Showing posts with label Hershey's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hershey's. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What are the Top 10 Halloween Candies in the USA? Find out in Cleo Coyle's Trick or Treat Poll and tell us YOUR favorites...

Take my Candy Poll (below), and tell me about
your own favorite candies in the comments...

Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
and Haunted Bookshop
Gourmet chocolate is a wonderful thing. But Halloween is not a holiday for "boutique bittersweet" and "single-origin" cocoa beans. Halloween belongs to Hershey's—as you will see when you take my Trick or Treat Poll at the end of this post. 

My poll is based on this year's sales figures for the Top Ten most popular candies in America. According to the National Confectioners Association, over 70% of the candy sold in the US this Halloween will be chocolate candy, so it's no surprise to see several Hershey brands on this year's Top Ten list. 

I must admit, I have a soft spot for Hershey's milk chocolate bar and the place where it was first made...

In Hershey, PA, even the street lights are shaped like Kisses!
(This photo was taken at the intersection of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues.)
Have you ever visited Hershey, PA, "the sweetest place on Earth"? It’s a beautiful little town in Eastern Pennsylvania. When I was a kid, that town even smelled like chocolate, and the man who built it was… 

No, not this guy!

This one... Milton S. Hershey.

* At the age of 15, Hershey (a Mennonite farmer's son who spoke "Pennsylvania Dutch" and had little more than a fourth grade education), began an apprenticeship with a candy maker.

* At 19, Hershey struck out on his own and started his own candy business in Philadelphia. But after six years, it failed.

* Undaunted, he relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he learned how to make caramels using fresh milk.

* Milton Hershey tried and failed again to launch a candy business. Finally, he went back to Pennsylvania, opened the “Lancaster Caramel Company” and became a great success. Before long it was employing 1,400 people and shipping all over the country.

* It wasn’t until Hershey reached the age of 36 that chocolate became his passion. In 1893, he traveled to Chicago for the World Expo where he stood mesmerized in front of machinery from Germany that made chocolate. He bought the machinery, shipped it back to Lancaster, and began coating his caramels with chocolate.

It’s here in the story that kids
across the country
owe Hershey a debt of gratitude.

* In the 19th Century, the process of making edible milk chocolate was a secret closely guarded by the Swiss. Drinking chocolate was more common than eating it; and the best-tasting chocolate (imported from Europe) was far from affordable for working families. But Hershey had a vision, and through trial and error, he came up with his own formula of milk, sugar and cocoa that allowed him to mass produce and distribute a melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate candy bar.

Thanks to Milton Hershey, chocolate was no longer a luxury for the rich. His five-cent "Hershey Bar" was an edible chocolate that anyone could afford.

The company insisted on maintaining that five cent price from 1900 through 1969. (Click here to see historic wrapper designs.)

Given the Hershey's candy long history and its creator's commitment to remaining affordable for families, I must say it's nice to see it still placing high on a 21st Century list of America’s Top 10 Halloween Candies. 

You can read more about this list (and the sales in units and dollars) by clicking here.

In the meantime, I invite you to...

Now I invite you to take my
"Trick or Treat Poll" below and
leave a comment on this blog post.
(I would love to know your poll answer!)

Congrats to the Winner of this
adorable Reese’s Latte Cup:

Wendy West!

then click here to jump to a place
where you should be able to take it.

Culinary Inspiration!

America's #1 candy 
is the culinary inspiration for my 
Halloween Recipe!

To get my recipe for...

Chocolate Peanut
Butter Cup Cake
click here.

Happy Halloween!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Billionaire Blend: 
A Coffeehouse Mystery

Countdown to Release:
December 3rd

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You CAN Beet Chocolate Cake (just don't underestimate Flour Power!)

Chocolate Cake - You just can't BEET it.
Or can you?

A recent issue of MORE Magazine featured a gorgeous chocolate cake - made with beets! Can you believe it? A healthier alternative to regular, decadent, moist, chocolate cake. Something that I could love that might be good for me? I was in!

There was no recipe provided (what??) so I was forced to seek one out on my own. That cake looked far too luscious and I was in the middle of a massive chocolate craving, so I dug everywhere, hoping someone would have a recipe for a chocolate cake made with beets.

What surprised me was discovering how many recipes there are out there. Seriously. I thought I would have trouble finding a recipe. Nope. There are dozens. Maybe hundreds of variations.

I culled the choices down to four that sounded particularly good and that got rave reviews on their various cooking sites. From these four, I pulled together my own recipe, figuring that a cake is kind of a standard size, so mixing and matching ingredients shouldn't be a problem.

Mostly, it wasn't. But I did make one tactical error.

More on that in a moment.

Here's the question you're all eager to ask right now... How did it taste?
In a word: Good.

I liked it. Everyone who tried it, liked it (or they lied very convincingly)
The cake was nicely moist and not too dense. The chocolate flavor was strong, but not overly sweet. I think the beets beat back the sweetness a bit - which in my book is a good thing. I'll take chocolate over sweet any day.

I didn't intend to frost it - I planned to dust it with powdered sugar, but I ran into a little problem and was forced to come up with a frosting. For that I followed the instructions on the back of my Hershey's cocoa container. Wonderful, very chocolatey, gooey frosting. For my purposes (which will become apparent in a moment) I needed it to be more liquidy - like a glaze - so I simply increased the amount of milk.

Ready for the recipe?


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I used light brown, would have preferred dark, but I was out)
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can beets, drained - but reserve the liquid (I got about 1/3 cup)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a cake pan.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg.

Puree beets in a food processor or blender.
Melt chocolate in microwave or over stove. Let cool.
In a mixing bowl - cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. Add pureed beets. Add cooled, melted chocolate.

When these are all nicely combined, add the dry mixture a tablespoonful at a time. Mix well. Once it's all put together, look at it. Does it seem a little too dry/sticky for a cake? Mine did. If so, add the reserved beet liquid and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Use the toothpick method to test for doneness. This cake doesn't spring back as bounciliy as some.

Allow to cool, remove from pan, dust with powdered sugar and serve.


Well.... unless you run into problems. Like I did.

I used a Bundt pan and halfway through the cake's baking time I realized that even though I'd greased it well, I'd forgotten to flour it. Oops!! When the cake came out and cooled a bit, I tried turning it over onto a plate. That baby didn't budge. Nope. It wanted to stay.

Yikes! I planned to take it to a Sertoma fundraising event - Trivia Night - that evening. It was supposed to be part of my contribution to the team table of snacks. What to do?

I let it cool a little longer (should have waited much longer, but I was impatient) and finally kinda shook it until it dropped.

Great! Except that really pretty Bundt shape - the very top of the cake - stayed inside the pan. The good part was that it allowed me to steal a piece and taste it ahead of time. If it was terrible, I might have run out and purchased something else to supplement my snack contribution. But it tasted pretty good, so I moved forward. I gently pulled the cake top out of the pan and put it back together like a puzzle. It still looked funny, so -- frosting time. As I mentioned earlier, I just whipped together a quick glaze, drizzled it on top (liberally!) and it didn't look too shabby if I do say so myself!

Just do yourself a favor and don't forget the power of flour! What a difference a greased *and* floured pan would have made!

Here we are at Trivia Night, enjoying the cake (among lots of other delicious appetizers and treats). Do these folks look like they're enjoying the cake? Hope so!

By the way, our team came in third overall! Woo-hoo!

Have fun today! Read a book and play in the kitchen!


PS - Take a look! I've changed the book cover opposite my name -->
Buffalo West Wing comes out in January and I'm already getting excited. Berkley does such a magnificent job with covers. I love this new one!

* * *

And don't forget Krista's Christmas Cookie Contest!

Krista's Christmas
Cookie Contest!

Krista Davis is celebrating the upcoming release
of her new holiday mystery, The Diva Cooks a Goose.

She's holding a delicious contest! Send Krista your favorite cookie recipe
at Krista at KristaDavis dot com and you might win!

Find out more
clicking here