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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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News

Delicious New Natural Licorice

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New Natural Vines licorice

© American Licorice Company
New Natural Vines

A worthy addition to the candy aisle: In May, the American Licorice Company, better known as the maker of Red Vines, will release a new Natural Vines line of licorice that's pretty terrific. Both the black licorice and strawberry variety, which come in one-inch twists, have great bright flavor and perfect chewy-yet-soft texture, and come in conveniently resealable bags. Best of all, they both use entirely recognizable, genuinely natural ingredients like molasses and wheat flour—there's nary a guar gum or carrageenan or even high fructose corn syrup to be found.

Baking

Colossal New Cupcake

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© Kate Heddings
Colossal red velvet cupcake from Crumbs.

 

I don't think anything makes me as happy as baked sweets—give me a brownie, blondie or cupcake and I'll be your new best friend. So I don't know what could possibly make my day more than the new Colossal Crumb—a gigantic sugar-lover's dream cupcake from Crumbs . It's four pounds, six-and-half inches tall and six-and-a-half inches wide. It comes in a variety of Crumbs' awesome flavors, like Peanut Butter Cup, Devil's Food, Vanilla Coconut, Red Velvet, and my personal favorite: Squiggle (a.k.a the Hostess cupcake). At $35 per, er, cake, it's not cheap, but it's supposed to feed up to eight people. Until you go out and splurge on this insane treat, try some of my all-time favorite F&W cupcakes:

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Espresso Meringue
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling
Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
 

Recipes

Springtime for Chefs

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© Con Poulos
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

Tomorrow is the first official day of spring and Tom Colicchio is all a-Twitter about ramps. “It’s spring in NY bring on the ramps,” he Tweeted yesterday. He’s not the only chef excited about spring ingredients: At a recent benefit event for C-CAP, Shaun Hergatt from SHO Shaun Hergatt told me that he can't wait to cook with spring peas and is planning to serve them with sous-vide lamb; Craig Koketsu of the seasonally-driven restaurant Park Avenue Spring is impatiently anticipating rhubarb.

Here are a few recipes for ramps, spring peas and rhubarb to help kick off the season. Plus, check out these 100+ recipes in F&W’s Guide to Fresh Spring Produce:

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
Spring Peas with Mint
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb (Pictured)

Travel

Park City's Sugar Buzz

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© Courtesy of Sugar Buzz
Park City's Sugar Buzz

Last month, I spent a long weekend in Park City, Utah, hitting the slopes and checking out the emerging food scene we highlighted in our February travel story. One of my favorite finds was the adorable retro-chic candy shop Sugar Buzz, which opened about a year ago, just off of Main Street. The walls are lined with a dizzying assortment of glass candy jars, showcasing everything from licorice to lollipops to dark chocolates to caramels. I loaded up a paper sack with my nostalgic favorite, German raspberries, but also couldn't resist the red velvet cookies, topped with cream-cheese frosting, that were at the bakery by the register. I skipped the Illy espresso this time around but will surely pick one up the next time I am in town.

Desserts

Mad Hatter Tea at the Mandarin

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Mandarin Oriental New York has been in the news this week because of some of their guests (Robert Pattinson gave the hotel a big shout-out on The Daily Show). But at F&W we’re most excited about their brand-new Mad Hatter tea offered every afternoon until the end of April, in celebration of the opening-on-Friday film Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Served in the lobby lounge way up on the 35th floor, the adorable tea includes Tweedle tea sandwiches, like smoked salmon with Meyer-lemon-caper mousse; Tweedle crumb desserts, like the Queen of Hearts linzer tarts; an excellent assortment of candy (plus handy little to-go boxes); and, of course, "Drink Me" teas. So far, there’s no confirmation on whether the movie’s stars will have a fun pre-party there, but Alice (i.e., the actress Mia Wasikowska) has been spotted in the hotel—perhaps they’ll let her have the Cheshire Catcakes for breakfast.

On the other hand, if you choose to host your own Mad Hatter tea party, F&W has assembled our favorite tea-party recipes, from delicate radish-lemon-butter sandwiches to ginger brandy snaps.

Baking

Whoopies for Valentine’s Day

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Mail-order whoopie pies for Valentine's Day

© Magenta Livengood
Whoopie pies from B. Hall Baker

For anyone looking for a sweet worth mail-ordering for Valentine’s Day, or any day, B.Hall Baker’s new mini whoopie pies are now available online. Washington, DC-based Beryl Hall, a former Hill staffer, keeps the calories low by keeping the pies small (she bakes them in madeleine molds). She gives her red velvet pies a rich tang (and a vibrant red color) with raspberry juice, raspberry extract and powdered raspberries from France. “Whoopie pies are a Yankee thing, but I’m trying to make them Southern,” the San Antonio native says, so this spring she’ll release coconut-cake and bananas Foster versions.

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