Saturday, July 31, 2010

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

After an entire month of celebrating ice cream, your Chocolate Priestess has to wonder why "National Ice Cream Sandwich Day" is Monday, August 2nd.   There are several newspaper articles cited in this 2004 report from the blog "The Big Apple" that use the term "ice cream sandwich" to describe various treats which were basically cookies with ice cream between them.  These are newspapers from New Jersey and New York I notice which is not surprising given that many food fads and develops happen first on the coasts much like fashion and entertain trends begin there before moving toward the heartland of America.

But that didn't tell me why there is a fun food holiday for this treat. I searched and searched the Internet sources I often turn to but no one has uncovered who created them.  I can say as a trained historian that when the phrase "ice cream sandwich" shows up in three different newspapers in the same year, this suggest that it wasn't an unknown treat but it was new enough that it was worthy of notice and a store's highlighting of their sales of said treat suggest it was popular.

And why shouldn't it be?  It takes two wonderful treats -- ice cream and cookies -- and creates a new hybrid treat that is a bit messy to eat but also not difficult for anyone to make at home.  While you don't have to use chocolate in these I would like all of you to tell me about the last time you did have chocolate with your ice cream sandwich.  Did you make it yourself using homemade ice cream and cookies?  Did you make it at home using store bought versions of one or both of the main ingredients?  Or did you buy it at a shop, grocery or eat it in another person's house?

Just as we reviewed a lot of Klondike bars in July, I'm going to look two types of ice cream sandwiches they offer using the two $5 coupons the company sent me.  August is also Klondike's third summer video contest called "Ball Toss" which will offer prizes for any one who likes games both video and live action along with a cash prize.

I'll start with the Mrs. Fields variety of the sandwich cookie which is vanilla flavored light ice cream between two of that fashion cookie maker's chocolate chip cookies.  Here on The Chocolate Cult we did a Sacrament of some of Mrs. Fields product for Valentine's Day so this will be a review of the treat from Klondike, not a critique of the cookie itself even though that is the only source of chocolate.  There are 4 cookie in a box instead of 6 like we will see with the original vanilla sandwich cookie in a couple of paragraphs.  I found these in my nearby Marsh Supermarket where they sell for about $4.07 average price making this $1 per cookie sandwich.  1 sandwich has 220 calories but these are made of 4g saturated fat, much less than we found in the bars previously reviewed, <5mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, <1g fiber, 20g sugars, 3g protein, 2% vitamin A and 6% of both calcium and iron an adult needs daily.

The cookie is 2.5 inches in diameter with an entire thickness of 1.25 inches weighing 4oz.  I put it on plate I'll be doing another Sacrament about next weekend.  It came wrapped in transparent plastic that unwrapped easily.  It has a very strong vanilla ice cream scent.  The cookies are firm but they aren't hard or crispy, clearly they are the soft type of chocolate chip cookie your Chocolate Priestess personally prefers.  There are 9-10 bites in this treat.  Each one is cold as you'd expect with the dominant flavor of vanilla, sugar, and a hint of bitterness when I ate a chip.  These are very, very sweet and are exactly what I expected from light ice cream and Mrs. Fields cookies.

The original Klondike sandwich is a light vanilla ice cream between two chocolate cookies and given the amount of chocolate I can just see, I expect more of our favorite flavor.  6 sandwiches come in one box and each one weighs 4.23oz so bigger than the previous variety as well as two extra treats. The result is a better buy at the same price or 68¢ per sandwich.  Each sandwich is 180 calories made up of 2.5g saturated fat (the best so far for Klondike's we've reviewed), 10mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, <1g fiber, 16g sugars, 3g protein, 4% vitamin A and 8% calcium an adult needs daily.

The sandwich is a 2.75 inch square cookie covers over the light vanilla ice cream making the entire thing 1.38 inches tall.  When I think ice cream sandwich I have to say that this is what I've always thought of -- two soft chocolate wafer cookies on two sides of ice cream.  There is a chocolate variety from Klondike but there are round and the only box I saw was half vanilla, half chocolate and I wanted to make sure I did the traditional variety I remembered from my childhood.  It has a vanilla and light cocoa scent and the cookie sticks to my fingers which are much warmer than the freezer.  The cookie part has a light cocoa flavor as well but is mostly flour tasting with a hint of sugar but then the ingredient show only cocoa not other chocolate added.  It bites easily and doesn't break though it is also completely silent.  It's just like I remember it being from my childhood.

Klondike used to just be one type of chocolate coated ice cream bar but now they've grown to include a wide assortment of treats. To see what else they have to offer, check out their main website.  Remember the contest as well and let us know here in The Chocolate Cult so we can all go vote for a winner later in August 2010.  If you choose wisely these are nice treats for yourself and your family that have built in portion control plus you can eat the with your hands making it feasible for almost anyone to handle.

Friday, July 30, 2010

National Cheesecake Day

Today is "National Cheesecake Day" and so in honor your Chocolate Priestess decided to try and make a cheesecake.  There's a story behind this if you'd care to continue reading.

The very first failure I ever had as a wife when it came to cooking was my first attempt at making a chocolate cheesecake.  You didn't think I'd make a plain cheesecake, did you?  Really?  No, no, no. I was a chocoholic back then and the idea of making anything else was foreign to me.  Of course now it's still foreign but in healthier reasons, right?

While I tried to make this recipe healthier it still is very decadent.  Did I say recipe?  Yes!  I did.  The first I'll be posting here on The Chocolate Cult.  We've had a few other recipes in the interviews I've done but this is my first one.  I based this on a "Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake" dessert I adapted many years ago.  Recently I've seen several food bloggers use peanut butter cookies in various forms as crusts or bottoms for their desserts so I adapted this further.

First, mix up the peanut butter cookies as normal.  I used the Betty Crocker mixes because I had some on sale and since this has three big mixing steps I wanted to say some time.  I followed the directions but made a double batch since I used a 9X13 inch glass pan.  This recipe has a lot of oil, in total about one cup so I used Smart Balance brand which is higher in omega fatty oils which my doctor suggested I switch to.  This recipe also uses a lot of eggs, in total 5 of them, but I used an generic version of Egg Beaters from Kroger.

Then the White Chocolate Acolyte helped me out by spreading the peanut butter cookie mixture in the pan while I went on to step two.  He helped me a tremendous amount because the cookie batter is oily and wanted to slip down the pan's sides.  It would have really slipped if I had to do all these steps by myself.

While he did that I made up a batch of Kroger brand plain brownies according to the directions.  It's open in this picture so it looks very tall.  *smile*  I choose this because even with sales and coupons, it was still almost $1 less than the nearest big brand name variety.  I'm using it with the cheesecake not on it's own so I figured I didn't need to spend even more money.  To that I added 24oz of soften light cream cheese, again the Kroger variety, 1 egg, 1tsp vanilla, 2T cocoa, and 1/3 C sugar (Splenda).

I mixed it all together for about four minutes on the highest setting on my standing mixer in the hopes it would really get all the cream cheese blended well.  Then I carefully spooned it over the peanut butter crust and smoothed it out.  At first I was concerned my crust was too thick but I think this is fine because cheesecake rises only a little bit.

Here are the brief version of the recipe:

"Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Cookie Cheesecake" by The Chocolate Priestess
Ingredients:
2 pouches of peanut butter cookie mix made as directions state
1 brownie mix for a 9X13 pan made as directions state
24oz light cream cheese softened
1 egg substitute
1tsp real vanilla
1T cocoa powder
1/3 C sugar

Press peanut butter cookie mix into 9X13 inch pan, flattening it out on the bottom and building up on all four sides.  Mix brownies as directed.  Add in extra egg, vanilla, cocoa, and sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add in softened light cream cheese one package at a time.  Mix for four minutes on highest setting scraping the sides of bowl as necessary.  Spoon over cookie crust and smooth out.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  Turn off oven but leave cake inside for five more minutes.  Remove and allow to cool away from the oven for at least one hour before cutting into 16+ pieces.  Refrigerate any left over dessert.  If you don't think it is firm enough after an hour, and I often do not think it is quite what I expect from cheesecake, you can put it in the refrigerator until it's a firmness you like but this is cheesecake, it isn't going to be as firm as a regular cake or brownies or peanut butter cookies.  Baking it longer is not feasible since that will burn the cookie crust.


I ended up letting it set overnight in the refrigerator.  Then we couldn't wait any longer and I served one piece each to myself and the Milk Chocolate Acolyte who was too busy eating it with a smile on his face to tell me if it was good or not.  Below is the picture of those two slices.  It tastes very much like a rich cheesecake but the peanut butter of the crust also baked into the cake to make it a great chocolate and peanut combination. Very decadent so I hope we get guests tonight to help us finish this off.  I have a Sacrament to do tomorrow for you all.  I don't need too much of this cake around.



So please tell me what you did to celebrate "National Cheesecake Day".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Chocolate Milk Day

Today, July 28th, is "National Chocolate Milk Day" and in honor of it, your Chocolate Priestess is going to review "Horizon Organic Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk" which is a shelf stable product, meaning you can simply store it in the pantry until you use it.  This is a 8oz container that I purchased at Kroger in the organic foods section of our local store when it was on sale for $1.  Frankly that is an outrageous price for one serving of milk so I can't recommend you buy it unless it is on sale.

This one bottle has 180 calories composed of 3g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, less than a gram of fiber, 27g sugars (including evaporated can juice for some odd reason), 8g protein, 2% iron, 10% vitamin A, and 25% each of calcium and vitamin D.

Sweet is the best way to describe this once I've opened the top, expanded the attached straw and inserted it to take a sip.  In fact, overwhelming sweet is a great way to describe this.  For my tastes, this is just too sweet though I'm sure some of you will think that's crazy.  I want my chocolate products to taste chocolate, first and foremost and this tastes like sugar -- review the nutritional information though and why was I surprised?  As I keep drinking the sweet turns into a bitter aftertaste that is almost a shock to my mouth.  Whatever had to be done to make this shelf stable perhaps fits into the "organic" label but this is a good example that not all "organic" or "natural" products are the best tasting or necessarily the healthiest for you.  We've all ready reviewed other chocolate milks here on The Chocolate Cult that taste more like chocolate and are better nutrition.

Shelf stable may be what you need and if so, this is one type of acceptable chocolate milk you can chose to purchase.  I'll keep my eyes open for others and reveal them to you as we continue our Journey together.

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Klondike No Sugar Vanilla Bar Review

This is the last Klondike bar review for July 2010.  The folks from Klondike have seen our honest reviews, the good, the bad, the middle of the road reactions, and sent us some coupons for free products so they will be some of our Sacraments for August in time for their final contest of the summer.

This is the vanilla, what I like to think of as the original Klondike flavor, of their "no sugar added" line which used to be called "Slim-A-Bear".  I actually liked that name a lot myself but what did you all think of that label?  Like the Krunch variety, this comes in a silver box and the bars are wrapped in plain white plastic sleeves.  One bar has 170 calories made of 8g saturated fat (still a lot!), 5mg cholesterol, 65mg sodium, 4g fiber (good amount), 7g sugars, 6g sugar alcohols, 4g protein, 4% vitamin A and 15% of the calcium an adult needs daily.  

This tastes more chocolaty than the Krunch variety but if you look on the ingredients list, the only difference is really the rice crisps.  Without their flavor dulling the cocoa, the cocoa is allowed to come out more. However just as before there are very unnecessary added oils and flavors to this products.  Note to Creators: Please don't compromise the chocolate just to cut back on sugar or calories, it really is not necessary if you go with darker variety and higher cocoa content versions.  This tastes very similar to the original variety of Klondike so if you like those but want to have less sugar in your diet, give these a try.

In the next week or two Klondike will be featured as a Sacrament as I use the coupons they sent us to try out some of their non-bar products.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Van's Signature Assortment, Part One

After a very busy spring and summer it is time to go back to some of the wonderful chocolatiers who have sent in products for your Chocolate Priestess and her Acolytes to reveal to you all.  I hope you all remember Van's Chocolates because we looked at their Assorted Selection back in January of 2010.  Now we'll look at the huge sample they sent us of their Signature Collection which includes a wide range of chocolates they hand make.  Don't worry, these were tested long before this review was posted and they were kept under moisture and temperature controls.

As you can see, this Signature Collection includes 24 types of chocolates, some of them two identical pieces which made the Acolytes and our friends very happy.  However there was no guide included in the box  and I can only find photos on the website for some of the truffles so this will be a taste and guess adventure again for us, Sisters and Brothers.  This box contains various types of chocolate candies from their Turtles, Caramels, Meltaways, Nut Clusters, Butter Toffees and Creams selection but I also see Truffles here as well.  If the shapes are traditional, we can use that as a guide for us today.

The two pieces that are 1 inch cubes turn out to be Caramels in milk and dark chocolate varieties.  The milk chocolate variety has a very vanilla hint to it's fragrance while the darker one is more cocoa in scent.  The milk chocolate caramel is very tangy and chewy, the sweetness slightly overpowering the chocolate itself.  The dark caramel is firmer when I take a bite and the chocolate easily competes to balanced with the tangy, chewy center. 

Five rectangular pieces measuring 1.25 X 1 X 0.75 inches in shape come in three dark and two milk chocolate variations.  After trying these, I think these may be the Meltaways because they aren't creamy enough to be the Creams.  The milk chocolates vary by the design swirled on the top by the chocolate coating.  The one with a sort of curlicue on the top and the other with  two parallel drizzle trails.  The first has a sort of vanilla scent to it.  It is very soft when I take a bite to reveal what seems to be a very, very creamy peanut butter semi-soft center.  This is more chocolate and cream than strongly peanut nutty.  The other piece has a stronger vanilla flavor and a semi-solid second of more milk chocolate.

The three dark chocolate rectangles differ by drizzle pattern and color.  The one with a vertical drizzle smells only of darker chocolate.  Inside with a soft snap of the other shell I find a semi-solid, coffee flavored center.  The dark with four while drizzle lines across it horizontally has a hard to identify scent that isn't just the chocolate.  Inside is a semi-soft center with tiny nut pieces.  I try to decipher it and it isn't hazelnuts but I can't be certain what type of nut it is either though my instinct is saying walnut based on flavor, texture and crunch.  That leaves us with the dark chocolate rectangle with two parallel drizzles on the top.  Again I just smell the dark chocolate when I lift it to my nose.  Inside is a light, milk chocolate semi-solid center that melts in my mouth very quickly.  This piece can produce a slight buzz in just two bites so eat it slowly.

Our next two samples are probably the Toffee pieces because they came in a set of two each measuring 1.25 X 1 X 0.4 inches in dimensions and toffees tend to be smaller in height.  Plus they each have a definite toffee tang to their scent through both types of chocolate.  The milk variety is fairly thick over a toffee center that has pieces of almonds in it and which mights a nice crunch with each chew.  The butter tang is a good counter to the milk chocolate.  The dark version tastes more bitter because or the chocolate but the buttery toffee and nuts are still in good balance making these winners in the chocolate and toffee category among all the varieties we've seen so far on The Chocolate Cult.

Our final three pieces will be the three Turtles that came in this selection. Two of these are milk chocolate while one is a dark chocolate base.  According to their website the Turtles should be made with pecans but then I wonder why the two milk chocolate varieties?  We'll see when we get to them, Sisters and Brothers.  These measures about 1.75 inches across but vary in shape as a handmade turtle should be.  The first milk chocolate turtle has a very buttery caramel inside of it that sticks to my mouth and teeth as well as crunchy nut pieces.  The other milk chocolate turtle has a sweeter taste.  I think the first was a traditional pecan based turtle while the second is a cashew variation.  Both are a good mixture of the milk chocolate, the crunchy nuts, and a tangy or sweet caramel.   The dark variation turns out to contain a buttery caramel with pecan nuts.  It really sticks to my teeth as I chew making the caramel the final flavor overpowering the dark chocolate.

This very generous offering from Van's Chocolates was a delight to reveal to you all. In one month, on August 28, 2010, we'll post part two of this Saturday Sacrament for you to consider.  So one half pound revealed today, and the other half pound tomorrow.  I wonder how huge their five pound boxes must be!

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Klondike Slim-a-Bear Krunch Bar Review

Two final Klondike bars to review in our July series, Sisters and Brothers, and it is time we turn to their "Slim-a-Bear" varieties.  The first up is the "No Sugar Added" Krunch bars which come in a silver, full coverage box but are wrapped in plain white plastic sleeves.  The name, "Slim-a-Bear" refers to the Klondike mascot of a polar bear.  In real life a polar bear would not be healthy if she were too slim, a problem for them as their environment changes and their food supply becomes more difficult to find but in a good chunk of the industrialized world,  weighing too much is a problem (or so we are told).

One bar has 170 calories made up of 8g saturated fat, 5mg cholesterol, 85mg sodium, 4g fiber, 7g sugars, 7g sugar alcohols, 4g protein, with 4% vitamin A, 15% calcium, and 4% iron an adult needs daily.  It is also kosher the box says.  However, in terms of chocolate it is only flavored with some cocoa and a lot of added oils which explains the very waxy flavor it had.  It also has an odd taste, not really sweet and definitely not bitter just strange.  It does have crispy rice in it so it has a nice crunch but over all not a very pleasurable treat.

I really wish companies would not cut out or limit the chocolate content to save on calories. Ultimately they do not save that many and if you look at the labels, they could save more by limiting added sugars and added fats.  Ice cream usually uses some sugar but you do not need to add fats or oils and you certainly do not need to add fats or oils to chocolate anything.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Klondike Dark Chocolate Bar Review

Your Chocolate Priestess's nearby Kroger supermarket also had the Klondike variety she had been hoping for: Dark Chocolate.  As followers will know, dark is her favorite general variety of chocolate but as I hope you have learned, that covers a wide range of cocoa contents.  I'm not sure how much cocoa content is in these but it isn't terribly high given the lack of any true bitterness in the chocolate shell.  This bar is simply two basic components: light vanilla ice cream and the dark chocolate coating.  I liked this as much as the original flavor but I could definitely taste this was darker just not as dark as some of us might like.  As you can see in the photo the coating was stressed along the borders when I took one bite but over all it was no more messy than most of the other varieties.

One bar has 240 calories made up of 11g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 1g fiber, 22g sugars, 3g protein with 2% iron, 6% vitamin A, and 8% of the calcium an adult needs daily.  At this point in our series of Klondike reviews I noticed that each of these flavors has a unique color on the box and the silver foil wrapper for each bar making it easy to tell them apart.  I even mixed them up to store them in my frozen making it more of a surprise though we have to check for our Milk Chocolate Acolyte's sake.  Our next two reviews will be of the "no added sugar" varieties and their boxes and wrappers are quite different as you will see soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Survey on Chocolate

A fellow chocolate lover has let your Chocolate Priestess know about her PhD research study about economics, chocolate, ethics and the effects of an economic recession on all these issues.

If you have time, please do help her so we can learn more about ourselves and have an active voice in they study of chocolate.

Here is a LINK to the study.

Let me know if it works or does not work for you, Sisters and Brothers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

National Ice Cream Day

Today, Sisters and Brothers, is another "National Ice Cream Day" of which there appear to be several different days associated with.  Considering this is "National Ice Cream Month" I'm not sure why we need a particular day to mark this frozen treat or why the month didn't start off on this day.

Your Chocolate Priestess was planning to do a Special Sacramental Review of an ice cream maker and company sent her today but yesterday before I started mixing the ingredients I very wisely checked to make sure it would mix by following the directions and putting in brand new batteries.  It didn't work.  Upon closer inspection it appears the contacts inside the device are bent, possibly the wiring may be damaged as well.  I let the company know and we'll see if they do anything about it.

Instead let me share this image and item from Bruster's Ice Cream which has a brand near us.  I got a waffle bowl and was informed by the clerk that it came with three scoops of ice cream -- it would have been wonderful if that information has been on the menu at the kiosk itself.  From the bottom to the top, the flavors I ordered were Chocolate with Hershey's Special Dark, Chocolate, Cookie Dough with Tollhouse cookie dough.  I really love how the clerk stacked them from darkest, most chocolate to the lightest, least chocolate.  If I'd been smart I would have not gotten the waffle bowl itself and save a few hundred calories. I was just so disappointed by the ice cream maker not working that I over did it.

So how did you enjoy ice cream this weekend?  Are you planning on honoring this fun holiday and having ice cream today?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Foursome of Original Flavors


Fleurir Home Grown Chocolates makes at least 18 different flavors of truffles and they sent your Chocolate Priestess four of these.  These are preservative free so I was advised to eat them within a month.  I did so but more time has passed between that and the review you are seeing today.  It's great to be busy but sometimes it means the Sacraments you read, Sisters and Brothers, aren't written just hours before they are posted.

The little color brochure that came with this box has beautifully painted representations of the truffles so it was easy to determine which four they sent me: "Raspberry," "Spumoni," "85% Dark" and "Carrot Cake".  At least two of these are the first time I've ever tried that particular chocolate flavor.  Each truffle measures 1 X 1 X 0.75 inches whether it is white, milk or dark chocolate.  Each is painted with what appears to be edible ink in a unique design matching the flavor on the insert or on the clickable website which I'll link directly to at the end of the review.

The milk chocolate ganache "Raspberry" will start our Sacrament today.  I would not have guessed this was a raspberry flavor given the light green and flower painting on the top -- I would have guessed a mint or green tea.  But it has the creamy milk chocolate scent and also a strong raspberry essence as well indicates it's true nature.  Immediately the chocolate begins to melt in my fingers showing it's purity.  My first bite makes no noise as my bite sink into the semi-solid dark chocolate center that actually quite creamy in texture. At first the raspberry is tame then it increases with each bite though both the milk and dark chocolate balance with the fruitiness very well to make this one of the best raspberry chocolates I've had since The Chocolate Cult began.

When I think "Spumoni" I think ice cream or cake, not truffle and yet here is a truffle of this flavor under the green, blue and red painted long-stemmed flowers.  This is also a milk chocolate ganache on the outside and thus smells almost identical to the previous piece minus the fruity scent.  A soft, easy bite into the creamy center reveals two layers.  The top is a dark chocolate with hazelnuts that crunch while the bottom is pistachio green with a jelly like consistency of marzipan.  This isn't a combination of flavors I've ever had in a chocolate before and while I'm not a big fan of pistachio it really does blend very well with the hazelnuts to become something I'm happy to say I enjoy.

I just know I will love the "85% Dark" truffle because as you may recall, Sisters and Brothers, I love the darker chocolates.  This has blue and red flowers and circles painted on the top to clearly indicate the flavor as well as a very bitter essence when I take a whiff of it.  There is no sound when I take a bite to discover an almost dry, semi-solid center that tastes very cocoay and bitter.  This is a truffle only for the darkest chocolate lover who wants an immediate buzz which describes me almost perfectly!  I'm not sharing this one, I'll take the other two bites of this three bite truffle myself and just float on a chocolate high for a bit before continuing with this revelation.

Back down to Earth again, I tackle the "Carrot Cake" and I'm a bit wary.  See, I've never had carrot cake. I like to keep my vegetables and desserts separate in my life.  But part of my job for all of you is to be open-minded and try new chocolates and new flavors. This photo was difficult to shoot for some reason -- the white chocolate shell isn't this yellow but is certainly not white either as the images on the brochure and online suggest.  It really has only a white chocolate scent meaning not much beyond a milky essence when I breath it in.  This has a much thicker shell than the other three and inside are large pieces of walnuts along with a very solid spicy and carroty center filling.  Very different and I bet this tastes like carrot cake.  Maybe I should I should give that a try?  Nah, that's just take time away from the Sacred Substance but this was pretty great.

Each of these four flavors were wonderful balances of taste and texture.  The chocolate was finely made and the variety very easy to identify.  These make the grade to be declared Worthy Sacraments for The Chocolate Cult.  If you want more, there are fourteen other flavors you can find from Fleurir on their website.  Each a lovely, edible, tiny work of art.  The website allows you to click on each flavor and gives the ingredients in each so you can easily find allergens and create your own box of truffles. 

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Klondike Heath Bar Review

When your Chocolate Priestess found the Klondike bars on sale at her nearby Super Target, she saw varieties on the boxes that were not on the shelves.  A few days later while shopping in her nearby Kroger supermarket she found some other varieties of these frozen treats also on sale.  That means our reviews here are going to keep going to ease us through this entire month of ice cream celebrating.

The Heath Bar variety of Klondike is like the Reese in that it takes a popular candy bar and attempts to make it into a frozen treat.  The sale price at Kroger was the same as at the Super Target so again these were less than 50¢ a treat. One treat has 230 calories, 11g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, less than 1g fiber, 20g sugars, 2g protein with 4% vitamin A and 8% calcium an adult needs daily.  It also has almonds because of the toffee pieces that are one of the three main parts of the bar after the light ice cream and the milk chocolate coating.  This meant that our Milk Chocolate Acolyte couldn't have these because he's allergic to tree nuts.

The toffee pieces were in the chocolate shell not the ice cream so the shell was particularly fragile and broken apart easily.  This was probably the messiest Klondike bar of all the varieties that I bought followed by a no sugar added one I'll later this month.  The toffee tasted fairly good but I really wanted more of that Heath flavor, more buttery, more nutty and even more chocolate over all.  This was closer to the candy bar than the Reese's variety was but still not what I had hoped for.  With the nut issue a factor as well, I can't say that my household will be buying this variety again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Klondike Double Chocolate Bar Review

The final Klondike variety your Chocolate Priestess found on sale at her nearby Super Target was the "Double Chocolate" variety. These are basically light ice cream made with process cocoa underneath a milk chocolate shell.  One bar has 250 calories with 11g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 1g fiber, 24g sugars, 3g protein, 6% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 6% iron.  One thing I immediately noticed is that the real nice chocolate isn't in the ice cream, it's in the shell which is really what makes a Klondike a Klondike, right?

I wanted more when I ate this.  Inside was a light brown ice cream as you can see in this photo, it showed up better in a darker than a light photo so I chose this one to share with you.  Even though it only has cocoa, the ice cream did taste chocolaty and it blended well with the shell to make something that tasted as the box said it would: double chocolaty!  So no disappointment here at all.  I would certainly buy these again if I find them on sale or have a coupon.

Klondike contacted me, they've been checking out these reviews.  They asked me to let you all know about a contest they are currently running called Klondike Everyman Challenges.  One of these three "challenges" is finished, one more is currently going on and another will happen in August. Let us all know if you decide to enter, Sisters and Brothers.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Klondike Reese's Bar Review

Another Klondike variety your Chocolate Priestess found in her nearby Super Target was the Reese's variety.  Six bars are in one pack and these were around $2.50 for a box so a decent price I think.  These bars have three different parts to them.  The ice cream which includes Reese's peanut butter, the peanut butter cups pieces themselves which have milk chocolate, and the milk chocolate coating itself. 

One bar has 260 calories, 11g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 1g fiber, 20g sugars, 3g protein, 4% vitamin A and 8% calcium.  As you can see on the right, I took a bite then took a photo for you all, Sisters and Brothers.  Please note that you really don't see these peanut butter cup pieces and frankly I didn't find them in the bars.  These must have been very, very tiny because this really tasted like very like peanut butter ice cream underneath milk chocolate.  This was a very disappointing treat and I won't be buying them again because they just didn't live up to the Reese's name.

A reminder that the "Naturally Knocked Up" eCourse will be taking new registrations through Friday, July 16, 2010 and then enrollment will be closed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Passport to Chocolates #1

I have been waiting for the chance to reveal the chocolatiers of Cocoa Dolce to you for months, Sisters and Brothers.  I ate these some time back and then had to work around all the various scheduling needs of those companies that share their products with us, holidays, and the needs of the chocolate to be eaten at a particular time.  Why did I want to share these?  Look the left at the adorable suitcase they were delivered in.  Add into that the added special features of a "map to euphoria" showing images of all their truffles plus a map of where they get their cocoa from, an "airline ticket" with special coupons, and a DVD about their business and it was a unique package I received from them.

We're going to start with the 9 piece assorted truffles they sent and then in future months this year cover the wine truffles and the bars they sent as well.  Here is the 9 piece box and inside are the truffles we'll be experiencing in today's "Saturday Sacrament".  I'll describe them all to you in groups of 2, 2, 3, and 2, but not in the same layout as you see in this picture so watch the following photos and my words carefully.  The round truffles all measure 0.75 X 1 inch in dimensions while the square pieces are about 0.8 X 0.6 inches in dimensions.  I know the flavors from the color booklet that is included in the box which also lists the other flavors you could get in their 18 and 36 piece assortments, 36 flavors without a repeat.

First the two nut varieties in the box: "Carmello Nocé" and "Gianduia".  The first is topped by a large pecan and made with 70% Colombian cocoa. It has a definite dark scent. The shell makes not sound when I take a bite but the nut is very crunchy.  Inside is a lightly vanilla and tangy semi-soft dark center that mixes perfectly with the dark chocolate.  "Carmello Nocé" is a wonderful combination of these flavors and offer a slight buzz as well.  The milk chocolate "Gianduia" has some praline hazelnut pieces over the top.  It primarily smells like milk chocolate before I take a bite.  The shell is silent and lets me easily into the creamy center that is like a hazelnut chocolate spread you might use on fruit or bread.  The flavor is what I'd hope for from such a combination so again I am pleased.

The next two truffles are beverage flavors: "Champagne" and "Mocha".  "Champagne" is a light chocolate as you can see in the photo and it is rolled in sugar which gives it a very sweet scent.   The outer shell is very light and holds in a very soft, very sweet champagne flavored center, made from Spanish brut Cava to be specific.  The chocolate itself is overwhelmed by the alcoholic flavor and the sugar together really.  The "Mocha" has both a chocolate and coffee fragrance and is clearly one of the square truffles.  The coffee bean on top is also covered with the same chocolate shell as the rest of the treat.  I bite off a corner and it snaps because it is much thicker than the previous pieces has been.  The coffee flavor is very light here leaving primarily a bitter chocolate and a touch of something else which is a bit sweet, probably the Kahlúa mentioned in the booklet.

The next set is a trio of the square chocolates: "Mayan," "Cinnamon-Orange," and "Raspberry.  Each has edible ink on top so you can tell which flavor is which and all three are made of 57% bittersweet organic chocolate.  "Mayan" has the image of a person eating something that reminds me of Mayan art that I've seen.  It has a strong cocoa and some spicy scent to it it that comes through the bittersweet shell that makes no sound when I take a bite.  Inside is creamy semi-solid center that seems to have something in it as I chew it up, something that is slightly sticky.  There is a spiciness here but also a lot of sweetness but it does not overcome the chocolate itself so I really like this variety.  "Cinnamon-Orange" has only a chocolate scent before I bite through the shell inked with a circle surrounding a C and D.  Once a bite through it without a sound, the semi-solid but creamy inside releases a hint of citrus essence in both flavor and scent.  The citrus is very subtle in terms of tastes and makes for a sweet counter to the cinnamon.  All three flavors blend very well in this square.  Finally, the "Raspberry" has such a strong fruit fragrance that it comes through the bittersweet shell even before I bring it close to my nose.  The dusky pink dots on the top are a clear indication of this very common fruit and chocolate combination.  The scent is a bit misleading here since the flavor of the semi-solid dark center is barely fruity at all.  So this isn't the best for the raspberries lovers out there.

The last two flavors are a round "Strawberry" dark chocolate covered in sugar and a white chocolate half globe that measures over an inch across and almost 0.75 inches high called "Lemon".   As you can see, even though I took these photographs under the same conditions on the same day, this picture refused to be more in focus and for that I apologize, Sisters and Brothers.  "Strawberry" has a light strawberry scent as the sugar flecks off in my fingers.  I bite through the semi-soft shell to find a creamy, sweet yet still bitter chocolate inside.  Again the sugar overwhelms the chocolate though not nearly as much as it did with the "Champagne" flavor and the strawberry itself is almost undetectable.  "Lemon" has a mostly milky scent and it seems to have powdered sugar on the top which I have never seen on a truffle before.  This has a fairly thick white chocolate shell over the creamy semi-soft center and yet makes no sound when I take a bite.  At first there is only the creaminess and then the sharp lemon flavor hints my tongue and that lemon scent intensifies.  Eventually it settles back into the creamy flavor making this a very nice white chocolate truffle for those of you who love this flavor.

If this assortment read as good to you as it was for your Chocolate Priestess to enjoy, then you should check out Cocoa Dolce.  I look forward to revealing more of their creations to you in the next few months, Sisters and Brothers.

Sisters and Brothers, may you, too, take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Klondike Original Bar Review

Since July is "National Ice Cream Month" here in the USA, your Chocolate Priestess is going to do a higher number of ice cream reviews than she normally would do in a month.  As always I welcome your comments and would love to see a discussion break out among the followers.

Have you heard of a Klondike bar?  I won't quote the song from the commercials because of copyright issues but the odds are that if you live in the USA, over the years you've seen these commercials which show folks claiming they will do silly things for this frozen treat.  To the left you see the original bars in their six pack container. I found these on sale at our local Super Target when I popped in after my mall walking I do 2-3 times a week as part of my exercise regime.  Compared to similar treats you've buy at an ice cream shop, each bar is generally around 50¢ or so depending on sales and coupons.  So far this year I haven't seen any coupons in our local paper but it's been so hot and humid, these were on sale for about 42¢ a piece, and there is built in portion control since the bars are individually wrapped -- all that meant I considered it a good deal for my family.

One bar, I took a bite from this one all ready, has 250 calories, 11g saturated fat (that's really a lot!), 10mg cholesterol, 70mg sodium, less than 1g fiber, 23g sugars, 3g protein, 6% vitamin A and 10% calcium you need daily.  This tasted much like I remembered from my childhood. The shell was fairly thick and chocolaty without tasting or feeling waxy.  It was cold but I could hold it in my hand and eat it while my other family members kept theirs partly wrapped.  If I bit somewhat carefully it didn't fall about until the final two bites.  It is a mess to eat this way but so what?  It cooled down my hands as well as my mouth and tummy and was fun to eat.  I can always wash my hands so getting a little messy is sometimes fun even if you are a responsible adult.

So far I've discovered 7 varieties of Klondike bars between this Super Target and our nearby Kroger, all on sale.  Yes, we did buy them and I'll be reviewing them throughout this month.

Tell me, Sisters and Brothers, do you like the original Klondike bar?  When was the last time you ate it?  How did you eat it?  Do you think it is worth the price?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Forthcoming Ice Cream Maker Review

As you know, Sisters and Brothers, I've teamed up with the folks from CSN before to do a review and giveaway a product.  This time around, in honor of July being "National Ice Cream Month" I'm being sent an ice cream maker to reveal to you all.

CSN has many different stores that sell everything from a bathroom sink to chairs to decorative pillows to baking pans and kitchen items of a wide assortment.   As you know I've bemoaned on here before that the one thing I really lack in my kitchen is an ice cream maker so I plan to get a nice but inexpensive one to try out for you all and for my family.  I'll make a few different flavors and then share my findings with you all later this month.

If anyone has a recipe for chocolate related ice cream they'd like me to try out, send it to me and I'll credit you when I try it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Black & White Fondue

Your Chocolate Priestess discovered this fondue restaurant called The Melting Pot several years ago on an academic trip to Arizona.  When we came back to Indiana we looked for it and found on up in the capital but that's about a 75 minute trek for us for going there is for special events or when we are in the area for another reason.  Supposedly there are two of these now in Indy but we went to this one on the Northeast side of the city back in May for our anniversary, our 18th, on a trip back from a science fiction convention called MARCON.  It was a moment of like mindedness for us because when my husband, the Milk Chocolate Acolyte asked where I wanted to go and I said "The Melting Pot" he replied "I was just thinking that."

At the restaurant we told them it was our anniversary and they gave us a two person booth where we sat side by side looking out a window which unfortunately didn't have a great view, mostly of the road and some buildings in the distance.  They have newer tables where the fondue pot is built in so we have to have the same course.  We ended up having two cheese fondues, we were hungrier than we realized because we couldn't agree on a meat course.  Then we had a dessert fondue, the "Yin & Yang" which is a fondue made of dark and white chocolate in the oriental symbol as you can see in this photo.

Of course as you start dipping the beautiful symbol will get messed up especially because I'm just a touch too short to really see what I was dipping into.  For dipping foods they include a slice of cheesecake, brownie and angel food bites, rice crispy treats, graham cracker marshmallows and strawberries.  They included bananas as well but we substituted extra strawberries and we kept our left over apple slices from the cheese courses.  We kept running out of some of the dipping bread for the cheese though there were plenty of veggies and apple so we had a bunch left over.  The opposite was true for the dessert fondue.  Even with the apples we had a lot of chocolate left over and nothing to dip into it.

The dessert fondue, "Yin & Yang" tasted great and was a romantic way to share a meal.  But The Melting Pot really needs to increase the amount of dipping food they give you for it.  I'd say they need to double the amount they give you and even then you might now have enough.

If you've been to The Melting Pot leave a comment and let me know if you also find you don't get enough to dip into your dessert fondue.

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