Monday, August 6, 2012

Baking, I Love You

This past weekend (and with the threat of a friends cake-less birthday hanging over my head) baking and I were reunited in the form of chocolate chocolate cupcakes.

And it felt sooooo good.  Pictures and recipes coming soon!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hello Lover! ( the 4th time)

So CandyAnna and I are inching around one another again.  It might be time to break out this candy loving, food-obsessed part of me again.    I move tomorrow and am currently packing so I chose today as just the perfect day.

So friends, let us take a bite out of the apple and get back on that horse and all those other metaphors that do or do not fit.

See you soon, friends!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Food & Death Row

My annoying question of late has been "If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?" This started after I read the article "Artists Capture Death Row Convicts' Final Feasts" in Wired Magazine last year.

Some people who lack imagination (and shall remain nameless) respond with comments like, 'well, do you have have to choose from things in the cafeteria?' or "I don't think they can make my grandmother's green beans?"

This is not ACTUALLY a real question. Just as one's presence on cell block 'dead in 12 hours' is hypothetical (hopefully), so is the question. Open your mind to the possibilities...Food is one of the most fantastic tethers we have to our earthy, animal selves. The need to eat is basic and instinctual, but hopefully, WHAT we eat it not- it can be heavenly.

Some chose the components of the 'the greatest meal they ever had' - like the appetizer 'from that business dinner they didn't pay for at Per Se.' Most people, on the other hand, chose foods that were actually little slices of their favorite parts of life. Choices like "my grandmother's fried chicken" or "a hot dog from that certain vendor at Wrigley field" would offer a last chance to savor a moment in time, as well as a familiar flavor.

My current choice ****please note this is an ever evolving list

1 bottle of good champagne (not picky on brand - just very good please)
1 chocolate milkshake with two shots of Maker's Mark
A double fried egg sandwich on an onion roll with muenster cheese
Corn beef hash - nothing fancy, straight from the diner please
Root Vegetables from Peter's on Bedford Ave.
My mother's Frank's Red Hot Cheese dip with french bread

If the chair doesn't get me, then this meal most certainly will!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Time!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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!!!!).