Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Recall before Thanksgiving 2014

Oh the food industry was doing so well for a few weeks with no chocolate related recalls and then today we get another one, this one for chocolate pre-prepared shelf stable pudding.  I don't know how many of you might buy this product but I've seen it in stores so I know it is a widely available brand. Remember to follow the links for fuller information and to use the contact information if you have purchased the product.

Kozy Shack Enterprises, LLC Issues Allergen Alert on Unlabeled Foodservice Chocolate Pudding Cups


Consumer Contact: 855-716-1555

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 21, 2014 – Kozy Shack Enterprises, LLC is voluntarily recalling certain items of its Foodservice Kozy Shack® Simply Well® Chocolate Pudding 4 oz. cups because they contain undeclared milk and lack product labeling. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled product was distributed through foodservice distribution channels and not sold in retail stores. Product was distributed to 20 states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The product comes in a small, clear 4 oz. plastic container and contains a yellow lid with the Kozy Shack logo on it. The carton in which the product was shipped is identified with the following information:

Lot Number: 31637681
Item Code: 00050000073491
USE BY:31 DEC 14

There have been no illnesses reported, and there are no quality issues with the product.
The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the milk-containing product was distributed without complete labeling.

Customers who have purchased this product are urged to discontinue use of the item and return it to the place of purchase. Kozy Shack will work with customers to collect the product.

Foodservice customers can contact Consumer Affairs at 855-716-1555, Monday 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central Time and Tuesday – Friday 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central Time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chocolate Spoons from Chocion

We've looked at chocolate spoons in the past here on The Chocolate Cult but these chocolate spoons from Chocion are quite different.  These are plastic (or you can get them wooden) spoons are inserted into chunks of chocolate that you put into your mug of hot chocolate.  According to the head of Chocion, you then stir for a while, lift the chunk of chocolate to lick at it, return to stirring and continue until you've turned your average mug of hot cocoa into something amazing with the melted chocolate on the spoon.  Let's see how these four varieties make our average milk chocolate hot cocoa taste.



Let's start simple with the White Chocolate which is made only with cocoa butter and no other added oils or fats exactly as white chocolate should be made. By itself this has a creamy, buttery fragrance. It made the hot cocoa very creamy and sweet; our tester really loved it a lot.



Next was the variety your Chocolate Priestess tried -- Chocolate Caramel which has a slightly tangy chocolate scent. The caramel flavor is wonderfully sweet and adds a good kick to the average cocoa as well as a bit of stickiness.  I really loved it for the combination of flavors and the fact that it melted quickly and thoroughly.


Then we had Chocolate Macchiato which is a common coffee drink but I don't see coffee listed in the ingredients. It doesn't smell like coffee, just simple milk chocolate really. You can see that it is half white and half milk chocolate. Our tester who has had coffee that was macchiato in flavor said this was very much what he expected and he really loved it.


Finally the Cappuccino which does have coffee as an ingredient and it has a strong coffee and cocoa fragrance. The white chocolate part has flecks of the ground coffee beans in it. The coffee flavor is light so if you aren't a huge coffee fan don't worry, you might still like this one, our tester said.  She really loved how this chocolate spoon added more chocolate to the hot cocoa and then the after current of coffee.

Wonderful creations from Chocion you could have with hot coffee or even hot tea but it really does need to be a hot drink to get the chocolate on the spoon melting.  The spoons are hearty and can be washed and reused numerous times by the way. You could also just eat the chocolate but Chocion has bars, pralines, and other creations if you want that. As this feature goes live they are revamping their website so I don't have links to the specific items we looked at today.  Add the main website that we've linked to in this article to your bookmarks and check back in the future because these chunks of chocolate were excellent enough to earn Sacrament Status here on The Chocolate Cult.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meet the Fudge Doctor from Baltimore

In honor of National Peanut Butter Fudge Day (today!) we're publishing an interview with the "Fudge Doctor" from Baltimore, Seth Weinstein.  Sisters and Brothers, please read and leave him some comments or questions afterwards.

Seth Weinstein in Kilwins

Seth, would you tell us about Kilwins and your role in it?

Kilwins is a Michigan-based ice cream and candy company that's been in operation since 1947. We focus on old-fashioned standbys: fudge, toffee, brittles, caramel apples, and other traditional American candies. Trends come and go, but dipping an apple in caramel has been a candy staple for decades, and we see no reason to mess with a good thing!

Which particular Kilwins shop is yours?

I work at our Fells Point location in Baltimore, MD. You can find us at 1625 Thames St.

Is the ice cream and chocolate business in Baltimore good?  Is there a lot of competition and if so what makes your shop unique?

If your town has deep American history and it's located on the water, chances are you're gonna find a handful of candy and ice cream stores. Baltimore is no exception, but we're lucky enough that we don't have a ton of direct competition. The other candy stores are located far enough away from us, and have a different enough selection, that we don't see a lot of overlap. On the ice cream front, our only competition comes from a gelato place, which really isn't ice cream, and a certain other franchise location of questionable quality that shall go unnamed.

How did you get into the chocolate and ice cream shop business?

Probably because candy is the greatest! The very first job I ever loved was at a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and it was there that I cut my teeth on making caramel apples and fudge and tempering chocolate at the delicate age of 15. I worked there until I was 18, and then served as an assistant manager at Giffords Candy & Ice Cream while I was in college. I've dipped my toes into other industries, but candy keeps pulling me back, and I'm more than happy to let it.

Mud Fudge
You have a nickname, "The Fudge Doctor," would you tell us how you got that name?

Because my fudge is sick! Honestly, I completely forget the specifics of how I ended up with that nickname. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I've done a bunch of research into the delicate system that is fudge, so my coworkers will occasionally catch me "diagnosing" a less-than-perfect batch.

We've interviewed people in several roles of the chocolate industry but I believe you are our first franchise owner.  How much of what you sell in your shop is based on Kilwins recipes and directives and how much is created in house or unique to your shop?

Whoa now, I'm just the chef! My store is owned by David and Karen Gilmore, and managed by Eric Gonzalez, and all three of them are wonderful people, hard workers, and extremely dedicated to the business. No way I could do this without them. To answer your other question, I'd say the ratio is about 70/30. The Kilwins franchise has had years to explore and perfect recipes, and they've come up with a multitude of solid ones. I'll find myself designing my own products, however, if we have a Kilwins item that isn't selling as well as we'd like, or we have a holiday coming up that demands a seasonal touch to our products, or there's a particularly delicious idea that we have to explore. Something that I deeply appreciate about my employers is the freedom they give me in the kitchen. As long as I keep the shelves stocked and the snacking to a minimum, they pretty much let me run wild as far as custom creations are concerned. Plus, customers will often come in with unique custom orders, which I'm more than happy to fill.

Kilwins Pralines
What is your favorite treat to create?  Is it fudge?

Oh wow, that's a difficult question. Fudge is great because I work in front of huge windows overlooking the sidewalk, and I'll often find that a crowd gathers to watch me paddle the fudge on our marble table. But I think my absolute favorite item to produce is pecan pralines. They might actually be the perfect candy. They're simply the best, whether you're talking about the taste, the ease of production, the time required, or complexity of the ingredients. Pralines are so great they almost feel like cheating. How can a candy this good be this effortless?!

Are there seasonal ups and downs in your business?

Oh sure, and they're about what you would expect. Summers are huge, as is Christmas and Valentines' Day, but we definitely do experience a lull after New Years'. We serve all manner of hot drinks in addition to our ice cream and candy, but I suppose people don't consider those as much. Summers more than make up for it though; this is only our second summer, but we've completely blown away our numbers from last year.

What is your favorite product that you sell?

My mind immediately went to our Peanut Butter Pretzel Clusters. We mix together pretzel pieces and peanut butter, shape them into balls, freeze them, and enrobe them in milk chocolate with dark chocolate decoration on top. We came up with the idea when we were trying to find a use for all the broken pretzels we can't enrobe in chocolate, and this item has been an extraordinarily elegant solution. They're a bit labor-intensive, but the end product is immeasurably decadent. The fact that we cut down on ingredient waste is a plus.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about your work at Kilwins?

I know I work in front of a big glass window, but please don't tap on it to get my attention! I'm not much smarter than a fish, and it startles me.

Thank you, Seth, for talking with us today.

You're very welcome! Thanks for featuring me!

Sisters and Brothers, please do leave comments and questions for Seth to let him know that you read our interview today. In honor of "National Peanut Butter Fudge Day", go out and find some or make some.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Balls

Tomorrow we have an interview in however of National Peanut Butter Fudge Day but today, because of your votes on our November Calendar article I'm going to reveal the results of my testing making tackling Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge that the majority of voters chose.

I used this recipe found at allrecipes.com as my starting point.

I use more of the raw cocoa we were sent to test since the type of cocoa used was not specified in this recipe. I used some leftover cereal that is too bland for my family's taste on it's own to turn the simple fudge into a candy that I can save and use at our holiday party.

Let's see how this worked out.

Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Balls
By TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

Ingredients:

2.25 C White Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Zero Cal Sugar Substitute
12 oz Can of Evaporated Milk
1/2 C Raw Cocoa Powder
1 C Creamy Peanut Butter
1 T Margarine
300g Total Cereal

Directions:

1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Measure out your margarine, peanut butter, and cereal and set these aside within easy reach of your stovetop.



2. Combine sugar, sugar sub, evaporated milk in a large saucepan and start to heat on medium. Add in the cocoa powder a bit at a time.  It will take a bit of work to get the cocoa to combine but only when it has should you turn up the heat.



3.  Raise the heat and stir until you get a rolling boil.  Lower the heat to medium then clip a candy thermometer set to soft boil on the sauce pan. Keep stirring until your thermometer beats at you.  If you don't have a thermometer heat until it reaches the soft boil stage.



4. Turn off the heat and add in the margarine and the peanut butter stirring vigorously until blended.

5. Add in the cereal until it is all coated with the fudgey mixture.

6. Spoon or scoop out balls and place these on the parchment paper on the cookie sheets, forming the balls with your hands if necessary.  Be careful these are hot for a few minutes.

7. Please the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

This made 38 large balls for me but you can make the balls as large or as small as you like.  Each of the treats I made has 143 calories in it.

Did you like the power of being able to vote on what fun food holiday recipe I might try this month?  Is it something You'd like me to continue to do? I want my readers to feel they can contribute more than just reading and I hope this is one way you can participate even if you are too shy to leave a comment.