The holiday season is upon us. Traffic is unreal, grocery stores are out of chocolate chips, and you have neither the time nor the inclination to bake homemade cookies for that White Elephant party/teacher gifts/hostess gift/birthday party. Now that you’ve decided to outsource your holiday baking, you’re faced with even more decisions: Are cupcakes too childish? Are cake balls still in? Will that whole cake get eaten? What exactly is a fruit cake?
Enter: JK Chocolate.
Purveyor of Microchip Cookies, cakes, and unfairly decadent chocolate sauces and the brainchild of Julie and Karleen, the roots of JK Chocolate reach back to 1984 when the two friends would prepare homemade chocolate sauces for their children’s teachers. The word spread quickly about their confections, and the teachers- bereft of the heavenly sauces after the kids grew up and headed to college- begged the duo to sell their products. The rest is cookie history.
JK Chocolate sells seven flavors of their perfectly munch able treats: Midnight Chocolate Chip, White Chocolate Chip Crunch, Peanut Butter Chip with Sea Salt, Six Spice Gingersnap, Pecan Sweeties, Cheddar Cheesies with Texas Heat, and, of course, The Original Chocolate Chip.
Available in 11- and 20-ounce cans, the flavors are also available in gift packs, party favor sets and multi-pack sets of smaller 1.5- and 2-ounce jars. You can mix and match flavors, cookies, sauces and mini-cakes for the perfect hostess gift, holiday snack, party favor or office presents.
The jar of Original Chocolate Chip Microchip cookies I brought home lasted a whopping two hours, so plan on buying more rather than less. They might be small, but they pack a hefty, homemade taste that’ll leave you craving more.
For store location, hours, online ordering and serving ideas, visit their website at www.jkchocolate.com.
Are you having a Halloween party? A Christmas party? Any other kind of party, in life, at any point in the future? Do you like booze? Do you like candy? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, listen up: you’re going to want to hear this*. Candy Cocktails, people. That’s right … cocktails that taste like candy. Cocktails that are MADE USING CANDY. Enter: “Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist“.
(*If you did not answer, “Yes,” to any of the above questions, do not read on. Go here, instead.)
I received “Candy Cocktails” just in time for Halloween, but this cocktail recipe book by the Good sisters (curators of Fashionably Bombed) is chock full of fun and inventive cocktails for every holiday (Candy Cane Martini, anyone?). Holiday-themed libations represent only a small segment of this gorgeous little recipe book, however; in its pages, you will also find cocktail recipes highlight just about any kind of candy you can think of. Forget everything you think you know about dessert drinks … until you have sampled a Liquid Candy Bar, a Candy Fishbowl (yes, it has Swedish Fish “swimming” in it. Shut. Up.), or a Pop Shot (yup, that would be a shooter integrating Pop Rocks), you know nothing. Just imagine preparing a custom cocktail for your boyfriend/girlfriend/brother/sister/bestie/grandma/mailman based on his or her favorite candy. How much do I love this idea? (A lot.)
Candy Cocktails is going to have you “mixing outside the box,” if you will. I can attest to this because I found myself preparing candy corn infused vodka early this week. One of the really awesome things about this book is the fact that it gives you directions on how to create variety of sweet liquor infusions using at little as 1/2 cup of booze. Gone are the days of having to spend $17 a pop on multiple, giant bottles of random flavored vodkas that you know are probably only going to use once or twice to make that one cocktail you just had to have, on a whim (I mean, I don’t know many people whose “go-to” drink features marshmallow vodka, do you?). This section of the book is really quite practical and useful (as candy infused alcohol goes).
I prepared two Halloween inspired “Candy Cocktails” in the Plano branch of the Susie Drinks Dallas test kitchen.
First, the Candy Corn Cocktail,- hence the candy corn infused vodka. This drink was so pretty and festive, and just BEGGING you to serve it at your Halloween bash. It was not sickeningly sweet, and really, it was incredibly reminiscent of a lemon drop, with a subtle hint of something different. (You guessed it, genius … CANDY CORN!!!)
Next, the Peanut Butter Cup Cocktail, which was every bit as rich and decadent as it sounds. Interestingly (and only mildly disappointingly), this cocktail does not contain actual peanut butter cups (aside from the garnish). As the sisters point out in their book, sometimes the point is for the drink to taste LIKE the candy, as opposed to actually containing the candy. This blended concoction was comprised of vodka, crunchy peanut butter, crème de cacao, and whole milk (omg). This was 100% dessert, and they really nailed the peanut butter cup flavor. Nom.
If you are looking for a collection of really fun, unique cocktail recipes, getchoself a copy of Candy Cocktails: Fun and Flirty Drinks with a Sugar-Kissed Twist, today!
Available at Barnes and Noble (check out their nifty in-store pickup feature!), or on Amazon, for just $13.68.
“So why Plano?” someone asked, almost incredulously, about this restaurant that has been in place for more than a decade.
On one hand, I get the attitude about Plano. (And truth be told, I still fight it myself sometimes.) On the other hand, it was a good reminder of the prevailing idea that these darn suburbs are just out to ruin everything creative and good. Despite not boasting a Dallas (proper) address, somehow the Roy’s brand has thrived out in the ‘burbs, and that’s why a group of us were invited to a special Eat Creative dinner to showcase its new drink and food options – some of which were designed by local Chef Scott Nakachi.
The event was food-intensive, but I jumped at the chance to try the Pacific Rim Cosmotini (vodka, ginger and passion fruit syrups, egg whites, blood orange liqueur). It had a good flavor and it didn’t take long to realize how quickly (and cheaply) one could blow through these – especially during their happy hour when drinks are only $6.
We also sampled some of the food items on the bar menu (which is also only $6 during happy hour – save one exception we’ll get to later) and it was pretty damn good. There was edamame and butterfish lettuce wraps, which were both well-prepared and are must-tries. I found myself eating the fish by itself, which I guess makes me a huge jerk … but it was that good. There were also delicious steamed pork buns and, the star of the show, a giant Wagyu burger the size of my face*. It was spicy and perfectly seasoned, and for $9 on the happy hour menu, it’s a solid meal choice to balance out the happy hour cocktails and walk out feeling full. It also came with massive onion rings which were heavily-breaded and thick.
Based on the conversation at the table, a few of us who were more into onion rings in general enjoyed them and the others seemed to think it was too much. (Who isn’t into onion rings? They must be communists.) The fat kid in me loved them, but I had to maintain composure as an official SDD representative and not smoosh my face into the plate of them. Ebi rolls followed, which were also battered and tasted like one of the heavy rolls Americans love to eat while onlooking foreigners cringe. It was tasty, but there’s just too much fresh seafood on the menu to opt for a roll unless you’re really in the mood to ruin your dinner.
What we’d eaten to this point quickly became an afterthought when the main courses came out – especially the Maine lobster pot pie. The crust was flaky and delicious and the giant pieces of lobster were swimming in a curry sauce that was hot and delicious. It came in a giant tray that could easily feed three people (or even two going all out pig-style.) You need to eat this dish. I don’t mean to shortchange the other entrees that were all delicious (including an Alaea salt-crusted, bone-in ribeye first introduced by Plano’s Chef Scott), but this was the dish that inspired Susie to email me and say “I want to lick my screen to taste that lobster business!!!!” I have to make sure I capture the magic.
^^ Put this in your face ASAP. ^^
Finally, we finished with two delicious desert options: pineapple upside down cake and Roy’s signature molten lava cake. Both were devoured by the sharing table and, while chocolate never fails, the pineapple upside down cake was not too sweet and just different enough to stand out.
In summary, allow me to summarize this with a forgotten, but aptly named, SNL Digital Short – Roy Rules. If you need a happy hour spot in North Dallas or Plano, you really can’t beat the value offered here.
Originally written by Lauryn Bodden, edited and updated by Susie O.
Ice cream, desserts, and booze:
these are a few of my favorite things.
With national ice cream month upon us, it appears there is no better time than now to enjoy this match made in heaven. Pick your favorite frozen pint of dairy, blend it with a splash (okay, splash is a little naïve) of Kahlua or booze of choice and top with desired toppings like whipped cream, peanut butter cups, and fudge.
But then again, Dallas has its fair share of adult milkshakes floating around town and something of this measure should really be left to the experts. After all, they have the blenders, PowerWhip chargers, and knowledge required to make the perfect milkshakes. That being said here is a roundup of some of my favorite places to get that boozy shake fix.
– Bourbon & Caramel
– Mint Chocolate Chip: Vodka, crème de cacao, crème de menthe and Andes mints – Birthday Cakefetti: Cake vodka and sprinkles – Moonshine American Pie: Apple pie moonshine, applie pie filling, bakes pie crust, maple syrup, vodka and kosher salt, grated cinnamon and granola crumble – Dirty Kitchen Sink: Chocolate vodka, pretzels, peanut butter, salt, butterscotch sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, coffee grounds and potato chips – Tipsy Worms & Dirt: Vodka, crushed Oreos and gummy worms
The Royale Magnificent Burger royaleburgers.com | 3310 Dallas Parkway, Suite 121 (Plano)
These overdressed shakes are boohoozy. Options include some tamer options like their Salted Caramel Shake spiked with Nassau Royale Liqueur (pictured above) and their Banana Shake “jolted” with Maker’s Mark, then get a little crazy. Their Magnificent S’mores Shake (pictured as the header) has chocolate ice cream, fudge, toasted marshmallow, and a graham cracker rim … then they add marshmallow vodka. It’ll set you back $13.50, though! (Other options include vanilla with Myer’s Dark Rum, chocolate with Godiva Liqueur, and strawberry with Ford’s Gin.)
– Insomniac: Espresso vodka, Kahlua, Baileys and chocolate syrup – Attitude Changer: Stoli vanil, Godiva dark chocolate liquor and Oreos – Easy Rider: Maker’s Mark and caramel – Chocolate Grasshopper: Crème de menthe, white crème de cocoa and Oreos