Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Ode to Sprinkles

Don't you just want to take a nibble from this big sugar cookie?
No, not that Sprinkles (btw though their cupcakes are tasty there are others I prefer.) I'm taking about sprinkles. Chocolate. Rainbow. Funfetti. The bursts of sugar always add a little fun to a sugary treat.

Sprinkles are French in origin and date back to the late 18th century when they were called pieces montees (please excuse the lack of accents) translating to "assembled pieces". Nonpareils ("without equal") are circular balls of sugar. Nonpareils (synonymous with the round chocolate candy in light pastel colors) are also a favorite of mine because their little white bubbles on chocolate make my heart sing on Snow-Caps at the movies.

The mouthwatering showcase of sprinkled treats at Sweet Mandy B's
Sprinkles instantly solicit fun and childlike pleasures. My fiance is obsessed with rainbow sprinkles in particular; he never met one he didn't like. I celebrate his enthusiasm and continue to look for new baked goodies with the sugary confection to tantalize his (and of course my) taste buds.

Rainbow sprinkle cupcakes I baked for Jonno (recipe courtesy of M. Stewart)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Day Trip to Madison

Sitting at the Terrace with Annie & Jackie
Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending the day in Madison, Wisconsin. Just a few years ago (ahem, OK over a decade ago) I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and it's always fun to go back for a visit with my girlfriends, especially during the summer.

Dane County Farmers' Market - Madison, WI
The Dane County Farmers' Market bills itself as the largest producer-only farmers market in the US, and it truly is an event. Every Saturday farmers, cheesemongers, bakers and the likes setup shop around the beautiful state capital. There's live music galore and the scene (especially on a beautiful summer's day) is a spectacle.

Look at those curds! (courtesy of
Babcock Hall Dairy - ice cream made at UW!
After perusing the market and making a few purchases (carrots, baby zucchini, green onions and some delightful tea breads) we took a break for lunch. Lucky for us Annie had done her research and steered us towards a wonderful restaurant on the square called The Old Fashioned. The food had a distinctively fresh Wisconsin focus to its menu. I left a happy diner after eating a walleye sandwich, and the ladies had some of the best cheese curds I can remember eating too!

Yes, UW makes it's own ice cream!

After some shopping along State Street, it was time for the Memorial Union Terrace. Situated on Lake Mendota, our student union is stunning. There are few other campus who could boast the views, the beer selection, or the ice cream that UW can proudly claim. We each enjoyed ice cream (I had banana peanut butter) as we sat outside and reflected on the day and our next adventure together.

View of Madison looking at the Capital from State Street