Candy

mocha-mintbiscotti005.jpg It happens every year. About a month before Christmas, I buy at least a couple of boxes of little candy canes. I have plans to hang them over the edge of cups of hot cocoa. I place a large bowl of them on the kitchen island, ready to be snatched up and chewed. There are all kinds of ways I use them during the holidays. But, it never fails. I always buy way too many. And, every year at this time, I pull out the leftover candy canes and begin to stir them into cookie dough. This year is no different. But this year, the cookies are Italian-style twice-baked cookies – biscotti.

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50dove.jpg My husband Mike points out that the room goes silent as I watch a quivering gooey strand of icing bridge a hunk of pastry being pried apart by delicate hands in an Entenman's commercial. And when a pool of thick, rich Dove chocolate swirls around and folds itself magically over a brick of vanilla ice cream, my eyes glaze over. Then, when the caramel and chocolate of a Milky Way is fully exposed in delectable close up, my jaw goes slack. He tells me to face it: these commercials are, for me, like watching porn. Yes, I embarrassedly admit that I have fallen prey to the sexualized enticements of sugary things. 

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kisses.jpg I love chocolate.  I have always loved chocolate.  I have lived my life by the principle,  So much chocolate, so little time.  The expansiveness of my love of chocolate is such that it would be impossible for me to name a favorite – it would be like asking me to pick a favorite among my children. (Or maybe not exactly like that; after all, I only have one child). 

On the other hand, if you asked me to name three of my favorite chocolate moments: Life begins with Hershey's kisses and chocolate bars, in my case, Nestle's Crunch, Three Musketeers, Milky Way, Cup-O-Gold (a chocolate shell with embedded cocoanut, filled with a gooey white cream that was supposedly marshmallow but tasted like the residue of some lab experiment gone terribly wrong) and, most significantly, the Mounds Bar. 

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little_02_purchase.jpgI go to Pasadena often because my younger daughter’s cheer team practices there. Yes, I spawned a cheerleader because my parents don’t have enough to laugh about in heaven. It’s given me a chance to explore Old Pasadena and I’ve been loving it.  But the fact that “Of all the Gin Joints” so to speak, I mean that Little Flower Candy Company just happened to open a bakery in Pasadena was just dumb luck for me. The building is an art deco cubby that reveals itself as you’re zooming along what looks like a residential area. Pasadena is funny that way. 

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baconchocolate.jpg Here are three little words that might give the staunchest snacker pause: Chocolate-covered bacon.

It sounds so wrong. But it tastes just right, says Joseph Marini III, a fourth-generation candy maker who is selling the bacon bonbons at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk seaside amusement park.

"It's not just for breakfast anymore," he says with a grin.  And this isn't just a wacky West Coast thing.

This year, Famous Dave's at the Minnesota State Fair is rolling out Pig Lickers - dark chocolate-covered bacon pieces sprinkled with sea salt.

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