I love wandering the aisles of grocery stores in other countries. I may be overstating this assertion, but I think grocery stores are a pretty accurate proxy of a country’s cultural, political and even geographical positions. The snack food aisle (often aisles) is one of my favorite. I love perusing the exotic packaging and, when I can cipher the language, the strange and wonderful flavor combinations. I’ll admit, part of the allure is the “ewww gross” factor. Smoked shrimp Doritos? Limberger Cheetos? Disgusting…and yet…completely fascinating.
While I generally draw the line at observation on the salty snacks, international candy is a favorite of mine to bring back as gifts (especially since many of the interesting varieties can be purchased through duty-free shops, helping with the customs issue). I probably brought back $50 worth of candy from Hong Kong a couple of years ago. I have no idea what it was…but the packaging was gorgeous.
Before heading to Australia, a friend of ours gave TD the inside line on her favorite Aussie candy bar: Cabury’s cherry ripe. Intrepid chocolate triers that we are, we managed to procure a cherry ripe within hours of landing in Melbourne. Dark chocolate+coconut+glace cherry bits makes an excellent combination.
Photo credit: http://www.cadbury.co.nz/products/bars/cherry-ripe.aspx?p=3550
Once the cherry ripe seal was broken, there was no going back. In order to preserve our own innocence, I purposefully did not count the number of cherry ripe bars purchased while “in-country.”
I did realize early on however, that the coconutty-cherry middle had a very similar consistency to the needhams I made last fall.
And so, upon return to the U.S., I got down to business recreating the cherry ripe bar into bonbons. The middle of a cherry ripe bar is darker than my little bonbons…more of a crimson than a candy apple. But, candy apple was the only red food gel I had in my stash at the time. I ordered the glace cherries from Amazon. I’m fairly certain the only thing anyone uses those things for are fruit cakes…and the middle of summer is decidedly NOT fruitcake season (insert joke here).
I used a 1/2 ounce scoop to form the chilled guts into little balls. Then I froze the balls and, pulling them out of the freezer in batches of 12 or so, dipped them in dark chocolate.
TD claims these taste very similar to the original.
Provided their lurid color, I think they’d make a good halloween treat.
INXS (the original, not the one they tried to make over a few years ago). These guys were a major part of the musical landscape that was high school for me. Need you Tonight, Suicide Blonde and New Sensation all bring to mind images of swim meets and beach days at La Jolla Shores. What I didn’t find out until later was that the band’s original name was The Farriss Brothers: Andrew, Jon and Tim. While the spelling is different, two of the three are what my father and grandfather are called.
Cherry Ripe Bonbons
- 1/2 cup mashed potatoes (not seasoned) (you could easily get this amount from a single large russet potato)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 7 ounces flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- 7 ounces glace cherries, finely chopped (you can also buy “cherry chips” where the chopping has been done for you
- red food gel
- 18 ounces (about 1 1/2 packages) chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 paraffin wax block, the same paraffin you melt to use on top jam (2 1/2 by 2 1/2)
- Pare, cook, and mash potato to make three-quarters of a cup. Add salt.
- If you are making recipes right after boiling the potato, use the still-warm sauce pan or dutch oven. The pan should still be warm enough to melt the butter off the heat. If not, turn on heat to low and allow butter to melt.
- Turn off heat and add mashed potato, confectioners sugar and gel. Fold to evenly mix color.
- Add-in flaked coconut, chopped cherries and vanilla.
- Mix well and turn into a buttered 9X9 inch pan and spread evenly.
- Refrigerate to harden.
- When hard, scoop and then roll into balls (I used a 1/2 ounce scooper).
- Place cut squares back into the fridge until dipping.
- For the dipping chocolate, again use a double boiler or place a heat-proof bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water.
- Add paraffin and allow to melt.
- Add chocolate and allow to melt.
- Stir well to mix ingredients.
- Dip in the chocolate mixture (with a fork, toothpick, or my personal favorite, bamboo BBQ skewer).
- Place on waxed paper to harden.