i have a new second favorite time of day and that's the moment directly preceding a night's sleep. (obviously the first is morning time when eggboy and i sing and dance, make eggs, chug coffee, etc.) this new second favorite moment comes after i've flossed, put on a mountain of lip balm, and removed myself from the day's work via a large buffer of pinterest .

it's when all that's left is a lullaby of thoughts, coaxing me to slumber. 

the lovely lovely genre of bedtime thoughts: it doesn't judge you--it encourages you--if all you want to do is dream up the fluffiest goat you ever did think. the chocolatiest cake you ever could eat. it doesn't allow much room for negative nancies, because that's called a thought that keeps you up, not one that puts you to sleep. and you have few distractions because, with the correct blackout shades, it can feel as if everyone else in the world is safe and sound and doing the same. 

and so i've really enjoyed this sweet little moment, and it has recently brought in so many happy ideas, many of them fueled by plans for my future chickens, and many of them inspired by my asian grocery finds from last week's trip to chicago. a two pound bag of sesame seeds, matcha green tea powder, and two gems that i about fainted when i found: ube and pandan extracts. oh you bet i lie at night thinking up the possibilities.

ube was introduced to me a few years ago by way of taro soft serve at the sadly now closed phileo yogurt in the west village. ube and taro aren't the same, but in my brain they kind of are because they're both purple root vegetables and they have a very similar flavor. the flavor reminds me of cookies and cream and i looooove it. 

normally when i have ube, it is in the form of ice cream or a popsicle. but because licorice just felt more... i don't know, appropriate for the north pole in january, i made licorice. i made a few substitutions to this red licorice recipe and the buttery flavor said to me i am a caramel. whatevs. caramel, licorice, they both keep the dentist in business. 

ube chews

based on this recipe

makes about 24 long twists. or a lotttt of little nubbins (that's what i did).


1/2 c flour*

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ube extract (available here)

purple gel food coloring, optional

1 stick unsalted butter

1 c white sugar

1/2 c light corn syrup

1/2 c sweetened condensed milk

1/4 c honey

*the recipe that this is based on uses gluten free flour with 1/4 tsp xanthan gum. i didn't test this, but i bet they would come out just as well!


grease or butter a 9-inch square baking dish and set it aside. mix together the flour and salt and set it aside. have your extract, measuring spoon, and food coloring readily available.

in a large pot fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the butter, sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk, and honey over medium high heat. as the butter melts, slowly stir to combine. once it's melted and everything is mixed together, do not stir. when it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium.

heat the mixture to 240ºf, remove from heat, and immediately stir in the flour mixture and then the flavoring and food coloring. pour into your prepared pan. 

chill for 30 minutes in the fridge and then use kitchen sheers to cut into your desired shape. allow to cool at room temperature. enjoy!