jimmies (chocolate sprinkles)

By now you know that I love ice cream and jimmies.  And not just any jimmy but real jimmies.  I’m sharing this with you so you too can enjoy the happiness I derive from my ice cream eating experience.  A lot of it has to do with the ice cream I know…but seriously (as serious as I can be about ice cream toppings) what you normally get at the supermarket or ice cream parlor is really not what I’m talking about when I say jimmies.

Soo…I did a taste test of my 3 favorites and I can’t choose.  I love them all so pick one and try.  You may find it hard from then on to enjoy a chocolate sprinkle anywhere else but in your home (or mine!)

Ingredients in a typical sprinkle are sugar, veggie oil, corn starch, corn syrup, soy lecithin, salt, natural and artificial flavor, confectioners glaze, and carauba wax.

Ingredients in these jimmies are all similar but generally lists sugar (yeah, sorry that is first), cocoa liquor, cocoa powder, butter oil, milk powder, natural vanilla.

callebaut Belgian Chocolate

cocoa barry jimmies

guittard jimmies 

The links will take you to where you can buy – but search around for the best price.





be prepared to bake

Your shopping list might not seem as overwhelming if you generally stock some of the following items.  Just pay attention to how much you bake.  Many items in pantry and refrigerator expire (some sooner than later) so if you are not baking often, wait and shop as you need.  But if you are an avid baker, go for it.

Pantry: flour, sugar, brown sugar (more light than dark) baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa (natural and unsweetened, black cocoa), chocolate chips and chocolate bars (milk, semi, white, bitter, extra bitter, unsweetened) cornstarch, whole wheat flour, cake flour, oatmeal (quick cooking and old-fashioned), canola or vegetable oil, dried fruits, a variety of nuts, molasses, graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, shredded and flaked coconut, spices (cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, ground cloves, cardamom, ground nutmeg), instant espresso powder, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk…

Fridge: large eggs, unsalted butter, sour cream, plain yogurt, buttermilk, milk, heavy cream, block cream cheese, lemons and other assorted fruits

Freezer: frozen berries and stone fruits, puff pastry, fillo dough, ice cream


Use good quality – and not artificial vanilla.  I love the double strength vanilla extract from Penzey’s spices.  You can order it on-line from penzeys.com.  (As well as many other spices and salts).  It is probably better to skip the vanilla if you don’t have the real thing.

To scrape and seed a vanilla bean, place the long bean on a cutting board.  With your paring knife, slice the bean lengthwise – from top to bottom all the way down and through.  Open it up and you will see soft brown inside.  With the back of your knife, scrape the seed gently (while holding the end of the pod) collecting all the goodness from inside.  These are the seeds and they should be on your knife.  The pod contains more flavor and seeds and is often added to marinating liquids or ice creams – and pulled out later.  You can purchase at the grocery or get a bunch from penzeys.com – store  them in an airtight container or they dry out.

avoid dry and crumbly cookies

I found the difference between a heavily packed cup of flour and lightly packed cup o flour was a bit more than an ounce!  This is a lot in the baking world.  Go to baking tips to see how to measure flour and if you have a scale, use it.  Do you know how to use the “tare” button on your scale?  If not, read the directions or google it.  Makes baking life easy.  Your friends will thank you (for even better cookies and cakes)!


how to cut, peel and core apples

IMG_4874Apples are soooo good – especially now.  And I know when you see that the ingredients read – 8 apples roughly chopped, your heart might sink a bit with the prep work.  So, here is the plan of attack.  First, put on some really good music.

Cut the top and bottoms off of the apples.  All of them.  Then peel each apple with a sharp paring knife (I do this) but try not to take too much of the flesh off.  If you are lousy at this – use a peeler.  Peel them all.

Slice the apples in half.  All of them.

IMG_4877Taker your apple corer (you should get one) and scoop out the center core by gently pushing the scooper in and twisting.  Then use the scooper to take the little extra rough bits around the core.

Core them all.

Take each apple half and slice.  Now you have slices.

Turn apple, slice again – now you have roughly chopped apples.


IMG_4880 IMG_4888IMG_4886

things i love


I love Chocolations in Mamaroneck.  Combine high quality chocolate, a warm and generous owner and chocolate maker, great staff and decent prices… well, what’s not to love?  They have so many delicious shaped chocolates (you can order almost any shape you want), barks, truffles and dipped yumminess that it is hard to pick.  I worked there for a second a few years ago and just wanted to share.

chocolate covered pretzels

Another love – the chocolate covered pretzels from Enjou Chocolate.  These are my favorites because the chocolate is sooooo good and the pretzels are firm and fresh.  And although dipped generously, it is not overdone.  As usual, pricey – but def worth it!

You can find them here.



things i love – chocolate drizzled pop corn

So I make this myself and I love love love it.  But I know that many don’t feel like tempering chocolate so this makes it easy…buying it!

Stever’s (they make those ridiculous marshmallows) makes an awesome drizzle popcorn.  First, the popcorn is fresh which is important.  Second, the milk chocolate is just so tasty and smooth and third, they lay it on so thick!  Thick thick so that big chunks of popcorn stick together with the chocolate acting like glue.  We love it.

As mentioned when I talked about the chocolate marshmallows, Stever’s has a website – but you can’t order on-line.  But call and they are so nice and friendly up in Rochester, NY that you will likely make a new friend :).

Click here for the link.


guittard superchips

I love these chips.  My sis in law Kathy introduced us (me and chip) about a year and a half ago.  They are bigger than a Nestle chip, but flatter and stay softer in baked goods.  But I do love Nestle and Ghiradelli and many more!

I searched the web (because I can’t find them locally) and found them at Chososphere!  I love this site – so many awesome products and chocolates.  And you can buy in bulk!

Again, no money for me here in this rec – just sharing!

Here is the direct link.  And they sell in larger amounts and so many other products – you will get lost in a chocolate haven.

more chocolate

things i love – Lilac Chocolate All American Bar

Lisi's Kitchen

All  American Bars from Li-Lac Chocolates.

These are delicious.  Beyond good.  Greg and I have taste tested many or these bars often called “all american bars” or “s’mores” or “marshmallow bars” and well, these ones from Li-Lac Chocolate win.  There is something about the marshmallow,  it is light, fluffy and moist and not cloyingly sweet.  The chocolate is so delicate – thinly coated and therefore not overbearing.  It’s as if they dipped these in chocolate and shook vigorously to get rid of the excess chocolate  (and normally I like excess!)

As mentioned – Greg loves these very much.  So much that I kind of hide them from Andy and Sylvie so he gets to eat the bulk of them.  I can’t help it since he is so particular these days and it is nice to see him indulge.  Although only a half at a time for him.

These bars are pricey.  Very pricey so save for a special event or a special someone.  You can order on-line and they have a nice small shop in Grand Central as well as the West Village.

Again, I’m not making any money here – I’m just sharing some of the good stuff!