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GIFT OF THE DAY: Swedish Gummy Horse Stocking Stuffers

Gummy Horses

Swedish Gummy Horses

Dala Painted Horse

[1] and [2] Swedish Gummy Horses, the best thing since Swedish fish (photos courtesy Candy People). [3] The painted wood horse that inspired the gummies (photo courtesy Scandinavian Butik).

 

We love gummy candy. Our entire family does.

That’s why it’s so easy to give them what they really want: different types of gummies, which, we might add, are pretty inexpensive.

We found these luscious Dala Horse gummies at Ikea (in the store, but not online). We just put in a big order for more.

The Dala Horse is inspired by the famed Swedish folk art, Dalahäst (Dala horse), a painted wood horse that originated in the early 1800s in the Dalarna Province of Central Sweden. They are still handmade there.

At the time, the toy horses crafted in Dala began to be decorated with bright colors and painted flowers. The flower patterned saddle design derived from a Biblical story in which Jonah sat outside the city of Ninevah; the Lord caused a kurbit, or gourd vine, to grow up beside him to protect him from the desert sun.

The Dala Horse gained worldwide recognition at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, where a giant version welcomed visitors outside the Swedish Pavilion. The following year, 20,000 Dala horses were produced for shipment to New York.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CANDY?

Dala Horse gummy candy is imported from Sweden. We like them even more than Swedish Fish.

In fact, we can’t get enough of the gummy equines. They’re:

  • Pineapple, citrus, and raspberry, in natural colors and flavors.
  • Gluten free, gelatin free, GMO free, HFCS free.
  • Sold in 5.3 ounce bags.
  • Great stocking stuffers: 3 bags are $13.95, 6 bags are $23.95.
  •  
    But we went whole hog (actually, whole horse) and bought the 15-pack for $49.95, $3.33 a bag.

    In addition to holiday tips, we’ll be gifting everyone gummy horses, with a bow tied through the opening at the top.

    Dala Horses are sold at all Ikea and World Market stores (in-store only) and online at Amazon.com (links above).
     
     
    MORE GUMMIES

    Check out the Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears and Worms from Baron Chocolatier. Heaven!

     

     
      

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    RECIPE: Peanut Butter Fudge

    Peanut Butter Fudge

    Three-ingredient peanut butter fudge (photo courtesy Justin’s).

     

    November 20th is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day.

    An American confection, fudge was a happy accent in the 1880s, created by a woman trying to make caramels.

    Read the history of fudge and you’ll see that it wasn’t so easy to re-create the accident.

    Over time, however, recipes and techniques were perfected. The original recipe(s) used cream and butter. Today, everything from sweetened condensed milk to non-dairy milks are used.

    You need just three ingredients to make this peanut butter fudge from Justin’s, the artisan specialist in nut butters.

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (substitute cream)
  • 3/4 cup honey peanut butter (substitute the PB you have)
  • Optional mix-ins: chocolate chips, honey-roasted peanuts
  • Preparation

    1. BRING the sugar and almond milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

    2. MIX in the peanut butter. You can add the optional mix-ins and stir, or use them as a topping, pressing lightly. Spread into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF FUDGE

    THE HISTORY OF PEANUT BUTTER

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Jim Beam Caramel Apples (Or Other Favorite Whiskey)

    To celebrate its Apple Bourbon—available year-round but especially popular in fall recipes—Jim Beam has stepped beyond cocktails to caramel.

    Yes, you can dip your caramel apples into an easy homemade caramel that incorporates a cup of Jim Beam Apple Bourbon.

    No time to buy Jim Beam Apple Bourbon? Use what you’ve got on hand (including another whiskey) and pick some up Apple Bourbon when you can. You’ll definitely want to make another batch of these!

    RECIPE: BOURBON CARAMEL APPLES

    Ingredients For 10 Caramel Apples

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces cold half and half
  • 8 ounces Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
  • 10 Granny Smith apples on thick wooden skewers
  • Optional garnish: 4 cups chopped salted peanuts, honey roasted nuts or other garnish
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    Preparation

    1. COOK the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large pot over medium high heat until a light boil begins. Whisk in the half and half and the bourbon and continue to whisk until the caramel sauce reaches 248°F. Remove from the heat.

    2. DIP each of the apples into the caramel, coating on all sides. Set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, coat apples on all sides with chopped salted peanuts.

    3. ALLOW the caramel to cool before serving.
     
    MORE CANDY APPLE, CHOCOLATE & CARAMEL APPLE RECIPES

  • Classic Red Candy Apples
  • Easter Candy Apples
  • Matcha White Chocolate Granny Smith Apples (for Christmas or St. Pat’s)
  • Modern Art Chocolate Apples
  • Sugar-Free Red Candy Apples
  •  
    You can also host a candy apple party!

     

    Jim Beam Caramel Apples

    Jim Beam Apple Bourbon

    [1] Bourbon caramel apples. The caramel is made with [2] Jim Beam Apple Bourbon (photos courtesy Beam Suntory).

     
    CANDY APPLE HISTORY

    The practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup dates back to ancient times. In addition to tasting good, honey and sugar were used as preserving agents to keep fruit from rotting.

    According to FoodTimeline.org, food historians generally agree that caramel apples (toffee apples) date to the late 19th century. Both toffee and caramel can be traced to the early decades of the 18th century, buy inexpensive toffee and caramels for all became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence dates soft, chewy caramel coatings from that time.

    Red cinnamon-accented candy apples came later. And, while long associated with Halloween, they were originally Christmas fare, not a Halloween confection.

    According to articles in the Newark Evening News in 1948 and 1964, the red candy apple was invented in 1908 by William W. Kolb, a local confectioner. Experimenting with red cinnamon candies for Christmas, he dipped apples into the mixture and the modern candy apple was born.

    The tasty treat was soon being sold at the Jersey Shore, the circus and then in candy shops nationwide.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ways To Use Toasted Marshmallows

    National Toasted Marshmallow Day is August 30th—not a day of the year that begs for a steaming cup of cocoa.

    So we put on our thinking toques to see how to best use toasted marshmallows in the summer, and how to to toast them without a campfire or fireplace.
     
    USE TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS FOR…

  • S’mores, of course, or a variation. Check out these S’mores recipes and variations other than graham crackers. (National S’mores Day is August 10th).
  • Cocktail garnish for a Black or White Russian, Chocolate Martini, Espresso Martini, Irish Cream Liqueur.
  • Cookie or brownie sandwich.
  • Cupcake, cake, pie, pudding or tart garnish (make an easy tartlet with lemon curd).
  • Grilled marshmallow and fruit skewers.
  • Iced coffee, iced latte, iced hot chocolate.
  • Ice cream or sundae topping.
  • Milkshakes.
  • Peanut butter toast: Top toast with PB and marshmallows, and chocolate if you like!
  • Shots, with marshmallow vodka (made by Pinnacle, Skyy and Smirnoff).
  • Sweet potato garnish.
  • Toasted “Fluffernutter” sandwich, replacing the fluff.
  •  
    PLEASE ADD TO THIS LIST!

    And remember: There’s marshmallow goodness beyond Campfire and Jet-Puffed. Check out gourmet marshmallows.

    Vegan? There are delicious vegan marshmallows from Dandies, all delicious.
     
    TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS WITHOUT A FIREPLACE

    Even if you have a fireplace, you sure don’t want to light it up today.

    Who needs a fireplace—or a campfire? There are other ways to toast marshmallows.

  • On a stove: If you have a gas stove, you can toast the marshmallow over an open flame until it begins to brown—about a minute, depending on how “toasty” you like it.
  • With a candle, an unscented one. Turn down the lights for romance.
  • For best results, hold the marshmallow about two inches away from the flame and turn it continuously. This way, the marshmallow will melts from the inside out and brown evenly.
  • A fondue fork is ideal for toasting because it has a protective handle, but impaling the marshmallow on the tip of a regular fork works, too. You can use skewers, as well; bamboo skewers will not heat up and are easier to hold. You’ll need to soak them first, though, so they won’t catch fire!
  • Avoid toasting over Sterno: The marshmallows will smell and taste of it. A votive candle will work, and if you’re having guests, you can put a votive at each place setting.
  •  
    The Fastest Way To Toast A Batch Of Marshmallows:

  • The Broiler! Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet and set the oven to Broil. When one side is at your desired tastiness, turn them over. If the marshmallows are not browning evenly, rotate the pan.
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    Chocolate Martini With Toasted Marshmallow Garnish

    Toasted Marshmallow Garnish on Milkshake

    Toasted Marshmallow Garnish

    [1] The best garnish for a Chocolate Martini? A toasted marshmallow—and maybe a rim of graham cracker crumbs (that’s a S’mores Martini). Here’s the recipe from Eclectic Recipes. [2] Serve a toasty marshmallow with a cool shake. Here’s the recipe from Honey and Birch. [3] Garnish any dessert or sweet snack, like this cupcake from Cake Boss Baking.

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Alcohol & Gummy Candy

    Champagne With Gummy Worms

    Gummy Worm Mojito Cocktail

    Gummy Worm Cocktail

    [1] Champagne with gummy bears. [2] Mojito with a gummy worm garnish—although a Mezcal drink might make more sense with the worms (photos 1 and 2 courtesy Monarch Rooftop). [3] Gummies slithering in a Tequila Sunrise (photo courtesy Drinking In America.

     

    Search for “adult gummies” and you’ll turn up bottles and bottles of nutritional supplements.

    They’re not just multivitamins but biotin, fiber, fish oil, melatonin, vitamin C and more. (Caveat: Before you get too excited, check the grams of sugar on the bottle.)

    Let us introduce you instead to our kind of adult gummies: soaked in wine or spirits.

    Some background: A few months ago, a candy boutique in Los Angeles, Sugarfina, introduced rosé-infused gummy bears. Thanks to social media, they were sold out by pre-order before they even arrived from Germany; there’s a long waiting list (Monarch Rooftop says the number now exceeds 14,000).

    We had tried the Champagne Gummies, which are still available. There also are Cuba Libre Gummies, infused with rum and Coca-Cola.

    We wouldn’t have known the Sugarfina gummies were infused with Champagne, much less with Dom Perignon. (We deduced that the amount of champagne used was “just a splash.”)
     
    REAL ADULT GUMMIES

    Monarch Rooftop, a lounge with a view of the Empire State Building (71 West 35th Street, Manhattan), infuses its own gummies for a selection of creative cocktails. The current menu offers:

  • Tipsy Teddy Bears: gummy bears soaked in Champagne/Rosé.
  • Rummy Worms: gummy worms soaked in rum and paired with a Mojito.
  • Fish Out Of Water: vodka-soaked Swedish Fish laid atop a blue Jell-O shot.
  •  
    They inspired us to infuse our own gummies by soaking them in alcohol. We first tried spirits, then wine. We briefly considered a Boilermaker: beer with whiskey-infused gummies instead of the shot. Maybe for the Super Bowl?

    Whatever you want to infuse, the recipe is below.
     
    National Gummy Worms Day is July 15th, giving you plenty of time to test your own cocktail menu.

    MAKE YOUR OWN ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDY

    The hardest part of this is deciding which spirit and which fruit juice to use. You can halve the spirits and juice and make a split batch to see which you like better. Flavored vodka is even better.

    Beyond Gummy Bears & Worms

    So many decisions! There are gummy butterflies, Easter bunnies, fish, flower blossoms, frogs, fruits, gummy rings, lobsters, peaches, penguins, pigs, rattlesnakes, sharks, Smurfs, soda bottles and turtles.

    You can make your own adult gummy recipe book, with different shapes and flavors for different occasions. Tequila-infused gummies for your Margarita? Certainly: And get the Mexican Hat gummies.

    Check out the novelty gummies on Nuts.com.

     

    Tips

  • Look for a large size of gummies: a 1 kg tub (2.2 pounds) or bulk pricing. A five-pound bag of Haribo Gold-Bears is $12 on Amazon.com. That’s $2.40/pound. If your local store sells them in bulk for much more than that, you may wish to consider your options.
  • Don’t overlook flavored vodkas. We think they’re a better choice than plain vodka. We also loved sipping artisan gin, so made them for a small snack bowl. We ours soaked in gin; although we used everyday Tanqueray to infuse.
  • Test the amount of alcohol. You can make a split batch, or vary the amount your next batch.
  • Make them as gifts, too, with a reminder note to consume within five days.
  • These are not Jell-O shots. Don’t expect a buzz.
  •  
    RECIPE: ALCOHOL-INFUSED GUMMY CANDIES

    Plan ahead: The gummies need to infuse in alcohol for five days.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups of vodka or other spirit or wine
  • 2 pounds gummi candy
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PACK the gummies into a lidded container and cover with the spirit. The alcohol should barely cover the top of the gummies.

    2. STIR, cover with the lid and place the container in the refrigerator.

    3. STIR twice a day for five days. If you use a large enough container, you can simply shake it. When ready, drain and serve.

    That’s it!
     
    What If They’re Too Alcoholic?

    First, taste them on the third day. If they’re what you expect, drain them and enjoy. If they’re still too boozy, try them with a cocktail. The combination may provide the right counterpoint. If not…

    You can fix the batch by draining the alcohol and covering the alcohol in apple juice. Shake and taste in a few hours. They may need to juice-infuse overnight.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GUMMY CANDY

    Gummi candy was first produced by Haribo, a Bonn, Germany, confectioner. Haribo is a contraction of Hans Riegel Bonn.

    Founder Hans Riegel invented the Dancing Bear, a fruit gum made in the shape of a bear, in 1922. It was succeeded in 1967 by what would become known worldwide as Gummi Bears, which would spawn an entire zoo of gummi animals.

    Gummi worms, however, were introduced by another gummi candy manufacturer, Trolli (named for forest trolls), in 1981.

    Many Americans use the English spelling, gummy, instead of the German gummi.
     

     

    Gummy Bear Sangria

    Cocktail With Gummy Candy

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    [1] Wine-infused dummies with sangria. Given all the fruit, we’d serve them on the side. Here’s the recipe from TrendHunter.com. [3] A root beer float with soda bottle gummies. Add vanilla vodka along with the root beer and ice cream. Check out these alcoholic root beer float recipes on Yummly.com. [4] What to drink while watching “Shark Tank.” At the Sugar Factory in New York City, it’s called The Ocean Blue (photos 2 and 3 courtesy Sugar Factory).

    MORE WAYS TO SERVE GUMMIES

    Beyond filling candy bowls, you can:

  • Garnish the rim of soft drinks or cocktails.
  • Garnish desert plates.
  • Top cupcakes or iced cookies.
  • Use as ice cream/sorbet toppers.
  • Make gummy fruit kabobs, alternating gummies with fresh fruits.
  • Dip in chocolate and harden on wax paper or parchment, for “gourmet” gummies. For this one, it’s better to avoid the smaller gummies like bears.
  • Decorate the rim of cocktails.
  • Add to popcorn.
  • Make gummy trail mix: gummies, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces, nuts, pretzels and raisins or dried cherries or cranberries.
  • Make the classic Dirt Cake or Dirt Pudding.
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