Candy Bar-Inspired Bark

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About a year ago, I discovered Crispy Cat, a candy bar sold in the organic/health sections of many grocery stores. The front label states that it is vegan, gluten free, and all natural. Not only that, it is dark chocolate – the healthy chocolate. I bet your doctor would tell you that it is in your best interest to eat his candy, right?

I check out the bar in a green-colored wrapper; the flavor is Mint Coconut. The ingredients list organic brown rice crisp as one of the ingredients – the crispy part of the bar. Hmm, interesting. I’ve had chocolate with mint, chocolate with coconut, and chocolate with crisp rice. But all three together? Think of it as a York Peppermint Patty, Mounds Bar, and Nestle Crunch all in one. Curious, I bought one of these bars to see how it tastes. I tried it almost immediately as I got home.  Mmmm; that is one scrumptious candy bar!  I do not remember, but most likely, I ate the entire bar quickly, as it was that good.  I’ve bought this candy bar several times now when at the grocery store. Then, one day, it was not in stock.   The following week, same thing.  No Crispy Cat bars to be found.  After three or four weeks of wanting a Crispy Cat and not finding one, I went online and purchased a box of them.

Jump ahead to when the box of Crispy Cats are all gone.  The next time at the grocery store, I pick up a Mint Coconut Crispy Cat, which as usual sits next to the Toasted Almond Crispy Cat. Hmm, another thought – wouldn’t the tastes of the Mint Coconut and the Toasted Almond together be good?  It was then, that I decided to make my own chocolate treat.

I melted dark chocolate chips and chocolate mint chips together; the proportions were about 3:1 of chocolate to mint.  Then I stirred in some flaked coconut, sliced almonds, and crisped rice cereal.  (I did not measure anything;  I simply eyeballed it.) After spreading the mixture on a wax-lined baking sheet, I placed the baking sheet in the fridge.  In less than an hour’s time, I had my own Crispy Cat-like candy to enjoy.

The other day, I decided to make this chocolate bark again.  It was either the third or fourth time I have made this concoction. I did it differently this time, though.  Instead of mixing all the ingredients together, I stirred the crisped rice into the melted chocolate and spread it out on the baking sheet.  Then, I added the mint chips, almonds, and coconut, in different sections and in different combinations.

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Thinking of the pan of chocolate bark as a 3×3 grid, I placed different combinations of the three toppings on the chocolate mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gives your guests (or customers?) a choice in what they would like to taste.  Myself, I’ll go for a piece of the bark which has all three toppings.

Care to try a sample?

Care to try a sample?

 

 

 

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Gummy Bear Layer Cake

Gummy Bear Layer Cake

 

Clever idea, very colorful, great for a kid’s party.  As gummi bears are rather chewy, though, I wouldn’t think that they are the best for decorating the cake.  In fact, the creator of this cake stated on her blog, “The gummy bears are a lot chewier than I remembered. So as awesome as it looks as a cake decoration, it makes it a little impractical when you are trying to have a bite of everything at once.” Then she added that she did not regret this choice, from people’s reactions to the cake.

I might think that M&M’s or Skittles would be a better candy choice for the decorating of the cake, although not having quite the same “Wow” effect as the gummy bears.  However, it is a beautiful-looking cake, making me want to try it.  You can find the recipe on the blog Raspberri Cupcakes:

http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2013/04/gummy-bear-layer-cake.html

 

 

Gummy Bear Layer Cake

 

 

 

Jelly Beans

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As much as I like chocolate, come Eastertime, I do not get into all the chocolate bunnies, eggs, and chicks. Instead my sweet tooth is satisfied from jelly beans.  Looking just like colorful, miniature Easter eggs, jelly beans are the perfect candy for this time of year.  Brach’s, Jelly Belly, and Gimbal’s are three brands you can find year-round. Brach’s has classic flavors as well as sour, speckled, spice, Hawaiian Punch, and Smuckers varieties, as well as Blackbird eggs, which is a bag of all licorice jelly beans. Jelly Belly produces scores of fancy flavors, including soda and ice cream flavors, kiwi, popcorn, and beer flavored jelly beans.  Gimbal’s makes classic and sour flavored jelly beans; any Gimbal’s varieties with “Lovers” in the name (Cherry Lovers, Honey Lovers) are actually heart shaped jelly-beans.

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Jelly beans also celebrate popular children’s characters.

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During certain holidays, jelly beans of different colors and flavors are available.

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While several holidays result in many varieties of candy for sale, Easter is hands-down the holiday with the most variety of jelly beans. Unlike the select colors for other holidays, Easter jelly beans are often a jelly bean version of a common candy.  Check out the seasonal candy in stores right now.  There are Warheads jelly beans, Lifesaver jelly beans, and SweeTarts jelly beans.  Not to mention Mike and Ike, Swedish Fish, Runts, Nerds, Starburst and Jolly Rancher jelly beans.

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My favorite of them all are the Mike and Ike original jelly beans.  Mike and Ike are already similar to jelly beans, just longer and a little less round.  The Mike and Ike beans contain the same flavors as the original Mike and Ike candy plus white/pineapple and purple/grape.  Mike and Ike candies are made by Just Born.  At this time of year, you may also find Just Born jelly beans.  These are the same flavors as Mike and Ike jelly beans, with the addition of black/licorice.

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What’s your favorite brand of jelly bean?

Please keep reading to learn about chocolate-covered jelly beans………

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A Belly Full of Jelly (Beans, that is)

                      

I know that many of you know that April 22 is Earth Day. But, did you know, that it is also National Jelly Bean Day?  On that date, don’t forget to check out Foodimentary’s blog, as he always has cool food-related facts and trivia. For my next post, I will review a few brands of jelly beans, but for this post, I will share a few recipes which include jelly beans. While jelly beans do not do well in the oven,  they can be an ingredient for final decorating stage. If you can manage to not eat all the jelly beans as soon as the bag is opened (I’m still working on that, myself), save some for these recipes:

Here is an Easter cake, courtesy of Taste of Home.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/colorful-easter-cake

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An easy idea for a small treat/table decoration:

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/coconut-egg-nests

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For white chocolate-jelly bean bark:

http://buttercream-bakehouse.com/2012/04/jelly-bean-easter-bark.html