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Monthly Archives: December 2014

  • Gift Guide: How to Treat Your Co-Workers

    candy tourEvery year, the holiday season comes around and you may be at a standstill trying to figure out how to spread that holiday cheer around the office. Should you buy everyone an individual gift? Should you only give them holiday cards? Will lottery scratch-off tickets suffice?

    The truth of the matter is, it’s hard to figure out what everyone likes and with that being said, one gift that is a crowd favorite is candy! Gifting candy during the holiday can make your life a little easier and it’ll be a special way to tell your co-workers you care about them. While the notion may seem small, giving candy as a gift will go a far way and you’ll definitely make your co-workers happy.

    The best thing about gifting candy is that you have so many different choices that can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. From macaroons to salt water taffy to rich and creamy fudge, gifting candy will go over well with everyone. Here are some tips to check out when gifting candy!

    Variety

    You may not know which candies are your co-workers favorites, so you could make a candy gift basket that has a variety of candies in them. Consider all types of flavor profiles, from chocolates to nuts to fruity salt water taffy. Don’t forget to place some chewy macaroons into the basket as well! Giving your co-workers a variety of candies to eat will cover all your bases because there will be at least one thing they absolutely love.

    Size

    Depending on the number of co-workers you are giving gifts to, candy is a cost effective solution for small or large offices! You have the ability to use a lot of pieces or ration out the amount you give to each co-worker. Either way, candy will be a tasty treat from one piece to one dozen!

    Desserts

    Perhaps your office is throwing a holiday party and it’s just a little too hard for you to give a gift to everyone. A great idea is to whip up a delicious dessert that has pieces of candy all over it! From cakes to brownies to cookies, candy can always find its way into a recipe. For example, you could make real fudge brownies by dropping in a few pieces of fudge into your brownie mix. You can also decorate a cake with macaroons for an added chewy element and you could make chocolate bark with candied nuts!

    The options are truly endless when it comes time to gift candy. From gift baskets to desserts, candy is a crowd favorite and it’ll help you spread around some much needed holiday joy!

  • A Sweet Holiday Tradition

    Every year, the holidays are filled with family, fun and sweet treats! From candied apples to salt water taffy to candy canes - there are just so many sweet traditions that have interesting backgrounds. Check out this reference guide to learn more about some of your favorite holiday treats!

    A Sweet Holiday Tradition

  • The History Behind Macaroons

    macaroonWhen is the last time you had a macaroon – was it an almond, coconut, chocolate chip or chocolate covered macaroon? Whichever variation you had last, it was probably delicious but do you know the origins behind this cookie? Legend has it that the macaroon cookie first was dated back in the 8th or 9th century Italian monastery and the earliest recording has been traced back to Commercy, France. Some historians argue that macaroons originated in Venice and made their way to France by sailors.

    While the exact recordings of the macaroon are debated, one thing kept true was its unique texture and flavor. The word ‘macaroon’ is derived from the Italian word ammaccare which means to crush. The reference is to the almond paste which was the main ingredient of the cookie since the beginning of its introduction. Interestingly enough, almonds were introduced to Venice in the beginning of the 7th century by Arab invaders. From there, egg whites and sugar were mixed to create the cookie.

    By the 18th century, the French refined the macaroon and made it a delicacy by sticking to the original recipe and modifying it slightly. The basics included almond paste, sugar and egg whites but they shaped the cookie round and after they would bake, jam or another filling would be placed between two rounded macaroons. It may have been the first ‘sandwich’ cookie because the Oreo didn’t debut until 1912!

    The macaroon eventually made its way around the world and it wasn’t until the late 19th century when the almond was replaced with coconut in North America. The almond replacement was due to the fragile nature of the cookie because the coconut substitute held up better during transportation. Additionally, the coconut substitute tended to last longer on long voyages which made it less likely to spoil over time.

    Today, macaroons are considered favorites among cookie eaters and the recipes have not changed much since the 8th century. They saying, ‘why fix something that isn’t broken’ definitely applies to the macaroon because its’ recipe has lasted this long. The chewy and delightful cookie is a great holiday dessert because it pairs perfectly with milk or coffee! You have to try each variety because they all have the same back bone but different flavor profiles. You can assume that the macaroon cookie is on track to stay around for a few more hundred years.

  • Caramel And The Holidays

    caramelHowever you pronounce it, caramel is a tasty, rich treat that everyone can enjoy in many different variations! For that traditional little cube of chewy goodness, all it takes is a little bit of cream or milk, butter, sugar and some vanilla flavoring to create that piece of heaven in your mouth. While the exact history of caramel may be feuded, there are some recordings of it first being used in the middle of the 1600s by American settlers who were making candies in kettles. Fast forward about 200 years and an ingenious candy maker added the signature taste we all love by boiling some milk, fat, sugar and water together!

    Melt In Your Mouth

    From caramel coated popcorn to caramel candied apples, this sweet treat has been a staple among holiday candy trays and dishes for years. A popular variation of the sweet has some ties to the Garden State in which you can probably find all over the boardwalk! Fun fact: candied apples got their roots in New Jersey! A candy-maker, William W. Kolb from Newark, invented red candied apples in 1908 and sold them in his shop for 5 cents! After that, the rest is history as candied apples made their way to the Jersey Shore and a caramel coating found its way into the mix.

    Whether you like pairing fruit with candy or you just enjoy the taste of a caramel chew, it is definitely a crowd favorite. To give your taste buds a true ride of excitement, salted caramels may be the candy for you. This version of the sweet ties together the best of both worlds: saltiness and sweetness. But beware, they might be a little addicting so one piece might not be enough to curb your craving!

    A Traditional Dish with a Caramel Twist

    No holiday meal would be complete without a dessert and the most iconic of them all is an apple pie. But if you want to add in a little bit of that rich caramel flavor, this easy caramel apple pie recipe will surely get your taste buds going!

    Ingredients:

    • Pie crust (store bought or homemade)
    • 1 cup of bisquick
    • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons of cold butter
    • 1 can of apple pie filling (21 oz)
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of caramel

    Directions

    1. Heat oven to 375oF. Spoon in apple pie filling onto the pie crust and drizzle caramel on top.
    2. Mix 1 cup of bisquick and brown sugar into a bowl. Place in the 3 tablespoons of cold butter and blend in until it is crumbly (streusel style topping). Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the filling.
    3. Bake for 15 minutes. Cover top of the pie with aluminum foil and let it bake again for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
    4. Let the pie cool for 2 to 3 hours then drizzle caramel over the pie and enjoy!

    Fast And Easy Caramel Apples

    If you want caramel apples but don’t have the time to make the caramel, then this recipe will have you running to the store for a quick treat!

    Ingredients:

    • 50 unwrapped caramel chews
    • 2 tablespoons of cream
    • 4 apples
    • 4 wooden sticks

    Directions:

    1. Wash apples and dry. Place in sticks.
    2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine caramel chews and cream. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one. Make sure caramel is melted and smooth; should not take longer than 3 minutes. Bonus Tip: Use salted caramel chews to add in another flavor element!
    3. Hold apple by the stick and spoon caramel over the apple. Repeat for remaining apples. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes.
    4. Enjoy!
  • Different Uses For Holiday Candy

    ginger bread houseThe holiday season is in full swing and that means your sweet tooth might be craving a few pieces of candy between now and the New Year! With that being said, holiday candy is definitely hot seller because it can be used in variety of ways that can bring on some much needed holiday cheer! If you are looking for some fun ways to use holiday candy this year, check out this ultimate reference guide to steer you in the right direction

    Gifts

    Giving the gift of candy might be one of the most versatile options around! Who doesn’t love some sweets? Candy is the perfect way to give a little something to someone special and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get. If you have a lot of people on your gift giving list this year, candy is the economical and tasty way to show some appreciated thought. With an almost limitless way to display and give candy, you have so many creative options to gift it! For example, you could place candy in a decorative holiday baggie, put together a beautiful candy basket or conceal it in wrapping paper.

    Holiday candy can also be used a nostalgic gift because certain candies may remind people of their favorite past time or memory. Think of the shore for this one! The boardwalk is home to the best salt water taffy around and gifting that candy will remind anyone of a warm summer’s day at the beach.

    Stocking Stuffers

    Nothing says Christmas like a stocking so filling that stocking with a handful of candy would please anyone! Whether the stocking is for you, your family or friends, popping in a few pieces of candy will definitely light up some faces. You could put different candies in different stockings like fudge, chocolate covered pretzels, caramels and more

    Ginger Bread Houses

    Sparking your inner architect is always fun when making ginger bread houses! You can easily incorporate holiday candies by decorating the exterior of the ginger bread house with all types of candies. It’s quite easy – all you have to do is grab some extra icing and dab some on the candy to make it act like a glue. Place the candy all over the little house to add some color and bite sized snacks! Once your ginger bread house is complete, put it on display but don’t be surprised if your little decorations go missing.

    Dessert

    Using holiday candy in desserts goes hand-in-hand with a ginger bread house because it’s something that will make everyone’s mouth water. If you are making a dessert for a holiday party, consider decorating the dessert with candy. For example, if you bake a cake, top the cake with pieces of non-pariels for an added crunch or chocolate covered cordial cherries for a fruity punch.

    Getting a little creative with candy can go a long way and definitely impress family and friends! So make sure when you go through your holiday list, think of amazing ways to incorporate a little bit of sweetness into every gift, dessert and special moment.

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