{Chocolate Review}: Toffee Theory

October 27th, 2011 · 13 Comments · Candy, Chocolate, Field Guide to Candy, Recipes, Reviews, San Francisco, SF Events

toffee field guide candy
image from Field Guide to Candy

A few weeks back, I was invited to be a judge for TasteTV‘s Best Toffee in North America Competition. A whole boxful of toffees delivered to my door? Yes, please!

Those of you who are curious about the difference between toffee, English toffees, and buttercrunch, feel free to see my older post on buttercrunch. I became quite obsessed with untangling the various monikers of this candy while researching my candy book, if you couldn’t tell.

These days, most buttercrunch is marketed simply as “toffee”; I only saw one brand out of thirteen that was labelled “English toffee” (Which may perhaps provide some comfort to poor Brits trying to find their version of the candy abroad). For that reason, I will refer to all the candy I sampled for the competition as toffee, to avoid confusion. I will maintain, though, my abiding love for the word “buttercrunch”. If I ever make and sell my own version, I’ll call it buttercrunch, and probably confuse the heck out of everyone.

So how does one determine the best toffee?

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:········

{SF} My Favorite Ice Cream Shops in San Francisco

August 5th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

mrmrsmisc

Typical menu board at Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. Flavors change daily – another incentive to visit often.

By popular request and in an attempt to populate the “San Francisco” tab on my site, I’ve created a list of my favorite ice cream spots in San Francisco. Of course, I started this last week when it was bright, sunny, and warm (these three conditions are not always simultaneous in San Francisco), but naturally now it’s back to Fog City again. No matter – in SF ice cream consumption is rarely tied to the current weather but rather to the pure desire to have a cone filled with something sweet, frozen, and really, really delicious.

I’ve only listed ones that I’ve been to personally, as is only fair. However, as eating ice cream is one of my very favorite activities, and as there seems to be no shortage of ice cream shops both classic and artisan opening up in SF, rest assured this list will continue to be updated (with more photos, as well!) Feel free to give your own recommendations in the comments as well – there’s always room for more ice cream.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:···········

Another Successful SF Food Blogger Bake Sale!

May 20th, 2011 · 8 Comments · Cookies, Recipes, San Francisco, SF Events

GF brownie cupcakes - bake sale tips at dessertfirstgirl.com

Sorry all for the late update…I’m totally overwhelmed with work obligations and getting ready for my upcoming vacation – just a week and a half away! I’m trying to wrap up all the loose ends before I leave, but they stubbornly stay unraveled. Do I ever need summer break!

I do want to give a quick recap of the second annual SF Food Bloggers Bake Sale that took place last Saturday and thank everyone that turned out to help and donate. We got classic San Francisco “summer” weather that day: overcast skies and chilly breezes. Nevertheless, our volunteer bakers showed up early and eager with piles of beautiful pastries that we laid out in a truly tempting display.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:·

San Francisco Blogger Bake Sale This Saturday!

May 9th, 2011 · 4 Comments · Personal, San Francisco, SF Events

sfbakesalebadge3

I ‘m so excited that the bake sale I’ve been organizing with several other bloggers is this Saturday – less than a week away! Planning has been going extremely well – we now have two locations and almost 50 volunteer bakers!

If you are in San Francisco this Saturday, please come by and support us! The two locations are:

18 Reasons

593 Guerrero Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

10 AM to 6 PM

and

Kiehl’s

2360 Fillmore

San Francisco, CA 94110

12 PM to 4 PM

Please see the official blog for full directions. I will likely be going between the two locations during the day, so I hope to see you there!

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, might I direct you to the front page of our blog where you can make a direct donation? Share Our Strength is a tremendously worthy cause and I’m proud that the food blogger community has embraced it wholeheartedly. 100% of the proceeds from this bake sale will go towards funding programs across the nation to feed hungry children. If you have a moment, you can watch this official Share Our Strength video which describes the goals and various activities of the organization including the national bake sale.

Now, on to other business. I’m sure you’re all waiting to hear the winner of the Le Creuset braiser giveaway. Thanks so much for all your kind birthday wishes – I had a wonderful day and it was great to get so many comments. Now go comment on my last post on eggettes, please!;)

The winner of the Le Creuset braiser is:

creusetwinner

Reader 116, sydney85! Congratulations and thanks again to all who entered!

Some other site housekeeping updates:

- I have now updated the conversions page with information on common weight-to-volume conversions. I know there are many international readers to this blog, and I often get comments about converting my recipes to metric, or vice versa. I’m slowly working on standardizing all the recipes on this site, but in the meantime check out the page for some quick conversions you can use yourself.

- For those of you that subscribe to my rss feed, it was created from my old Typepad blog and I have created a new one for this site. Could I ask, if you are a subscriber, to subscribe to my new feed? (the subscribe button is to the right in the sidebar). I’m keeping up both feeds for now but I’d like to eventually discontinue the old one, and I don’t want to lose all you subscribers! Thanks!

Stay tuned for Thursday where I’ll give an update on what I’m making for the bake sale!

Read more →

Tags:··

Best Pebble Beach Food and Wine Ever (The Actual Report!)

May 2nd, 2011 · 6 Comments · San Francisco, SF Events

Scroll to down for my report on PBFW!

crabtamale

I’ve been to two Pebble Beach Food and Wine events, and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Why do I think this was the best one ever? Well, for a very personal reason involving this lady:

sherryyard

If you don’t recognize her immediately from her trademark pink jacket, this is the one and only Sherry Yard, Wolgang Puck’s longtime pastry chef. Her two
cookbooks are among the most treasured of my entire collection, and getting to meet her in person was a true highlight of my time at Pebble Beach. But the very best part? When I mentioned my site Dessert First, she said she’d seen it!! Can you believe that? Nothing else that happened that day could have topped that. SO happy I got to meet her.

(more…)

Read more →

Tags:

{Chocolate Review} Sweet Treats for Easter

April 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Chocolate, Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

recchiutiforcenoirbox

Warning: There is going to be a lot of chocolate on this page for the next few posts. After all, it’s nearly Easter, the holidays that generates more candy sales than any other holiday save Halloween. Have you got your jellybeans and peeps ready for your Easter baskets?

Let me suggest a few other Easter treats you might not want to miss. Michael Recchiuti, one of my very favorite chocolatiers (and a great guy, to boot), has created some limited edition sweets for the holiday. I got a chance to sample a couple of them:

recchiutiforcenoireggs

These are the kind of Easter eggs I’m looking for now (sorry, candy-colored plastic eggs from the drugstore!) Recchiuti’s Force Noir Eggs, a shell of delicately painted dark chocolate enclosing his famous vanilla-laced chocolate ganache. You know how Reese’s comes out with their peanut butter eggs at Easter? I actually prefer them to the traditional peanut butter cups because I think the shape provides a better peanut butter to chocolate ratio. It’s the same concept here with the Force Noir Eggs – the plump curve of the chocolate shells is just the right amount of backdrop for the ganache filling to unfold in your mouth.

 
recchiutihoppeep

Another signature Recchiuti flavor, burnt caramel, gets the Easter treatment in the Peep & Hop Box – burnt caramel chocolates with spring-y Easter images printed on top. Although deep dark caramel is everywhere these days, Recchiuti was one of the first to really popularize the flavor. I got a box of eight of these chocolates and had to fight to hold on to even one to taste test! As delicious as ever.

These and other Easter treats can be found at Recchiuti’s website. Here’s hoping the Easter bunny brings you something sweet on Sunday!

Read more →

Tags:····