September 2012

Gluten Free Candy: Sixlets

Inexplicably bad.

There is so much candy available on the market, why would anyone buy Sixlets? Even in the category of gluten free products, you can always buy M&Ms. Sixlets are widely known as "a crappy version of M&Ms," which isn't UN-true, but Sixlets also manage to bring the yuck in their own unique way.

Sixlets are produced in Toronto, Ontario. I live in the USA and the opposite end of the continent, which means that I basically only see Sixlets at Halloween. Along with all the other crappy Halloween candy, Sixlets always make an appearance. I guess because they are affordable and already packaged into small individual units. For Halloween they come in eight Sixlets to a tube, although I occasionally see them in larger quantities and bigger tubes outside the holidays.
 
I will give them this: Sixlets are brightly and cheerfully colored. Although something about the color selection might lead you to think these were fruit flavored. 

The sublime mystery of Tic Tacs

The candy designed for anorexics

I have been studiously ignoring Tic Tacs for most of my adult life. But I was persuaded to try them again by this mind-bending discovery someone posted online: that little divot inside the flip-up lid? It is the exact size of a Tic Tac, In other words, the package was designed as an actual dispenser. This is big news to those of us who customarily eat Tic Tacs by shaking the box upside down over our mouths.

Personally, I feel like Tic Tacs are candy for anorexics. What kind of candy has you eat one teeny tiny piece at a time? Your average Tic Tac is about half the size of your average Mike & Ike, and no one expects you to eat one Mike & Ike at the same time.
 
Yet the Tic Tac box is clearly designed for people to carry it around in their pockets. The Tic Tac company presumes that it will take you a while to eat that whole entire box. They want to be sure you will be able to tote them around for a long time without any problems. 

Tired of cupcakes that stick to the wrapper?

Tricks for party-perfect cupcakes

My favorite quick party dessert is the classic cupcake. You can make them in any flavor, and their single-serving size makes them perfect for sharing with others. No more messy cutting or sliding layers. Plus, they are just so much fun to eat! I've never met a person who didn't smile when you hand them this fresh, home-baked treat.

Unfortunately, I've also had my ups and downs with cupcakes. When I first started baking, they never came out right. While the actual cake tasted great, the little suckers always stuck to the wrappers. No one likes to eat paper with their chocolate cake. How can you avoid this?

The mystery of the pineapple pine nut pie

What's the deal with this Mad Men dessert?

I have been catching up on Mad Men recently, so you must forgive me if I am late to the party on this one. In a dinner party scene, mention is made of a "pineapple pine nut pie." I was intrigued, as well as confused. 

The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a huge fad for pineapple. Usually canned. The miracle of new fresh packing methods meant that decent pineapple was available year-round throughout the country. And it just seemed so very space age, you know? 
 
People loved canned food in that era. The combination of convenience and "food of the future" was a big part of the allure. And in earlier eras, if you wanted pineapple and you didn't live in Hawaii, you were pretty much out of luck.
 
Canned pineapple turns up in almost every dessert of the era, from cakes to pies and even Jell-O desserts (although you have to add it after the Jell-O has been chilled, otherwise it won't set). Not to mention ambrosia salad. Pineapple featured heavily in ham-based dishes, and even made the occasional appearance with chicken or pork chops.

Baking without eggs

Healthy egg substitutes for your favorite recipes.

If you're like me, then you are always looking for ways to eat healthy, without giving up taste. As a baker, it is especially important that I'm still able to indulge in my favorite treats while I'm watching my figure.

Most recipes call for the use of eggs. They are needed as a binding and leavening agent in baked goods. Unfortunately, eggs are also full of saturated fat and cholesterol. Thankfully, there are many substitutes you can use if you want to make a healthier dessert that is still delicious.