Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memories in the Grocery Store Aisles

Does anyone remember the Brach's bulk bin in the grocery store? Bins of candy bought buy the pound; as a child the temptation to sneak just one was great. The hope mom would give change to put in the locked metal box allowing you to pick was palpable. Sour balls, bull's eyes, Sunkist jellies, root beer barrels, caramels and Neapolitan.

In the summer, my grandmother would host four grandchildren and there was always copious amounts of ice cream. Not just any ice cream - Neapolitan ice cream. Not usually a favorite of mine but she scooped your bowl to order. Lots of chocolate, some strawberry and a little vanilla. At the end, the cardboard half gallon container had deep wells surrounded by the remaining flavor. Just a really cool thing Grandma's can do that a mother never would. It made the ice cream so much more delicious.

It never occurred to me to make Neapolitan candy but when I happened across a recipe I had to try it. So many of my memories are tied to food (or is it the reverse?) and this candy of acquired taste is a fine example.

Especially fabulous if you are a coconut freak, this candy covers all bases with vanilla, chocolate and No mind because its striped results are a tasty blast from the past. With all its assumed kitch, the recipe includes vanilla bean seeds. Classy.

Melt white chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla beans seeds. Be sure to save those pods for the extract bottle or sugar bowl. Once it's melted smoothly, fold in the shredded coconut.

This white love is divided into three parts. One third becomes a lovely shade of pink. The last is flavored with best-quality unsweetened cocoa,

I used an 8x8 pan lined with the wonder-stuff called quick release foil. Chocolate. Vanilla.

Then pink.

After a setting period, it's ready to cut into rectangles and be coveted by old Gen X-ers. My homemade had softer, smoother and more consistent texture. And, just as I recalled from childhood didn't really taste too chocolatey or vanilla-y or pink.

Bummer. In my excitement and Christmas nirvana - I never took pictures of these little goodies cut up and stripey.

But the next time you're at the grocery store, hit up the bulk bins. Don't forget your 33 cents to put in the locked box. They'll look and taste same but with presumably with more filler-crap.

You could make your own by consulting Martha recipe.

Either way, it's worth a walk down memory lane.

No comments: