Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June Chocolate Fun Food Holidays 2011

June starts tomorrow, Sisters and Brothers, and thus it is time to look ahead and see what fun food holidays you can use as a reason to enjoy a bit of our Sacred Substance.  Remember Moderation is the key to all good things in life so think ahead, plan a bit, and let me know how you will indulge a bit each of these days.


The entire month of June is "National Dairy Month" so expect lots of milk chocolate and chocolate milk to celebrate.  Don't rush to the ice cream yet, that's given the entire month of July as a focus.



The first Friday in June is "National Donut Day"  That will be June 3rd this year and I'll be off on a chocolate trail adventure I'll tell you all about later.  Maybe I'll get or make some chocolate donuts for our journey to start us off.

June 2 = "National Rocky Road Day" and while we associate it with ice cream, I've seen candies, baked goods, and fine chocolates made with this combination of flavors.

June 7= "National Chocolate Ice Cream Day"  which is a month early frankly but then if it's hot and you have the craving for it in Moderation, try something and let us know how it was.

June 11 = "National German Chocolate Cake Day" but what exactly does that mean? There is a type of cake called this but German is also the brand name of a type of chocolate.

June 12 = "National Peanut Butter Cookie Day" doesn't necessarily have chocolate but don't you think chocolate goes great with peanut butter?

June 16 = "National Fudge Day" which has always confused me.  I think of fudge and a late fall and winter treat because it can be tricky to make when the temperatures and humidity levels are too high.

June 22 = "National Chocolate Éclair Day" so I want to hear about your best recipe for this and if you send it my one, I'll try to make one this year.

June 26 = "National Chocolate Pudding Day" which again is something you can buy ready made, in a mix or make from scratch.  Which do you plan to do?

There you have it.  Plan your June accordingly.  If you know of any other chocolate related holidays for June, leave a comment and we'll add it to our growing calendar.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate Recalls May 30, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has issued the following recalls for chocolate products.



BCS Int’l Corp. of Long Island City, NY is voluntarily recalling DR. SNACK brand CHOCO RAISIN, 12 OZ. containers with “Sell By 03/05/2012” date code only because they may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have an allergy to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. 






I also thought this might be of interest to you, Sisters and Brothers.

FDA Seeks Comment on Preventive Controls Against Foodborne Illness

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment on preventive control measures for food facilities through a public docket opened this week as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in January.

The FSMA requires registered food and feed facilities to evaluate the food safety hazards that could affect food and feed they manufacture, process, pack, or hold and to identify and implement preventive controls to address those hazards. The agency opened the docket to solicit specific recommendations from stakeholders on what preventive control measures are appropriate, and any other pertinent information and recommendations, including measures that are workable for small businesses.

FDA is required to issue guidance with respect to hazard analysis and preventive controls, and information submitted to the docket will be considered in the development of that guidance.

"The preventive-controls requirement of FSMA is one of the most important aspects of this historic law on food safety," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for foods. "It's imperative that we get information, data and feedback from industry and other stakeholders."

Under the FSMA, preventive controls plans are to include information on: evaluating the hazards that could affect food safety and specifying what preventive steps or controls will be put in place to significantly minimize or prevent the hazards.

The preventive control plans must also specify how the facility will monitor these controls to ensure they are working, how it will maintain routine records of the monitoring, and what actions the facility will take to correct problems that arise.
Comments may be submitted either electronically or in writing until August 22, 2011. Submit electronic comments.

Submit written comments to:
The Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Under FSMA, the FDA is required to issue a rule on preventive controls for food facilities. The proposed rule is expected to be published this fall.

FDA has engaged in extensive outreach to stakeholders on various provisions of the FSMA. The opening of the docket on preventive control measures follows an April 20 public meeting convened by the agency on the same topic.

For more information:FSMA
 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mudslide Cookies from King Arthur Mix

Before it gets too warm and I start feeling guilty about using the oven and causing the air conditioner to work overtime, I wanted to make the King Arthur Flour Mudslide Cookie Mix they sent us.  I made these back in March 2011 but as often happens here on The Chocolate Cult, we write our reviews and simply post them according to a schedule that has to balance variety, holidays, and desires/needs of companies who send us their goods.  Your Chocolate Priestess was very pleased by the fact that these contain walnuts though that did mean she couldn't share them with her husband.  I just made sure I made other cookies for him so he had options.  Remember that being a considerate chocolate lover means thinking about other people's allergies and tastes.

Some of the 11 cookies I made, five of them to be exact, burnt a bit on the bottom but that was my fault entirely.  The box says it will make 10 cookies which means that each is two servings!  Whoa!  These are indeed intense cookies nutritionally speaking.  Each of mine, therefore, had these values before the "Egg Beaters" and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" was added: 272 calories, 8.2g saturated fat, 118.2mg sodium, 3.6g fiber, 23.6g sugars, and 3.6g protein.  These were huge cookies, about 1/4 cup of batter in each one!


Aside from my "eggs" and "butter" substitutions, I followed the directions exactly though my oven required some adjustment in timing, thus why some got a bit burnt on the bottom.  Here you can see all the ingredients that came with the mix and what I had to add.  I'll go step by step in this review so you can get a feel for the ease of making these with me.




First I melted two tablespoons of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" with the Bag A of dark chocolate disks.  I did this at 80% of my big microwave, stirring at 30 second intervals, with about 2.5 minutes in total to get it all melted and stirred up.






Then I added the cookie mix itself which you can see had flour, sugars, all those sorts of necessary cookie components but also fairly large pieces of walnuts.  I mixed it in by hand until everything was chocolaty and thick.







I added about 1/2 an "egg" between stirring of that mixture which resulted in a much shinier and less dense product.

Finally I stirred in the Bag B of the dark chocolate disks, making sure the pieces were well covered but not melting.



I put 11 scoops of batter onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheets and let them set for 10 minutes as directed.

Then I baked them for the maximum time of 15 minutes.  The bottom rack was down so I set it out to cool but over estimated how long it would take the top rack to finish once I moved it down.  Probably should not have moved it down at all.

However I think they looked great and they certainly smelled wonderful.  I made sure I labeled the cookie jar I placed them in to tell my husband, our Milk Chocolate Acolyte, that there were tree nuts in these cookies.  That's OK because I made another type of cookie as well as we sampled another Offering we were sent for another review you'll see soon, Sisters and Brothers.


Finals Results: They are amazing!  They have a lightly crisp top and bottom, even the none burnt ones (again my fault) but inside they are soft and have the texture of fudgy brownies.  The walnuts are crunchy and have that wonderful unique flavor which makes them my favorite tree nut.  Even the discs are still findable though mostly melted when a bite hits an extra chocolaty pocket.  But better than all of this is the fact that they sate my desire for something sweet and chocolaty with one cookie.  Concerns about over indulging in one seating or at a time flees as I'm grinning with just one.

Once more King Arthur Flour has provided us with a worthy Sacrament for Chocolate in their Mudslide Cookie Mix.  Now let me grant you all, Sisters and Brothers, if your mouths are hanging open when you check out the price.  Remember this is an employee owned company right here in America giving good American jobs and that these are indeed quite satisfying.  If you get 12 cookies then that's just $1.15 each and you might well pay more for cookies from a bakery and those might have transfats or ingredients you don't want.  I can't tell you what to do with your money and I'm not a fool, I know we have to spend our money wisely but as a gift or for a special occasion this might be perfect.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Working for Pillsbury Twists Treats


Your Chocolate Priestess made these Pillsbury Flaky Twists with Chocolate Icing along with the regular type of twists that have icing and Cinnabon cinnamon in them on lazy Saturday morning with the aid of the Milk Chocolate Acolyte.  I bought these both on sale at our local Kroger and used  a coupon as well.  I should have looked at them before I bought them though — each twist has 2.5g of trans fat which while not too much it is on the edge of the amount you should limit yourself to each day so be very careful of how many of these you eat.  My guess is that the trans fat is  more part of the frostings but I can’t be certain.  If you don’t  put the frosting on, then they aren’t chocolate at all.

Each tube has 8 rounds that you have to unroll to try and make into twists, Sisters and Brothers.  That’s my second complaint about these — it is actually difficult to get decent looking twists without a lot of the cinnamon mixture coming off.  As you can see in this picture the quality of our twists varied greatly, the Milk Chocolate Acolyte’s twists were much better than mine. One of the round had a broken section so it couldn’t be twisted at all.  Easier to just leave them as round if you like.

The third complaint I have is that the frosting prefers to stick to the knife than the pastry.  You don’t want to put the frosting on while it is too hot because it will melt and drip off into the pan and thus you lose the chocolate or vanilla.  But waiting until it cools too much and the frosting just sticks to the knife and gets a bit frustrating.  Here you see the frosting or icing in little plastic cups found at one end of each tube.

These both taste very much like the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls you can make from a tube.  The chocolate icing tastes like most canister icings I’ve had from Pillsbury so exactly as I’d hoped.  But over all a bit more taxing to make than I wanted on a supposedly relaxing weekend and the amount of trans fat in this really curbed my appetite.  Buy them if you like them but I can’t heartily recommend them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not All Chocolate Candies Are Alike


I found both of these Sunspire Drops, Original and Peanut variety, on the clearance rack of our local Kroger and since they looked like other candy covered chocolate treats I thought I’d give them a try. They came in two flavors: Original and Peanut both with four colors of candy covering in yellow, red, orange and brown.  At the clearance price of 79¢ these are more expensive than other mainstream candies of the same type.

The peanut pieces are full sized peanuts which as you can see means they vary in size greatly.  The principal flavor is dye here and that really surprised me followed by the unsalted peanut itself.  Chocolate?  If I didn’t know these were supposed to have chocolate I couldn’t tell from the underneath the overly sweet cane juice which is the second ingredient on the list for the center and the first ingredient for the candy covering.  At 190 calories in a little pack it just isn’t worth it.
           
The original flavor was more chocolate but it tasted stale.  That might be a result of how long Kroger kept it around though there was no evidence of either fat or sugar bloom so temp and moisture wasn’t the issue.  Chocolate can go stale but it usually takes a year or so for that to start and I’ve never honestly tasted chocolate this stale.  If the produce is this sensitive it needs an expiration date on it.   As with the peanut variety at 180 calories for this pack the flavor just is not worth your mouth or money.

The purpose of Sunspire is to help cocoa producing communities which means that they support fair trade practices and deal directly with producers not middle men.  That’s a good goal but when the product you produce cannot stand toe to toe with the big mass producers, it doesn’t do you much good.  They will have to improve this product to be truly worthy competitors at this price.  Granted these were on clearance but still the product should be good for a while even past the "best by" date which the mass produced similar products are.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Healthy Needs to Taste Great for Chocolate Lovers

With the rare recipes your Chocolate Priestess shares, you hopefully have noticed that we do some things in my house that are because of health concerns.  I grew up with a mother always in poor health and I have high risk factors from my genes alone.  I try to feed us healthy but there is one thing I've learned in four plus decades: Healthy has to taste good or no one will eat it.  This is especially true when it comes to Chocolate.  Cacao itself, very dark Chocolate is actually healthy in moderation.  It's the things we add to it -- animal fats, unnecessary plant fats, artificial flavors, added candies or over processed flour and too much sugar that can make it unhealthy even in small doses.  Thus when we have the opportunity to reveal some healthy chocolate to you, we jump at that chance.  The following potential Saturday Sacrament was eaten some time ago, during the period the creator, Healthy Chocolate, said was it's best to eat even though we knew this post itself would be some time in coming because of holiday schedules and earlier received Offerings.  In other words, as often happens here, we pre-wrote this review.  We stand by our experiences with this product, as volunteers on The Chocolate Cult, and while we have tried to be objective in our descriptions, we will make a declaration as to whether or not this product fits into the lives of anyone following our Path of Moderation and Purposefulness with Great Chocolate.

We received two 4.23oz bags of their Healthy Chocolate with Herbs, microencapsulated herbs the bag and website raves about as a very healthy chocolate and new way to introduce healthy supplements into your diet.  There are five herbs listed on the website along with organic cocoa liquor, organic cocoa butter, Xylitol, Organic Vanilla Extract and Organic Lecithin.  Organics sound good and we've had both bad and good experiences with organic products here on The Chocolate Cult.  cocoa liquor is just another name for chocolate liquor which is more common on packaging.  But Xylitol?  That's a type of sugar alcohol and it may be the reason for the rest of this review you will read.  The Assorted Flavors bags we were sent had six colors of wrappers and six flavors; no information is given on the bags or the website about these flavors however.

Before we begin let me say that I shared these with over a dozen other people, including five of our six Acolytes and a variety of friends and family all of whom were willing to give me their opinions.  All of them agree with the final conclusions of this featured review if individual descriptions of the flavors varied.  Since I don't know what the colors are supposed to represent (there was no information on the bags, the wrappers or the website), you'll have to go with my attempts to describe what I tasted and smelled.  I'll label them by color.

The Gold wrapper smelled a lot like dark cocoa and that was promising.  It was the first flavor I tried and as you'll see each piece is nearly identical in looks with "Healthy Chocolate" etched on the top, the top is also slightly textured and the sides slop gently inward to make this more than merely a rectangular chunk of chocolate.  The base of this rectangle is 1 9/16 inch by 1.25 inches with a width of 0.25 inches.  A nice substantial piece of chocolate whose specifics I won't bore you with repeatedly, Sisters and Brothers.  When I take a bite it has a grainy texture, perhaps these are the herbs, and the taste is not cocoa or chocolate but a very brief hint of our Sacred Substance then a stronger and bitterly sour taste along with a cooling sensation.  That bitter sour combination built up in an aftertaste that proved challenging to handle for everyone who tried these.

The Red wrapper revealed a solid raspberry fragrance when I opened it and the piece looked just a touch lighter in color to my eyes and to my friend (stillrose) who tried it at the same time as me.  It has a light raspberry flavor and at first a weak cocoa flavor as well but very quickly that bitter sour taste over took everything else and there was that odd cooling sensation again.  The aftertaste was long and I believe I said some unpriestesslike things during those 15 minutes between pieces.  Yes, I washed my mouth out each time with a cup of water as I always do for our featured reviews.

The Brown wrapper had a darker appearance and a coffee as well as darker cocoa scent.  I was hopeful and eager for our Mocha Acolytes to try this but I think they both wanted to hurt me after trying this.  To me this had a definite coffee flavor and a lot more crunch; to them .  It had less of a cooling sensation but that feeling was still there and that combination with the coffee was not pleasing to stillrose at all.  The bitter sour taste was still dominant at the end but at least the coffee fought back more than the other flavors to this point.

The Blue wrapper contains a chocolate that has a light generic berry scent and some flavor I can't decipher beyond generic berry either though some of my tasters speculated it was blueberry I have to say I wasn't convinced by their assessment.  It is not as cool as the Gold wrapper was but more than the Brown one.  The aftertaste is as bitter and even a hint more sour than the previous; no decent blueberry should be bitter, Sisters and Brothers, sweet, yes, sour, no.


The Orange wrapper covered a very strongly scented chocolate that was almost a blood orange in the intensity and darkness of the citrus fragrance I smelled as soon as I opened it.  It had a light citrus flavor with a bit of tang to it that turned to the cooling sensation and then the bitter sourness that also seemed a bit burnt in some fashion this time.  Very odd and very disappointing.


Surely the Green wrapper would contain a mint flavor and then the cooling sensation would make some sense finally I hoped.  There was a light mint scent when I first unwrapped it but I'm almost dreading taking a bite for fear of being disappointed after five other samples.  The subtle mint flavor and an immediate cooling sensation grows but then fades to the bitter sour dominant essence and the linger aftertaste.  The cooling sensation stays much longer this time probably a combination of the mint itself and whatever is causing the general feeling and flavors we find repeated in each piece.

I really wanted to love Healthy Chocolate's products. Everyone who tried it, really hoped it would be the only healthy treat we received so far on The Chocolate Cult that would win our approval.  So far no so-called "healthy" chocolate has lived up to its promises and sadly this fell farther from the claims than most.  The strange cooling sensation with the bitter sour flavor was common to every variety regardless of what it was.  Either this was the herbs or it was the Xylitol we were all tasting and it was horrible.  It is a common problem with sugar alcohols that they do indeed taste different from plain old sugar but this was extreme in the poor taste department.  With over a dozen tasters agreeing with my initial assessment, I have to declare this product unworthy for The Chocolate Cult.  Herbs or not, low on sugar or not, if it tastes bad, it is not a healthy substitute for anything, especially our Sacred Substance.

If you want to try these yourself please try only one to see if you also do not like the taste. The claims on these bags and their website says that this product is part of the "Women Legislators Healthy America Campaign" but I looked into that claim by emailing the group and they did confirm the connection nor did the "Women Legislators" list Healthy Chocolate as one of their connections.  Over all a deeply disappointing chocolate.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chocolate Blossoms Pack


I found these Apple Valley Inn "Chocolate Blossoms" at my neighborhood Kroger in the Bakery section on the day old sales rack which you know your Chocolate Priestess loves to check out when she shops, Sisters and Brothers.  The plastic container holds 8 blossoms where two cakes equal one serving with 200 calories made of 1g saturated fat, 3mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 16g sugars, and 2g protein.  It also contains wheat, eggs, dairy and soy as well as cocoa powder for the only chocolate component.  These measure 1.75 inches across and about 1.5 inches tall.

The cakes have a sweet and cocoa scent to them and a spongy texture in my fingertips.  Even a few days after buying them on sale they are still moist looking and to my touch.  Supposedly there is a chocolate filled center but I only notice it is more moist when I take a bite.  It has a very strong chocolatey flavor along with a sharp vanilla essence as well.  These little cakes which I eat in four bites are much better tasting than I thought they might be.  An excellent find on my weekly shopping trip and definitely a great value at their sale price of $1.49 or 19¢ a piece.

What excellent chocolate finds have you discovered in your neighborhood stores this past week, Sisters and Brothers?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Qbel Wafers Trio

During the same shopping trip I mentioned last week where I found the wafer rolls from Qbel, I also found just the plain wafer candy bars.  Same quality of ingredients, but three different flavors in a square package with two 3 X 1 X 0.5 inch wafers in each. One was Peanut Butter, one was Milk Crispy Rice, and the third was Dark Crispy Rice.  Let's see how they compare to the wafer rolls from last week.

The Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter was in an orange wrapper.  The wafers had a good chocolate and peanut butter scent but until the wafer roll version, I didn't like these as much.  The quality of the peanut butter was the same but for some reason the interplay of the wafers, the chocolate and the peanut butter tasted much different.  The crunch was also different and for some reason I find hard to place my words on, I just didn't like it as much.

The Milk Chocolate Crispy Rice was in a mostly red wrapper.  It had more crunch but obviously it also had a very distinctive rice flavor as well.  That's fine, I like many types of chocolate crispy rices and I can be a big fan of rice treats even without chocolate.  But once again, I found myself thinking about the wafer rolls and even though there was no crispy rice version of those, I think I liked the plain milk chocolate better in that form than in this one. I tasted more wafer and more rice here than the milk chocolate.

In a purple wrapper was the Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice variety.  It is visibly darker which I hope you can see in the photos -- my camera required new batteries so I had to wait an extra long time to try this treat out.  These have a strong dark chocolate scent that immediately impresses me because I believe it is more intense than the wafer roll version was.  That dark flavor continues but once more the wafer itself is not impressing me in terms of taste though this one seems more crunchy than the two milk chocolate varieties. Of course you know that Your Chocolate Priestess has a preference for the darker chocolate so that may be coloring my views.

Overall these 1.1oz flat wafer have more calories and were less satisfying than the rolled version.  If anything I would have thought the larger amount of wafer needed to make the rolls would be the higher calorie and less flavorful option but that just wasn't the case for me.  Now, I didn't eat them on the same days, Moderation remember, so I know know if I simply changed chemically in some fashion myself. No, I think there was something about the shape, the crunch and the difference in flavor that just appealed to me more in the rolls than in these normal looking wafer.  Both were good and I'd like to try other flavors but if I had to pick, I'd go with the wafer rolls.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Strength of Pecans

In Wadesboro, North Carolina, there is a candy show called MerrieLynn's.  Let me know if you've visited them, Sisters and Brothers.  They sent us a box of their "Chocolate Pecan Butter Crunch" a while back and today you're going to read our featured review about them.  Remember, many times what you read now was written a while back especially with preservative free products such as these toffee bars.  The weights are not exact because the bars look to be cut from a large handmade batch but this box has at least 1/2 pound of treats inside of it in 6 pieces.

Here you can see the top two pieces in the box. Each one is individually wrapped and is equal to one serving.  Unfortunately I don't know the nutritional values for one of these bars and you and I both know we are very likely to eat the entire thing once it is opened unless we have someone right there with us who wants a piece, too.  I didn't have someone at that moment but I did share the other five bars so I didn't over indulge.

These pieces were about 2.5 X 3 X 0.5 inches.  The chocolate layer is very thin, about 1/6 of an inch so the bulk is the buttery toffee like bottom.  As you can see there are large pieces of pecans on top of the chocolate layer but there are also pecan pieces inside the toffee like bulk.   These have a strong pecan and buttery scent to them. When I take a bite, it makes a loud crunch and the top chocolate layer separated from the rest of the bar in some places.  It didn't separate every time I took a bite however but this allowed me to taste the treat in different ways.  The top layer has a decent balance of the chocolate with the pecan after a few bites or after letting it melt in my mouth for a while.  The both layer is obviously just sweet and nutty.  When you put both layers together, the chocolate is overwhelmed.

Pecans have a strong flavor and coupled with the sweetness of the toffee like bulk, the chocolate really fades into the background.  A great treat for pecan lovers but chocolate lovers will need to let the top layer melt in your mouth more to get a better combination of flavors.  MerrieLynn's focus is really on pecans so this isn't surprising. They also have a few other chocolate items as well so maybe in the future we can reveal those to you too, Sisters and Brothers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chocolate Chips and Allergy Issues Solved?

Tomorrow is "National Chocolate Chip Day" and so I thought I'd review a product I recently found on sale at our nearby Kroger.  This is the Cherrybrook Kitchen Arthur Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix which proclaims itself to be "dairy free, egg free, and nut free".  So why not tackle the topic of allergies while I review this product?

First thing to note is that if you follow the directions you can keep this egg, dairy, and nut free.  However be careful about margarine, dairy free it may be but it can also have transfats which are only good in the smallest amounts.  I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter which has no transfats and less fat and cholesterol over all.



That created a secondary problem with the mix being too dry at first.  I hope you can see that in the mix.  This has the 1/2 cup margarine and the 1/4 cup water that the box calls for.  Now, I had two options I felt to remedy this dryness but I went with another 1/4 cup water to not added extra calories.





The result was a much wetter but not runny batter.  Why was it so dry before?  I think it is because the two ingredients you are supposed to add is what I'd add to any chocolate chip cookies minus the egg/s.  So those eggs add a few things to  a recipe that need to be considered, moisture is just one of these so I was anxious to see if the cookies would turn out.




I put them on cookie sheets, ungreased as directed, though a bit worried they would stick, and had a total of 20 cookies as described on the nutritional information of the box.

They baked for 10 minutes, so a bit on the high side of the time suggested but that's my oven.


Here they are!  This is how they turned out in terms of looks. They tasted great -- crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.

However, was the price, much higher than other boxed cookie mixes, worth it in terms of allergy concerns?  Frankly I don't believe so and this is why.  First, the mix still had soy and wheat and those are also common allergens. Second, everything I did, I could do on my own from scratch.  I looked at the ingredient list and I saw nothing I couldn't find or find a substitute for in my kitchen today.

So, Sisters and Brothers, tell me if you've tried these cookies or if you have made your own allergy free cookies.  Of course, I know people are allergic to Chocolate -- sad, very sad -- but I doubt they are reading any of our words in The Chocolate Cult.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Have You Heard of Qbel Wafer Rolls?

Have you heard of the candy treat called Qbel?  I hadn't either until I saw a sales ad for it in our local co-op newspaper we get once a month.  For the price in the paper and with my membership discount I knew I could afford to get these and try them for you, Sisters and Brothers.  I found three flavors in our nearby Bloomingfoods which you may remember from previous reviews we've done here.


Let's start with the Milk Chocolate in a blue wrapper.  The wafers inside are actually rolls about 4.5 inches long and easily 0.5 inches in diameter.  One of them was broken and so that let me show you the inside and also gave me the idea to break the other two varieties if they were whole.  As I hope you can see there is a milk chocolate in the center of the rolled layers of wafer.  This has a good milk chocolate scent, a good crunch and a wonderful creamy chocolate flavor.

In the orange wrapper are two Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter wafer rolls.   These have a definite peanut scent when I break them open and a lighter chocolate smell before I did that.  Same size but hopefully you can see the peanut butter inside the roll.  The peanut butter here has a roasted but not burnt taste -- I find that to be a problem in several "natural" peanut butters I've had.  The peanut taste does take a lot from the milk chocolate so make sure you really like peanut butter.

That leaves us with the Dark Chocolate wafer roll in the sort of purplish pink wrapper.  These had the most intense chocolate scent of the three varieties we tried. The wonderfulness of dark chocolate hit my nose as soon as I broke open the wrapper just a bit.  Can you see how dark the chocolate is inside and out?  It has a great bitter chocolate taste that was only tempered by the wafer itself.  My favorite but then you know your Chocolate Priestess prefers the darker Sacred Substance.

Qbel was named after the maker's wife and in honor of her they contain no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.  Also in keeping with the co-op I found them in, they have no high fructose corn syrup but also no hydrogenated oils.  Great tasting and not too bad in terms of nutrition?  Hey I was starting to worry that was getting rare for us to find here on The Chocolate Cult when it came to good price as well for mass produced chocolate treats.  There are allergens to be aware of: milk, soy, flour, barley, peanut oil, coconut oil, and peanuts in one case.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chocolate Recalls May 8, 2011

The following products containing chocolate have been recalled due to various health and allergy concerns, Sisters and Brothers.

From: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) <fda@service.govdelivery.com>
Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 10:28:21 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Organic Food Bar, Inc. Expands its Voluntary Recall on Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Bars to Include Additional Products and Lots


Organic Food Bar, Inc. Expands its Voluntary Recall on Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Bars to Include Additional Products and Lots
Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:08:00 -0500
Organic Food Bar, Inc. of Fullerton, CA is issuing a voluntary recall on the specific listed lots of RAW Organic Food Bars listed below, because they may contain undeclared peanut proteins from cashew butter supplied by one of the vendors. These bars are being recalled because they are made with the same lot of cashew butter that was used in previously tested chocolatey chocolate chips bars.

Remember stay alert and read your labels!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cocoa, Chocolate and Chickpeas

Chocolate is so popular and seems to go with so many different flavors and types of food, that it seems like almost any food company has to dabble in chocolate.  The folks from the Nutty Bean Co. sent us two bags, 7oz and 2oz, of their "Cocoa Choco Chunky Nuggets", dried chickpeas covered in semi-sweet chocolate and then in cocoa powder as well.  As you can see on the bag, they have a little yellow chick as their logo; his color background helps mark the various flavors they offer.

"Cocoa Choco Chunky Nuggets" are one of six flavors I counted on their website and the only chocolate related one.  The website includes the nutritional information but I'll repeat it here to make this revelation complete as previous ones try to be.  1oz is one serving containing 140 calories made of 2.5g saturated fat, 15mg sodium, 3g fiber, 12g sugars, 3g protein, with 15% iron an adult needs daily.  This photo shows how many nuggets are in a single serving, about 26 pieces.  As you can see they are round, having on average about 1/2 inch radius.    They have both semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa powder in them along with milk fat and soy lecithin in case  you have allergy concerns.

This photo is of the entire amount in the two ounce bag or two servings worth.  The nuggets released a strong cocoa fragrance as soon as I opened the plastic bag which took a bit of work but I was able to do it with just my hands.  Warning: the cocoa will get on your hands and your clothes so be careful.  When I bring on piece closer to my mouth and nose I can smell a deeper chocolate under the cocoa.  Now I've never had roasted chickpeas before so bear with my attempts to describe the flavors when I popped one in my mouth.  It is very crunchy and continues to be crunchy with each chew.  The cocoa is the first flavor then a nice bitter chocolate blooms while under them both is a grainy nut like flavor that does not overpower the chocolate.  After I pop a few more to try I notice that the cocoa powder starts to dry out my mouth so have a drink handy, preferably water so you don't detract from this treat's flavors.

Some folks don't like chickpeas.  Others may be afraid to try them.  While promoted as nuts, there are more like beans really.  How do I know?  Well, our Milk Chocolate Acolyte tried these and he is very allergic to tree nuts.  He thought these were good and had no negative reactions.  I urge you to check out the Nutty Bean Co. and look around their website.  If you see them in a store, give them a try.  These was very tasty, very chocolaty in two different ways and overall just a fun snack to eat.  These are certainly a worthy choice as Sacrament.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Join the Chocolate Trail Day Trip

The Chocolate Cult is planning a day trip and we want to invite you all to join us.  We must know if you are joining us by May 13, 2011, so we can help the folks in Wayne County plan with us.

Join us for the Wayne County Chocolate Trail!

Here is a copy of the information on the Wayne County Website but I can't link directly to the brochure about the trail:

Chocolate Trail of Wayne County
throughout the county
Available year-round
(765) 935-8687 (800) 828-8414
Chocolate Trail Brochure
Richmond and Wayne County's self-guided journey down the chcolate trail takes you to one-of-a-kind bistros, cafes, local chocolatier and candy shops/factories, historic homes, spas, a winery, intriguing gift shops and more.

Chocolate is featured at each stop and is presented in many different forms.
The chocolate trail is available to explore and taste year-round.

Gourmet luncheons and dinners showcasing chocolate as an ingredient in each course will be served monthly at the historic Gennett Mansion.

To receive your FREE chocolate samples, you must present a Chocolate Trail Passport which can be obtained at the
Old National Road Welcome Center
5701 National Road E. (U.S. 40),
Richmond.


OK, not everyone reading this will be able to join us since this is in Wayne County in Indiana in the USA, but for folks within the state or the western part of Ohio, you may want to think about it.

Why?  You get to hang out with your Chocolate Priestess, a few of our Acolytes and a few other chocolate lovers.  All you have to do is show up with your money to buy whatever you want cause we've been planning it.

So what is involved?

We are all meeting in Wayne County, in Richmond, Indiana, on June 3, 2011, at Noon or around Noon to start working our way along the trail.  Specifically, we'll meet here:  
Old National Road Welcome Center
5701 National Road E. (U.S. 40),
Richmond.


We will end the day at the Gennett Mansion where for $38 we'll get a 5-course chocolate meal.

Because of the dinner, I need to have an accurate account.  You pay me nothing, you'll pay the folks when you show up for their dinner, and you'll need money to buy lunch, any chocolate you want beyond the freebies we'll get and add a few bucks to pay for carpooling.

So leave a comment if you want to come and if you can commit to attending with us.  Please do look over the information before committing and make sure you have an email attached to your name in your comment or I can't contact you to make the final arrangements.

Those who live near Bloomington, Indiana, will carpool with the bulk of folks attending.  Those coming from other areas, we'll meet up with you in Richmond, Indiana.

We aren't planning to do this again, this is our once time road trip adventure to see new chocolate sights, so join us now or you'll have to do it on your own.  Email our leader, The Chocolate Priestess, via her email on this blog for further information and to join the day trip.  Deadline is May 13, 2011, to get on the guest list.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chocolate Custard Day: How did you celebrate?

Today is "National Chocolate Custard Day".  Maybe this is supposed to be the focal point for the entire month, which as your Chocolate Priestess pointed out, is one of the month long food holidays for May.  I looked and looked around for chocolate custard and was about to say "darn it, I'll have to make it" when I saw a news story about a local donut shop had a new creation: Chocolate Custard Donut with powdered sugar on top. 



I had to go find one and this morning we had to be out and about anyway, so using a coupon for buy one dozen, get one dozen free, at the same store, Square Donuts, we went shopping.  I found these though it took some time to get the clerk to understand what I was looking for -- no, no, not the custard filled chocolate frosted donuts.


 I bought the last four they had along with 8 other varieties that had some chocolate or cinnamon in them.  This photo is a close-up so you can see the chocolate custard inside. Yes, it really is a chocolate and for the price not a bad one either. The donut itself was very soft and fresh, the powered sugar added more sweetness.  I'm glad I got the last four so I can celebrate all day and share, too.


So how did you celebrate "National Chocolate Custard Day" today, Sisters and Brothers?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Samplers

I found these little three piece Mrs. Fields Chocolate boxes a while back at our local Target for just $1 a piece.  Cute package, thought it might be a nice gift or at least not too expensive to review.  As much as we are sent products here on The Chocolate Cult, your Chocolate Priestess still buys many items we review.  Of course those are our regular reviews, the full sensory ones I know you all enjoy so much.


I got three little boxes, each weighing 1.8oz in three varieties.  First "Premium Peppermint Chocolates" which contain three identical Peppermint truffles inside.   Obviously I needed to try only one of these. The chocolate is all on the rather thin shell while the bulk is a semi-soft, lightly peppermint center. I did like the pieces of peppermint candy on the top and it had a great cooling aftertaste but over all I personally wanted more chocolate.

The Assorted Chocolates had three different pieces including a coconut one that I'll share our Chocolate Coconut Acolyte's words about: Average.  The Dark Coconut Macaroon was .  The Chocolate Chip was rounder and had white drizzle over it.  I didn't really see chocolate chips but the semi-solid inside had a sort of chocolate chip cookie dough coloring and a bit of that same taste under a chocolate shell.  The Butter Caramel in this box is identical to two piece in the next box so I'll discuss that next.

The Premium Caramel Chocolates had two varieties: the Butter Caramel mentioned above but soon to be revealed and a Dark Butter Caramel.  The Butter Caramel has a clearly lighter colored chocolate shell so that's probably milk chocolate.  The caramel is surprisingly neither sweet nor tangy, it is really just smooth and a bit sticky, not adding much to the average tasting chocolate.  Same with the dark version though I personally thought the darker chocolate had more a strong flavor to it.  Really disappointing though if you want either that caramel tangy or a sweetness.

All three of these were made with real chocolate and not a lot of additives.  For one dollar, they were perfectly fine but not great.  I suspect you want to make sure whomever you get them for eats them fairly soon because they aren't packaged to last a long time and may go stale quicker than you might expect.

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