Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Time!!

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Christmas time usually means non-stop eating which means non-stop cooking/baking. On my dream list?

Candy Cane Marshmallows from Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living, December 2004

Makes sixteen 2-inch squares

Add to Shopping List: Ingredients

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring


Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.

Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Truth About Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

So it has been awhile guys. I have missed you. The truth is simply that I can't be CandyAnna unless I am hungry, and sometimes I am just not hungry. Or I am hungry but for news, or history class, or fashion. CandyAnna was stuck in a treat rut.

Is that a tear? Because there is no crying in baking.

I was jacked out of that rut swiftly and surely by the foodaganza national holiday of Thanksgiving. Or TGive 2011 as we titled this years food fest. TGive was to commence at my sister's house in Denver where the kitchen is large and shiny and the stakes are high. My sister always challenges me to bake outside the box and I was certainly achin' for some bakin'.

The challenge: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I had never made a cheesecake before and found a fantastic recipe on one of my favorite blogs I was particularly attracted because if Thanksgiving doesn't included bourbon than it doesn't count...everyone knows that. Here it is in all its glory with a few little tweeks.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: toasted pecan halves with brown sugar and sea salt

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

A few notes:

1. I decided to toast my pecan halves.

-Spread them flat on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Add a dash of chunky sea salt. Toast until your house smells like the holidays (about 15 mins).

2. I would not let the cheesecake come to QUITE room temperature. So sit out for an hour or so...

This recipe was beautiful as well as tasty!!

Enjoy Friends!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Skittles Blenders are Super Disgusting.

I haven't done a candy review for awhile so I figured it was time. Plus I walked into a place called In Zone- a type of store unique to college towns featuring tiny Iowa Hawkeye shorts/19 cent fountain sodas/candy/rolling papers and glass pipes for tobacco use only - an impulse bought 4 kinds of candy. For an inexplicable reason I bought Skittles Blenders- one of those new variations they force on people because they think they are bored w/ regular skittles. This one features unnecessarily mixed fruit flavors and then shove them into a Skittles.

Here are the dumb flavors:

Melon Berry Burst: taste neither like Melon, nor Berry.
Watermelon Green Apple Freeze: only one that was oooookkkkaaaayyy.
Strawberry Lime Blast : tastes like soap
Mango Lemonade Freeze: taste like suntan lotion
Cherry Tropicolada: not equipped to describe this ickiness.

Stay away. These flavors are the candy equivalent of people who make up their own children's names because they think they sound 'different.' Again - stay away from the Skittles in the yellow bag.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits & the Red Boot Diaries.

When I buy a new pair of shoes, I usually keep them in my closet for a little bit...warming up to them...watching them in a natural shoe environment...proving they really belong to me and fit in with my little wardrobe family (we are a tightly knit clan, most cottons HA!- good pun, right?) .

Leaving a beloved old city and moving to a new one has sort of been like this...Iowa City is currently sitting in the corner of my apartment, and we are slowly getting used to each other.

The upside/flip side to this transitional period is gobs of hours to bake! And it is summertime in Iowa, one of the most delicious places on earth. When you buy fresh produce from the Pioneer Co-Op it comes from a farm 10's of miles away, at a quarter of the price of Union Square Farmers Market (score one, Iowa). Tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers are running wild. How, oh how will we use all this zucchini?

Zucchini Cheddar Muffins will do! I found this fantastic recipe from a blog called A Cozy Kitchen.

Makes 15 biscuits

  • 3/4 cup zucchini, shredded (***I recommend 1 full cup because I like bigger, faster, more)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup grated cheddar (***I recommend a 1 1/4 cup because I like to overdue it)
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Shred the zucchini. Using a cheese cloth, add the zucchini to the center and squeeze all of the excess water out. Transfer to a small bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of flour. Mix and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Working quickly, add the cubed butter and break up with your hands until they’re the size of small peas. ***Because you are working with butter, work this as little as possible for maximum fluffiness.

Add the milk, zucchini and cheddar until moistened. Drop batter, using two tablespoons, on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Serve warm if at all possible but they are fantastic ANYTIME.

With each warm biscuit Iowa City and I are warming up to one another, making sure we fit into each others wardrobe. In the meantime I am going to continue to bribe it with baked goods and new shoes.

(like these - love you Revival!!!!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins!!! What a Gem!

New place, new space, new zucchini muffin recipe. They all go together, do they not? The fresh Iowa zucchini was burning a hole in my fridge and I was ready to try something new.

Having a kitchen the size of a stick of Trident, I have been forced to stash the ingredients and equipment needed in various places all over my apartment. The muffin pan is under my winter coats...the mixer is in a train case above my vintage dresses....etc. I pulled them out and got going on this recipe I found on, in haste while at the grocery store. No worries because it panned out. The chocolate/spice/zucchini combo seemed strange but it has made a really rich "muffin" (don't kid oneself, this should be classified as cake). The cardamom really took these up a notch and made my home spell AMAZING.

Another note: I substitute butter for oil always because I like dense over fluffy. If you disagree, use vegetable oil instead. If you want to be 'healthy' you can also use applesauce- personally, I don't subscribe to this because I say you should make a really delicious recipe and just eat less of it! I might be nuts but next time I might add nuts.

Chocolate Zucchini Gems! (makes 24)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil -(again, I use melted butter but the two sticks that I had to melt down almost made me change my mind)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease or line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl beat the eggs. Beat in the sugar and oil. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom. Mix until just moist.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store loosely covered.

I love you. You are delicious. What a gem you are!!! Now I just hope that I can figure out where I am going to stash all 24 of these muffins!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Emotional Candyanna And The Spit Transit


So my second cousin once removed (thanks Jeff) introduced me to this fantastic little online machine called the BAND NAME MAKER (link here too : ) If CandyAnna were to be a band, the below options are my best choices- as decided by the huge brains behind the website's patent pending, high tech algorithm!!!

Please...let me know your thoughts. This is serious business.

  • Aerial Candyanna
  • Candyanna Radiation
  • Candyanna Until Butterfly
  • Candyanna Of Greased
  • Emotional Candyanna And The Spit Transit
  • Candyanna Profanity
  • Candyanna Crawl
  • Viking Candyanna And The Every Mood
  • Anti Candyanna And The Illicit Condition
  • Candyanna Mosquito
Totally torn between:

Emotional CandyAnna and the Spit Transit
(that sounds like my blog is on its period and sharing a lollipop and a train ride with another blog)


Anti CandyAnna and the Illicit Condition
(I have fallen into a period of sugar loathing and am either pregnant with Sugar Babies or Diabetic, depending on how dark you want to go).

Oooooooh this is SO rock and roll.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Maker's Mark Summertime "Floridatucky Punch" : DELICIOUS

Hi there.

If you have ever sat down with me for a cocktail and the subsequent five hours of talking that ensues (topics include everything under the sun), you might know that I am an evangelist of the church of Kentucky bourbon - specifically and with much devotion - of Maker's Mark.

Love Diet Coke? Put some Maker's Mark in it...Like milkshakes? Put some Maker's Mark in it (IS DELICIOUS - you should do it RIGHT NOW) I am surprised I haven't found a way to incorporate it into a Southern Indiana-style Jell-O mould.

Now that we are in the midst of this long, sticky, sweaty summer jag, I think you should drink some bourbon! I snagged this recipe off the Maker's Mark Facebook fan page (today - don't judge) and it is delicious.
(kudos to the girl in the red dress who took this picture - I wish I could credit you properly)

Perfect for YOU- if in fact you are into things that delicious. I am also snagging their picture and an old MM one of mine (again - no judging - my camera is broken). I made this in the past and would have made it today but it is not socially acceptable to show up at an eye doctor appointment with whiskey breath, humming Lloyd Prices' "Three Little Pigs" (inevitably the song that runs through my head when I am in my bourbon 'cups').

This is great for a group of people and ideally served in an antique punch bowl or adorable dispenser as pictured above.

"Summertime Breeze" Punch

(name is per Maker's Mark - Lame. I would have called it something like the Kentuckyorida...Floridatucky Punch...hmmm let me think on that.)

1 Part Maker's Mark
1 Part Ginger Ale
Splash of Orange Curacao
A Fresh Squeezed Orange

Enjoy this punch and Mr. Lloyd Price please!

If I were going to be a burlesque dancer my song, this would be my song, my name would be CandyAnna, and I would need several glasses of this punch to do it :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dear Bluebird Diner, Your Blueberry Cornmeal Cake with Lemon Buttercream is Perhaps Perfect

Dear Bluebird Diner in Iowa City, IA,

I couldn't help but notice that you were new. I hadn't seen the likes of you around town. A large space with blue plaid tablecloths, a blue tinted mirror and daily revolving menu specials. I like your style, your bluegrassy soundtrack (Brandi Carlile) and your tattoo peppered friendly wait staff (although my mom noted that if our waitress would just pull the hair out of her face you would be able to see her lovely bone structure- just a suggestion).

Two days we were in Iowa City on a thankless search for an apartment. Requirements included - must be adorable, must be safe, must be clean and wood floors preferred. Shockingly, options and morale was low. We stopped into this azure cloaked diner as a lighter alternative to its classic Iowa City neighbor, Hamburg Inn. It was delightful, and halfway through the meal came SUCCESS in the form of a one bedroom apartment with plenty of room for my cake plate collection and a screened in front porch (adorable...check!). Almost as if it were scripted, the aforementioned shaggy haired waitress appeared to inquire if we would like dessert in the form of a just baked Blueberry Cornmeal Cake with Fresh Lemon Buttercream Frosting (!!!!!!).

The cake was dense and moist - offering the perfect amount of sweetness. The buttercream wasn't too thick and was lemon-y tart in the way that only very fresh lemon juice & zest can provide. The kicker was the perfectly ripe blueberries combined with the texture of the cornmeal. SOOOOOO good. I am piecing together a recipe and will have more to report once it has been tested. CAN'T WAIT.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Iowa City Road Trip Preview : A Green River (Secret Ingredient: Hair Tonic)

When my schedule opened opened up, my appetite came roaring back in to fill my time and imagination. Everyone should quit their job and gain five lbs!!!! With housing to find and future employers to meet, my mom and I hit I-74 with a mission but a decided lack of haste and an iphone to find the best roadside treats. While I seriously heart Pilot (79 cent Diet Cokes and briefcases sold in the same location), the Subway that shares its space was not going to cut it- especially after this little exchange when we drove from New York to Indianapolis a few days prior.

Julia (Mom) : "Have you ever noticed that sometimes those Subways at the gas station smell like vomit?"

Anna (Me): "No...not really. I guess they do have a funny smell."

(Literally, twenty-five minutes later- same car, same people)

Julia (Mom): "Are you hungry? Where should we grab lunch? There is a Subway at the Pilot off the next exit..."

Anna (Me): "Absolutely not."

So that was that, and Subway/Pilots are now banned for life. Pilot/Wendy's might still be okay...not sure- will check with Julia (Mom). Anywho....just a little preview of my Green River at one of the country's oldest running soda fountains...

I have it on very good authority that the secret ingredient is hair tonic and I have been promised by said authority that it will make my hair curly. I am waiting....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fine.Indianapolis.Fine. I will discover your treats.Sun King...All Aboard.

Hey there Indianapolis. We have a long and rocky history together. You didn't always think I was so great (junior high...most of high know what I am talking about) and I didn't always think you were so neat (umm..most every time I speak of you). How many times can you explain that the flavor of your hometown is born of its unique placement as the largest city in America to exist on a non-navigable body of water... without some kind of resentment surfacing?

I have noticed things are a bit different here this go-around.

1. I am not an awkward, roly-poly adolescent who def didn't fit in.

2. I am not here for Christmas break with 15 minutes to see 5 million people.

The delicious food trend hasn't passed you by, Indian-no place (HA- the Wickes sister think we came up with that one). The usual suspects - Bazbeaux Pizza, Patachou, Hubbard & Cravens are still here but there are others!!!!!!! I will explore your friend Jean tells me there is more to this city than the Northside. Hear that??? Slippery Noodle, I am coming for you.

I had a Sun King brew for the first time tonight. Hoppy, mild. A-Ok. I am no beer expert but it was cold and I was both hot & thirsty = delicious. The brewery is right downtown and my mom is thrilled. Brewery tour, here we come. More to report.

In other traditional Maker's Mar & Diet Coke has transformed itself into vodka lemonade w/ raspberry muddle. Gotta get my camera repaired...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Blue Breakfast

It was my very last breakfast before I departed my beloved Brooklyn for the wider parking lots and friendlier sales clerks of the mid-west. Before I turned in my keys and packed up the very last of my vintage hat collection, my mother and I stopped at one of my top four favorite places in the world - the back garden at Bakeri.

Opened just months before I moved to my favorite borough, Bakeri is an idealized French locale as fantasized by a Williamsburg hipster foodie (two words I have vowed to stop using). My coffee is consistently and delightfully strong but not too strong, and butter is ever the secret ingredient. In fact, if you are on a diet it would be better to buy yourself a Clif bar and stay home. The decor is my sister's dream- French rustic/touches of shabby chic (not the cutesy kind)/vintage fantastic-ness. They bring your water to your table (either a teensy cafe table or a scarred up wood farm table that has obviously knows more of the world than I) in old booze bottles and the dishwear does not match. When I surrender my cash (cash only btw) for my favorite cafe 'ole and huge hunk of Spanish tortilla, I feel just great about myself, I want to pat myself on the back. More than receiving a delicious treat, the place makes you feel as though you are patronizing the realization of a good cook's life-long dream. Every detail is too perfectly on purpose for this to not be so... from the bubble glass cake stands to the age speckled mirrors, to the wide array of small treats that change every time I go in. One time I saw the baker walking down our street after closing time with flour on his pants and a baguette shoved in his backpack. My eyes got wide and I felt as though I had a brush with a celebrity. Sigh...I just love you Bakeri.

Last Friday, we arose early and went there for my last meal. I was devastated when told that tortilla isn't usually served until noon, which says more about my breakfast habits than anything else. I got the savory bread pudding instead and savored every savory bite. Coffee...chocolate croissant ...and big black sunglasses to cover up my good-bye blues.

Ugh...I hate crying in public but I blame the impeccable dense Chanel camellia style apple cake.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bloody Excellence of the Green Apple Kind

In front of me at my new desk sits a huge apothecary jar full of Tootsie Pops. If typing at my computer, this jar is about 2 feet higher than eyelevel and one foot to my right. There...all the time.

Whether or not I am hungry, this jar floats in the corner of my eye, full of the lesser liked flavors of 'red' and 'purple.' I won't describe them as cherry and grape because this is not a true flavor description. Red and purple are certainly more accurate descriptions to taste.

But at the bottom of the jar sits the real object of my desire, the Green Apple Tootsie Pop.
Did you know these exist? Obviously, it is green apple candy with chocolate tootsie roll inside.

I finally answered the siren's call the other day, around 3 PM.

Seven minutes later, I contently threw away my chewed stick, then lamented the bloody/green apple taste on my tongue. I had forgotten the payment for enjoying a Tootsie Roll pop were the candy-cased gashes on the roof of my mouth. Aside from that, it was delicious.

Try it, like it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

CandyAnna Creation Myth Part 1 : Visit with Me.

Hi. I am baaaaack. Happy New Year to everyone including myself.

Why thank you!

No problem. Let's chat.

I want to begin the year by taking a brief glance into the creation myth of CandyAnna also known as CACMP1.

Said in a Melanie Wilkes dramatic voice, "To begin my life, I must begin at the beginning of my life..."

CandyAnna was born into the Midwestern tradition of food and drink being the gathering place- the social rallying point, if you will. Good food or bad food (Indiana really isn't known for their fresh seafood-instead for their jello salads and sacrilegious sugar treatment of fresh off the farm fruit), food is at the center of all human connection. Gallons of coffee are consumed, miles of pie, and small armies of "salads' that make little sense to the modern palette (Snicker salad anyone? trust me...say no, thank you).

Midwesterners have many flaws, but they will always serve you coffee and be nice to your face. They will also, without fail, bring food to any sort of crisis situation. They take care of their own, and dishes wrapped in cellophane designed to 'keep', are their bandages. Such situations include death, illness, failing business, missing children, fender benders, neighborhood graffiti, storm damage, and out-of-town visitors. When high winds drove one our gorgeous old trees into the corner of our house, tearing off an entire corner of the structure and making my sister's bedroom decor visible from the street, neighbors came, within minutes, bearing cold cuts and contractor recommendations. While perhaps being a factor in the Midwest's well known obesity problem, food & comfort, food & hospitality, food & conversation, and food & care are all intrinsically linked. Conversation is better over coffee. Happy Birthday is best said with a treat and 'I love you' is often clumsily conveyed in the words "I made this for you."

This glass of very nice whiskey & this Funfetti birthday cake prepared by my father literally means "I love you!"

This tradition has taught me that if you seemingly have nothing in common with a person simply ask them their favorite food/restaurant/childhood birthday cake. The eyes light up and conversation will flow easily. Even the most rugged of anorexics will have a beloved dish their grandmother made they remember not eating (sorry...poor taste?). Food and drink are the most basic universal ties we all have to our family, our childhood, and our culture. As someone with mild social anxiety in large groups of strangers, usually known as 'parties', having a food blog makes things SO MUCH EASIER. When this information comes about, complete strangers come up to me with their eyes shining, ready to discuss the best cupcake they ever had, the new stew recipe they tried, or their mother's continental cooking experiments. It is fascinating and delightful!

My Midwestern food/social tradition has now permanently connected food and human connection. Food and drinks are the fuel that drives humans relating to one another, the Midwestern art of "visiting."

Part two of the creation myth moves this little girl to the wide world of Brooklyn. Food isn't the fuel of the conversation. Food is the conversation. Good food, bad food, vegan food, cheese food...edibles rapidly became a good 60% of my daily conversation (depending if it is an election year). We don't discuss elite based culinary masterpieces but instead street food, comfort food and food made in the home with an emphasis on care and quality. Critics have maintained the current 'hipster' generation has no convictions or ideas and only style. But I see people everyday struggling to bypass the tech world to connect in real time, and usually over the same things my grandparents did- excellent pie, gallons of coffee, and a beer.

Don't listen to me. Listen to her.