Monday, May 30, 2016

This Week In Candy

Hey everybody, this week we're in India, likely eating way too much spicy food, which in my mind is any spicy food. We're going to be away for a while, so that means two things, a few things at Candy Critic will be off till we're back, and there's likely a bunch of posts on our social media about what we're discovering on this trip.

The stuff that's off for the next few weeks is as follows:  There will be no updated reviews while we're gone, however there will likely be a bunch of Indian candy reviews when we get back (assuming that Allison lets be get a bunch of candy).  Snack Facts (our Instagram feed) will no longer be daily, instead it'll be random, and it will contain random facts we learn as we're on our Indian adventure.  We're also not going to post any new episodes of Junk Fud (our podcast) or Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!. When we get back we'll have a new episode of Junk Fud On The Road about this trip, and we might find some fun things to try for future episodes of Chris, Whey Would You Eat That?!!.

What will we have for you while we're gone?  Well this post's gone up, and This Week In Candy will continue to post while we're gone, although these have all been written in advance.  We'll also continue to post our cool Candy Thing posts on Wednesday, and Candy In The Media on Friday (while we're gone it's a tribute to Indian candy commercials).  Most importantly I'm sure we'll be posting on all of our social media about the food and fun times we're having on this trip.  You can follow our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and when we get back we'll post a blog with a recap of everything we've learned on this trip.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Candy In The Media

I'm hoping every well in India has a bucket of Coke at the bottom, although I seriously doubt it.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Marshmallows Vs Circus Peanuts (Part 1?) The Rice Krispie Challenge

Are Circus Peanuts marshmallows?  This is a question that crossed my mind recently.  I asked a friend of mine who happens to be a marshmallow expert and her opinion was that Circus Peanuts are not.  One person that might disagree with that Circus Peanuts are not marshmallows is John Holahan, the creator of Lucky Charms. The story is that he chopped up Circus Peanuts into a bowl of Cheerios, and Lucky Charms was born (I tried doing this myself, and you can read about it here).  According to the advertising, Lucky Charms contains marshmallows, so therefore some might consider Circus Peanuts to be marshmallows.

It's a difficult thing to really nail down, but recently I was inspired.  I thought the best way to find out if Circus Peanuts are in fact marshmallows is to compare them physically.  Sure I could do some science like stuff and compare the ingredients, but I have a better idea.  Why not try and find out if Circus Peanuts act like marshmallows.  After all if it has feathers and quacks, then it's a duck.

For my first experiment I've decided to see if Circus Peanuts work in a recipe that's tied closely with marshmallows, Rice Krispie Treats.  I'm going to make two batches of Rice Krispie Treats, one with normal fresh marshmallows, and one with an equal amount (in weight) of Circus Peanuts.
The first thing one notices when comparing the two ingredients is the way they melt.  Or more to the point, the way Circus Peanuts don't really melt.  The marshmallows melt very evenly and turn into a creamy liquid.  The Circus Peanuts do melt a bit, but they're much more globby. They also take a bit longer to melt.  In fact when I started melting the Circus Peanuts I was convinced they wouldn't melt at all and the experiment would be a bust fairly soon.

The thing is, the Circus Peanuts did eventually melt, but I'm not certain it's because of a gelatin breaking down in the heat, I'm thinking it has more to do with the sugar melting.  This means that if you're trying this experiment at home yourself, keep an eye on your Circus Peanuts because if it's the sugar melting than it's likely going to burn fairly quickly.
Eventually I managed to get both to a decent enough consistency that I could add the Rice Krispies.  With the marshmallows it only takes a few stirs to get them to blended perfectly with the Rice Krispies.  The Circus Peanuts were a bit more of an effort.  I also didn't end up needing as many Rice Krispies for the amount of Circus Peanuts I was using.

Putting the marshmallow Rice Krispie Treats into a pan is sticky, but fairly easy (particularly if you're liberal with the butter).  The Circus Peanuts were a bit more challenging, but manageable.  I should mention that I was really surprised that the Circus Peanuts worked this well, I thought they wouldn't make it our of the pot.  I eventually managed to flatten both batches of Rice Krispie Treats, however the marshmallow ones looked much more blended.
After letting them cool for about half an hour, it was time to taste.  The marshmallow Rice Krispie Treats were smooth, and each bit of Rice Krispie was coated in a fine coating of melted marshmallow. They were also very chewy, not hard.  The Circus peanuts were certainly not as well coated, and most interesting is that they were kind of hard.  It was as if the Circus Peanuts turned into a slightly chewy hard candy.  The Circus Peanuts stuck together a lot better than I thought they would, with only a few loose Rice Krispies in the bottom of the pan.

Flavour wise I was pretty happy with both treats.  I've always loved Rice Krispie Treats made with marshmallows, in fact they're my favourite way to eat marshmallows. The Circus Peanut Rice Krispie Treats were not bad either.  The cereal gave the normally strange texture of the Circus Peanuts a bit of a crunch, which is good.  It also killed the flavour of the Circus Peanuts a bit, and that's not a bad thing either.
While we  certainly can't say that marshmallows and Circus Peanuts are exactly the same, I wouldn't say that the difference is totally clear either.  At this point I would say that Circus Peanuts might be a marshmallow, but of a different breed.  I may have to try a few other experiments before I say for sure. Fortunately both Circus Peanuts and marshmallows are very abundant.  My only problem is coming up with more experiments.  I'm thinking next I may try and roast them on an open fire.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Latest Episode Of Junk Fud On The Road Is All About Belgium

In this latest episode of Junk Fud On The Road, Chris and Allison take a look at a land that's known for some of the best junk food in the world.  In fact it's the birthplace of a junk food staple.

Click here to listen to past episodes from the Junk Fud podcast.


Monday, May 23, 2016

This Week In Candy

The food poisoning from last week is finally gone.  I can't say that we're 100% healthy, but we're (Allison got sick too) getting stronger every day.  We're also finally eating regular meals, and regular desserts as well. This is perfect timing, because we're just about to head off on our next adventure, India.  I've never been to India before, but it is a foodie destination, and there are lots of sweet treats that I'm very excited to try. I can't say that I'm not a little worried about getting food poisoning again, but I'll just have to be a little bit careful.  Anybody out there have any suggestions on must try treats in India?

This week we're making up for lost time.  First and foremost we're going to post a new episode of Junk Fud On the Road.  It should have been online two week's ago, but talking about food when you have food poisoning is no fun at all.  Because of the food poisoning incident, we won't have a new episode of Junk Fud History this month.  This week however we're going to post a special article, possibly the first in a sporadic series where we compare marshmallows to Circus Peanuts.  For this article we're comparing the two soft treats in how well they work in Rice Krispie Treats.  Check back later this week to see how the Circus Peanuts compared.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at Tim Horton's.  Every day this week we'll post a new fun fact about my favorite doughnut shop.  You can follow Snack Facts on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
This week's review was a gift from some friends of mine who just returned from a trip to Australia.  They picked me up a few treats, but these "Pods" intrigued me.  In the end they turned out to be the most disappointing treat I've ever loved.  Click here to find out why.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Candy in the Media

If you've got yourself some molten copper and a giant jawbreaker, then why wouldn't you forge pennies and eat the jawbreaker?


Monday, May 16, 2016

This Week In Candy

What a week it was last week... I've talked about getting food poisoning on this site before, I've talked about it on the podcast (Junk Fud) a few times, last week was not good.  People often tell me that I'm the luckiest guy in the world (and I don't argue), but people also tell me that being a food and travel writer must be all fun (it's a lot of fun), but there are some pretty heavy drawbacks.  The biggest drawback of being a food and travel writer is getting sick because you travel (or eat crazy foods). Last week Allison and I stopped in a third world country's truck stop and ordered what we thought would be the safest menu item.  We were very wrong. Yesterday was the first time we'd stepped out of the house in 6 days, before that we barely ever left our beds.  We're not perfect yet, but we're starting to get things back on track.

So what needs to get back on track?  Well first of all I haven't mentioned on this blog that we've posted the latest episode of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!  Rather than post it later this week, you'll see that it's embedded above.  Along with my food poisoning, I seem to have caught a bit of a cough.  Someone a while back sent me an interesting cure for a cough from days of yore.  So this week we'll be taping another episode of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! where I'll try this "cure".

Fortunately we had prearranged all of our posts for last week in advance, so nothing was missed.  We didn't unfortunately get to record a new episode of Junk Fud, our podcast.  We're going to try and make up for lost time, but that means that this month the podcasts may come out a little sporadically.  We're also going to continue to work on a few future blog articles this week. We're also finishing up our plans for our next adventure, which is a trip through India... Gotta be honest, after the food poisoning, I'm a little afraid (surprise me India, please).

This week on Snack Facts, or Instagram feed, we're looking at the Toblerone bar.  Probably one of the most unique bars, shape wise, and also known to be very high quality.  Make sure to check back every day this week to learn something new about this triangular bar.  You can follow Snack Facts on Twitter, Facebook, and of course Instagram.

I was sick last week, so I have to admit that this latest review was one I had lined up from a while back.  When I picked the review for this week, I thought, "what would make me feel better?" The first thing that came to mind was chocolate. So this week's review is a treat with a really unique, chocolate experience. You can read all about it here.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Candy Critic Dessert Club – The Simplest Recipe Ever - Banana Ice Cream

This is probably the simplest dessert you'll ever make, it's not necessarily a fast dessert, particularly because you have to wait for it to chill, but the ingredients can be very simple.  The part where this recipe can get complicated is totally in your control.  The base ingredient, banana, is all you "need", anything after that is up to you, and can be as complicated as you want.  The other great thing about this recipe is for those out there with lactose intolerance, it's ice cream with no cream.

The Ingredients:

2 or 3 heaping tablespoon fulls of Nutella, or 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter, or a generous amount of coaco powder, or half a cup of walnuts... pretty much anything you can think of that would work to flavour ice cream.
5 Bananas

You'll also need a blender.

That's it.
The first part of this recipe is probably the most complicated part.  There are two things that might make this harder than it needs to be.  The first is your bananas, the riper your bananas the better.  If you find yourself with a bunch of bananas that seem to be going bad, but you don't have time to make this recipe, I recommend peeling them, and putting them in the freezer.  Then when you're ready to make your banana ice cream, thaw them out and put them in your blender.  If you're making this with "fresh" ripe bananas simply put them in the blender.  The consistency of your bananas is key for the first part of this recipe.  If your bananas are not ripe enough you'll run into some problems with your blender.  If your bananas aren't that ripe, but you still want to make this ice cream, chop up your bananas and ad them to your blender.  It may take a little while longer to blend them, and you may have to push them down a few times before everything starts to come together.
The second "difficult" part of this recipe is all about what you put in it.  If you love bananas, stop after you've blended the bananas and you're good.  If you want to ad more to the recipe there are several options.  My favorites are peanut butter and Nutella.  Both of these ingredients ad a lot of flavour to the ice cream and blend really well.  If you're worried about sugar, you can simply ad cocoa powder, and that works fairly well.  I've never tried this, but vanilla, berries, or anything soft would probably work as well.  Once you've got the soft ingredients blended to a soupy consistency, you can ad anything for texture, if you'd like.  Crushed walnuts or hazelnuts work, marshmallows might be fun too.  Blend your hard ingredients, but only for a few pulses of your blender.  You could also just mix them around with a spoon or spatula if you'd like as well.
Once your ingredients are all mixed together, take the wonderful banana soup and put it in a freezer friendly container with a lid.  Put the container in your freezer, and in a few hours, depending on how cold your freezer is, you'll have ice cream.  If your freezer is really cold, it may come out very hard (since there's no air injected into it).  If that's the case, simply microwave your ice cream for about 15 to 20 seconds to soften it up.  No matter what you'll taste banana in this ice cream, but with some nice additional ingredients it can be so much more.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Monday, May 09, 2016

This Week In Candy

Every so often Allison has to go on a business trip.  Sometimes I accompany Allison on these trips.  Sometimes I end up checking out all of the local attractions and sites, but sometimes... Sometimes I lock myself in the hotel room and work on my writing.  I might work on my latest book, I may write a few blogs, I might even work on a few articles about travel. I generally just try and catch up on all the writing that I've procrastinated about over the last few months (or maybe years).  So here I am, in a hotel room writing.  The idea of locking yourself in a hotel to "write" is a very romantic notion, it sometimes doesn't really end up being that romantic, but I almost always get some work done.

So what does that mean for anybody reading this blog?  Well it means that there will be some content in the future. I'm going to polish up a few articles that I'm posting later this summer.  In particular I'm going to write a series on treats that I have a huge number of varieties (like Kit Kat), and I'm also going to write a glossary of terms in the candy world.  Both of these should be going online later this summer.  I'm also going to write a few episodes of Junk Fud History, our podcast all about the history of certain junk foods.  Finally I'm polishing up a few recipes that I'll post with the monthly installment of the Dessert Club (posted right here on this very blog).

This week things should be fairly normal, except for the fact that I'll be posting about my hotel lock down on our social media sites.  So far it's pretty much just me sitting at a laptop, but I'm sure craziness will ensue, after all, housekeeping could come by at any moment...  Also, later this week we'll be posting a new episode of our hi-larious YouTube show Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! This week Chris (that's me) tries to eat a basket of random brown lumps.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're staring into the rainbow.  We're looking at food colouring (or as you Americans would spell "food coloring"). Every day this week we'll post an interesting fact about the things that change the colour of our foods.  You can follow snack facts on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Even though we're away, we still have a new review for you.  This week we're looking at a variety of Aero bar, the strawberry Aero.  I'm never really sure if candy companies are trying to "improve" their bars, or just put out a second rate copy.  Find out where I stand when it comes to this particular treat by clicking here.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A Take Care Of Your Lips Candy Thing - Part 1 - Pepsi

The problem with using Pepsi flavoured lip balm is that it would make you crave a drink all day long.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Candy In The Media

Good morning Candy Critic followers!  This week on Candy Critic it's all going to be about you.  This week we're dedicating ourselves to articles for this blog, and for the podcasts as well.  We're collecting all of our ideas that we've been dreaming up and finishing them, or at the very least getting them started.  I'm taking a week off of writing my latest book in order to focus on what's important, this blog.  We're going to work on a few articles that will be posted later this summer, a few articles that will be posted fairly soon, and enough podcasts/videos to make sure we get well ahead of the game.  All this week you're going to see posts on Facebook and Twitter with quick previews of what we're working on.

On the blog this week, we've got lots going on as well.  This Wednesday we're posting the first of this months Candy Things dedicated to lip balm.  It's amazing how the candy and lip balm world have crossed over with crazy sweet inspired flavours.  We're also going to post the latest episode of the Junk Fud Podcast, Junk Fud News.  We're going to look back at the month of April and all of the amazing junk food news that came out.  This week we're also finishing up our epic review-a-thon-a-thon with a bang, but we'll have more about that below.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at Rice Krispie Treats.  Every day this week we're going to post a fun fact about these crunchy, sticky squares. It's inspired from one of the articles we're working on right now.  You can follow Snack facts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

This is the last week of our epic review-a-thon-a-thon, and we're ending big.  Instead of just one review every day this week, we're going to post two.  It's going to be a mix of treats from all over the world. By the end of this week we'll have ten new reviews online, and likely sore teeth.  You can read the latest review right here, and you can check out the rest of the reviews by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, or Pinterest.