which isn't really the South, unless you want to count the accent.

Healthy Dessert Options


So you really like your dessert after a meal?

Coming from a large Italian family, my grandpa would always look for the cookie plate before we even sat down for dinner. I would choose cookies and cannolis over salad any day of the week, but in our obese society it just is no longer an option. Desserts are full of fat, heavy cream, sugars, and syrups, after all that is why they taste so delightful! We must carefully consider what we put into our mouths especially under the pressure of health restrictions (gluten free diets, diabetic diets, and just plain dieting).  Many people hate the "D" word. Yes, I to understand it is no longer a diet, but a "lifestyle change" that we incorporate into our lives.

Almond Roca: A Pacific Northwest Favorite

I think most people think of Almond Roca as a holiday treat, even though it is available year round.  But it certainly comes into its own during the holidays, as something to set out for guests, give as a hostess present, or buy and eat at home all by yourself NO SHARING.

A lot of families here in the Northwest make their own Almond Roca, and mine is no exception.  Every family thinks their recipe is the best, and mine is no exception there, either. 

For obvious reasons, I shall avoid comparing our Almond Roca to the original.  Although I think one aspect in which Brown & Haleys is clearly superior is in shape.  The B&H version is round, like a little roca log.