Archive for the ‘Soft’ Category

Gulp. Right after Thanksgiving dinner at my house, I’m going to let all of the junior guests create gingerbread cottages.

I say “cottages” because I’m going to hot glue graham crackers together ahead of time, and if you’ve ever done it, it’s easiest to keep the structure modest: four short walls and one roof. Besides, McMansions are so 2002.

I’ve got green, white, and chocolate frosting at the ready along with Dots, Twizzlers, mini candy canes, holiday M&M’s, Skittles, Hershey Candy Kane Kisses, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, Peeps snowman, and Peeps Christmas trees.

Am I missing any items you’ve found successful in the construction/decoration of gingerbread houses?

I think I may need Tootsie Roll Midgees and cherry fruit rolls for campfires outside each cottage.

I plan on a follow-up blog post to show you the finished products, let you know which candies worked best for the build outs, and any interesting home decor/exterior items the kids dreamed up during construction.

In the meantime, please do send me any tips for creating killer gingerbread houses. I’m all ears!

(Speaking of tips, I recently came across the book No Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids, which has some great examples of gingerbread houses constructed out of graham crackers, cookies, ice cream cones, and waffle bowls. Another good resource is Martha Stewart’s photo gallery of no-bake gingerbread houses and cookie cottages.)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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A very peculiar novelty candy item arrived in my mailbox last week: Gummy Shotz (edible gummy shot glasses). The “shot glasses” ship six individual flavors per pack and flavors include cherry, grape, orange, lemon, lime, cola, blue raspberry, green apple, pink bubble gum, and pineapple.

I’m guessing these colorful, two-inch-tall sticky vessels were dreamed up for gimmicky 1 oz. drinks like Lemon Drops, Kamikazes, and B-52s … and for more mature events like bachelorette parties, Mardi Gras, luaus, etc.

I get that, but I took these super sweet and somewhat rubbery shot glasses in a more juvenile direction. (How many adults really want to eat a gooey gummy “glass” after downing a shot of Jäger? It’s a heck of a chaser.)

I spent a morning in my kitchen concocting candy crafts by inserting a mini baking cup in each shot glass and filling the mini cups with colorful candies like peanut M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, sour crawlers, gummy bears, and Skittles to play off of the primary gummy colors.

My craft project turned out to be something I would use as a kid’s party favor wrapped in cello and tied with a bow (Candy Land theme anyone?), or as eye candy on a candy buffet.

Per my 14-year-old neighbor’s brilliant suggestion, I also filled some of the shot glasses with whipped cream and topped them with fruit and sprinkles. I don’t think I’d serve these to guests older than 14, though, but they do look pretty on a tray.

I photographed some of my final products with my low-budget 35 mm, so my apologies in advance for the following lackluster visuals:

Now it’s your turn to think outside of the box. What would you fill these gummy shot glasses with?

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in Brands/Companies, Candy, Candy Type, Reviews, Soft

Now that candy buffets are as common as cakes and cupcakes at weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, etc., I thought I’d check in with a handful of event planners to get their tips on building the best candy buffets, pitfalls to avoid, and trends they’re noticing. I’ve got some gems:

Tracey Baxter, Aisle Do, Charlotte, N.C.

- Offer multiple containers of the same candy to control traffic and add symmetry to the buffet design. If guests can access the same candy at two locations on the buffet, they wait in line for half the time.”

- Use scoops proportional to candy sizes. To determine if guests will get the right amount with each utensil, ask yourself, “Will this scoop provide a handful of this candy?”

- Know when to stop. Variety is important but more than 15 different types of candy presents too many options for a buffet to still be functional. Extreme variety does work well, however, when using a single candy type in multiple flavors such as jelly beans, taffy, rock candy, or chocolate gems.

- If your event is not bent toward specific flavors, name your candies something related to the theme. For example, with a nautical theme, “gummy melon O’s” could become “Melon Life Preservers.”

- Use signs to let guests know what family member or friend picked the candies and/or flavors they are enjoying.

Kim Byers, The Celebration Shoppe, Columbus, Ohio

- I spend a lot of time with others in this industry and I see a lot of candy tables. Almost every single one now has saltwater taffy on it. I think it has a great deal to do with nostalgia and the ability to get it in so many colors.

- In the past five months we’ve created printable candy table/buffet tags. They’re selling like hotcakes.

  • Candy Dish Tags from The Celebration Shoppe

Heather Kuhn, Sweetest Candy Buffets, Carmel, Ind.

- We’re seeing an interest in using multiple flavors of gourmet jelly beans and including “recipes” for eating those jelly beans together.Recently, we have had people inquiring about including unique items on their buffets, such as flavored popcorn or cake bites/balls.

Terri Altergott, ?Something Borrowed, Something New Events, Uxbridge, Mass.

- Routinely, I’m asked to create a visually interesting candy buffet. In a few weeks, we’re adding lots of bling to a candy table. Envision crystals with light dancing off of them and submersible lighting at the bottom of each apothecary jar to illuminate the table.

Lia Moore, Full Circle Eventi, Clawson, Mich.

- While many containers come with lids, this often leads to broken glass and missing pieces. If you love the lids, present your display with the lids in place, but remove and store them away the moment your candy station is open.

- Consider a round table vs. a standard rectangular buffet to eliminate long lines and encourage guests to mingle around the serving station.

- Vase size is important! Use large, wide-mouth containers so guests can see what they’re getting and get at it easily. Variety in vase size and shape also keeps the eye engaged and the display interesting.

- Use thematic take-out pails or cello bags for guests to take candy home. Personalize the packaging with small stickers and ribbons.

Last tips:

- When ordering candy, be sure to place your order well in advance so that you have time to stage the buffet at home before the party and order more candy if necessary.

- Need inspiration? Check out these gorgeous candy buffets by NYC’s event planning guru, Amy Atlas.

Top photos by Amy Atlas

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Chocolate, Nostalgic/Retro, Novelty, Soft

8 Mar

Minty Fresh 0

Peppermint; some know it as a digestive, others as a pest. Ask King Leo and it’s bound to say this menthol-rich herb (actually a hybrid of spearmint and watermint) makes for fine confections, such as the kind the company has been manufacturing since 1901. Notable amongst the pool of mint-makers for its high quality products, which utilize pure all-natural peppermint oil and real sugar, King Leo offers a wide array of mint-inclined confections. The jewel in the King Leo Crown? Soft Peppermint Puffs.

His Royal Majesty, seen lounging

If you make a point to always reach for the wicker basket by the register whenever you go out to dinner, you’ve probably come up with a handful of these babies before.Several factors distinguish Soft Peppermint Puffs from the field of other after dinner palette cleansers. While the title might lead you to believe that they’re somewhat squishy don’t be deceived, they may not be as hard as starlight mints but Peppermint Puffs are no Milquetoast. They have a somewhat chalky exterior that takes a decent bite to break through and crumbly interior that dissolves slowly on the tongue. As the mints dissolve, they release waves of powerfully aromatic peppermint oil, which is mitigated, but not masked by a light sweetness. Because of their fairly generous size and lack of the syrupy film that tends to coat my throat after many after-dinner mints, I consider Peppermint Puffs satisfying as a stand-alone snack.

Try Me.

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in Candy, Candy Tips, Nostalgic/Retro, Reviews, Soft