Thursday, December 31, 2015

And a Santa in a Christmas Tree

I think it’s important to keep the Chris (Kringle) in Christmas so this year I set a goal for myself of eating a dozen candy Clauses or, as I called them, the "12 Santa’s of Christmas". Here’s how I did.

Santa One
Twix Santa

The first Santa of the year was delicious. You just can't go wrong with a Twix.

Santa Two
Hershey Santa

This Santa apparently had a severe chimney-traversing accident. Or maybe he just got run over by a reindeer walking home from our house Christmas eve. Either way, didn't hurt the taste any. It's a small Hershey bar in festive Santa form!

Santa Three
Russell Stover Marshmallow Santa

This guy looked almost nothing like Santa Claus. He's mostly just a bumpy lump but chocolate covered marshmallow tastes great so I'm not complaining.

Santa Four
Crisp Kringle

I’ve been getting these delicious crisp rice in chocolate bars in my Christmas stocking since I was a little kid. Proof positive that the big man himself approves of my eating his graven image.

Santa Five
Russell Stover Caramel Santa

I think I’m just going to call this one, “Reindeer Dropping Santa”. Tasted far better than he looked, though. Actually, that's damning him with faint praise. Almost anything would taste better than this looks. Ol' Caramel Claus was pretty good.

Santa Five
Another Crisp Kringle

I really thought I’d find more Santa shaped candy than this. I haven’t even hit the halfway mark in my 12 Santa’s of Christmas and I’m already repeating. I’d feel bad about it but I do love me some Crisp Kringle.

Santa Six
The Reese's Peanut Butter Snowman

I know it's not a Santa but it's the best single Christmas candy on the market. Reese's should make a Santa. It's not my fault they haven't gotten their act together yet, is it? Get on it, Reese's! Stop making me look bad!

Santa Seven
Yet Another Crisp Kringle

Maybe committing to eating a dozen Santas before I actually had in my possession a dozen Santas was a bad idea. Still, I love these things.

Santa Eight
Russell Stover Chocolate Santa

Okay. This is more like it. What The 12 Santa’s of Christmas was meant to be. Pure chocolate goodness. Pure candy sculpted Santa. Things are going to be fine. I’m going to make it.

Santa Nine
Marshmallow Snowman

I’m not going to make it. I'm only at number nine and this one isn’t even a Santa. In my defense, though, I usually get this brand of little marshmallow Santa’s every year but the one time I set out to eat The 12 Santa’s of Christmas they only have snowmen. This one is not my fault.

Santa Ten
Pez Santa

Here you go! Hitting double digits strong with a Pez dispenser shaped like St. Nicholas himself! Feeling good about this one. And the lemon flavored Pez only tasted kind of like furniture polish, so…

Santa Eleven
Homemade Santa
Speaking of lemons, you know how they say that when life hands them to you, you make lemonade? Well when life hands you no candy Santas you make one. Here’s mine. 

It’s a Reese’s Peanut Butter Snow man face with a Christmas Tree Cake beard and hat (which has a Candy Corn M&M ball on top.) It looks like a train wreck, I admit, but it might just be the best tasting Santa on the list. Score one for arts & crafts!

Santa Twelve
The Super Dooper Reindeer Pooper!

It’s a plastic reindeer that poops brown jelly beans! Okay, so maybe it’s not a Santa but flying reindeer are Santa’s pals/pets/employees and when you see this thing in action you’ll forgive me. Seriously. Watch the short video below--

What did I tell you? It’s awesome! And the jelly beans only taste figuratively like crap so that’s a bonus.

Okay, I didn't quite hit my goal of eating a dozen Santas but I gave it a shot and had fun trying. And if I learned anything from my attempt it's this: If you don't believe in Santa then, friend, you're just not looking in the Christmas candy isle. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Reese's Snowmen, Dude!

We’re right smack-dab in the middle of Reese’s Season, marked by the annual arrival of The Reese’s Snowman. Gaze upon it in all its majesty and feel the wonder of its ginormous peanut butter/chocolate goodness.

Okay, so the Reese’s Snowman’s goggles and snowboard do make him look a lot like a candy version of Poochie the Rapping Dog from The Simpsons but who cares? He’s so good he’ll be in your belly before you have time to dwell on how kind of lame he looks.

The pumpkins, trees, small hearts and Easter eggs are amazing – don’t get me wrong - but the snowmen, big ol’ Valentine’s hearts and the Reester Bunnies are the reason for the season. Biting through the thick layer of chocolate into the even thicker peanut butter is a near-religious experience. 

That these big boys only come around once a year makes them even more precious. And the fact that I saw Valentine’s candy in stores two days before Christmas means that even if you missed the Reese's Snowman, you’ve got plenty of chances to score a giant Reese’s Heart before February 14th. And, with the way stores keep rushing the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Reester Bunny on shelves before New Year’s Day. Happy hunting! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Peppermint Ice Cream!

If you ask me, peppermint flavor is for toothpaste. Except once a year, that is. When the holiday season rolls around I’m always ready and rarin’ for a wintery blast of cool candy cane goodness and there’s no better way to get it than in ice cream form.

I don’t have children so I don’t really know for sure but I suspect that, what with the internet and all, the competition to hunt down and capture one of the hot toys of the year for your kid to unwrap on the big day isn’t quite as fierce as it used to be. Well, since I discovered peppermint ice cream a decade or so ago I’ve learned the pain of the 80s and 90s parents who battled (figuratively often and literally sometimes) for the Cabbage Patch Kids and the Tickle Me Elmos. I look for peppermint ice cream in stores every year but, more often than not, I leave empty handed. Sometimes I don’t find it all season long. Peppermint ice cream sells out fast.

That’s why this year was so special. I got it three times!

The first was early in the season. Dreyer’s Limited Edition Peppermint Wonderland. It’s the perfect representation of the basic flavor. Nothing but smooth, cold and delicious peppermint ice cream with crunchy peppermint pieces mixed in.

Sadly, the picture you’re looking at is the only bowl I had. The rest of the container perished in the Great Refrigerator Motor Burn Out Tragedy of 2015. We lost a lot of good men that day…

I thought it was all over for the year but I was wrong. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got another shot at peppermint glory.

Haagen-Dazs Limited Edition Peppermint Bark fancies it up a little. Much to my relief there was no actual bark in my ice cream but there were some chocolate chunks. Chocolate and peppermint can be a nice flavor mix so I’m not complaining. And my refrigerator held out this time so I got to eat the whole damned thing. Bonus!

And, finally, I thought Peppermint Ice Cream Season was over but as I was flying home from seeing my family for Christmas I got a treat. The flight attendants served a tiny cup of peppermint bark gelato. It was a Christmas miracle! Or possibly a post-Christmas cupboard cleaning on the part of Delta Airlines. Either way, I was too busy enjoying it to even think to take a photo for the blog. When you factor in the cost of the plane ticket it was the most expensive four bites of ice cream ever but given the rarity (and the fact that I won’t get any again for a year or more) I think it was totally worth it.

If you’ve never tried peppermint cream I highly recommend it. Unless you live in the Los Angeles area. Then I don’t recommend it at all. In fact, it’s terrible. Tastes like crap. And it also causes hair loss, impotency, and the gout. And if you eat it, the terrorists win.

(Cut me some slack, man. I have enough competition for this stuff.)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Kisses

I've already discussed in these pages how the best way to eat a cherry cordial candy is in one bite so you get the cherry center pop. Well, if you don't have a giant mouth like me, eating them this way can be difficult. Don't worry, though. Old Man Hershey has come to your rescue by concocting an alternative the the big ol' traditional chocolate covered cherry lump. Behold the wonder that is the Cherry Cordial Hershey's Kiss!

It's a regulation Hershey's kiss hollowed out and filled with cherry cordial creme.

You don't get the whole cherry of the traditional cherry cordial but when you scale down the bite size you can't hang onto everything. If you like the chocolate/cherry candy flavor combo (and if you don't you need to put down the internet and head directly to your family physician to get your taste buds checked) then you'll love these things. Eat 'em one at a time. Or by the handful if you have a giant mouth like me.

Now Bring Us Some Cherry Cordials And Bring Some Out Here!

If old poems and carols are to be believed, Christmas is supposed to taste like sugar plums, figgy pudding and wassail (the last apparently obtained via an act called “wassailing” which - at least in the song - sounds vaguely like extortion). Well, I’ve never had any of those foods. To me Christmas tastes like chocolate covered cherries and chocolate covered peanuts.

Better known as “cordial cherries” the chocolate covered cherry is a delicious chocolate lump candy with a whole, real, pitted cherry swimming in a sugar and cherry juice liquid center. Your best approach is to eat them in a single bite and enjoy the cherry explosion. The chocolate-cherry combo is one of the best flavor mixes in the world.

Chocolate covered peanuts are just what the name implies. Sometimes sold in clusters, the kind that say “Christmas” to me are individual and double dipped giving you a high chocolate-to-peanut ratio.

My grandpa and then my dad loved the cherry cordials and my mom always had the chocolate covered peanuts on Christmas so I did too and do to this day. I literally don’t remember a Christmas without them. Other candies have come and gone but those two have become a Sullivan family tradition.

There are years in which I don’t hear anyone singing about Good King Wenceslas or Frosty the Snowman. There are years in which I don’t see Charlie Brown decorate a scrawny little tree or Rudolph exclaim that, “She thinks I’m cude!” There are even years in which I don’t get to come home and see my family for the holiday. But when I eat a handful of chocolate covered peanuts or bite down on a chocolate covered cherry the Christmas spirit comes rushing right in. Sometimes candy isn’t candy. Sometimes it’s pure Christmas magic.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!