Cookbooks for Candy (Yes, Candy)

by in Books, October 30th, 2014

Cookbooks for Candy (Yes, Candy)By Michelle Park

The last couple months of the year are packed with excuses to consume ridiculous amounts of sweets. Why not take full advantage of the season’s sugary spirit and make your own? Homemade candy is a great party trick, and it’s surprisingly straightforward. If you have reservations about thermometers and molten sugar, fear not — the well-versed duos behind this month’s picks will have you caramelizing with confidence.

1. The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook by Liz Gutman and Jen King
Gutman and King, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based candy company Liddabit Sweets, have a love affair with candy. It’s no small task to demystify the art of candy making for the average home cook, but their optimism is contagious. Their playful, extremely thorough cookbook starts with a three-page chart titled Speed Date the Candies, a swift tour of the 75 recipes ahead, so you can quickly find one to fit your needs, whether that’s vegan, fun to make with the kids, or “melt-in-your-mouth-y” (sic) — or all of the above (Chocolate Mint Meltaways). Candy 101 then explains everything you need to know about sugar, chocolate, cleaning, safety and essential equipment. (The equipment section is split into “musts” and “coulds,” and you might find that your kitchen is already equipped to bust out some Pecan Turtle Caramel Corn.) Because Gutman and King want you to remember that “MAKING CANDY IS FUN” from start to finish, these chapters read less like a chemistry textbook and more like a friend discussing softball sugar with you over coffee. As far as the recipes go, no secret is withheld, and they range in difficulty from easy (Buckeyes) to ambitious (Gutman and King’s signature peanut-butter-banana candy bar, aptly named The King) to ambitious and patient (Beer Pretzel Caramels). You can rest easy regardless of what you choose first; “Liz Says” and “Jen Says” bubbles pop up on every other page with additional encouragement, suggestions and troubleshooting tips, should you make any missteps.

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Cook the Superstar Sabotage Contest: Banana Bread

by in Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Banana BreadIn this week’s latest installment of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, a seemingly approachable dessert, banana bread, was nearly insurmountable for Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner once she felt the full weight of her duo of sabotages: firm green bananas and the mandate to mix and cook the loaf in banana leaves. But for fans watching at home, classic banana bread is indeed doable, and it’s one such recipe that surely all home cooks can — and should — master.

From school bake sales and simple family desserts to DIY holiday presents, Food Network’s go-to Banana Bread recipe (pictured above) will prove useful time and again. The key to making this tried-and-true recipe is not overworking the batter; once you’ve incorporated the dry ingredients into the cinnamon-laced mashed bananas, the batter is complete and ready to bake. For an extra-special presentation, serve the sliced loaf with sweet honey or creamy vanilla ice cream once the bread has cooled.

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Trick or Treat! Your Guide to Being the Most-Popular House on the Block — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Spooky Chocolate BarkWhat’s the trick to being the go-to trick-or-treating destination on the block? Homemade treats, that’s what. Instead of stocking up on heavy bags of individually wrapped candy this Halloween, answer the doorbell ring with sweet and spooky do-it-yourself treats that will be the talk of the neighborhood. Wrap these homemade candies in plastic sandwich bags or wrap, or get creative — and be sure to save some for your own house.

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London Restaurant Serves Only Canned Fish

by , October 30th, 2014

Canned fish. Sometimes it’s a necessity. That tuna fish isn’t to become a tuna fish sandwich by itself, in other words. There are, however, some downright gourmet canned fish products that are miles away from the bespectacled Charlie the Tuna. One London restaurant is betting that foodies will pay premium prices for premium canned fish product.

The appropriately named Tincan doesn’t even have a chef and very little by way of staff. Most of the dishes consist of canned fish with a variety of bread, greens and other simple sides. The restaurant only stocks the best of the best in its namesake, importing products from all over the world. Reviews have been positive, proving once again that fresh food is totally overrated (kidding.)

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Hazelnut Brittle — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 30th, 2014

Hazelnut BrittleAs we approach Halloween, mediocre candy is everywhere. It lines the shelves at local drug stores and is available for free if you’re even just a little bit nice to your local bank teller.

As someone who tries to keep her sugar intake on the low-to-moderate side of things, I can easily go over my personal daily quota with just a couple of mindlessly consumed fun size candy bars.

I find that one of the best ways to pass on the smorgasbord of seasonal offerings is to have a small stash of homemade candy at home. I know that the treats I make will taste better and be more to my liking than anything I might pick up while out running errands.

Right at the moment, my personal candy jar contains small fragments of Hazelnut Brittle. It’s a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis that requires just sugar, water and well-toasted hazelnuts.

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From Leaves to Loaves — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, October 29th, 2014

Ingredients, utensils and heat — that’s all that is needed to create most of the dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but as fans know, those three elements aren’t always available to the contestants, at least not in their expected and desired forms. On tonight’s all-new episode of Superstar Sabotage, host Alton Brown doled out a dooming challenge that seemed nearly insurmountable: a mandate forcing Chef Elizabeth Falkner, a famed pastry chef, to prepare and bake her banana bread in banana leaves. While most classic recipes would recommend that she mix the dry and wet ingredients in several sturdy bowls, then cook the batter in traditional loaf pans, she had to do all of that with and in the leaves.

Before Alton could auction off that sabotage, however, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew first had to attempt the challenge. After all, would such a sabotage be feasible, and would it be fair to ask a contestant to attempt it given the time constraints? The team testing the sabotage approached the banana bread in two ways before ultimately finding the challenge possible for future contestants.

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Make These Treats with Leftover Halloween Candy

by in How-to, October 29th, 2014

Kids consider their stash of hard-earned Halloween candy sacred, so the concept of leftover candy is a fantasy in a lot of households. Before making any of these spooky desserts, you might need to hit the post-trick-or-treat sale aisles. Be prepared to receive a hero’s welcome when you bestow these bonus Halloween candy-based treats upon your loved ones this weekend.

Store-bought cake, frosting and brownies can be used as timesavers, or you can make your own. Do frost the cake and brownies yourself, because the frosting needs to be wet for the toppings to adhere properly. Incorporate Halloween-themed sprinkles into each recipe to up the fun factor even higher.

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Hump Day Snack: Dinner in a Pumpkin

by , October 29th, 2014

Dinner in a PumpkinPumpkin gets a lot of love in the sweet category. And happy as we are to dive into pumpkin pie, pumpkin sticky buns or a well-spiced cheesecake, today we are championing the savory side. Case in point: dinner in a pumpkin. This clever, ultra-homey idea bakes a classic casserole (think: cream of mushroom soup, wild rice, water chestnuts, ground beef or turkey) into an actual medium-size pumpkin. Pop it in the oven on Halloween night, draw a face on the finished gourd and dish it out with some softened pumpkin for maximal heartiness before trick-or-treating time. Or make it the throw-back main course for your adults-only party, since it pairs well with pumpkin ale and a sensible kale salad. (Full disclosure: This is stock art, not the actual dish. We completely failed to take a picture when we made this dish ourselves.)

More Savory Halloween Meals:

This Massive Pumpkin Pie Required 40 Chefs and Two Excavators to Make

by in News, October 29th, 2014

Pumpkin PieAnyone waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive this year can at least settle for a great big pumpkin pie.

Chefs in Changsha, China, recently baked a 1,894-pound pumpkin pie measuring more than 13 feet in diameter. According to China View, the pie — which, judging from this video, doesn’t appear to have much in the way of crust — was steamed in a gigantic pan that had “eight burners working simultaneously.”

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