Beer Pretzel Caramels, Bacon-Caramel Popcorn, and So Much More

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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

When Rhonda Kave (better known as Roni-Sue) drops by the Serious Eats office with a bag of sweets, we jump to attention like dogs before a dripping raw steak. And the queen of bacon chocolate would never lead us astray. Thanks to her, we're now card-carrying fans of Liddabit Sweets.

Two French Culinary Institute grads, Liz Gutman (an assistant chocolateer at Roni-Sue’s Chocolates) and Jen King (who's worked under the pastry chef at Per Se) launched Liddabit Sweets with this line of wacky confections, currently sold every Saturday at the Brooklyn Flea.

These ain't your trick-or-treater's candy bars. There's clearly a pastry chef at work behind chocolate bars like The King, a crumbly brown-butter cookie topped with peanut butter nougat and chocolate, or the S'more, a dark graham cracker with marshmallow and a smoked souchong tea ganache.

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But the greatest discovery had to be the Beer and Pretzel Caramels—an elusive whiff of beer only deepening the smoky toffee taste, saved from the brink of richness by the salty pretzel crunch. "It's like an adult version of a childhood thing," Ed Levine proclaimed. "That's fucking good. And I don't even like beer."

The bacon explosion—and the one night you can taste it all, after the jump.

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We also got to try some incredible fudgy brownies and almond-studded cookies from Gotham Cookies, recently launched by Roni-Sue's other assistant, Michelle. As for Roni-Sue herself? True to form, she left some pretty incredible buttercrunch cookies, along with the embarrassingly addictive BaCorn: essentially a version of kettle corn with crisped, candied bacon bits and toasted chile pinon nuts. The only unhappy person in our office right now is Ed—this table of goodness puts anyone's serious diet in serious jeopardy.

Want to taste it all for yourself? Stop by Swirl's Dessert & Wine Tasting on September 23rd, 2009 from 7 to 9 PM, where the goodies from Roni-Sue, Gotham Cookies, Liddabit Sweets, and other independent sweetmakers will all be paired with wines for the tasting. Tickets are $35, available here. Come say hello—we'll be the ones in the corner with the beer-pretzel caramels.

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