Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

August 6 – National Root Beer Float Day

Root Beer_01

Root Beer_01 (Photo credit: rob_rob2001)

Customers seated at an unidentified ice cream ...

Customers seated at an unidentified ice cream and soda fountain, Seattle (Photo credit: UW Digital Collections)

Thanks to the good people at FreeFlys, I learned about another sweet holiday. August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day, a day to celebrate the summer classic by getting a FREE (yes, you read that correctly) small Root Beer Float at participating A&W restaurants from 2 p.m. til close. Click here to see details. Can this deal be any sweeter? Yes, it is also a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. As I have probably mentioned before, despite my reservations about our participation in some of our current wars, I fully support our soldiers. Please click on the link to learn about other ways you can support this exceptional group, whether by donating money, volunteer time, or simply writing a letter to our troops.

As usual, I digress. If you can’t make it to your local A&W, or can’t wait to begin the celebration, make your own float. Punchbowl.com recommends that you pour your root beer into the glass BEFORE adding the vanilla ice cream, to avoid a big spill. I also learned from this site that the root beer float was invented in the late 19th Century by Frank Wisner, and is also called a black cow. All these years (let’s not dwell on how many, exactly), I thought a black cow was a Coke float…and here, I thought I was a dessert aficionado (well, confirmed dessert addict, in any case). This, of course, makes me digress again to thinking of Laverne and Shirley’s Pepsi and milk concoction (which never seemed like a good idea) and has been tested by Beverage Science as one of their pop culture experiments. I leave you to your own decision on this.

YumSugar expands the history, by explaining that Wisner was inspired to add the vanilla ice cream to root beer (which began being sold thirteen years earlier, in 1881) by the snow on top of Cow Mountain.

A turbo-charged recipe, by MidwestSimple, incorporates vanilla vodka into the mix. Another alternative is the Root Canal Float, proposed by Vintage West:

Posted on May 30, 2013 by nswentz under Drinks

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via Yep, that will play | Vintage West.

Whatever your pleasure, be sure to enjoy the cool treat and toast the holiday!

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July 20 – National Lollipop Day

Lollipops

Don’t be a sucker (sorry, couldn’t resist!) – get your free lollypop at participating See’s Candy shops on 7/20.

Or, if you want to try your hand at being a confectioner, Sandra Lee has a recipe (below) for cherry lollipops on foodnetwork.com. While I haven’t tried this recipe myself (yet), I did read many positive comments on it. Also, you several readers suggested that you can substitute any flavor gelatin for variety. Gale Gand also has a recipe on foodnetwork.com, for psychedelic lollipops. Though perhaps a more challenging recipe, it’s a great chance to make edible art.

For a sweet trip down memory lane, click here to watch the retro commercial “How Many Licks Does It Take to Reach the Tootsie Roll Center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?” To go back a few more decades, click here and sing along with Shirley Temple’s classic “Good Ship Lollipop”.

via Cherry Lollipops Recipe : Sandra Lee : Recipes : Food Network….

CHERRY LOLLIPOPS

Ingredients

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

1 (3-ounce) box cherry gelatin dessert mix

Nonstick cooking spray

Special Equipment:

20 (4-inch) lollipop sticks

Metal tablespoon-size measuring spoon

Candy thermometer

Directions

Butter 2 large baking sheets. Arrange 10 lollipop sticks on each baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Stir sugar, corn syrup, and butter in small saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until candy thermometer registers 275 degrees F. Stir in gelatin until smooth. Using a metal tablespoon and working quickly, spoon syrup over 1 end of each lollipop stick. Cool completely. Wrap each lollipop in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.

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Pop Rocks…Candy of Legend (and now available from your own kitchen)

English: Strawberry-flavored Pop Rocks candy.Ah, Pop Rocks – sweet and sassy bursts of tongue-tingling joy that instantly make me wax nostalgic. They are the source of the long-lingering urban legend that insisted the actor who played Mikey (of Life Cereal fame) exploded when he drank soda with a packet of Pop Rocks (shocking fact – he didn’t).

Of course, that cautionary tale propelled countless kids to try the allegedly lethal combination for themselves. I count myself among them, starting with the tiniest speck of powder on my tongue, followed by a mere drop of Coke (long before the great schism known as the New Coke and Coke Classic debacle). No explosions. Quickly, I worked my way up to a full packet of watermelon nuggets washed down by a full bottle (yes, the old-fashioned type that required a bottle opener, and funded the purchase of more candy by collecting the deposits when returning the bottles). Still, no explosion – though definitely LOTS of popping action.

At some point in the early 80’s, darkness fell. Pop Rocks were gone. (How I often wondered what the combination of Jolt Cola and the candy would have produced.) Happily, I recently found these little treasures again at World Market. I brought a handful of packs (along with some other classic candies, like Twizzlers and Raisinets) to my friend’s house for a night of nostalgic Duran Duran video watching (and drinking, of course!). Poor Nick was ill, and the concert scheduled at Ravinia was cancelled. Instead, we watched a well-worn VHS copy of the Sing Blue Silver documentary. Somewhere along the way – maybe it was about the time the Fab Five discussed how great their sponsor (Coke) was as John confessed he preferred Pepsi – inspiration struck. What if I tried a mouthful of Pop Rocks, followed by a champagne chaser? It was a moment of genius – elevating the childhood thrill to a sophisticated adult experience (well, sort of).

Imagine my excitement when I saw this recipe posted by The Daily Meal today! Forget the fact that the site touts this as a healthier, cheaper option – this is a chance to bring the zing even if Pop Rocks pulls another disappearing act. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I will (once I find citric acid) – with a chilled bottle of bubbly on hand to accompany the taste test.

From The Daily Meal

Try making these candies at home for a healthier and cheaper option to your favorite treats. -The Daily Meal

Homemade Pop Rocks Recipe (Picture to the right):

INGREDIENTS:

-2 cups sugar

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon citric acid

-1/2 cup light corn syrup

-1/4 cup water

-1 teaspoon flavoring extract, flavor of your choice

-1-2 drops food coloring, color of your choice

-Pinch of cornstarch, for dusting

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly dust the back side of a baking sheet with cornstarch.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook the mixture until it reaches 300 degrees when measured with a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and add the baking soda, ¼ cup of the citric acid, extract, and food coloring, and stir to combine.

Spread the mixture out onto the baking sheet (carefully so that it does not run over the edges), sprinkle with the teaspoon of citric acid, and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break the candy into pieces and add to a Ziploc bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the candy into tiny little pieces so that it resembles Pop Rocks. Store in Ziploc bags.

via 6 Homemade Candy Recipes | Shine Food – Yahoo! Shine.

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June 16th – National Fudge Day

Vegan Chocolate Fudge.

Oh Fudddggge!!!! Ralphie’s classic line always comes to mind when I think of fudge (click here to hear it for yourself). I also think of the dream job championed by the Cheermeister – Fudge Judge. Then, there are the endless batches of fudge to be made for gifts (and Santa, of course, to go with the cookies). Sensing a holiday theme here?

So, it seemed a bit odd to me that National Fudge Day is in June. Then, I remembered all the fudge shops to be found in any given summer tourist spot. You can’t walk down a boardwalk without seeing fudge, t-shirts and “special” tourist info booths hawking time-share demos in exchange for “free tickets to the hottest attractions”. Oh, and of course there is always lots of taffy too, but we missed Taffy Day (May 23rd).

In case you gobbled down said fudge on the way back from your holiday (maybe it was starting to melt?). There is no shortage of fudge recipes available. Click here to see ten drool-worthy fudge recipes on examiner.com – how about bourbon fudge, or peanut butter fudge, or FUDGE ICE CREAM! A friend of mine swears by the Carnation Fudge Recipe, but cautions you must bring the ingredients to a rolling boil and cook (stirring constantly) for the full 4-5 minutes (in other words, follow the recipe). Foodnetwork.com even has a recipe for fudge pie, from who else but Paula Deen?

So, load yourself up with this delicious confection and have a fudgetastic holiday!

Fudge

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June 7 – Free Doughnut for National Doughnut Day at Krispy Kreme

Homer Simpson just fainted…it’s true – Krispy Kreme promises a free doughnut Friday 6/7! Now that’s what I call a HOLIDAY!! Dunkin Donuts is also celebrating, with a free donut with purchase of coffee on 6/7.
Or, if you want to celebrate at home, Real Simple has posted a recipe for quick and easy doughnuts:
via Yahoo! Shine

Serves 8 | Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 15m

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 8-count package large refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat ½ cup of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.

2. Place the biscuits on a cutting board. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or shot glass, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit, reserving the extra dough for “holes.”

3. Test the heat of the oil by dipping the edge of a doughnut in the pan. When the oil is hot enough, the edge will bubble. Place 4 of the doughnuts and holes in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel–lined plate to drain. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reheat, and cook the remaining doughnuts and holes.

4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss the warm doughnuts in the mixture a few at a time. Serve warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes 8 doughnuts, plus holes.

Lastly, food.com has a recipe for a cronut-type recipe that looks delish! If you want to learn about the cronut fad, ABC has a news video featuring the cronuts craze.
from krispykreme.com…

Celebrate National Doughnut Day! Visit Krispy Kreme on June 7 at participating US and Canadian locations (scroll below) for a FREE doughnut of any variety. No purchase necessary. Excludes CT and Puerto Rico

Join in the fun and conversation by liking us on Facebook, following on Twitter (@KrispyKreme), follow us on Instagram and pin us on Pinterest. Join the conversation below by using #NationalDoughnutDay2013 or #NationalDoughnutDay. Your tweets, images, and pics may appear here.

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