Monday, June 30, 2014

Ice Cream Headlines July 2014

The month long fun food holiday is that July is National Ice Cream Month here in the USA by federal decree!  Hopefully we'll have a lot of good, cold chocolate treats to test and tell you all about this month and possibly into August.  But there are many other reasons to celebrate with Chocolate in July as well.

Image #1
July = National Ice Cream Month

July 1 = Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

July 3 = National Chocolate Wafer Day



July 7 = Chocolate Day -- Isn't this really every day around here, Sisters and Brothers?

July 8 = National Chocolate with Almonds Day

July 9 = National Sugar Cookie Day

July 12 = National Pecan Pie Day

Third Sunday in July = National Ice Cream Day

July 23, 1904 first ice cream cones used at the World's Fair in St. Louis

July 25 = National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

July 28 = National Milk Chocolate Day

July 30 = National Cheesecake Day -- Check out a recipe we created a few years back here.

Image Credits:

Image #1: http://govbooktalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/reagan-ice-cream-proclamation.jpg

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Multiple-Use Mini Muffin Pan

Today we're going to look at a silicone mini muffin pan from Grazia that I used to make several different types of treats to see just how versatile it is.  This included a treat that needed to be chilled, one that simply cooled at room temperature, and one that went into the oven.  I tried all of these treats in both the Grazia silicone mini muffin pan I was sent to test and reveal to you all as well as with some metal mini muffin pans I already had on hand.  This way I can test how the Grazia pan reacts to different temperatures but also compare it to the metal version of the same style of pan.  Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.


The room temp treat was in the form of Chocolate Marshmallow Cheerio Rounds, I'll share the recipe in a different feature in the future.  Using the Grazia silicone pan made it easy to shape and remove the treats, the regular metal mini muffin pan required a utensil a few times or at least a vigorous shaking.  Using the silicone was easier but frankly just spooning them on wax paper or spreading the cereal treats in a pan to cut up later is even easier.  The silicone mini muffin pan held up well in room temps and for the refrigerated part of the test.

The oven treat was from a pouch, a chocolate chip muffin mix from Martha White, so no recipe to share with you all.  I made the Grazia pan plus a regular mini muffin metal pan to compare and this is where  I saw the greatest difference between silicone and metal pans.  I used the same amount of oil in each and the mini muffins popped out equally easily.  The metal pan required -2 minutes less to cook than the lowest recommended time on the mix; the silicone pan required the max time on the directions.  The max temp for the Grazia silicone muffin pan 450°F but this muffin mix used 425°F and I followed the pan's directions and placed it on a regular cookie sheet which may have contributed to the slower baking times. The final product tasted the same but the metal pan produced taller and lighter on the bottom muffins while the silicone one created wider and darker on the bottom treats. NOTE: Cupcakes require a lot of oiling of the pan to come out very clean; I can't recommend that use of it.

Finally I made a cold treat using the muffin pan as portion control and shaping device.  You'll note that these look messy but that isn't the Grazia pan fault. Putting the fudge on the bottom didn't work very well so I'll try this agree and update in the future when I have some more ice cream to layer.  The silicone did great in the freezer and made popping out the mini sundaes very easy, didn't require any utensils at all something that a metal pan could not have matched

The silicone mini muffin pan from Grazia required oil every time but then so too does my regular mini muffin pan or the use of liners unless I want whatever I'm making to stick. This required no extra work really but is something you should know if you are also spoiled by your dishwashing machine like my husband.  He tried this pan in the dishwasher, the product is reported to be dishwasher safe, and I can report that it washed very well in the machine but did require a bit of care taking out since water tended to gather in the small lip though not nearly as much as the metal pan. Silicone is great for creations you want to be able to pop out quickly because the pan is flexible and cools down more quickly than metal.  I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chocolate Related Recalls June 22, 2014

Sisters and Brothers it is with heavy heart that I bring you two more chocolate related recalls from the FDA.  If you live in the USA pay attention; if you live elsewhere check with your government authorities to see if there are recalls where you live.  As always follow the links to get further information.
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Schnucks Bakery Recalls Devil’s Food Cakes Topped With Undeclared Pecans Cakes sold at all Schnucks stores

Schnucks Consumer Affairs: 1-800-264-4400

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 13, 2014 – Schnucks Bakery has issued a voluntary recall on Devil’s Food Cakes decorated with pecans. Anyone with a pecan allergy who consumed this product may be at risk for serious reaction.

During an ingredient/label review, it was noted that although pecans were visible on top of the cake (not baked inside), the known allergen was not disclosed on the label.

These cakes were sold at all Schnucks stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. If you have a pecan allergy and have purchased the Schnucks Devil’s Food Cake, you may return it to any Schnucks store:

Schnucks Bakery 8” Devil’s Food Cake
UPC: 04131831186
Item: 31-40080

Schnucks Bakery ½ CK – Devil’s Food CK
UPC: 04131831078
Item: 31-40503

There have been no reports of illness associated with this recall. However, if you are concerned about a possible allergic reaction please contact your physician.

Please return the specified product to their nearest store for a full refund or exchange. Consumers with questions may call Schnucks Consumer Affairs at 1-800-264-4400.
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Domega NY International Co Ltd Issues Allergy Alert On Undeclared Peanuts And Milk In Gong Xifacai Gift Chocolates

Consumer Contact: 646-388-3032

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 17, 2014 – DOMEGA NY INTERNATIONAL CO LTD, 47-57 BRIDGEWATER STREET BROOKLYN NY 11222 is recalling Gong xiFacai gift chocolates because it contains undeclared peanuts and milk. Consumers who have allergies to peanuts and milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.

The recalled Gong xiFacai gift chocolates comes in an un-coded, 238 gram plastic tray with a plastic overwrap package. It was sold in New York City. It is a product of China. The UPC code is 6 934169 900335.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered through routine sampling by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and subsequent analysis of the product by Food Laboratory personnel revealed the presence of peanuts and milk in packages of Gong xiFacai gift chocolates which did not declare peanuts and milk as ingredients on the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this product.

Consumers who have purchased Gong xiFacai gift chocolates should not consume it, but should return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 646-388-3032

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kandy Bars from Klondike

We've looked at Klondike bars and sandwiches in the past, Sisters and Brothers, so I was thrilled when the company asked us to try their newest creations and share our results with you all.  These are Klondike Kandy Bars that come in three varieties -- Caramel and Peanuts, Fudge Krunch , and Cookies and Cream.  Each box has four bars in them that 2.75oz each.

Perhaps you've seen the video?  No, check it out.



Now let's look at our testing and photographs of these three new treats from Klondike starting with the Cookies and Cream.

This is a vanilla ice cream made with dark chocolate crunchy pieces (cocoa processed with alkali), a top strip of fudge (cocoa), and all covered with white chocolate flavored coating with dark chocolate crunchy pieces (cocoa butter and cocoa processed with alkali).  These have a light creamy scent to them.  As you can see in this photo I cut one in half to try and show you the strip of fudge along the top.  Under the coating there is a little bit of a cocoa scent but cold, in my opinion, dulls both the flavor and smell of chocolate.  The coating makes a sharp snap when I take a bite and floods my mouth with creaminess and milky vanilla flavor, then I discover the dark chocolate pieces that have a little burst of cocoa as well as remaining crunchy with every bite.  The ice cream is filled with the little crunchy pieces as well and they add a bit of intensity to the creamy vanilla flavor.  The fudge stripe really does taste like fudge and I tried it in combination with the ice cream and coating several ways -- a full bite, a half bite, just from the top -- and each time I must confess that I liked it better when the ratio of ice cream to fudge was lower but then you all know that your Chocolate Priestess is more a darker chocolate fan that white chocolate.  The two people who tried these with me both declared it very much what they expected from a cookies and cream bar and felt it was very rich tasting and well-balanced.

We're building up to more cacao ingredients and more chocolate intensity so our next variety is the Caramel and Peanuts.  The only chocolate here is in the milk chocolate coating which is made with chocolate liquor and cocoa both processed with alkali.  As you can see in our photo there are visible slivers of peanuts as well in the coating.  This didn't cut as evenly but it gives you the chance to see the caramel ribbon on the top much like the chocolate fudge ribbon for the previous variety.  There is a strong chocolatey peanut scent when I take a whiff but oddly not fragrance from the vanilla ice cream or caramel even when exposed.  Taking a bite makes a soft crunch but not more than a very dim sound when I continue to chew -- as my co-tester commented crunchy but not hard.  The first flavor I get is vanilla cream followed by a burst of chocolate and peanuts, then a strong sweet yet tangy caramel that fades back into the chocolatey peanut essence that tastes very roasted in nature and not terribly sweet.  This blends very well and I'm very impressed.

Finally we get to the one I've been looking forward to the most: Fudge Krunch. This is triple the chocolate -- chocolate light ice cream, chocolate fudge ribbon, all covered by milk chocolate and crispy rice pieces - made from cocoa processed with alkali, chocolate liquor processed with alkali, and cocoa.  It has a very sweet cocoa scent to it and as you can see it didn't cut apart easily but that just lets you see the ribbon of fudge better.  Trying to eat it from various angles I discover that the ice cream has a light cocoa flavor, the ribbon a very intense chocolate flavor, and the coating a sweet chocolate flavor with crunch in almost every chew.  This is my favorite of this trio and surprisingly it has the least number of calories at 180 per bar.

For using real chocolate and cocoa butter these are great but there are a lot of other chemicals in these bars, too, so we can't really give them our highest honor.  However the chocolate flavor is much stronger in each bar than I thought it might be given how weak many ice creams are with it comes to cocoa. I highly recommend these treats; I'd buy them again!  So, Sisters and Brothers, have you seen this in stores near you? Have you tried them out?  Please let a comment and let us know what you think and if you'd buy them again.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Is XOXO Fudge a Good Choice for National Fudge Day 2014

"National Fudge Day" will be Monday, June 16, 2013 and the good folks from XOXO Chocolates sent us two varieties of their all natural fudge to try and reveal to you all.  We have their "White Chocolate Fudge" and their "Chocolate Espresso Fudge," two flavors we have not tested from anyone here on The Chocolate Cult. I'm excited, are you excited, Sisters and Brothers?  Great, let's go! The Espresso Fudge was tested one evening with six volunteers all of whom enjoy coffee and drink it regularly; one of them was our own Mocha Acolyte. Therefore this review is really a summary of their opinions.

The first thing we noticed is that even though we were testing it within the "best by" deadline it still looked dry.  The wrapping had not been damaged so I'm not sure why it was drier than most fudges we'd all had in the past.  There were crushed bits of coffee beans on the top and these gave the fudge a very strong coffee fragrance.  The actually fudge was not as dry as it looked if you ate the inside sections of each piece that I cut but it was still drier than everyone likes their fudge to be.  Testers varied most in terms of their flavor experiences. Some felt that the coffee flavor seemed confined to the coffee beans that were not as crunchy as they looked to me while others barely tasted coffee and mostly got a fudgey chocolate.  Ultimately no one recommended it and that made me sad so I turned to the "White Chocolate Fudge" with hope.

Finally I wish I could share the "White Chocolate Fudge" with you all but it isn't chocolate without cocoa butter. (Edited because of an email error on my part that prevented XOXO Chocolates from learning about the problem before this feature went live.)

The Espresso Fudge would be a product we'd recommend if you really like crunchy textures, bursts of coffee, and you can get it and eat it when it is very fresh.  So if you want to check it out online then make sure you eat it as soon as you receive it to cut down on the dryness we experienced.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ice Cream Recall June 8, 2014

We have another chocolate related recall to share with you all today, Sisters and Brothers.  This one is more a lack of chocolate, a very misleading labeling problem.  If you have bought ice cream from Rite Aid recently, you need to read this, follow the links, and protect yourself.

Rite Aid Voluntarily Recalls 16 oz. Pints of Mint ‘N Chip Thrifty Ice Cream

Consumer Contact: 1-800-RITE-AID

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Camp Hill, PA. - June 4, 2014 – Rite Aid has initiated a voluntary recall of approximately 560 16 oz. pints of Mint ‘n Chip ice cream distributed under the Thrifty brand name. These pints contain pistachio ice cream with pistachios; however, the ice cream was inadvertently placed in containers labeled as being Mint ‘n Chip. People who are allergic to nuts, including pistachios, may run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume the product.



Rite Aid notified the United States Food and Drug Administration of this issue on June 3, 2014 and will work in consultation with it regarding this recall. This recall affects only 16 oz. Mint ‘n Chip ice cream pints sold exclusively in Rite Aid stores in California. Affected products can be identified by the UPC code 1182264327 located on the back of each pint. The affected products also contain the lot number 24273 and an expiration date of Oct. 28, 2015 located on the bottom of the pints. No other Thrifty or Rite Aid brand products are affected by this voluntary recall.

Customers who are allergic to nuts, including pistachios, should not consume these pints and can return them to any Rite Aid store for a full refund. Information regarding the recall is available online at www.riteaid.com or by calling 1-800-RITE-AID Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Keebler Jumbo Varieties

"National Fudge Day" will be on June 16, 2013 and so in honor of that I thought we'd look at a product I was sent to review through the Amazon Vine Program: Keebler Jumbo Fudge Sticks in the Dark Chocolate Fudge variety.  A short review was posted back on Amazon.com in August of last year after our testing of it.  The box in this photo is horizontal but the design of the box allows it to be displayed vertically as well on the store shelves.  This type of program as with most Keebler cookies is likely very easy for you to find in your local stores, Sisters and Brothers. If you have tried it I need you to leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.

The box holds six individually wrapped sticks which are three chocolatey sugar wafers covered in a dark fudgy coating.  The box proudly proclaims it is made with 100% real cocoa and that's true but the ingredients also list a lot of chemical names and added fats and oils.  The cookies make a crunch when you bite into them and the flavor is slightly bitter but also sweet.  Unfortunately it also tastes very waxy which the texture confirms.  To top it off there is very little scent and really only after you've bitten into it do you get a cocoa essence for your nose to enjoy.

At 170 calories a stick this is just disappointing in terms of chocolate flavor and fragrance, what "dark" there is becomes quickly hidden under sweet and waxy elements in the taste.  The coating melts easily and so you get this waxy coating over your fingers as well.  While this may be standard chocolatey flavor and texture for many Keebler cookies it doesn't work when chocolate is the only flavor.  No peanut butter or mint to hide it as you get with two other Jumbo varieties. Not worth your time to celebrate "National Fudge Day"  so instead try making some homemade fudge and we'll try to find a recipe to share with you so we can enjoy it together.