Archive for August, 2013

Some Sweet Places to Score SKOR Bars!

Image courtesy of SweetThangCandy.com

A friend recently reminded me of a conversation we had a few years back regarding candy bars. Several of us gals treated ourselves to a weekend away and were chatting over cocktails at the hotel bar. Presumably out of nowhere – though not really, as candy is never far from my mind! – I said something along the lines of, “Why aren’t there any candy bars? Like – actual bars where instead of alcohol they have candy bars?” Nope – it wasn’t the mango martini talking! I’ve thought this was a cute idea more than once in the past. Wouldn’t it be fun if there was a social space that centered around all different types of candy bars? Somewhere you could go with friends or for a first date and order both popular and more obscure candy bars from America and around the world? I certainly think so! And if there were such a place, I think the perfect complement to all that chocolate would be coffee. Coffee shops tend to do well all on their own – can you even imagine how well they might do if they served Caramel Macchiatos and Caramellos? Oh, how I’d love to work on recommended coffee and candy pairings! But I digress. Let’s talk about SKOR bars!

It was my friend reminding me of this conversation that got me thinking about candy bars in the first place. Some of my favorites have become harder and harder to find, from SKOR bars to 5th Avenues. And while they may have never been as popular as Snickers or Milky Way, many of them had quite a few fans in my circle of friends alone, and I’ve certainly seen others buying them at supermarkets and such! Thinking about SKOR bars in particular really struck a craving chord, and I found myself scouring the shelves at several local stores only to come up empty-handed. Luckily, my Internet search proved a whole lot sweeter. If you love SKOR bars as much as I do and want to stock up, here’s some places online to grab a box of 18…

SKOR Candy Bars at BlairCandy.com – $18.00
SKOR Candy Bars at NationwideCandy.com – $29.74
SKOR Candy Bars at BestBuyCandy.com – $19.95
SKOR Candy Bars at SweetThangCandy.com – $19.99
SKOR Candy Bars at CandyGalaxy.com – $18.99

Cotton Candy Grapes: A Quick Journey from Skeptical to Intrigued

Image courtesy of Spencer Gray via npr.org

It might come as a surprise to some that I can be a bit of a purist when it comes to food. While I am aware that candy is sometimes full of less-than-desirable colorings and ingredients, and that these are part of what draws me to them, I really do wish that everything I ate was much more natural than it might actually be. I buy organic fruits, vegetables and meats as often as possible, trying to let my dollar do the talking when it comes to what me and countless others desire from the food industry. As such, when I first came across an article about grapes that taste like cotton candy, my first thought was, “Keep your chemicals out of my fruit bowl!” After all, if I want cotton candy I can eat cotton candy, and grapes are delicious all on their own without tinkering around with them. But before jumping to too many conclusions, I read the following article beginning to end: The Cotton Candy Grape: A Sweet Spin On Designer Fruit.

I don’t consider myself an expert on the fruit or food industry because of reading a few articles, so please don’t get that impression! But the article touched on something that I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen for years now – food doesn’t taste the same as it once did.

The horticulturalist behind the cotton candy grape, David Cain, isn’t trying to junk food-ify our fruit supply at all. In fact, he “wants to bring back the natural flavors of our grapes, which have been stripped away by decades of breeding fruit to withstand shipping and storage.” And how is he working to achieve this goal? Not through artificial flavoring as I initially presumed, rather through plant breeding. The cotton candy grape is actually a hybrid of two different species of grapes, drawing on positive attributes of each for an entirely new flavor. This isn’t to say there isn’t any science at all to cotton candy grapes – quite the contrary! As the article explains, there are quite a few test tubes involved, and plenty of human involvement. These grapes weren’t discovered growing somewhere – they were created. But the process seems a lot more logical, and a lot less artificial, than I had originally presumed. I would like to dig a bit deeper to gain a better understanding, but as things stand now, I think I’d give them a try! How about you?

Mixing Up Some Marvelous Candy Bar Milkshakes!

Image courtesy of SpoonForkBacon.com

In the summer months, many of us find ourselves getting away from cooking or baking anything that requires the stove or oven being on for more than 20 minutes. When the sun is beating down well into the evening, and the humidity levels seem as though they must have climbed past 100%, we don’t want to be near the kitchen! Instead of cakes and pies, we often favor frozen desserts, like ice cream, milkshakes, and Popsicles. And on occasions where we venture out for tasty treats, we can sometimes find ourselves in shock when we get the bill.

There are seemingly more places than ever to ‘create your own ice cream’, whether it’s a sundae or creation where everything gets mixed into the middle. I consider these mixed-up treats to be somewhat of a hybrid between a sundae and a milkshake, but for this post I’ll be referring to them as a milkshake.

I can honestly say that most of these summery treats that I’ve tried have been downright delicious. My favorite ingredients to include are Reese’s Cups, Reese’s Pieces and Oreos, though I’ll veer off-course from time to time. But for as tasty as they are, they are also expensive, with many places charging a small fee that adds up quickly for each candy. Not to mention, sometimes I simply don’t want to have to drive to the ice cream shop, dealing with traffic and a line, or simply be left craving when I decide I want one at midnight! So I did something recently that I should have been doing for years. I started making my own!

You’ll just need a few simple ingredients to make your own ice cream shop at home:

  • Ice Cream (I prefer the staples – chocolate and vanilla)
  • A Blender or Similar Appliance
  • Milk (If you prefer a thinner consistency)
  • Chocolate Sauce, Hot Fudge and/or Caramel Topping (optional and variable)
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Your Favorite Candy Bars (I usually work with mini ‘fun’ sizes)

I don’t follow an exact recipe for my candy bar milkshakes, usually including about 2 scoops of ice cream, a splash of milk, a quick squirt of chocolate sauce, and the equivalent of 2 chopped miniature candy bars in the blender. I don’t like the candy completely pulverized, nor do I like my treat too smooth, so a few blender bursts and I’m ready! If you like yours smoother, you might want to add the candy after blending about halfway if you don’t want it to break up too much. It’s all trial and error, and even the ‘errors’ taste delicious, so it’s a no-lose situation!

For garnish, I add a bit of whipped cream and some additional chopped candy bar pieces. I then grab a long spoon, dig in, and thoroughly enjoy each and every bite.

If you want some more inspiration, do a quick Google search for ‘candy bar milkshake’, or check out this tasty number to get started: Snickers Milkshakes.