by Sara Mead
Yesterday I wrote about the vexing issue of why candy companies don’t market a large quantity of Thanksgiving themed candies. Could it be that they just suffer from a lack of ideas? If so, here are a few ideas for Thanksgiving candies I’d snap up with delight:
Thanksgiving Jelly Belly assortment: This seems like such a no-brainer I can’t believe it doesn’t already exist. With so many dishes that already taste a lot like candy, Thanksgiving would make a delicious Jelly Belly Assortment. Please don’t misunderstand: I have NO desire to see a green bean casserole Jelly Belly any time soon. But we already know from the Jalapeno and Buttered Popcorn (the most delicious!) Jelly Bellies that a good Jelly Bean doesn’t have to be inspired by a sweet food. My pick for a savory Jelly Belly to match Thanksgiving: Mashed Potatoes with Gravy. Think about it. I’m sure it’d be delicious. For the rest of the flavors, I’d advocate a more traditionally sweet route: Candied Sweet Potato, Cranberry Relish, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, and Sweet Corn/Corn Pudding/Corn Bread (I’ll leave it to the marketing folks to figure out which one works best, but basically it should taste a lot like the existing Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly). Best part: If they sold them year round, you could have Thanksgiving year round!
Cranberry Relish Gourmet Chocolate Bar: My mother makes the world’s best cranberry relish. I’m not at liberty to disclose the recipe here, but involves chopping up the cranberries, mixing them with chopped pecans, grated orange peel, and a ton of sugar, and letting it sit in the fridge for a long time so the sugar draws out the berry juice and soaks the rest of the ingredients with it. It’s delicious and it’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It would also make a great gourmet candy bar. Think of it: Rich dark chocolate, chock full of dried cranberry bits, orange peel, and chopped pecan. It would be somewhere between the traditional Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut and the schmancier artisanal bars bursting on the scene now with their sea salt, bacon, and chilis. You know you want one RIGHT NOW!
Kick Up the Cranberry: Thinking about this over the last few days, it’s become increasingly clear to me that cranberry is sadly underutilized as a candy flavor. I know, cranberries in their natural state are painfully tart. But soak those babies in enough sugar and you’ve got a deliciously tangy, rich fruity taste that leaves the more popular cherry and grape flavors in the dust. Craisins are already basically candy, in my book. If someone wants to start manufacturing cranberry flavored hard candies, I’d also applaud. But, more important, adding special edition, cranberry flavored candies would also be a great way for existing candy brands to honor the Thanksgiving holiday (I now declare my crusade to make cranberry the official candy flavor of Thanksgiving, as Peppermint now is for Christmas). Consider: bags of Runts that replace the disgusting mango with delicious cranberry Runts. Cranberry flavored Skittles and Starburst added to the mix in those candies during the month of November. Cranberry Nerds, perhaps? M&Ms is now making cherry chocolate M&Ms–why not cranberry chocolate as well? And I think cranberry candy would truly meet its pinnacle in the sugary/sour genre. We already have sour peach rings and sour watermelon slices. Why not sour cranberry balls as well?
Black Licorice Pilgrims: It’s no secret that I love black licorice. I live for the bags of black licorice jelly beans available only at Easter. More important, black licorice pilgrim candies would be adorable: Little chunks of black licorice, molded into the shape of boy and girl pilgrims. Think something like black licorice, pilgrim shaped Swedish Fish. Or black licorice Twizzlers molded into pilgrim shape. Black licorice is kind of an austere candy any way, in keeping with puritan values, and the Pilgrims are always depicted in black clothes. Think of the educational ways that uncle so-and-so could act out the story of the first Thanksgiving with little black licorice pilgrims! Get the kiddies interested in history. I love this idea and want to see it in stores NOW.
What other ideas do you have for Thanksgiving candies? Put them in the comments below.