Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Two Recipes to Celebrate National Cereal Day 2015

In honor of the approaching "National Cereal Day" on Saturday, we're going to look at two Cheerios brand chocolate varieties that your Chocolate Priestess received for free using coupons from Kroger and from Savingstar.  I tried them as breakfast cereals and also in candy making.  Ready to learn the results?  Let's go!

I based my Minty Chocolate Cheerio Rounds on this recipe for Fun Cereal Cookies.  I used chips and minty mini marshmallows in place of regular mini marshmallows, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips as well as Dark Chocolate Crunch Cheerios.  Note: the cereal itself tasted very good and didn't get sticky or go stale even after a week.  I'd buy this variety again.

Recipe for Chocolate Marshmallow Cheerio Rounds
5 cups (180g) Chocolate Cheerios cereal
4 T Imperial Margarine
31oz container of Marshmallow Fluff (Kroger brand)
8oz Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (Hershey brand)

1) Lightly oil mini-muffin pans -- you'll need at least 48 cups to fill depending on how large you make each round.

2) Cut margarine into six pieces and melt in a large pan on medium-low heat on the stovetop.

3) Measure out your cereal. Note: the photo shows one serving of Chocolate Cheerios, yup that small amount is one serving so be careful when you are eating a bowl of it because you may be getting more servings than you expect. Cheerios are heavy things and they quickly equal a serving in comparison to a cereal like puffed rice or cornflakes.

4) Add in the marshmallow fluff and stir a couple of times.

5) Stir in the chocolate chips and stir until it and the fluff are completely smooth again.  It should a very milk chocolate color.

6) Add in the cereal a bit at a time, stirring to thoroughly mix it then turn off the heat.

7) Using a regular sized eating spoon, drop the cereal mixture into the mini muffin cups until they are all filled.  You may need to keep stirring the cereal mixture from time to time.

Let sit for at least an hour before turning out onto a waxed sheet or into a container for storage.  Can be stored in refrigerator or if covered at room temperature depending on how sticky you like them.

These were a bit sticky so next time I think I'd try one tablespoon less of the margarine.

Recipe for Minty Chocolate Cheerios Bars
5 cups (180g) Dark Chocolate Cheerios
3 T margarine (Imperial)
1 8oz bag mint chocolate marshmallows (Kraft brand)
1 10oz bag Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips

1) Cut margarine into six pieces and melt in a large pan on medium-low heat on the stovetop.

2) Measure out your cereal. Again the photo shows just one serving of this cereal. Notice that only some of the Cheerio pieces are dark in the Dark Chocolate Crunch version.

3) Add in the marshmallows and stir until smooth.

4) Stir in the baking chips and stir until it and the marshmallows are completely smooth again.  It should a  color.

5) Add in the cereal a bit at a time, stirring to thoroughly mix it then turn off the heat. This will start to firm up quickly because of the mint.

6) Spoon into a large edged pan and spread out evenly as fast as you can. It will start to cool and stiffen up as soon as you pour it from the pan so I got an extra set of hands to help me out with the pouring/scooping so that I could spread out the mixture.

7) Let set to cool for an hour then cut into bars -- if you end up with 24 bars each will be about 134 calories IF you used the same brands and amounts that I did.

What do you all think of these cereal ideas as treats?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Recall

I've never had chocolate hazelnut butter... unless the "butter" is more like a "spread" similar to Nutella or the Askinosie hazelnut spread we've loved, but if you have such products regularly, check out this recall.

Hummingbird Wholesale Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk in Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Consumer Contact: 541-686-0921 ext. 105

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — February 20, 2015 — Hummingbird Wholesale in Eugene Oregon is recalling 110 jars of Hummingbird Brand Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter that may contain undeclared milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk products run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recalled product sold to retail outlets in California, Oregon, and Washington and directly to consumers in Oregon in 1 pound (454 gram) glass jars that show lot number of 15023 on a white sticker on the jar between the dates of 1/27/15 and 2/19/15.

HW Item # Lot # UPC Code
N270         15023 6-96859-11035-1

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that a supplier had changed the ingredients without notice to include milk in the 65% dark chocolate used to make the Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. The label does not show milk as an ingredient. Only lot # 15023 was made with the affected chocolate.

Consumers who purchased this product are welcome to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, or to contact Hummingbird at 541-686-0921 ext. 105 from 8am to 4pm PST Monday through Friday.

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

Hummingbird Wholesale has taken immediate action to recall the affected Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in order to ensure the safety of its consumers.

Hummingbird Wholesale is dedicated to providing the highest quality organic and raw products, and the safety of our customers is our number one priority.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Splenda Party Report from The Chocolate Cult

We've hosted a few parties here on The Chocolate Cult primarily with salespeople from chocolate companies coming in to "educate" and sell their goods. I've also used products at parties as ways to test them out such as the ZOKU quick pops this past Christmas.  This is the first time I've been asked to host a party focus solely on a brand, in this case Splenda. I connected with this company via the Crowdtap site that I'm a member of and which I've done some product testing of in the past. In this case I knew I could combine the three Splenda products I was sent with chocolate recipes because I've used Splenda many times in the past. Unfortunately the day of the party this happened -- snow, the most snow we'd had since November 2014. The snow continued to come down so the photo to the left is what it was that morning, it was higher by the time the party was scheduled for.

The kit came with the following items all in bright yellow:

1 Bag of SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend

1 Bag of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener

1 Bag of SPLENDA® Sugar Blend

1 Set of SPLENDA® Brand Coupons

10 SPLENDA® Brand Cutting Boards

10 SPLENDA® Brand Spatulas

10 SPLENDA® Brand Measuring Cups

10 SPLENDA® Brand Jump Ropes

10 SPLENDA® Brand Aprons

I made three recipes -- half the recipe with cane sugar, half with the appropriate form of Splenda. All other ingredients, the cooking environment, and the cooking methods were identical.

This is what I made and how they turned out.

Sugar vs. Splenda Milk Chocolate Caramel Sauce
Milk Chocolate Caramel Sauce -- Sugar version = 1823 total calories; Splenda version = 1437 total calories; Oddly the Splenda version allowed the chocolate chips to melt faster and more thoroughly while the sugar version had a problem of hardening up while it boiled.  Even more oddly the sugar version never held any shape even after cooling in the frig, it was really more a caramel sauce than caramel candy. The Splenda version held onto a shape better but was still very soft. I think part of the softness may have to do with the recipe I used but I was very surprised that the softer version was the cane sugar version. In terms of flavor, the sugar version was more milky and the Splenda version had a darker chocolate flavor even though both were made with milk chocolate chips.

Sugar vs. Splenda Cocoa Peppermint Cookies
Cocoa Peppermint Cookies -- Sugar version = 2462 total calories; Splenda version = 2327 total calories; The brown sugar version of these cookies were much flatter and more crisp than the Splenda version which was fluffier and had a lighter texture. However they tasted identical to most of the folks who tried them out so it really comes down to the texture you want.

Sugar vs. Splenda Duo Choco Chip Sugar Cookies

Duo Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies -- Sugar version = 2367 total calories; Splenda version = 1980 total calories; I noticed that the butter blended faster and more thoroughly in the Splenda version but the dough was thicker and made one fewer cookies; they looked very different once baked, the Sugar version was flatter and darker in color while the Splenda version didn't spread and remained pale; the Splenda version had a stronger flour flavor to it, it was as sweet and as chocolatey but also had more grain flavor.

Experimenting was very interesting as was hearing my guests give me feedback about the differences they perceived. But let's get back to the party and the snow. I laid out my table hoping for the best in terms of turnout.

Only one brave person managed to come. Everyone say "Hi" to Erica please. I'm the one in the Splenda apron which was one of the swag items for guests.

Chocolate Priestess + Guest

The next day is a normal friends over to our house day so I had more folks to try the treats out. Thank goodness I only made half batches of each type of treat or we'd still have them in the house. Not that any of these were horrible, nothing was over 107 calories a serving, but still I get tired of the same thing.

I still have swag left if anyone wants some and lives near me, give me a shout out and you can have some of them. Note: the Spatulas are all given away but the other items are available.

Friday, February 27, 2015

March of Chocolate Fun Food Holidays 2015

March = Frozen Foods Month, begun in 1983 by The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), many grocery stores in the USA have a focus on frozen food sales during this month

1st Thursday in March = World Book Day - I have been so busy that while I have books featuring chocolate no review will be posted this day... I'll try to get to something later on but for now you can check out other book reviews at this LINK

March 1 = National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day -- A company contacted me in February about sending us some freebie coupons to try their latest peanut butter and chocolate flavors so I hope to test and write about them soon but Moderation and our schedule of already arrived samples needs to take priority for fairness sake

March 6 = National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day

March 7 = National Cereal Day -- I have a recipe to share with you all.

March 8 = National Peanut Cluster Day

March 14 = National Pi Day which is often treated as a pie day or a circle food day

2nd week of March = Chocolate Chip Cookie Week -- This might be a good week to share the Splenda recipe with you all.

March 18 = National Oatmeal Cookie Day

March 19 = National Chocolate Caramel Day -- I could share a Splenda recipe on this day, too.

3rd week of March = American Chocolate Week -- While Hershey's is considered a "classic" in terms of American Chocolate, there are a lot of American shops out there making amazing products.

March 24 = National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

March 25 = International Waffle Day; Pecan Day (not national)

March 26 = National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day -- What Holiday do you want to make up?

March 28 = National Black Forest Cake Day -- Not being a bit cherry fruit fan, I've never made this.