Recently in Candy and Sweets category

Askinosie White Chocolate, Kallari Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It

askinoisewhitechocolate

Askinosie White Chocolate

There’s nothing odder to me than people who say, “I don’t like white chocolate…because it’s not chocolate!” Which is like saying, “I don’t like white wine…because it’s not Champagne!”

In each case, both are similar, but entirely different creatures and to compare them is kinda silly. I used the scoff at the losers who liked milk chocolate, until I started appreciating it for what it really was (not dark chocolate), and I joined the ranks and became a loser myself. (Although depending on who you talk you, it started sometime before that.)

Because I was recently scheduled to speak about white chocolate with the Evan Kleiman (who is anything but a loser) on her radio program Good Food, I asked Shawn Askinosie if he’d send me a few bars, via a friend who was en route to Paris, of his new bean-to-bar white chocolate, so I could sample them.

You could’ve knocked me over with a cocoa leaf when I slipped the bars out of their packages, as I wasn’t prepared for them to be so gently coffee-colored; one studded with salted pistachios the other with nibs.

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Giovanna’s Maple Creams

(I’ve been working on updating some of the Recipes in my archives, which I carried over from a previous version of my site. For this one, I thought it’d be best to go right to the source, and I asked Giovanna Zivny, who originally provided the recipe, to update it and include her photos. We both worked for many years together at Chez Panisse, her in the office and I, alongside her mom, Lindsey Shere, who was the pastry chef and co-owner of the restaurant. -David)

maple creams

I was always interested in eating candy. A childhood infatuation with California’s See’s Candies was probably responsible–their spiffy black and white shops were a calm oasis in 1970s Berkeley. Stepping into the store was like going through a time warp. Outside the streets were full of hippies in bellbottoms; the scent of patchouli, meant to mask certain other scents, wafted through the air. Inside See’s a woman in her white dress and black bow tie presided over the neatly displayed plates of chocolates. She still wore her hair in a beehive.

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Triple Chocolate Scotcheroos

scotcheroos

Some people, when they travel, they look for hotels with amenities like spas or room service. Others look for hotels near restaurants or local attractions. Me? I look for ones near supermarkets. And on my recent trip through the states, my traveling companion was shocked that I’d managed to pack 3 empty suitcase into one larger one, the limit of our collective baggage allowance.

Not to mention our two carry-ons—”someone” was ready for some serious shopping…

I’ve been dying to make a batch of Scotcheroos for a long time and although I’ve become pretty adept at finding substitutions for American ingredients here in Paris, butterscotch chips had me scratching me head.

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Culture Shock

caramels

The “Toffee Buzz” Clif bar that I picked up in the states (as a travel emergency ration) versus Salted Butter Caramels from Jacques Genin that my houseguest left for me.

I don’t think I need to tell you which one won.

chocolate list

But if Jacques is willing to add a salted butter caramel energy bar to his list, I’m going to stock up on those instead, before my next trip.

Or even before.

Oursons Guimauve

oursons guimauve

There’s a misconception that the French don’t eat junk food. While it’s true that the drugstore shelves around here are lined with, of all things—drugs, there are some foods around that don’t quite fall into the high-fallutin’ AOC category elsewhere.

It’s become commonplace to see teenagers swilling la Coca from plastic liter jugs on the sidewalks and it’s not unusual to see a Parisian toting a bag from McDo. In the candy department, the dubious tagada, artificially-flavored strawberry marshmallow domes, I’ve unfortunately had served to me melted on top of a crème brûlée in lieu of a crackly layer of caramel (which was not an improvement, believe me…) and in more upscale desserts in trendy restaurants. Both I found rather icky.

But there is one junk food that I do share their affection for: les oursons guimauve.

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Papabubble

candy jar

If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.

I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.

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White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat Recipe with Candied Peanuts

rice krispie treats

Yet another friend is moving back to the states (woosies!) and she had a going away party last night on one of the bridges over the Seine. Since I’d stashed a few clandestine bags of marshmallows, which were getting a little long in the tooth, I thought it time to use ‘em or lose ‘em. In fact, they were a prominent staple on my Too Good to Use shelf and they were just languishing there, waiting for the right moment to rip open that bag.

baguettes at picnic

Romain was very surprised when I told him that you can’t even buy a bag of marshmallows or a box of Rice Krispies in America without some version of this recipe appearing on it.

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Patric Chocolate

New chocolate-makers are springing up across America, in the most unlikeliest of places. Like Missouri.

Who’d a thunk it?

Patric Chocolate

Using good ‘ol American ingenuity, a little over a year ago, Alan McClure started grinding up beans and molding them into lithe bars of very dark, and very sleek, bittersweet chocolate.

His company, Patric chocolate, makes bars that are “micro-produced,” and he’s got two in his line-up, both using cacao from Madagascar.

When I asked Alan what attracted him to the cacao from that region, he said “Since the bars are made from cacao that come from one single estate, and since the family there has owned it for quite some time, they really have been able to exert an extremely high level of control on the quality and consistency of the fermentation and drying, which is actually quite rare in the cacao world.”

Alan proclaims that this isn’t pure “criollo” chocolate, a much-touted term for a varietal that almost all chocolate experts say no longer exists in its pure form. (Some chocolate-makers are claiming to the contrary.) Right now, the all the beans for Patric’s bars are from a plantation in the Sambirano Valley.

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