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Archive for the tag “chocolate”

18Rabbits Granola Bars

18Rabbits knows how to make delicious granola bars!

From the two flavors I’ve tried (pictured), the ingredients were extremely fresh and the fillings were large plentiful, just the way I like it.

And really, anyone who offers me figs wins my heart.  Thanks, Kelsey, for sending these bars to me.

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Cupcake Cafe: Works of Art

My colleagues surprised me on my birthday last spring with a cupcake party!

These little works of art come from Cupcake Cafe in Manhattan.

You could choose from chocolate cake with chocolate icing, vanilla cake with chocolate icing, vanilla cake with chocolate icing and vanilla cake with vanilla icing.  Most people don’t notice if a batch of cupcakes has one combination missing, but I do.  I feel a deep sense of calm with a complete set.

Maybe I should say frosting in place of icing?  I’m not really sure.  This stuff was really creamy, not sugary.

I’m glad I snapped a photo because let’s just say they didn’t live long.

Wolfgang Chocolate Fruit Candies

I have to be honest.  I’m not usually the biggest fan of cordial-like chocolates.  Bad memories from low-quality chocolate samplers from my youth, perhaps?

Still, I could pass up the chance to try some fruit-centered dark chocolates from Wolfgang, thanks to Angela and her offer of samples.  100% All-natural fruit and fruit juice?  Preservative and trans-fat free?  Ok!

I let them sit on the counter for a few days until one evening, while watching Mad Men, I decided to give one a try.  I selected the blueberry flavor.  WOAH- delicious!  I reached for another:  raspberry.  Incredible!  Alright, better try the final flavor, cranberry, to compare while the others are still fresh on the taste buds.  Amazing!  The fillings are sweet without being cloying, and there are noticeable pieces of real fruit.

Two other cool things about these Wolfgang fruit chocolates:  they’re pretty healthy (especially the blueberry which is just 80 calories for two) and they’re not expensive ($5.89 for baskets of about 5 ounces).

Buy them online or at many Whole Foods, and discover a kind of chocolate you may have never known could be so tasty!

Newman’s Own Organics

Authoring a food blog has certain benefits.  Perhaps the most obvious is receiving many delicious and interesting product samples.  Another, less advertised benefit is communicating with various people and discovering commonalities, even outside of food.

In October 2008 I was reading one of my favorite food blogs, David Lebovitz‘s, when I was compelled to post a comment disagreeing with one small item from this post about NYC– his assertion that public bathrooms were plentiful here.  (Visitors beware-they’re not!)  Shortly following I received an email of vehement agreement from another David Lebovitz reader and fellow (former) New Yorker, Pat Fusco, who is now a food writer in California.  Curiousity piqued (if she agrees with me, she must be a smart lady!), I read some of her articles online and left a comment.

Fast forward many months and I was contacted by a woman named Sally Shepard who works for Newman’s Own Organics.  She is friends with Pat and had seen my comment on Pat’s article.  Sally checked out my blog and graciously offered to send me some Newman’s Own Organics products to try.

So, should I stop rambling and get to the food review?  Newman’s Own Organics has a wide array of products.  From soy crisps and dried fruits to vinegars and chocolate bars, there are multiple flavors and varieties of each.  They’re also uniform in impressive quality and taste–honestly, I enjoyed every single thing.

What doesn’t vary among the offerings are the organic and sustainable origins of the ingredients: “Newman’s Own® Organics’ products meet all the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program. Ingredients have been grown on farms that have not used artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years or more. The farms and processors have also met the USDA’s organic standards.”

I will absolutely be seeking out Newman’s Own Organics products when I shop.  If I had to pick my favorite few (okay, okay!) they would be:

1. Dried apricots – the moistest and most delicious dried apricots I have ever tasted.  Better than I knew existed!

2. Olive oil – great for cooking but also a nice flavor for dipping bread before dinner.

3. Ginger mints – curbs the sweet tooth in a healthy way.  Plus I love ginger!

A huge thanks to Sally, via Pat, via David for so many wonderful samples, and for helping me spread the word about a fantastic company, and for building friendship through food writing online-and through bathrooms in NYC or, rather, the lack thereof!

Kopali Organics Dried Mango & Chocolate-Covered Mulberries

I have been a very happy snacker lately.  Kopali Organics Dried Mango (above) and Dark Chocolate-Covered Mulberries (below).  Mangos and mulberries both are fruits I love but don’t eat too often.  (Notice I said nothing about not eating chocolate often.)  The pouches are a handy size for throwing into your purse, backpack or gym bag.

Quaker True Delights Raspberry Dark Chocolate Granola Bar

Quaker‘s new True Delights Raspberry Dark Chocolate Granola Bar is one of the better things I’ve tasted lately.

The actual bar looks amazingly similar to this picture: huge chunks of dried raspberries and dark chocolate.  The raspberries are a bit tart and match perfectly with the raspberries and oats.  Yum.

It’s a bit more processed than most foods I eat.  Let’s check out the ingredients: WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, CORN SYRUP, SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHUNKS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, DEXTROSE, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, VANILLA), CRISP RICE (RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, MALT EXTRACT, SALT), ALMONDS, BROWN SUGAR, OLIGOFRUCTOSE, HONEY, DRIED SWEETENED RASPBERRIES (DRIED RED RASPBERRIES, SUGAR), INVERT SUGAR, SUNFLOWER OIL, GLYCERIN, COCONUT OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF FREEZE DRIED RASPBERRIES, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, FRUCTOSE, SORBITOL, WATER, SEA SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CINNAMON, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, VANILLA EXTRACT, CARAMEL COLOR, NATURAL MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (ANTIOXIDANT), MALTODEXTRIN, WHEY, SODIUM CASEINATE.

Yeah, so maybe not a health food.  But definitely worth trying with the free sample and/or $1 off coupon.

Latte at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien serves coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos in bowls.  I like that.

Together with its communal tables and unlimited praline chocolate spread, it’s a warm, happy place.

Once when I was there a Russian lady with big, fiery eyes asked to sample my merengue and then practically sat on my lap to break off a piece, exclaiming endlessly how delicious it was while smacking her lips and urging her embarrassed husband to sample some, too.  He politely declined and escorted her back to her seat.

Some get overly excited about the coziness of the place, I guess.

Tcho Chocolate T-Shirt

“I am Chocolatey” T-Shirt by Tcho Chocolate.

Also available in:
“I am Citrus” (yellow)
“I am Nutty” (light brown)
“I am Fruity” (orange)

Order them for the whole family and claim yours first.  Who gets “I am Nutty”?

Tcho, $15

Jo’s Candies: Toffee Nuggets and Peppermint Crunch

I like homemade treats, but candy can be difficult to make. Plus Jo’s Candies certainly is better with a candy thermometer than I (or even Dan of Candy Addict).

A box of Toffee Nuggets comes with 3 milk chocolate and 3 dark chocolate toffees, covered in almonds. One box for $12.75, two boxes for $20.

Peppermint Crunch involves white chocolate that is mixed with peppermint oil and covered dark chocolate. One 9-ounce tin goes for $17.00.

They don’t skimp on the chocolate and they’re perfect with a cup of hot cocoa or a tall glass of cold milk.

Recipe: Chocolate Oat Balls

There are two types of people: those who prefer baking and those who prefer cooking.

Despite my sweet tooth I am very much in the cooking camp. I am not very precise with measurements and I am liberal with substitutions. Therefore when I make dessert I usually make pudding, macaroons, fruit tarts and other things that can handle my lack of attention to detail.

These chocolate oat balls fit the bill. They’re no-bake, easy, and pretty.

Chocolate Oat Balls

Adapted from Anne’s Food, a wonderful blog

250 ml rolled oats
50 ml sugar
50 ml cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot, strong coffee
50 g unsalted butter, very soft

Put all ingredients together. Roll into balls. Anne suggested rolling them in coconut or pearl sugar, but I tried coconut and couldn’t get it to stick. Perhaps because it was unsweetened and therefore not sticky?

Eat soon. Store in refrigerator, but, better yet, don’t store at all. The next day they will begin to dry out considerably.

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