If you were thinking of getting a box of Archie McPhee's Mac & Cheese Candy Canes, get on it.
After a post on @junkfoodmom in mid-September, their cheesy yellow-and-white striped candies started becoming popular ("This one isn’t bad! Smells like cheese and tastes like Mac n cheese but the sweetness overpowers the flavor eventually so it’s doable."). Since then, the candy has been covered all over the internet and even landed a spot in the print version of People magazine. Now, because of its "extreme popularity, Archie McPhee has had to limit its sales of the canes to one box per person.
I asked the company's Director of Awesome David Wahl why he thought they took off like they did and he wrote back,
We actually thought Clamdy Canes would be more popular. Turns out mixing two things people actually like together gets people more excited than actually trying to gross them out. (As we should have learned from the Bacon Candy Canes and Pickle Candy Canes.)
I think we became the “I dare you to try this” food of the moment (and of Christmas!).
Personally, I can’t wait for all the videos of kids trying the Mac and Cheese Candy Canes that Santa brought them.
Get a box while you can for $5.95/each. If they do end up selling out, don't sweat it. There's plenty of those Clamdy Canes (their clam-flavored candy canes) to go around. Read the rest
Discovering how Salty Road makes their freaking delicious taffy has weakened my resolve to stick to my diet. The only thing saving me is that I'm currently in Canada, putting the company's confections well out of reach. Read the rest
Japanese summers are hot and humid and because (at least where I live) there is no central air conditioning, it can get pretty miserable. Japanese culture has many clever ways to beat the heat during these sweltering months, but one of my favorites is the tradition of telling and listening to scary stories. I've heard many different reasons why this is done, but the one that might work best is that when you hear a truly frightening tale—one that sends goosebumps prickling your skin—you feel suddenly colder.
I don't know about you, but it's still frighteningly sweltering where I am, so let me introduce you to “Very Scary Story Gum” (Chou Kowai Hanashi Gum), by Top Seika. Now these have been around for awhile, but every summer they get a slightly new package and brand new stories. Every package includes a small slab of non-delicious gum, a folded horror story (white print on black paper) and a fuda or talisman card.
The stories range from haunted stuffed animals to haunted intersections and more. I think I like the talisman cards best. They're a nice touch and seem collectable (I only wish they were printed on two sides). One of mine tells me I'll be twice as scared and the other promises that if I carry it around I won't be harassed by ghosts.
I also discovered a nice touch when reading the package. There is a warning on the back stating that if you are the kind of person who doesn’t really like very scary stories then you should open and read this with a friend or under adult supervision. Read the rest
Wagashi are traditional Japanese confections. Archivists have digitized a lovely multivolume illustrated catalog of the sweet treats, many of which still look the same as they did hundreds of years ago when the art form flourished in the Edo period. Read the rest
Montreal-based CandyLabs is back after far too long with a lovely demonstration of how they make hard candy that looks like a sushi roll. Read the rest
This video was far more interesting than I thought it was going to be. It's not only the story of the restoration of a cool barn find, a circa 1890 candy-making machine, but it details how Greg Cohen of Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida used it to make strawberry "drops" (hard candies). Cohen is a real candy-making nerd and he shares how he spent 70 to 80 hours restoring this antique machine for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Museum in Skagway, Alaska:
To this day there aren’t many good roads into it, if any. Imagine how hard it would have been to get this device up there to be used for candy? And how much money there must have been in the 1890s... to warrant someone bringing it up so that miners could have a little bit of happiness in their pocket, some nice candies to eat, I guess, when they mine? It was a good bit of luxury that they could take with them, that they didn’t have to worry about spoiling. Because they lived a really rough life as they mined up there.
And while it probably was worth bringing to Skagway for business reasons, it probably wasn’t worth bringing it back, so it got stashed in a barn and it’s been sitting there for the last hundred and something years, slowly rusting away forgotten.
And now I’ve been given an opportunity to give it a little bit of new life making candy again.
(The Kid Should See This, The Awesomer) Read the rest
I'm pretty sure L.A.'s Compartés Chocolatier didn't stop to think if they should when they made their latest creation, the avocado toast chocolate bar ($9.95 each). In the video, you'll see to make this limited-edition bar that they literally throw avocado and toast into white chocolate.
Creamy white chocolate blended with premium California avocados and crunchy bits of caramelized toast create a crunchy, sweet unique chocolate sensation unlike anything you've ever tried before!
As much as I'd like to pooh-pooh this oddball mashup candy, I would totally try it. What can I say? I'm weak for weird sweets.
Read the rest
Dutch pastry/dessert chef Daniel Jongsma created this beautiful confection that looks like earth, replete with continents and clouds. Read the rest
While these guns, knives, and bombs look deliciously real, they are in fact masterful digital art confections by artist Cristian Girotto. Let's hope a candymaker gets inspired! Read the rest
Greg from Lofty Pursuits used his antique candy drop roller to create Madness, his mixture of candies that all have the same red color but have many different flavors. He also demonstrates the Stroop effect. Read the rest
Pastry chef and Bon Appétit's senior food editor Claire Saffitz has been reverse engineering popular candies like Kit Kats and Skittles in an effort to make her own gourmet versions. For both candies, it's quite the process to recreate artisanal versions of them!
If this is your kind of thing, Saffitz has also tried to recreate junk food like Cheetos and Twinkies.
(digg) Read the rest
Since 1847, non-discerning Americans have been eating slices of flavored chalk branded as NECCO wafers. With the company possibly closing soon, they're panic buying the inedible grim-tasting "candy" to torture one last round of guests or trick-or-treaters with their terrible taste in candy. Read the rest
German pastry chef, gamer, cosplayer, and Twittizen, Sonja decided to make a batch of edible candy RPG/polyhedral dice. She posted pictures on Twitter and all the nerds came running to her yard. Realizing she might have a hungry market on her hands, Sonja has quickly opened up an Etsy store, the cleverly-named, Sugar and Dice.
Batches of the dice are Isomalt sugar and are edible. They can either be "eaten as a hard candy bonbon or dissolved into a hot cup of tea or coffee." Sonja points out that they are not balanced and not perfect on all sides, so they can't really be reliably used in gaming.
A set of 7 dice (1 each of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d100, and d20) will run you £18, shipped to the US (and take 1-2 weeks). Not exactly penny candy, but a cool novelty and a unique, fun gift for a gamer friend. I will definitely be getting some. A set of these will make a nice gaming night prize. Read the rest
Easter is on April Fools Day this year but what I'm about to share is not a joke.
A brewery in Texas, The Collective Brewing Project in Fort Worth, has crafted a Peeps-filled ale that will be ready for the holiday. It's a collaboration with local bar Lone Star Taps and Caps, according to Dallas Morning News' Guide Live:
Called Peep This Collab, the beer is a sour ale brewed with Peeps, vanilla and butterfly pea flower, which will turn the beverage purple. Brewers added more than 30 boxes of the marshmallow candy, says Steven Roman, general manager of Taps and Caps. And once the beer has fermented, they'll add edible glitter to really make it shine.
Collective's head brewer and co-founder Ryan Deyo says, "Several of us were just sitting around the brewery talking about how beer has become this super serious thing. I've been on a kick to assert beer should be a fun thing... We make a beer with ramen noodles, so Peeps isn't really a stretch." Read the rest
Easter is a busy time for chocolatier Andy Karandzieff (aka "Andy Candy"). He expects to sell over 10K chocolate bunnies this month at his candy shop, a St. Louis institution since 1913.
However, when one of his hand-poured chocolates breaks coming out of its mold, the Crown Candy Kitchen owner doesn't toss it or re-melt the chocolate. He instead takes the broken pieces and starts franken-ing them together, forming "misfit chocolates."
He told KSDK, "You can start getting creative and you get these oddball, misfit things that come out of my demented imagination sometimes."
I wish his shop was closer to me, so I could buy some of his mutant mashups to gift. Easter is on April Fools Day this year, after all (not that I need an excuse). Read the rest
Greg at Public Displays of Confection created this delightful honey-flavored crystal candy with a sunflower pattern inside. It's really cool to see how they did it. Read the rest