Saturday, August 19, 2017

Enjoy Back to School with Baked Chewy Bars

We've looked at some Enjoy Life Foods products since last October and most of those have been chocolate chips either to use in recipes or in individual snack packs. Today we are going to look at their Baked Chewy Bar line of products. They sent us three flavors (Caramel Blondie, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed) but only one (Caramel Blondie) has chocolate in any form (chocolate chips) as an ingredient so we'll go into depth about it and just show you the others. These three new flavors join the previous four varieties of Baked Chewy Bars. I have not tried their Choco Loco version yet so I will not be comparing the Caramel Blondie to it in any way. If you have tried any of these flavors of Enjoy Life Foods' Baked Chewy Bars, please do leave us a comment and let us know what you thought about them. As with all of Enjoy Life Foods products these are free of the top 8 allergens, certified gluten-free and non-GMO. The three packs with five bars each were sent to us for free in exchange for this article; no other form of compensation was received for this honest and as objective as possible article you are about to read.

The Caramel Blondies are 100% blondie because they have chocolate chips in them but when I've made blondies I've always added in either chocolate or butterscotch chips so I don't mind at all. The bars are smaller than most similar bars I've tried but still come in at 160 calories a piece. The sweet caramel scent is the first thing I noticed when I opened the sleeve to take one out. There are a few tiny chocolate chips visible but I hope there are more under the surface. The chips are made from unsweetened chocolate and include cocoa butter as well. The bars are soft, they make no noise when you take a bite. The various flours and ingredients make this very textured and really dampen down the sweetness. The chocolate I'm not tasting at all though I see more mini chips inside of it. That's disappointing because blondies don't need chocolate chips so if you add them, make them stand out in the bar. Even the caramel essence that I smelled is dampened down.

The other two new varieties -- Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed and Carrot Cake -- have 150 calories per bar. Neither have chocolate of any type but I did try them and had 7 others try them with me. Both tasted like their names which is good. People who tried them with me liked them but they didn't love them.

This is the first disappointing article about Enjoy Life Foods here on The Chocolate Cult. This is also the first non-baking chocolate or simply chocolate snack product we've tried from them. I am still curious to see what the Choco Loco bars are like. I have to agree with the folks who helped me test them out that liking these bars was not enough to make us buy them again and again but we wouldn't turn them down if offered them or there was a really good sale. If you have tried any of these three flavors, please leave a comment and tell us about your experience with them.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Visiting BCHS with The Chocolate Priestess Part 2

As promised here is the second part of our three part video introducing us all to the Brown County Humane Society. Buy your tickets before they sell out because this is their 10th Chocolate Walk. I hope you enjoy it and if you did please leave us a comment here or on YouTube.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

E. Coli and Mislabeling Cause Chocolate Recalls

Two recalls to share today -- one on cake and one on ice cream. Sounds like a birthday combination to me! That might be because this time of year is heavy on the birthdays in my household. Neither of these recalls apply to me personally but I know they might affect some of you. Ready? Here we go for the recalls.

---------- Recalls Involving Chocolate ----------

Schnucks Bakery Mislabeled Cakes

Schnucks Bakery, a St. Louis, Mo. establishment, is issuing an allergy alert on 13 German Chocolate Cakes labeled as “Schnucks Bakery Deluxe Petite Cake Chocolate Iced Yellow” that contain pecans that are not listed on the ingredient label. Those with an allergy or severe sensitivity to pecans run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.
The cakes are approximately one pound in weight, packaged in small plastic cake domes and were sold in 12 Schnucks retail stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Please see below for a complete list of affected stores.

Customers are urged to check for:

German Chocolate Cake Labeled as “Schnucks Bakery Deluxe Petite Cake Chocolate Iced Yellow”
UPC: 41318 31168, Sell By Date: 8/12/17 – 8/14/17

The mislabeling was brought to the company’s attention by an employee. There have been no reports of illness associated with consumption of this product to date.

Schnucks Customers who purchased the affected product from Schnucks Bakery departments are encouraged to return it to their store of purchase for a full refund. Those with questions regarding the recall should contact the Schnucks Consumer Affairs department at 314-994-4400, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. CDT. Media with questions can contact Paul Simon, Schnucks senior communications specialist, at 314-994-4603.

Schnucks stores affected by this recall:


The Comfy Cow is recalling pints of Banana Puddin Y’all, 

Chocolate Squared 

Comfy Cow Chocolate Squared

Cookies and Cream

Comfy Cow Cookies and Cream

Cow Trax
Comfy Cow Cow Trax
Double Fold Vanilla, Georgia Butter Pecan

Intense Dark Chocolate

Comfy Cow Intense Dark Chocolate

Salted Caramel, Strawberry Fields Forever due to a potential contamination of E. coli. E. coli bacteria can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Most people who are infected recover, but the bacteria can be deadly.

On 07/19/2017 the firm was notified through internal firm product sample testing that pints of Banana Puddin Y’all, Chocolate Squared2, Cookies and Cream, Cow Trax, Double Fold Vanilla, Georgia Butter Pecan, Intense Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Fields Forever were either positive for E. coli or showed high counts of coliform.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Products affected are:

The products were distributed between 06/13/2017 and 07/21/2017.  These products were packaged in pint containers and sold primarily in retail stores located in the States of: Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, and Tennessee.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund or they may discard the product. Consumers with questions may contact the production facility at 502-384-2556, M-F, 9am-3pm EST.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Back to School Gluten Free and Chocolatey

We've talked about Jovial Foods previously here on The Chocolate Cult but I've been saving this feature article for now as children (and some adults) head back to school. Some students and teachers still pack lunches to take with us and many of those same folks find they are hungry after classes hours before dinnertime. Within those categories of folks looking for treats or snacks, are those who follow a gluten-free diet for various reasons. Chocolate bars shouldn't have gluten; if yours does, toss that out! But chocolatey cookies are another matter and cookies are a common item to include in lunches or use as after school snacks. Jovial offers Gluten Free Chocolate Cream Filled Cookies for those trying to find a treat to meet their desires. They sent us three free boxes of this product in exchange for us testing out and reporting on our experiences with the treat; no other form of compensation was received.

Unlike the previous cookies we looked at from Jovial, these are not made with einkorn but do include organic rice flour, organic chick pea flour, and organic buckwheat flour; these cookies are sort of "gluten free" certified at less than 10PPM. Only you can know your tolerance for gluten. It also includes organic hazelnuts so be aware if you have these food allergies. Most importantly for us is the organic cocoa on the ingredient list. The cookie outside is a crisp but not dry nor hard cocoay dome. It made a loud crunch when I took a bite and continued to make such sounds as I chewed. I could not break it in half with my hands but a sharp knife worked as you can see in our photo to the left. Inside is a pudding like center that has a very light hazelnut flavor but is strongly chocolate. Not too sweet this was enjoyed by everyone I shared them with.

But how is this a back to school treat? Two cookies equal a serving of 160 calories so less than the standard candy bar you might be tempted to pack. They come two to a plastic sleeve so you can easily portion control and protect the cookies at the same time. While these are tasty there are some ingredients that made me frown. The company spends a lot of time boosting about organic this and farm-raised that but it also uses palm oil. I don't care how "environmentally responsible" you might think the company you are buying palm oil from is, it all contributes to deforestation when there are many other oil alternatives you could use including cocoa butter itself or simply more of the other oils and fats on the ingredient list. There always alternatives and it was disappointing to see palm oil listed on these otherwise wonderful treats.

For flavor and portability these are excellent choices and earn Sacrament Status... now get rid of the palm oil, Jovial Foods, and you can be at the top of our 2017 list of products!