Saturday, June 25, 2016

Kozy Up to National Pudding Day 2016

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 26th, is National Pudding Day. In the past, to celebrate this fun food holiday, I've reviewed a homemade pudding cookbook and looked at instant puddings. Today I want to look at KozyShack's Indulgent Recipe line of ready to eat puddings, particularly the Dark Chocolate Variety. I choose this product to review using a coupon for a FREE product that I got from KozyShack in exchange for participating in the Cookie Swap in 2015. They did not expect me to review their product so this is a total surprise to them. No other form of compensation was received for my using these four cups in different ways to test it out and to write honestly about it.

The four pack has cups of 3.75 oz of pudding each. Each cup has 190 calories so  this is not a low calorie pudding. It is made with cocoa processed with alkali and it also contains dairy ingredients and tapioca if those are allergens for you. I used this product a couple of ways as an ingredient in some desserts and alone. When I used it as an ingredient, it worked well and was one less item that I had to make from scratch or worry about not having on hand. This image is of one such dessert that included another product I was sent to review.

Another time, I used items I had on hand, whipped cream, cacao nibs, and two of the puddings to make a larger layered dessert.

Alone, it looks very generic but it has a strong chocolate scent. It has a smooth texture and a slightly creamy taste that doesn't hide the edge of bitterness that I expect from a darker chocolate. Given the other ingredients you need to use to make pudding, creating one that has a dark chocolate flavor would be a challenge, I know having made pudding from scratch, so I am impressed by this product. If it had this many calories but still tasted like instant pudding made with skim milk, I wouldn't be impressed but this does seem like an indulgence in taste, texture, and calories to me.

If you want to celebrate National Pudding Day tomorrow and don't want to make pudding from scratch or an instant mix, I do suggest KozyShack Dark Chocolate Indulgence Recipe snack pack. Play with to create fancy looking dessert or just enjoy alone.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Another Massive Chocolate Related Recall, June 18, 2016

Like last weekend we have another massive recall, too many to share all of the information here so I've listed them under categories of why they are recalled and then linked to the FDA recall. Please take these seriously and check them out. Only YOU can protect your family and yourself by learning about recalls.
Listeria Recalls

Earnest Eats Recalls Earnest Eats Dark Chocolate Almond Chewy Granola Bars Because of Possible Health Risk

Unlisted Milk and Soy Recalls

Sinosharp Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk Allergens in "Chocolate Flavored Cookies"

Simple Health LLC Announces The Recall of Tosi Cappuccino Crunch SuperBites For Undeclared Allergens

Peanut Residue in Flour Recalls

Kellogg Company Voluntarily Recalls Certain Snacks for Potential Undeclared Peanut Residue Due to Flour Supplier Recall

This list has several varieties of chocolate treats including: Keebler, Famous Amos, Mother's, Murray's, and Kellogg's Special K brands.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to Chocolate Up Popsicle Red Classics

I get offers to cover non-chocolate products on a monthly basis. I have no problem covering products you might be able to use with chocolate such as bakeware, products that feature chocolate like clothing, and books or media about chocolate. I also have no no problem covering products that I can chocolatify via chocolate and cocoa that I have readily on hand. It is with this in mind that I agree to look at the new sugar free product from Popsicle, their "Red Classics" when Unilever contacted me. Unilever sent me a coupon so I could find and acquire the product for free from a local grocery store; no other form of compensation was received for this article featuring my honest assessment of the products.

The great thing about these Sugar Free Popsicles is that they are only 15 calories each which makes it easy to add a bit of chocolate without going crazy on calories. Before we get to that, let's briefly look at the three varieties in the box -- Cherry, Raspberry, and Strawberry. Out of those three I like two of the basic flavors and I have Acolytes who love Raspberry so we have this covered in terms of basic tastes.

I had to think what I could add and immediately I had two ideas -- drizzle with chocolate sauce and coat in chocolate. Which do you think would work best?

I made a chocolate dip from white chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, 50/50 mix, melted in a microwave and then stirred. Then I dipped and rolled each of the four bars below, used a blunt knife edge to scrape off the excess melted chocolate and stuck them in the styrofoam. Note how quickly the melted chocolate solidified. By scraping off the excess, I've added at most 50 calories to the pop. Note: Do not dip these more than a few hours before you serve them. Oddly they actually melted a bit in the freezer after 24 hours!

The sundae chocolate sauce however did not solidify well, it merely dripped so these ended up looking messing. Now you could put the sauce on right before you ate it but it would still drip. How many calories you add them is a matter of how much you put on and when, but it would range from 50-100 calories for this sugar free variety that I used.

There you have it, two ideas of adding chocolate to your Popsicle. What are your ideas? Leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Listeria, Peanut, and Dairy Recalls of Chocolate

It isn't over. The Listeria recall list just grows and grows. On top of that mountain of recalls we have the common missing ingredient information recalls to share with you, too. Remember we only cover chocolate related recall; keep up to date with all food recalls to protect you and your family, please. There are so many of these that I'm just going to list and link to them and include one photo for each. Follow the links and protect yourself because the products recalled include far more than are pictured in this post.

More Listeria Related Recalls

Hy-Vee Voluntarily Recalls One Salad Topping and Additional Trail Mix Products Due to Expanded Sunflower Seed Recall in the U.S.

Brown & Haley Expands Voluntary Recall of Mountain Thins “Trail Mix” Flavor Because of Possible Health Risk

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall of Certain Products After Sunflower Seed Supplier Expands Recall Due to Listeria Concerns

Rucker's Wholesale and Service Co. Recalls Sunflower Kernel, Sweet & Salty Mix, Cajun Hot Mix Because Of Possible Health Risk

Missing Dairy Ingredient Recalls

Herr Foods Inc. Announces Voluntary Recall of Waffle Works Brand of 4 oz. Double Chocolate Waffle Sandwiches due to Undeclared Milk: Allergy Concern for Those With Milk Allergy

Fal Foods USA Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk in DF Mavens Chocolate Almond Fudge Frozen Bars

Peanut in Flour Recalls

Hostess Brands, LLC Issues Recall On Possible Undeclared Peanut Residue In Certain Snack Cake And Donut Products

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Kindle Vegan Chocolate Cookbook

The Tomoson program sometimes offers me products that I think might be interesting to you. I know that some of you are not just chocolate lovers but also vegans or vegetarians. While I do not follow that dietary philosophy, I can appreciate your frustrations with finding chocolate that meets your needs. I always value your questions and comments about vegan and vegetarian chocolate. As you know dark chocolate is really your best bet for chocolate but another way to get the chocolate treats that you need, is to make your own goodies, right? So let's look at this Kindle cookbook, 101 Vegan Chocolate Recipes: A Vegan Cookbook Delight by Sam Kuma. I received this product free in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, an honest review here on The Chocolate Cult, and a few social media shares of our review here. No other form of compensation was received for this review.

The first thing you need to know about this ebook is that it is only available two ways -- as a Kindle download or a Kindle Cloud download that you can read on your Amazon account. Personally I found this very limiting because not only did I need to have my computer running to read a recipe but I also needed to be logged into Amazon since I don't have a Kindle of any sort currently.

Let's look at the book itself before I share the three recipes I tested. There are plusses and minuses to this ecookbook. On the plus side, every recipe has a photo, each recipe has basic nutritional information (calories, carbs, fats, proteins), and you can jump to each recipe by using the table of contents.

On the minus side there are some typos, missing steps in the directions, and layout problems. After recipe #22 "Three Ingredient Brownies" there is an entire page of lines as well as unnecessary lines on the recipe's first page and the page right before recipe #23. Recipe #43 "Dark Chocolate Truffles" has a photo but you have to page forward to see it; either the photo needed to be smaller or the text under it moved so the image could fit under the title. This photo problem happens with recipes #48, #55, #67, #76, #79, #80, #83, #88, #97. Is this photo issue a problem with the Amazon Cloud format and not the book? I don't know because I can't see the Kindle version but I doubt so since the same company is really formatting this book.

I struggled to find recipes to test because many of the recipes use tree nut milks and tree nut flours. The milks I understand because dairy is common in chocolate recipes and you'd need a substitute but flours? That feels like an unnecessary change and frankly since I wasn't paid for this review, I don't have the money to go out and buy what I consider "fancy" ingredients. On top of that, my husband is allergic to tree nuts and he is not okay with me recipe testing and wasting money on items he can't enjoy himself. These repeated tree nut ingredients really limited what I could test out.

My Results from Recipe
#30 "Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake"

Many questions for this recipe both in terms of ingredients and directions or instructions which are called "Procedure" in this cookbook.

How many Oreos equals 1.5 cups of crushed? At the bottom of the recipe it also lists "20 Oreos" -- is that to be crushed or is that extra? The ingredient list is unclear but reading through the recipe I think it is 20 total to be crushed up.

How do you combine the crushed cookies with the vegan butter? Do you melt the butter first? That's what I've done to make cookie and cracker crusts so I did it this time but the recipes needs this information.

What size of cake pan? I use a special cheesecake pan myself with I make this sort of dessert.

How would the sugar dissolve into the cream? Do you heat it? Do you just mix it? This is very unclear and by now I'm starting to get angry at this cookbook.

Suddenly the dark listed in the ingredients is melted? When did that happen?

The final problem with this recipe is that the photo looks like you have oreos inside of the cheesecake mixture but at no point does it say to add them... what? Not only that but the image from the cookbook compared to the final product I made shows another big difference. Adding in the cocoa and the dark chocolate makes the cake brown not light gray. The differences in these two results makes me a bit skeptical that the ecookbook photo is really from this recipe at all!

The result was definitely tasty but it did not have a cheesecake texture at all. I think if it had just been refrigerated rather than frozen and twice as much vegan cream cheese used, it would have had the expected texture and flavor.

#38 "Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies"

This recipe also has problems. It lists "1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract" in the ingredients but at no point in the procedure is it mentioned. I added in with the initial steps because it is the most logically point to add it when you are blending icing sugar, dark cocoa powder, and vegan butter.

It says to knead the dough until it is ready but does not describe what "ready" means... do not assume that your readers will know these things, cookbooks!

The procedure says to cut the dough into discs after it has frozen for 3 hours but it does not say how big. Assuming the nutritional information is correct, this recipe should make about 12 cookies only. That doesn't seem like many considering the amount of work that goes into them. Why is the size or number of cookies so important to me? Because the thickness of the discs will affect how long you need to bake them. I measured there and at 12 cookies they seem a bit thick so I cut them into 16 pieces so we'll see how that does. By the way, the recipe says that it serves 6 people, the photo shows a stack of three cookies, it is just very confusing in terms of number of cookies.

This step just really confused me: 8. Place the disks on a baking tray. Leave the parchment paper on. On what exactly? Along the edges, on the top or bottom, or on the baking sheet? At no point are we told to remove the parchment paper and I've made shortbread cookies before and never been told to any sort of paper on.

I think the freezing the dough only make it more difficult to cut. I could understand putting them in the refrigerator maybe but I've always just put shortbread cookies straight into the oven to bake. I think this made the cookies less likely to spread out and they retained their rolled and frozen form.

But how do these cookies taste? Great!

#48 "Chocolate Covered Popcorns"

This is a much simpler recipe and fairly straightforward. But I have a few comments and questions that arose as I worked on it.

I do not believe that 1/2 Cup Grated Dark Chocolate is enough information -- how many ounces or grams is that? What percentage of chocolate works best for popcorn?

Why melt the coconut oil in a pan (on the stove I assume) but the chocolate in the microwave? That just messes up two different dishes. The same question: Why you'd need to put the popcorn on a cookie sheet if you are tossing the popcorn and the chocolate in a bowl (I assume again)?

My results look more chocolatey but I may have mixed and tossed them more. Frankly I thought this used a bit too much coconut oil, I thought it would have worked with half the amount.

The results were very chocolatey and very yummy!

There you have it, my testing of three recipes out of 101 in 101 Vegan Chocolate Recipes: A Vegan Cookbook Delight. What did you think? I can't recommend this book; too many problems with it. To be blunt, this is either a cookbook by someone who doesn't cook and is just changing recipes without trying them out OR a very experienced cook who doesn't think that there needs to be all of the directions because the user will just know what to do. No, you can't assume what your reader will or will not know when you make a cookbooks.

But if you think this could solve a need you have for more chocolate in your life, follow the link below and order your own copy but make sure you have a Kindle or an Amazon account so you can read it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Recalls of Flour from Peanut Residue

Huge number of chocolate related recalls to share with you all. Some of them deal with the flour and peanut residue recall from Grain Craft but there are other so keep scrolling and reading. This is to protect you!

Here's the general recall: Grain Craft has recalled its affected flour. FDA is working with other companies that received the affected flour product from Grain Craft to determine if further recalls are needed.

Several brands and varieties are affected:

CSM Bakery Solutions (Atlanta, GA) is voluntarily recalling the following products:

Safeway 8" Single Layer Red Velvet Cake
ACME 12” Decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie
Jewel 12” Decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanut run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.
The 8” Single Layer Red Velvet Cake was sold in Safeway stores in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico (Farmington and Aztec), South Dakota, and Nebraska.

The 12” Decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie was sold in Acme stores in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and Jewel stores in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.

Products listed may contain undeclared peanuts.

Both products are merchandised in the bakery department and can be identified as follows:

Cake Red Velvet 1 Layer 8" Net Wt. 1lb 3oz
Unit UPC: 0226945
Sell Thru: Apr 14  16   (April 14, 2016) through May 2 16 (May 2, 2016)

12” Decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie 24 oz.
Unit UPC: 4114405568
Unit UPC:4114457856
Unit UPC: 4114457855
Sell Thru: May 02, 16* latest sell thru date code based upon shelf life. Scale Label is applied

12” Decorated Chocolate Chip Cookie 24 oz.
Unit UPC: 4114405568
Sell Thru Apr 28,  16* latest sell thru date code based upon shelf life. Scale label is applied

CSM Bakery Solutions is voluntarily recalling Chick-fil-A Chocolate Chunk Cookies because they may contain low levels of undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanut run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled products were distributed through Chick-fil-A Restaurants.

The recalled products can be identified as follows:

Material Name Lot Number Best by date Ship Date

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000146515 Sep/25/2016 4/2/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000146515 Sep/25/2016 4/13/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000146526 Oct/08/2016 4/15/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000146526 Oct/08/2016 4/15/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000148294 Sep/13/2016 3/25/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000148294 Sep/13/2016 3/25/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000153626 Sep/26/2016 4/5/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000153626 Sep/26/2016 4/4/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000153626 Sep/26/2016 4/5/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000155869 Sep/26/2016 4/6/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000155869 Sep/26/2016 4/7/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000155869 Sep/26/2016 4/6/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000155869 Sep/26/2016 4/6/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000155869 Sep/26/2016 4/13/16

COOKIE, TFF CFA CHOC CHNK OAT, NO THAW 1000157620 Oct/03/2016 4/13/16

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered by CSM during post-production testing that flour containing low-levels of undeclared peanut as a result of incidental contact was provided by a supplier to CSM Bakery Solutions. The flour was used in products distributed by CSM in packaging that did not reveal the presence of peanut.

Consumers and wholesale customers who have purchased the product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact CSM Bakery Solutions at 1-800-241-8526 extension 4, option 3. Calls can be made to this office during normal business hours (EST) during the week. Email inquiries can be sent to

Hostess Brands, LLC is voluntarily recalling 710,000 cases of select snack cakes and donuts as a direct result of the recent recall by our supplier, Grain Craft, of certain lots of its flour for undeclared peanut residue. The Hostess Brands products subject to the recall were produced using the Grain Craft flour that has now been recalled and, as a result, these products may contain low levels of undeclared peanut residue. More information about the Grain Craft recall can be found on the FDA’s website.

While those who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume products containing peanut allergens, the amount of peanut exposure from use of the flours and affected products is considered to be low and not expected to cause adverse health effects in the vast majority of peanut allergic consumers. To date, Hostess has received notice of two allergic reactions related to the product covered by this recall. Out of an abundance of caution, we are recalling the specific products listed on the attachment.

This recall applies only to the products listed here. (You must run the program to see the document. It is 5 pages long! Do it for the sake of your family and your health if there are any peanut allergies in your life. The images we've include are only a small number of these recalled packages.) This recall does not affect any other Hostess Brands products. The Hostess Brands products affected by the recall include single serve (snack cakes and donuts), multipack boxes and bagged donuts. The products were sold to mass merchandisers, grocery stores, distributors, dollar stores, drug stores, and convenience stores throughout the United States and Mexico. Anyone who has purchased an affected product and who has a sensitivity or allergy to peanuts is encouraged to discard it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact 1-800-686-2813 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm Central time, and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 7 pm Central time. Consumers may also visit

Additional Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars Recalled as a Result of Expanded Sunflower Kernel Contamination by SunOpta

The Quaker Oats Company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc., today announced a second voluntary recall of all Quaker® Quinoa Granola Bars, as a result of further sunflower kernel contamination found by ingredient supplier SunOpta. On May 16, 2016, Quaker took the cautionary measure to issue the voluntary recall on a small quantity of their Quinoa Bars that were potentially impacted by sunflower kernels received from  SunOpta that were potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L.mono).

L.mono is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Since May 16, SunOpta has conducted additional testing on sunflower kernels that extended beyond the original dates of concern provided. That testing is complete and as a result, out of an abundance of caution and care for the consumer, Quaker has made the decision to expand the initial recall.

The products were distributed nationwide and the company is now recalling all of the following Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars:

6.1 ounce boxes of Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars Chocolate Nut Medley with UPC code 30000 32241 and Best Before Dates before 11/15/16.

6.1 ounce boxes of Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars Yogurt, Fruit & Nut with UPC 30000 32243 and Best Before Dates before 11/15/16.

Consumers who have purchased this particular product are urged to dispose of or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. They can also direct any questions to 800-856-5781, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (EST), or find more information at

At this time there are no other Quaker products involved in this situation. The company is working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and SunOpta to further investigate this issue and ensure it has been contained.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Give Magnum the Raspberry!

Once more the nice from from Unilever contacted me to see if I'd help them let you all know about new flavors of their many frozen treat brands. Today we're going to start with MAGNUM, a brand you may have heard of and may have tried. If you haven't, you need to because they are amazing. Their two new flavors this year are Double Chocolate Vanilla and Double Raspberry. I didn't find the first one in my nearest local grocery shops but I could find the second. I'm not a raspberry fan but my husband is so we got this box for him to try out. The review below is his words so they are italicized. Unilever sent me a coupon for a Free box so we could test and write an honest review of their product; no other form of compensation was received for this feature article.

As with most Magnum bars, this one has two layers of chocolate enrobing over its ice cream, which in this case is raspberry ice cream.  Between the two chocolate layers, there is a thin but intense layer of a sticky raspberry sauce, the second source of flavor that gives this treat its "Double Raspberry" name. The main flavor I'm tasting with each bite is of course raspberry, but as the chocolate warms in my mouth the flavor melts from fruit to chocolate. As a fan of both raspberry and chocolate, I find this the best of both worlds. I tend to dislike raspberry concoctions that leave the seeds in, and this bar has no seeds.

It reads like the MAGNUM Double Raspberry is an excellent addition to the MAGNUM line, doesn't it? It earns Sacrament Status from our tester for the strong chocolate flavors and good balance as well as appropriate ingredients for a product of this type. Do you like raspberry? Do you like MAGNUM? Leave a comment and tell us and Unilever what you think of this addition to their flavor line up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Top 3 Ways to Celebrate National Donut Day 2016

Friday is "National Donut Day" -- CELEBRATE!

You could celebrate in several ways.

#3 Buy a donut -- tons to places to buy them. Grocery stores, donut shops, bakeries. Do you have a favorite brand you love? Leave a comment and let me know what that is.

#2 Make your own donuts -- either traditional deep fat fry or baked. I do the baked myself, both mini and regular sized. In fact, I have a mini donut making machine because I love so much! Making your own takes time, yes, but you control the ingredients and the flavors.

#1 Free Donut! Yup, check around because a lot of places will have freebies to get you to come in and buy extra donuts. I got this yeast donut with chocolate frosting and mini candy pieces as a freebie using my Kroger Loyalty card.

How are you celebrating National Donut Day?

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