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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 17:17

Sweet signs of spring

BANGOR After months of cold, snow, ice and darkness we're finally seeing signs of spring. And they can be dubious since they often come with mud, slush, sudden storms. But there are signs of spring that represent nothing but joy and I'd hazard to say Easter candy is one of them. 

Eliza Butler, president of Specialty Sweets, on 849 Stillwater Ave., in Bangor, enjoys this time of year because for her, spring comes early.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 15:17

History of the jelly bean

A co-worker of mine keeps a bowl of jelly beans in her cubicle. I love and hate her for this. I can't resist those little yummy sugar treats and find myself purposely routing myself by her cubicle to grab a few more. As I scooped up another handful en route to a meeting, I got to wondering about the history of the jelly bean and how many would find their way into Easter Baskets this year.

These yummy little treats were created in the 1800s, and are believed to have been inspired by Turkish delight candies, which were candy balls originally made with grape molasses and honey.

The shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France to make Jordan almonds. The panning process, while done primarily by machine today, has remained essentially the same for the last 300 years. The French began by rocking almonds in a bowl filled with sugar and syrup until the almonds were coated with a candy shell. Today, large rotating pans do the heavy work, while master confectioners apply their true art in adding the ingredients to create just the right shell.

Today's jelly beans' basic ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and starch (Buddy the Elf's major food groups). Small amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents and edible wax such as beeswax, salt and confectioner's glaze are also included. The ingredients that give each bean it's flavor are also relatively small in proportion and vary depending on the flavor.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 16:55

A candy-less Easter basket

There's little doubt that kids love holidays. From Halloween treats to the goodies on both sides of the Christmas season, kids and adults alike consume a lot of sugar from the various sweets that accompany such times of the year.

While Halloween reins supreme in candy consumption, Easter is the second most important candy-eating occasion of the year for Americans, who consumed 7 billion pounds of candy in 2011, according to the National Confectioner's Association. In fact, we spent nearly $1.9 billion on Easter candy last year, while Halloween sales were nearly $2 billion. Christmas weighed in with an estimated $1.4 billion, while Valentine's Day was just over $1 billion.

Here are some other neat Easter tidbits:

Published in The Frugal Edge

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