Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate Mountains Covered in White Candy Pearls

Sno-Caps®, despite their chilly name, will not survive a warm afternoon. In fact, I’ve discovered that they barely survive a half an hour in the car on a humid day. Instead, all that is left after a proper cooking is a white polka dotted chocolate blob.

Have no fear though! When refrozen (yes, I saved the box), the little droplets do have the same rich dark flavor they had in their former lives.

I should have known better than to leave the box in the car. Part of the candy’s appeal is their meltability over popcorn at the movie theatre. A shake and a rattle out of the box and Sno-Caps turn already addicting movie popcorn into a treat that would know the socks off of Poppycock.
Sno-Caps made their debut onto the candy stage in the 1920s when the Blumenthal Chocolate Company gifted the shrunken nonpareils to movie goers. The product originated as a large milk chocolate disk, but the size was too large for mass production as the candy measured over 2.5 inches in diameter.

*** A bit of candy trivia for you Simmons College girls; Sno-Caps were originally named Bob White.***

Traditional nonpareils are named after the small white “sprinkles” that cover their tops. According to Wikipedia (no I don’t speak French), in French nonpareils means without equal. I have to agree even when they are a melted mess, Sno-Caps and their heafty cousins are worth a good Pick ’n ‘ Mix or box.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Sweet It Is!

The cupcake is not for bake sales and birthday parties anymore, the opening of the second Sweet bakery in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA has given the personal treat an academic backing.

Nestled between the Curious George bookshop and Tealuxe, Sweet offers a Juicy Couture style to simple flavors. Pink and brown wallpaper compliment the clean white and pink furnishings. Clean and modern, the store mimics the cupcake flavors featured in the patisserie case. All of the frostings, fillings and batters are freshly prepared from scratch and highlight high quality cocoas and vanillas.

The shop’s signature flavor ‘Red Velvet’, also happens to be my favorite cake ever. Puffy cream cheese frosting floats on top of ruby red colored cake flavored with Bensdorp Dutch cocoa.

I’m a sucker for red velvet even at $3.25. My grandmother Elizabeth used to make red velvet cake for special occasions, and I would request it just so my brother, then allergic to red food coloring, couldn’t partake. She would use two whole bottles of red. I know this is evil…but don’t mess with me and cake. Thank goodness for the portion-controlled cup, or I would eat a whole cake.

You don’t have to be a college co-ed or Harvard professor to enjoy these treats either. My virgin visit was the highlight of a rainy day visit with a friend (she got the chocolate coconut cupcake). Sweet seems to be becoming the perfect ending to a date or a girl’s night.

Unfortunately besides miniature cakes, Sweet does not offer coffee or tea. However, there are cold beverages including milk available.

Deliveries are available within Boston (the flagship store is on Massachusetts Ave. in the Back Bay) and Cambridge.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ice Cream for Dinner

No, I’m not pregnant, but last night I had pickles and ice cream for dinner.

Before you judge me, there were a couple of hours in between my servings of Tony Paco’s pickles and Peppers and my late night run for ice cream.

The craving hit me hard at the end of an episode of "House". I tried to put it off, but alas I succumbed jumped into my car wearing a smashing pair of Pajamas and sped off to Emack & Bolios in Porter Square. Fate even granted me a parking spot right up front.

My favorite flavor has always been key lime pie, a low-fat key lime frozen yogurt with little pieces of graham crackers, but I needed more.

After tasting the Cookie Monster, Grasshopper pie, and Milky Way flavors (why turn down the opportunity for free samples?), I settled on the healthiest of the choices Oreo frozen yogurt.
While two scoops are $4.40, a whole pint is only $5.40… so the pint won. No, I did not dig into the whole thing! I responsibly drove the container home and made myself a bowl.

I even turned down the delectably devilish ice cream cones that the little parlor is known for. I’d like to shake the hand of the employee who had the idea of covering a waffle cone in rice crispies and marshmallows. They also have a fruity pebbles, and cocoa crispies versions. I thought for a moment about bringing home an Oreo coated cone, but worried about the nightmares that I may have from a cookie overload.

Oh, Oreo ice cream! Do you remember when Cookies ’n Cream was the bombdigity? Why is it that flavors that we devoured as adolescents have been pushed off by “adult” selections? Chocolate Chip Cookie dough was another popular request from the United Dairy Farmers’ case. But nothing beat Cherry Cordial. Mmmmm

Friday, May 1, 2009

Look to the Cookie

When a bakery has been open since the 1800s you know they’ve got the goods.

In Somerville, Lyndell’s bakery has been baking up treats in Ball Square without frills and all the charm of classic-Americana.

Walking into the vintage shop, the scent of icing, chocolate and butter envelops your taste buds pulls you toward the glass cases of cakes, doughnuts and pies. The counter help floats from customer to customer pulling from the shelves of butter cookies behind them and filling white cake boxes and bags. With the assistance of a special machine, the boxes are quickly tied up with string.

Bakers continue to appear from secret back rooms with trays filled to replenish the rapidly disappearing stock and restore order to this bakery ballet.

A woman in the back of the room hides behind a tower of Pizzelles slathering and swirling chocolate icing onto a small chocolate cake. She can’t hide from me. I know she has what I came for…Lyndell’s famous Half Moons.

It is moon madness at Lyndell’s and an icing lover’s dream. The bakery offers six varieties of the cakes, including the classic half chocolate and half vanilla. All are slathered either rich fudgy chocolate or light pillowy vanilla icing…or both making them black and white. The six-inch disk of moist cake base, on which the icing rests, is fluffy in either chocolate or white.

With so many options, it is hard to choose just one variety. I leave this visit with a dozen mixed variety. The magic of the moon is the ability to have both chocolate and vanilla. Why fight it?

The half moon is also known as the black and white cookie in some circles (i.e. New York), though the classification of the drop cake as a cookie is controversial.

Jerry Seinfeld makes reference to the magic of the black & white cookie in the ''The Dinner Party.” While trying to purchase chocolate babka, Jerry eats a classic moon. He reflects upon the powerful message of racial harmony that the dessert projects.

''Look to the cookie,'' he says.

I am amazed to find such high quality without a steep price tag. Lyndell’s Moon pies are a whopping $1.75 for the size of a side plate.