Playing with Candy (Or How to Dip and Decorate Marshmallows)

When you’re prepping your birthday party candy bar, it’s probably best to listen to happy music like Mtume’s Juicy Fruit (if it sounds familiar it’s because Biggie sampled it for Juicy). Or Michael’s The Way You Make Me Feel. It’s also a good idea to wander into your bedroom to make sure your enormous dog isn’t eating anything like, say, the remote control to your hanging lanterns.

Well, I thought it looked like fun. Also, you were playing with candy and you weren’t giving me any.

So anyway, today I decided to experiment with marshmallows and sprinkles. I used white chocolate and corn syrup as agents to attach the sprinkles to the marshmallows. I think I prefer the white chocolate method; it adds more flavor, it dries faster, and it basically just works better all around.

I played around with the sprinkles I happened to have in my pantry for this draft, but I will likely discard most of the dipped marshmallows for a variety of reasons. My green gum balls are supposed to arrive from Amazon on Monday, and I intend for them to anchor the candy bar. Once I have them in the apothecary jar, I’ll have a better idea of my actual color palette.

I dried the marshmallows on a cookie sheet to prevent them from sticking to the table. I still managed to make a big mess of things anyway.

By the way, if you decide to use melted white chocolate chips as a dipping agent, make sure you add Crisco to the chips, otherwise you will never achieve the proper consistency to adhere the chocolate to the marshmallows. Remember my cake pop disaster? Yeah, the same principles sort of apply to marshmallow dipping too. Also, if you want to dip both ends it’s best to dip one end, let it dry for a bit, and then dip the other end. (I found that less of the sprinkles slid off that way.)

Now that we’ve covered white chocolate and gravity, it’s time to move on to the next part of the candy bar: the gummy crocodiles. While I was on a quest for affordable sprinkles to fill the vases for my floral arrangements, I found amazing gummy gators. Since a flesh-eating crocodile (croc/gator, close enough) is featured prominently in Peter Pan, I thought it was only appropriate to buy every box they had… even if they only had two.

I love gummy anything, and these “gummi” gators are super yummy. (I had to sample a few — you know to make sure I’m not poisoning my party guests or whatever.)

It’s quite likely that most of our partygoers won’t know the book as well as I do, so I’m making little cards with quotes from the novel explaining the more obscure details of the party décor. For the gummy gator/crocs, I’m going with this passage:

“’I have often,’ said Smee, ‘noticed your strange dread of crocodiles.’

‘Not of crocodiles,’ Hook corrected him, ‘but of that one crocodile.’”

Oh, and speaking of crocodiles, this croc will be chasing my watermelon Jolly Roger carving.

Amazon had other plastic crocodile options, but this one seemed appropriately feisty. And just basically, bad ass.

I’m going with this quote for the pirate ship/plastic croc display, “’It liked my arm so much, Smee, that it has followed me ever since, from sea to sea and from land to land, licking its lips for the rest of me.’”

This greedy croc has stolen my suckers.

Once I wrestle my suckers back from him, I have plans for the confections that likely involve hanging them from trees with ribbons. More on that later….

Fashion Parade Pity Party (Or I Don’t Know What to Wear So I’m Making a Playlist Instead)

Prince makes many appearances on my birthday party playlist. I adore him even though he does weird things with his face. Photo Courtesy of The Urban Daily.

I just spent the last hour in my walk-in trying to figure out what to wear to my birthday party next weekend. Now that I’m nearly suicidal, I think I need to switch gears. It’s time to work on the party playlist. Last year I neglected the task and I swear we ended up listening to way too much emo hipster music. Six hours of whining white boys is only appropriate for a mass suicide. (Or my fashion parade pity party.) Party playlists need to have the right amount of Whitney. And Michael. I mean really….

Sadly, I will have to forego some of my favorite hip hop tunes owing to the number of toddlers who will be in attendance next Sunday. I don’t want to be responsible for some kid standing a chair singing, “To the windows, to the walls, ‘til the sweat drips down my balls” in front of his entire preschool class. (We’re saving Lil’ Jon for my 35th next summer. There won’t be any children at that gathering.)

So, anyway…

It’s a 7 hour playlist, so I’m going to spare you the specifics, but here are a few of my faves that made the list:

Michael Jackson: Bad (I mean, obviously.)

Shaggy: Oh Carolina (And, yes, this song is from the Sliver Soundtrack, but I don’t care. It’s still a fresh jam even if I have no idea what “Prowl off. Jump and Prance,” means. It’s probably dirty but if I don’t get it, the toddlers won’t either.)

Nina Simone & Felix da Housecat: Sinnerman Remixed (I love Nina Simone’s original as well, but it’s obviously not right for a festive event.)

Junior Walker and The All Stars: Shotgun (Because it makes me want to dance on a table in my heels. And also because it’s all kinds of awesome.)

Lupe Fiasco featuring Trey Songz: Out of My Head (Kinda chill but sooo fun.)

Tiesto featuring C.C. Sheffield: Escape Me (Great tune for working out and also for just hanging out and being fabulous with friends.)

Eric Prydz vs. Floyd: Proper Education (Obviously I love Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall from The Wall, but this version has a better party feel.)

MGMT: Electric Feel (Like Modest Mouse’s Float On, this song never gets old.)

Prince: 1999 (It wouldn’t be a party without a bit of Prince. OK, there’s A LOT of Prince on my playlist, but it’s only because I love him. Like REALLY love him.)

Mark Morrison: Return of the Mack (Because I’m not about to neglect the 90s — or leave it to Shaggy to represent them by himself.)

Hank Williams, Jr.: Family Tradition (It’s essential to throw in some country. Just ‘cuz it’s awesome.)

Barney Stinson may believe the best mixes are all rise, but I think you need to chill things out a bit towards the end of the night — especially on a Sunday. Here are some of my slower jams.

The Rolling Stones: Beast of Burden (My second favorite Stones song of all time behind You Can’t Always Get What You Want.)

Otis Redding: The Dock of the Bay (This is a super obvious Otis tune, but it’s such a classic I can’t help myself. I have SO much Otis. I adore Otis.)

Paul Anka: Eye of the Tiger (If you haven’t checked his cover album, Rock Swings, do it. Now. You’ll thank me later.)

Oh, and because it’s a Peter Pan Party, I had to add Hook’s tarantella, Another Princely Scheme, from the Broadway musical.

Tomorrow I’ll give you an update on the flower arrangement crisis as well as the candy bar….