Tag Archives: marshmallow

Shrimps and Bananas

Halloween is fast approaching, and I’ve made a new discovery at the candy shop: Shrimps and Bananas. They are adoreable and tasty. I mean, look at the packaging! Funny happy zoo friends having a snack together. Monty Monkey says, “I want bananas!” Ronni Rhino begins to dance around singing, “Shrimps for me! I love shrimps!” Then Gina, the Giraffe who eats anything, decides “Let’s ALL have shrimps and bananas!” Of course, it’s much cuter when you read it with a British accent.

Shrimps-and-Bananas

At first, I thought they were a strange savoury treat, but the kid-friendly package design and the ingredient list (sugar, sugar, and sugar) indicated sweetness. When I felt the packet, I could tell the candies were softish, and I began to suspect they might be related to one of my most favouritest nostalgic treats: the Circus Peanut.

Fresh Circus Peanuts are wonderful sugarbombs. Giant orange peanut shaped cousins to the marshmallow. They have a firm and foamy texture, with a post-peanut hyperactivity warning on the label. Just kidding. But yes, they are kid candy. And no, they do not contain peanuts. On my good-ol’-days candy list, they are second only to the Orange Slice (close relative to the gumdrop, and a Christmas grab bag staple).

The bananas tasted very faintly of banana, and the shrimp tasted absolutely nothing like shrimp . . . more like strawberry maybe? Ginger Man declined to eat them because they were shrimp shaped, but his tastes tend to favour the sour anyway. So, my candy-loving fellows, hie thee to yon sweet shoppe and return forthwith avec Shrimps and Bananas that ye sweet toothe might be appeased.

S’mores Day Cookie Bars

Roasting Marshmallows by ninahale

Roasting Marshmallows by ninahale

I love S’mores. Melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow sandwiched between crisp graham crackers is a time-honored campfire treat. Countless times, I sat staring into the flames, twirling a big puffy marshmallow on on the end of a hand-picked green stick whittled to a fine point, waiting for the perfect browning. Too close or too long in the wrong spot, and it would burst into flame. Sometimes accidents happen on purpose. Please hand me another marshmallow.

In honor of National S’mores Day (August 10th) and the Girl Scout tradition, I present to you this glorious S’moresel from my kitchen. All that traditional smoresy taste in a convenient cookie bar form. I guess that’d be a S’mookie!

Gimme S’more Squares

The recipe for Warm Toasted Marshmallow S’more Squares @ Betty Crocker is pure genius. No eggs required, and totally EASY! Whenever I find the sugar cookie mix on sale, I like to stock up so I can make quick treats like these. They’re totally delicious, pack perfectly in lunches, and go great with coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

Golden Toasted Chocolatey Delicious

Golden Toasted Chocolatey Delicious

I tweaked the recipe a little to produce a smaller batch with more graham flavour and decided to break out some gourmet chocolate bars for the topping. I used Dagoba Organic Dark Chocolate, but many other flavours would be yummy. Also, try your local store brand graham crackers; Safeway’s grahams have an excellent texture and taste and cost less.

Get Ready
  • Preheat oven to 375° and grease a 9×9 pan.
  • Chop fancy chocolate bars to make about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate bits.
  • Bash or food process about 8 graham crackers to make 1 Cup of crumbs.

Make a Grahamtastic Cookie Crust

  1. Mix 1 Cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs with 2 Cups (about 1/2 bag) of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix.
  2. Melt 1 stick of butter, stir in 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract, and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Press dough into pan and bake 18 minutes.

Add the Chocolate and Marshmallows

  • Lightly browned!

    Lightly browned!

    When the cookie crust is done, turn off the oven and preheat the broiler.

  • While the crust is still warm, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate over top and let it melt. Spread melted chocolate to edges of crust.
  • Top with 2 cups miniature marshmallows and return pan to oven about six inches below the broiler.
  • Broil until marshmallows are lightly browned ~ 1 min (watch them carefully!)
  • LET THEM COOL—I know it’s hard.
  • Cut into squares and NOM!

Other S’more recipes:

Flickr Creative Commons
ninahale

A tisket, a tasket, what’s in your Easter basket?

shy-bunny

Easter Sunday (April 12, 2009) is this weekend. It’s a time for remembrance, repentance, resurrection, communion, and CANDY! Secularizing holy days into Holidays is the best thing American capitalists ever did for the chocolate industry.

Respect to religion, but lets talk about the basket. Mommy Dearest would set up Easter baskets well ahead of time, tantalizing us for weeks while our Peeps went stale (not that it mattered) and those cheap-ass jelly beans turned rock hard. To make it worse, the baskets were wrapped in multiple layers of clear Saran Wrap so we could see everything, touch nothing, and be sufficiently tempted.

Important Easter Tip: When breaking into an Easter basket, cover your tracks. Do not leave a hole that shows, and above all do not leave chocolate fingerprints.

Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

After weeks of temptation and attempted basket burglary, we’d put on our Sunday Go-To-Meetin’ clothes (including the itchy white lace ankle socks and a pair of too-tight black patent Mary Janes) and do our hair up in ribbons and sit in our regular church pew trying to tune out the hellfire and brimstone rendition of our Lord & Saviour’s crucifiction and resurrection until the wine and wafers came around. Then, after a little nosh, it was time to shake the preacher’s hand and hightail it home to the egg hunt (providing no one was getting baptized).

eggbasketWe’d color eggs and make a big mess, then Daddy would go hide the eggs in the yard and my dog Patches followed him around, eating them. Then the kids would rush outside screeching and laughing with baskets in hand, frantically scouring one grass patch and underbush after another. Kids take egg hunting very seriously. I’ve seen deadly hair-pulling and UFC-quality kindergarten takedowns all because somebody saw the glitter egg first. I played it safe and followed the dog, collecting all the half-eaten eggs . . . they still count!

jbeansOnce the fights were over and the eggs had been tallied, we’d retire to a quiet corner and rip into those tantalizing treasure baskets, pink ribbons and easter grass flying. Oh, thou hollow chocolate bunny with the big long ears, I shall save you for last. You and your sweet candy eyes. First, we have to get rid of those black jelly beans (it was not  unusual for me to sneak in and remove all the black beans I could find, replacing them with cherry and lemon beans I stole from other baskets . . . it’s okay, I gave them all my black ones, so we’re even).

For the second course: Peeps, heads first. If no one dropped into a sugar coma at this point, it was probably time for Easter supper. Mommy Dearest would usually cook a ham, glazing with honey mustard and decorating with pineapple rings and cloves. I know, it sounds good, but after 24 hours in the oven, it gets a wee bit dessicated. Thank God for Easter hot dogs on the grill.

Once I left home, there were no more Easter hams or Easter baskets for me—until I started making my own (baskets, not ham). It just doesn’t seem right to have Easter without a basket. This year, I have a very tiny basket, so the candy has accumulated all around it, and I haven’t touched a thing. Come Sunday afternoon, that’s gonna change.

Easter Basket 2009Easter Basket Essentials

  • Basket: any size, any kind
  • Grass: raffia, plastic, or real
  • Ribbons: for decorating the bunnies and basket
  • Jelly Beans: to lose in the grass and find next year
  • Peeps: Yellow Chicks and Pink Bunnies
  • Chocolate Bunny: Any kind, must have long cute ears
  • Assorted Candy: Any kind, lots of chocolate
  • Toy Bunny: fuzzy and cute
  • A Prize: This year, it’s a book by Robert Rankin called The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse and a DVD of Wallace & Gromit’s Curse of the Were-Rabbit

bunnyineggs

Leaving a comment? I’m curious: What’s in your Easter basket?

S’mores + Peeps = Smeeps!

Pretty peeps all in a row.

Pretty peeps all in a row.

Easter is hopping right around the corner, and marshmallow Peeps are popping up on store shelves everywhere. They are certainly an essential part of my annual Easter basket.

I love Peeps. All the fun of a marshmallow with a vibrant sugar coating. I bite their heads off . . . so they don’t suffer. Okay, really so I don’t have to look them in their little candy eyes. Exactly the opposite of how I consume a chocolate bunny. I don’t know why that is.

Peeps are best fresh out of a brand new package, but don’t think I won’t eat them a little stale and chewy. It also didn’t take long for me to figure out what would happen if you put one in the microwave. Try that on some ice cream or a brownie . . . or both. Have mercy!

Forked PeepThen one day, Easter came around and Peeps were once again plentiful. The weather was becoming fine and clear where I lived at the time, and I was buying groceries for a lovely weekend for camping. Of course, where there’s a campfire, there must be marshmallows, and where there are marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers cannot be far away. I thought to myself, “Self, what do you reckon would happen if we stuck one of them there Peeps on a stick and roasted him over the fire?” *DING-DING-DING*

I had to run a few tests right away. Microwave heat is very different that fire heat (which is much less predictable, to boot). I no longer had a gas stove (sigh), so I fired up the electric burner and contemplated the possible outcomes as I poked a long-handled fork into a marshmallow chicken. What would happen to that sugar coating? I silently prayed for carmelization.

meltyCarefully, I positioned my peep for maximal even heat, rotating it slowly and watching for the slightest change in color or shape. The chick began to expand. It rapidly became lopsided, threatening to droop off my fork, but years of marshmallow toasting had provided enough skill to regain control just as the yellow sugar coating began to brown.  Oh here we go . . . carmelize, you beautiful marshmallow. A bit of color here, a bit of color there, and away you go. Once off the heat, the sugar coating began to harden slightly . . . like the top of a creme brulee.

Perfectly toasted.

Perfectly toasted.

I have to say, this is one of my most favouritest ways to eat a Peep. The outside is crispy, the inside is melty, and it takes on a whole new flavour.

CAUTION: Count to 10 before you try to eat the Peep or you will burn your mouth. Caramelized sugar is VERY HOT but will cool off quickly.

You can make a s’more with these guys, just as you would with a regular marshmallow: sandwich the toasted Peep between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate. However, I often prefer to toast them under the oven broiler to and serve them open-faced. They are also exquisite with a little peanut butter.

How to Make a Smeep:

  1. S'more + Peep = Smeep!

    S'more + Peep = Smeep!

    For each serving, place a graham cracker on a cookie sheet.

  2. Top each graham cracker with a square of chocolate (milk or dark) and a marshmallow Peep (bunny peeps work great for this because they are flat and brown more evenly).
  3. Place under a broiler for a few minutes until the chocolate softens and the top of the Peeps are slightly browned and carmelized.
  4. Cool slightly before eating.

Can’t get enough Peeps?