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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Happy National Almond Buttercrunch Day…really?

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Ok, what Super PAC came up with this? The Heath lobby? In deference to this holiest of days, June 29th,  let’s discuss Almond Buttercrunch.

My hands down favorite in this category is the aforementioned Heath Bar. For those of you who have just landed in 2012…It’s an almond flavored toffee slab, enrobed in milk chocolate. The fun size is the best size, because you can get perfect bite of candy without having so much toffee that you pull out a crown. Heath takes their broken bits and sells them in bagged form for baking. I add a 1/2 cup (or more) to my favorite Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. It makes them chewy, and crunchy, and wonderful.

Better yet, The geniuses, and I’m serious here, at Ben & Jerry’s make Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream. An amazing flavor combination! Thank heavens it only comes in pints….

Another favorite is Almond Roca. This is a good candy, but the best Roca, of sorts, comes from Idaho (ok, I haven’t tried every Roca, but the stuff below is excellent)

Owyhee Butter Toffee is made in Boise and is really good. Since it’s made in small batches, it’s fresher than other mass produced varieties. As usual, I prefer the bite size, but I wouldn’t pass up the full size, if offered. They just added a chocolate covered version (what took them so long?) Click here to visit their site, and if you purchase a box, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Euro vs. U.S. Milky Way-let the games begin

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There are 2 versions of the candy and I thought that they should compete in the spirit of the Olympic games…

I bought the Euro version at World Market, thinking it would be similar to the one I buy at Safeway. I think I even spent $2 on it. I have high standards for European candy, and my expectations were high. So, there’s the starter gun…. And they’re off….(American version is on the left, Euro on the right.)

First, the euro is a bit flatter on the top, than the U.S. version. Secondly, when I bit into it, I expected caramel, but no, there was only nougat. Thirdly, it’s much smaller. (The Euro falls behind.)

It was like a 3 Musketeers, but more dense. The candy bar was dry and flat tasting. (The Euro trips as they head for the finish line…)

Milky Way without caramel is just not a Milky Way. If this were the candy Olympics,  it wouldn’t be a medal contender. U.S.A. wins!

The only positive that I can take from this is that I didn’t eat more than 2 bites.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the images.

You have to try my favorite chocolate cake, it’s Crazy….

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This cake is so wonderful. It’s a must at every family birthday, and a request at most pot-lucks. We always call it Crazy Cake. I think the cake became popular during the depression since it doesn’t use eggs, but now it’s au courant since the cake is vegan, too! My mother-in-law made this for my husband, and his twin sister’s, birthday two days ago, and the sweet taste still lingers in my mind….This is her recipe.

I don’t have any photos. It looks like a typical chocolate cake, it just tastes much better. It is so moist that it is best made in a 9″x13″ pan. You’ll frost it when it’s still warm, and the frosting gets that cool, crunchy texture on the top.

Here are some tips: 1.Use Wesson oil, 2. Don’t use frosting in a can, use the frosting recipe below 3. If you don’t want frosting, just sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the cake once it’s cooled. 4. You could make it as 24 cupcakes, use cupcake liners, and you’ll just need to adjust the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Crazy Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s is fine)
  • 3/4 cup Wesson oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white or red, both work, but not balsamic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (only use real, never imitation)
  • 2 cups room temperature water

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Don’t over mix.

2. Pour into a greased and floured 9″x13″ cake pan (metal is best, glass will cook unevenly).

3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C for everyone outside the U.S.) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Sometimes the baking time can take up to 50 minutes, and I don’t know why. Just keep testing it every 5 minutes after 40 minutes to prevent burning.) Keep cake in pan and set pan on a cooling rack. Wait 15 minutes to cool slightly, then frost with the recipe below.

Frosting for Crazy Cake

2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate (Baker’s is fine)

4 Tablespoons butter (unsalted is always best, but salted work just fine)

1/2 box powdered sugar (I think this equals about a cup)*

1/2 c. heavy cream*

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a large microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate and butter. Heat for 30 second intervals until melted, stir between each 30 seconds.

Beat in the powdered sugar, and cream. Add the vanilla.

*Add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin, or a little more cream if too thick.

If you find yourself in Salt Lake City, you must have some gelato

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Capo Gelateria makes the finest gelato that I’ve had this side of the Atlantic. I tried their flavor called Calabria (since this is where my grandmother was from) and it was a wonderfully curious combination of light mint, and caramel. Their gelato is creamy, and smooth. The flavors are pure, and well paired. A medium, 2 flavor cup was $4, and worth every lira!

You can find them in downtown Salt Lake City, 262 South, 200 West.

White Chocolate, and Coconut are BFFs

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Two of my favorites can be found together in a new Lindt Bar. The bar itself in thin, so the pieces aren’t overwhelming. It’s rich enough that with 2 squares your craving is satisfied, albeit for a brief time…. and the coconut has a slightly toasted flavor. It’s priced around $3 which is a good value for  a bar of this quality.

Together these flavors are really pleasant. Unless, of course, you don’t like either, then I must ask, why are you reading this? (But, I’m glad you did!)

Lindt Excellence 99% Cocoa/Cacao (could be called 99% caca)…

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or a substitute for Ipacac.

Normally, I’m a Lindt fan, but here’s where I draw the line. Apparently I am not a huge fan of total cocoa, either….I admit it, I just don’t understand the challenge of “enjoying food”. If it doesn’t taste good after the 3rd bite, I can move on. My apologies to all the food traveler t.v. shows, I’m just not as cool as you. Now,  there are things that I love which make others cringe such as oysters, and gin martinis (not together, of course), so my palette isn’t completely juvenile.

This dark, dark, chocolate bar is shiny, and thin, with a good snap as you break apart the tiny piece which is about to sear into your tongue.

The wrapper comes complete with directions for optimum eating enjoyment. This should serve as a warning, you never should need instructions when eating candy!
Here are the directions, which are full of fancy spellings and the royal “we” so that once you eat this you will feel you have really accomplished something in your life, like a gustatory decathlon. *

“Excellence 99% is a unique chocolate that reveals all the strength and richness of cocoa beans. To fully appreciate all its flavours (note the fancy spelling),
we recommend that your progressively develop your palate through our range of high cocoa content chocolate bars, starting with Excellence 70%, then Excellence 85% and finally 99%.
The best way to experience Excellence 99% Cocoa is to break off a small piece and allow it to melt slowly in your mouth. To taste the full bouquet of chocolate aromas, try accompanying your tasting with some coffee.”

Or wash it down with a fifth of jack so that you can forget that you ever were so silly as to buy bakers chocolate with a marketing spin.

This 99% is not eaten by 99% who occupied Wall Street. In fact, I doubt it’s eaten by .005%. But, if you enjoy it…good for you, you’re a better man than I!

* Many thanks to my brilliant sister, Eleanor,  who discovered this dark chocolate silliness, and wrote much of this post.

Happy chocolate ice cream day!

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The words “Chocolate ice cream”,  and “happy” are pretty much equal to me. The title of this post could read Happy happy day! I don’t know who decided that this day was dedicated to this flavor, but my hat is off to them.

My favorite, chocolate ice cream is Haagen Daz. It has pure flavor, no artificial tinge and is really creamy. Its ingredients are simple: Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Cocoa Processed with Alkali.

Sure it packs a whopping amount of fat per serving, but relax, it has 5g of protein, 8% of your iron RDA, and 10% of calcium and vitamin A. So enjoy a bowl tonight, and skip the guilt.