Category Archives: Sweet Stuff

What are Tonka Beans?

Tonka Beans

Tonka beans are an unusual spice that you don’t see in everyday cooking, but have a very unique flavor that has won them a lot of fans. The beans are actually seeds from a type of flowering tree found in South America. They are roughly an inch high, are very firm and have a somewhat wrinkly appearance. Tonka beans taste similar to vanilla beans, but ... Read More »

Judging the 2012 Ghirardelli Chocolate Championships

Contest Winners

The LA County Fair has been going on for the past few weeks here in Southern California. It is the largest county fair in the US, with nearly 1.5 million visiting the fairgrounds during its one month run. You’ll find all kinds of games, rides and attractions, as well as 22 different cooking contests where home chefs and bakers can put their skills up to ... Read More »

What are chocolate wafer cookies?

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Chocolate wafer cookies are very thin, crispy chocolate cookies that are commonly called for when making chocolate crumb crusts and icebox cakes. They have a bittersweet cocoa flavor to them and a very dark , nearly black, color. They’re an unusual cookie these days, although they have been around since the 1930s, because these are their two primary uses and you rarely see them in ... Read More »

5 Lunchbox-Friendly Back-to-School Bar Cookies

You can pack just about anything in a lunchbox today, especially since there are so many insulated lunchboxes with kid-friendly designs that will keep things cold on a hot day. When it comes to school lunches, however, I can’t help but think of bar cookies as being the perfect, packable snack. They’re usually sturdy enough to stand up to being stuffed into a lucnh bag ... Read More »

Omnivore Food Festival 2012 – Montreal

Gita Seaton

While I had a wonderful time doing tourist things in Montreal, the real draw for a foodie was the Omnivore Food Festival World Tour that was taking place. The Omnivore Food Festival is a fantastic festival that began in France in 2003, and has since expanded their schedule to visit a dozen cities world wide this year. This is food festival that isn’t going to ... Read More »

Strawberry Almond Shortcakes with Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream

Strawberry Almond Shortcake

When you have a basket of ripe strawberries, strawberry shortcake is one of the tastiest things that you can make with them. I find myself making strawberry shortcake all summer long, and I am always looking for a little twist to put on it, adding a new flavor or a new texture. One of my current favorite variations is for Strawberry Almond Shortcakes with Vanilla ... Read More »

5 Great Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich Ideas

chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwiches

August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, and while it is great to have a day dedicated to this frozen treat, any warm summer day is a good time to celebrate by eating an ice cream sandwich. There are tons of ice cream sandwiches to choose from when you head down the freezer aisle of the grocery store, but it is a lot more ... Read More »

What is shaved ice?

Shaved ice is not the same as the icy, frozen-solid “snow cones” that you bought from the ice cream truck as a kid. Shaved ice is made by shaving or grating solid blocks of ice into a fluffy, snow-like consistency. The freshly shaved ice is packed down into place – again, like fresh snow – and drizzled with sweet syrups for flavor. The difference between ... Read More »

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