Saturday, January 31, 2015

Equal Exchange Sweet Additions to Chocolate Bars

Another Equal Exchange review before Valentine's Day because giving this chocolate to your loved one is giving him/her so much more than heart-shaped candy; it is giving them concern for the world.  The wrappers, both the outside and the silver inside ones, are made from recycled and recyclable materials for example. Over the course of a week and with some assistance, I tried four of their 3.5oz bars that have something extra added them that gives them extra texture or an extra kick of flavor. Three of these are dark bars ranging from 55-67% cacao and one is a 41% milk chocolate bar. None of the bars use any soy so for those of you with those allergy concerns, these might be a good idea for you. Let's look at these one by one, Sisters and Brothers, in order of increasing darkness.

We start with the Caramel Crunch in a 41% cacao milk chocolate bar that has a periwinkle blue on reddish tan design on the wrapper.  Just opened, this bars has signs of crunchy pieces inside that I don't know how well you can see in the photo.  Before any of the pieces are broken off it has a creamy cocoa with a sweetness fragrance; once broken into pieces the sweetness becomes more buttery like caramel should be. It breaks easily into the marked off sections, each break releasing more caramel and milk chocolate scent.Taking a bite and then each chew is crunchy but we also found the little pieces inside were chewy and liked to stick to our teeth.  The first flavor was sweet caramel then a milk chocolate faded in until we were left with a wonderful blend of the flavors as we chewed. Letting a piece melt in our mouth urged a more creamy milk chocolate first then an increasing caramel flavor until we were left with just chewy, sticky pieces that seemed saltier than expected. We recommend eating this bar by chewing it and you won't be disappointed.

We stay with Caramel Crunch but this time in a 55% cacao dark chocolate bar with the color scheme inverted -- tan on a deep purple background on the wrapper. The darker nature of this bar is evident from the moment it is unwrapped because the scent is much darker with almost no hint of the buttery sweetness from the previous milk chocolate version.  Breaking off the pieces is a touch more difficult but it releases more of the caramel fragrance along with the darker cocoa. You can see the pieces but the bar is much darker; I wish I had saved the previous bar to lay side by side but you all get enough photos on our posts, right?  Back to this bar.  The first bite makes a crunch and that continues with each bite, the tiny bits of caramel crunch making the most sound. These tiny bits are chewy but not as much as with the milk chocolate for some reason but they do still stick to the tops of some of our teeth.  The initial flavor is salt then dark chocolate quickly followed by butter and sweet tanginess that turns back to a blend of flavors with a darker edge. As you know, Sisters and Brothers, your Chocolate Priestess loves darker chocolate 55% is barely dark but in this case it makes a huge difference. Both bars are excellent but I personally preferred this one; my co-tester preferred the milk chocolate one -- complimentary versus similar flavors. For those of you who need to avoid dairy this is the bar you want of the caramel crunch version, because there is no dairy at all.

The Dark Chocolate Orange bar has a bright yellow on orange wrapper headline and 65% cacao content.  It is made with primarily organic ingredients and natural orange oil; no dairy. There is a strong cocoa and orange fragrance; the orange isn't sweet but more intense than the typical orange scent you get from orange flavored candies and most chocolates. The is very dark brown in color, nearly black. It makes a louder snap when I break off the pieces and breaking it requires more force, common in high cacao chocolate.  More dark chocolate scent is released but not more orange when I bring it and my hands have a bit of orange and cocoa scent to them. Since there are no pieces of anything in this bar, let's start with one section simply allowed to melt first -- the first flavor is a slightly dark chocolate followed by a slight orange that is not sweet, just as the fragrance suggested, over the passing minute it takes it to melt in my mouth the bitter and orange build up to an chocolate orange brownie that's been baked until well-done flavor... I like it but I moved on to try it just by chewing. Oddly this one doesn't really much a sound when I bite and the initial dark chocolate is sharp but blends well into the intense orange very quickly. The two flavors stay blended but there is a strong almost acidic aftertaste that I didn't get from letting it melt in my mouth; it makes my tongue tingle! Just a note: this is real orange flavor, no sugar added oils, so it is a bit on the sour and acidic side if you are used to mass produced juice or orange flavored candy. We both liked it but you may be surprised by the intensity of the flavors.

Finally the Mint Chocolate with a delicate crunch is in 67% cacao chocolate and has a two-tone green scheme to the wrapper. Dark chocolate and intense peppermint hit my nose as soon as I tear open the silver foil wrapper. This is a very dark color and it looks smooth until you see it it from the broken apart pieces where the inside looks rough but I don't see the "peppermint crisps" listed on the ingredients; they must be very tiny. The bar is very hard to break apart, releasing more dark chocolate and peppermint when I do so but also melting already on my fingers and palms. Taking a bite I note the roughness of the chocolate, it makes soft crunches but also has a rustic sort of feeling to it that reminds me of Mayan or Aztec "made" chocolates.  The flavor is initially very dark then the peppermint oils kick in to blend well but leave my tongue cooled and tingling much like the orange oil did. If you don't like the rougher texture you can let a piece melt in your mouth but it only separates the two flavors a bit more and you ultimately still get the graininess on your tongue. We both really loved it but highly recommend chewing this bar.

There you have it, Sisters and Brothers, more wonderful, big chocolate bars from Equal Exchange. Not a bad flavor combination among the four though we each had favorites as you may have teased out in the above paragraphs. For Equal Exchange commitment to social causes, organic foods, and simple chocolate products that taste great, these four bars earn Sacrament Status.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Two Twix Topped Donut Brands Recalls

Two recalls related to the Twix candy bar which does use chocolate but in the of a topping sold for two different brands of donuts.  I've never heard of these donut brands, they aren't sold in my area, but I want to protect you all, Sisters and Brothers, so please read below. The donuts look like the one in the image to the right even though they are different brands.



----------
Northern Tier Bakery Issues Allergy Alert on Potential Undeclared Peanut in Product

Consumers Contact: 1-855-468-6972

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 16, 2015 — Northern Tier Bakery LLC of St. Paul Park, MN is voluntarily recalling Twix Bismarck doughnuts due to the possibility of an undeclared peanut allergen in the Twix topping sourced from a third party. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The Twix Bismarck was distributed and sold between January 1, 2015, and January 14, 2015, at retail convenience stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Twix Bismarck is a white frosted doughnut with a chopped Twix topping.

The recall was initiated after peanut allergen was discovered in the chopped Twix product distributed to Northern Tier Bakery by a third party in packaging that did not reveal the presence of peanuts. Production of the Twix Bismarck has been suspended.

No illnesses have been reported to date, and there currently is no evidence that any Twix Bismarck distributed for sale contains a peanut allergen. Nonetheless, this recall has been issued by Northern Tier Bakery in an abundance of caution, to ensure the safety of consumers. Northern Tier Bakery takes every precaution necessary to ensure the integrity and quality of its products.

Consumers who have purchased a Twix Bismarck are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers may call 1-855-468-6972 with any questions.

-----------
Tarrier Foods Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanuts and Egg in Chopped Twix

Consumers Contact: (614) 876-8595

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 16, 2015 – Columbus, OH – Tarrier Foods of Columbus, OH is recalling 316 cases of Chopped Twix item 0807, because it may contain undeclared peanuts and eggs. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts and eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The Chopped Twix product was distributed to wholesale warehouses in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Florida where it was distributed to foodservices.

The product can be identified by the item number 0870 on the outside of the case. The inside contains two bags in white film marked "CHOPPED TWIX Lot 087034314."

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that product containing peanuts and eggs was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of peanuts and egg on the ingredient statement. Subsequent investigations are being performed to determine the temporary breakdown in the company's production and packaging processes."

Consumers who have purchased Chopped Twix lot code 080734314 are urged to return it to the distributor for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Tarrier Food's Customer Service at (614) 876-8595.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bake Some Love for Valentine's Day 2015

Let's say that you don't want to buy your love something for Valentine's Day but instead bake them something. We were recently sent a five pound bag of morningpep xylitol made from Birch alcohol. The bag claims that the product is made in the USA, free of pesticides,and claims to have no aftertaste and be 40% fewer calories than cane or beet sugar. However like most sugar alcohols, I have a concern about it affecting our digestive system so I tried it single serving size in the form of cookies.


How to test ingredients is always a challenge because I want to use what I have on hand.  As you may recall, I also try to test 2-4 recipes with an ingredient if I have enough of it -- 5 pounds of xylitol is more than enough for many recipes. So I looked through my pantry and decided to try three types of cookies based on baking chips I had on hand: cinnamon, mini chocolate chip, and Reeses chips.


I'll share the chocolate chip cookie recipe with you today, Sisters and Brothers, then later I'll share what I did with the Reeses chips and chocolate so keep looking back if you want to learn that recipe later in 2015.

Oatmeal Mini Chocolate Chips Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup egg whites
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup xylitol
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole grain flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 385°F and lightly grease or spray large cookie sheet.

2. Beat all of the wet ingredients plus the sugars together until spead.

3. Add in the dry ingredients and blend well until the flour is thoroughly moist.

4. Stir in the mini chocolate chips though incorporated throughout.

5. Spoon by normal eating spoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes (9 worked best for my oven).

6. Once baked, remove to cook on parchment or other paper lined surface to cool.
Made 47 cookies for me with 67 calories a piece!

The Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies were great, too. No aftertaste from the xylitol, nothing that set them apart from the standard recipes results other than a touch fewer calories.


The Cocoa Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies were wonderful as well but I'll share that recipe in a later post so come back to learn more about them.


Results of using morningpep xylitol:

     Reduction of calories, amount depended on how much beet or cane sugar you'd normally use. Don't too excited because if you are using butter, oils, brown sugar, eggs, anything like that, the calorie reduction isn't a lot and you still shouldn't eat more than you normally would.

     No initial negative flavor. I wish I had an excellent camera so I could take a close up of the crystals for xylitol and cane sugar for you all to see but I simply don't. While they look different they don't taste very different and not in any nasty way.

     No aftertaste at all. Even my best sugar substitute has a slight aftertaste, not unpleasant but it is still there, an added level of sweetness. but with this the cookies I tried tasted no different at all.

     Had no unusual or unwanted effects on the flavor or texture of the cookies. When you are making ingredient substitutes for health or appearance reasons you need to create foods and drinks you want to eat as much as the originals otherwise you simply will not maintain the dietary regime. xylitol had no effect on the texture or flavor so unless I told someone, they had no clue.
 
In other words, this product performed as I would expect beet or cane sugar to perform and as well as my favorite zero calorie sugar substitute but much better than most other sugar substitutes. One general complaint I have about morningpep xylitol is the same I have for all sugar and sugar substitutes -- the nutrition label isn't very helpful if you use the product to bake or cook with. Who uses a teaspoon of these ingredient to make candy or cookies or cake? Hey, companies, do us a favorite and another listing for 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup nutrition information please.

Would I use morningpep xylitol in the future? While the product performed great and I think it would be a good choice if you are cutting calories or worried about sugar, I'm very happy with my sugar substitutes which have zero calories. Given the price differences as well I wouldn't switch.  Anyone else out there use this product? What did you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Raw Cacao Granola Crumble Recipe

Today is National Granola Bar Day so I thought I'd share a recipe I created back in the summer when I had all that raw cacao powder to test, review, and use. This is not a cake, these are bars and ones that are meant to be a bit crispy like a granola bar might be.  Please note that I use a lot of low calorie options when I bake because of my own struggles with weight issues over my lifetime; you are free to make substitutions as you wish but the calorie results I give below will not be the same.

Raw Cacao Granola Crumble
by TammyJo Eckhart

Ingredients:

1 cup Imperial Margarine
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar
1/4 cup zero calories white sugar substitute
1/2 cup egg whites
2 tsp real vanilla extract (that I made myself)
1/2 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened raw cacao powder (I used the Viva Labs Organic, Non-GMO, Raw Cacao Powder, 16 oz. Pouch brand)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp iodized salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chocolate flavored granola (I used Bear Naked Granola Heavenly Chocolate -- 12 oz Each brand)

Directions:

1. Cut up margarine in to pieces and let set in your standup mixer while you gather all the other ingredients and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  Spray a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan with baking spray.

2. Add sugars to the margarine and beat well for 3 minutes until creamy.  Add in egg whites and vanilla and beat again until well blended.

3. Add in baking soda and salt, mixing well into the creamed ingredients.

4. Mix in flour and cacao powder until you cannot see any light colors.

5. Add in the oats and granola; make sure the granola is in very small pieces so it spreads throughout the mixture.

6. Bake for 25 minutes, check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean before you remove to cool.

7. Allow to cool completely then cut into pieces.  I cut mine into 32 bars so each had under 200 calories in them. NOT a low calorie food.

NOTE: These bars will not stay bars, they crumble in to pieces as you start to eat but they are designed that way, much like granola is so you might want to use a spoon or your fingers to eat.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

German Praline Hearts for Valentine's Day

Note: At the time of publication, the website is still under rebuilding but keep checking back. We've looked at other products from Chocion but I combined pralines from two boxes to make this little Valentine's Day treat for you, Sisters and Brothers.  I'm giving you plenty of time to check them out in case you want a little German sweetness for your loved one. As you can see we've taken three heart-shaped chocolates plus a diamond one to make this photo for you all so let's find out what each piece is.  These are just four varieties of their praline collection and we looked at four other varieties back in September 2014. Several of these have alcohol so I tested these with our two Alcohol Acolytes and one other Acolyte one evening months ago.  I hope you enjoy our report because we enjoyed the process we followed that evening.

The Sahne-Trüffel Weinbrand (Dark Brandy Cream Truffle) has white chocolate lines over it that almost looked purple in some lighting as I hope you can see in the photo to the left.  This is a 62% dark chocolate and has 3% brandy.  Our testers said: strong cocoa scent with a hint of brandy was lovely to smell; the contrast in colors was attractive, the most visually pleasing of the four we looked at. The coating make a nice snap when we took a bite because it was fairly thick. The flavor started as dark chocolate, turned to a very good brandy with a creaminess to it, then settled back into the dark chocolate resulting in a very balanced over all experience. This was our second favorite of the evening of testing.

White chocolate (28%) covers this Sahne-Trüffel Champagner (White Champagne Cream Truffle) in an adorable heart shape with milk chocolate drizzled over it.  Over all our testers felt this was weaker than the others we tried that evening and this is why: All thought it was very cute and had a creamy white chocolate scent. Two testers thought there was only a creamy white chocolate fragrance when they bit into it while the other testers got a strong champagne scent once they bit into.  The coating was nice and hard yet it made no sound when we took bites.  The inside was a soft creamy milk chocolatey center. Two of us got a definite champagne flavor which we liked, one got only milk chocolate, while the the fourth got only a waxy cream... go figure, huh?  This is a great example of why we do multiple testers when we can -- different experiences allow you, Sisters and Brother, to make up your own minds from wider descriptions.  If you like white chocolate we can say this was good but it very subtle in terms of champagne.

The final heart shaped praline in this box is the Sahne-Trüffel Whiskey (Dark Whisky Cream Truffle) that has milk chocolates lines drizzled over the top and down onto the sides.  Again this is a 62% dark chocolate with a 3% whisky this time.  Our quad of testers discovered: A medium to high level of cocoa flavor and scent, we discussed this a bit, but all agreed it was the most intense of the eight we teste that evening.  The milk chocolate on the dark chocolate didn't pop as much in terms of appearance for us.  There was a nice sharp crack at the first bite but then the soft center was firmer than the previous pieces, almost gel in texture.  The first flavor we got was the dark chocolate then a strong whisky edge that blended back into the dark chocolate until the very end when it ended with a hard burn in the back of your throat.  This melting of flavors into each other made this the overall favorite of the selection we tested that night and every single person highly recommends you try this out.

We ended with the only non-heart shaped praline from this Chocion collection with their Nougat Kaffe-Mocoa (Milk Mocha Nougat) is made with milk chocolate (38%) with a hazelnut nougat and coffee powder center as well as a dot of white on the top of the rhombus shaped treat.  We did not have our Mocha Acolyte with us that evening for testing but two of the testers have helped him with our process before and three of us are coffee drinkers so I think they (I didn't try this one personally) did a good job, but check out what we found: Diamond or rhombus.. we went back and forth on this one so you can call it a diamond with the hearts if you like for Valentine's Day.  Two testers could smell a chocolate coffee blend but one thought it was only ground coffee scent from the outside; only one noted any hazelnut scent inside.  Overall the hazelnut was very weak in this which was surprising but not unpleasant.  The creamy inside had a crunchy or sandy texture that two testers liked and one did not.  Only one person really recommended it all because the ground coffee was less grainy than similar chocolates she'd tried in the past and she felt there was a decent blend of coffee and chocolate.  The other two testers had opposite views -- one saying it was not for major coffee lovers while the other said it was only for folks who like both coffee and hazelnut. Wow! Coffee sure makes people picky!

Four varieties to make one lovely Valentine's Day gift but check out the Chocion website (links below) to see what you might want to mix and match for your own beloved.  If you are in Germany or will be in Germany you can find them in München. The rest of us need to check them out on online for shipping around the world.  They have a wide selection of pralines but you may need to email or call them to ask if you can buy specific ones if you can't get to the shop. I'd be delighted to get these adorable hearts for Valentine's Day, your beloved might be delighted as well. If you live in the USA you can get information by emailing Chocion at info@chocion.com and you'll need to do that for shipping costs.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2 Recalls of Cookies & Ice Cream for January 11, 2015

Two more recalls of products which chocolate -- platter of mixed cookies (some of which have chocolate) and another full line of ice cream. I suppose we should be grateful that it might not be full on ice cream weather here in the USA where our FDA lets me know about these recalls but still, Ice Cream Industry, what is going on?

----------

Consumers Contact: 512-477-5566 ext. 20060

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 9, 2015 — LOS ANGELES — Whole Foods Market is recalling its Assorted Cookie Platters, All Sizes for the presence of an undeclared peanut and tree nut allergens. The recalled cookie platters were sold in Whole Foods Market stores in Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii and Nevada in a round, clear plastic container with black plastic base and Whole Foods Market label beginning November 24, 2014, with the following PLUs:

PLU# 243868 – “Cookie Platter Small” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015
PLU# 243873 – “Cookie Platter Medium” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015
PLU# 247661 – “Cookie Platter Large” sell by dates up to January 7, 2015

One illness has been reported at this time. Signage is posted to notify customers of this recall, and all affected product has been removed from shelves. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to nuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

Customers who have purchased this product from Whole Foods Market stores are urged to discard the product and bring their receipt to the store for a full refund. Consumers with questions should contact their local store or call 512-477-5566 ext. 20060 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.
----------

Consumers Contact: 206-963-5038

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 2, 2015 – Seattle, Washington – Full Tilt Ice Cream of Seattle, Washington is voluntarily recalling all Dairy Based Ice Cream flavors (except the non-dairy frozen desserts), sold under brand Full Tilt, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The Full Tilt dairy base ice cream products distributed in Oregon and Washington through grocery stores and retail scoop shops.

Note: The label below is merely a sample, it does NOT show the range of products. Check your freezers if you have bought this brand of ice cream in the past.


The ice cream was sold in 16oz paper containers with a 7 digit code ending in 14x (ie: 0219142), as well as 1.5 gallon and 3 gallon plastic gallon tubs produced before 12/19/2014. The following table summarizes the affected products:

Name of product; size production; dates; type of packaging

Full Tilt Ice Cream; 16 oz containers; 01/01/2014-12/19/2014; paper

Full Tilt Ice Cream; 1.5 gallon containers; 01/01/2014-12/19/2014; plastic gallon

Full Tilt Ice Cream; 3 gallon containers; 01/01/2014-12/19/2014; plastic gallon

No illnesses have been reported to date.

These dairy base ice cream products contain ice cream base produced and recalled by Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc. as an ingredient. Full Tilt has since performed a rigorous sanitation schedule to prevent further contamination.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

Consumers who have purchased Full Tilt are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-206-963-5038 between 9am and 4pm PST Monday thru Friday

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Organic Hot Cocoa from Equal Exchange

It is cold! 

After a milder than normal December the cold had slammed into Indiana where The Chocolate Cult is headquartered and thus it was perfect time to try out this organic hot cocoa mix from Equal Exchange. This is the last of the huge sample of products this company sent us in January 2014 but don't worry, the cocoa mix is still good until May this year! This is just one of their cocoa mixes, we used their spicy version last year in baking and drinking, but for this mix we just tested it repeatedly over a cold week as a hot drink. Heads up: This does contain dry milk powder if that is an allergy concern for you. So without further ado, here is our results for the Equal Exchange Fair Trade Organic Hot Cocoa Mix.

In total seven people tried this hot cocoa over the course of a week; here is what we collectively experienced. Your Chocolate Priestess mixed it each time and found it had a rich color, a strong cocoa scent but with an edge of milk and sweetness; the powder was loose and did not clump together as some cheap cocoa powders do. Since dry milk powder is an ingredient I only added water as the directions stated; 6oz water per 2T cocoa powder which results in a maximum of 20 servings per canister. After heating the water I added the cocoa mix and frothed it up with a whisk; it frothed well creating a top of light fluff.  I made enough for the entire group ranging from 2-4 people at a time because I just find it easier to mix up well. The cocoa stayed mixed fairly well though there was some settling at the bottom of the mugs. Those who helped test it reported a strong cocoa scent, a smooth texture, and a lightly sweet flavor with just a hint of milk. Only one person thought it was too dark and he added a teaspoon of more sugar. Personally since I like darker chocolates I thought this was great and knowing what I do about Equal Exchange practices, I felt even better drinking it.

Equal Exchange has a wonderful social agenda that they promote and encourage with their chocolate, coffee, and tea sales. If fair trade, organic, sustainable agriculture matter to you, you need to check them out. If it is cold where you are or it will get cold at some point in the next year to year and a half (the "best by" lifespan of the canister I got), then you need to buy this Organic Hot Cocoa Mix. You'll be doing the world a favor by promoting good practices and be doing your family (and you) a favor with delicious hot cocoa.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Starting 2015 with More Chocolate Recalls

So sad to not even get past the first Sunday in the new year without recalls from the FDA related to chocolate.  Remember that if you don't live in the USA but you are familiar with this product to check your local and state agencies to see if there are recalls in your area as well.

Please note that the below recall includes more flavors that images that we've included; we have only included the chocolate containing labels.

Great Feeling Foods, LLC Recalls Groove Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches Because of Possible Health Risk

Consumer Contact: 503-329-2750

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — DECEMBER 29, 2014 — Portland, OR — Great Feeling Foods, LLC of Portland, OR has issued a voluntary recall of all Groove Gluten-free Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches produced between May 16, 2014 and December 20, 2014.

These products contain custard ice cream base produced and recalled by Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc. as an ingredient. This custard ice cream base has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Groove Gluten-free Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches were distributed to and sold in various retail outlets in Western and Central Oregon and Southwest Washington.

The products are sold in 3 fl. oz. single packs and 6 fl. oz. 2-packs and labeled as Groove.  The packages have “Best By” dates located on the bottom of the package with lot codes printed above the “Best By” dates.

Product Name & UPC Codes (Check the original post on the FDA to get a chart of full information)

Groove Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie & French Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich  3 oz.: 8 52692 00404 6; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00400

Groove Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie & French Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich  3 oz.: 8 52692 00411 4; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00410 7

Groove Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie & French Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich  3 oz.: 8 52692 00406 0; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00402 2

Groove Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie & French Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich  3 oz.: 8 52692 00407 7; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00401 5

Groove Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cookie & French Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich         3 oz.: 8 52692 00409 1; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00408 4

Groove Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Cookie & French Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich  3 oz.: 8 52692 00405 3; 6 oz.: 8 52692 00403 9

No illnesses related to the consumption of Groove Gluten-free Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches have been reported to date.

Great Feeling Foods, LLC learned of the potential health risk from the Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc. recall notice dated December 24, 2014.

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

Consumers who have purchase the affected product should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.  Consumers with questions may contact Great Feeling Foods, LLC at 503-329-2750 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm PST).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Perfect Kidz Brownies?

A while back I had an Amazon Vine product to test called Kidz Zone Perfect in the Fudge Brownie variation.  The front of the box says that it has 3g fiber, 5g protein, and 23 vitamins and minerals but you can have all of that still not be healthy.  Healthy isn't just the calorie count or individual nutritional values but how those are created. Looking at the ingredient list we see dozens and dozens of ingredients starting with dark chocolate layer and ending with saft.  Most of the ingredients are not chemicals but there are some there that doesn't mean these are necessarily unhealthy.  On the other hand palm kernel oil is the third ingredient for the dark chocolate layer and there are studies that suggest this is not ideal for the body and also not for our long term survival on our planet. But maybe none of that matters to you so let's get to how it is as a food item.

The bar is very dark with visible white pieces of something -- white chocolate chips, protein nuggets -- along the the sides.  The top drizzled with lighter colored chocolate and the bottom has tread marks suggesting it was on a conveyor belt before being wrapped. It has a strong soy scent and no chocolate or cocoa fragrance at all... this isn't promising, Sisters and Brothers.  A bite reveals the bar is very soft, sticky, and chewy but it makes no noise with any chew. There is alight cocoa taste, some soy, some sweetness but overall surprising little flavor of any type. Its just bland.

Disappointing really given all of the various forms of chocolate in this bar suggested that this should have a strong chocolate flavor and a balance of various flavors.  You may have heard that kids can't like darker chocolate but that isn't true, it is a matter of helping them experiment and try new flavors.  They simply won't get much of anything here. Final review -- no matter the nutritional values this is not perfect on every other level of food enjoyment.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Start 2015 with Chocolate

Happy 2015!  Now is the time to think about healthy and joyous ways of adding chocolate into your lives.  To help you we supply a "fun food calendar" each month.  This year I will also add a poll you can vote on and at the end of the first week, your votes will determine what recipe I try out in the second half of the month.

To start us off, here is our first polls.  This is based on the fun food holidays and also whether or not I've already shared a recipe or tried a recipe for the item in the past on The Chocolate Cult.

Update: Sadly there was a tie between Chocolate Popcorn and Chocolate Croissant and even though I posted again asking folks to break the tie, no one voted for one of these. Since we do not charge fees of any type on The Chocolate Cult nor sell anything, I really can't afford to try more than one recipe.

If the polls are a stupid idea, please tell me in a comment and I won't put them in future calendar posts.


What Treat Should I Make in January 2015?
Chocolate Popcorn
Chocolate Pie
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Croissant
Homemade Hot Chocolate
Poll Maker


January 2 = Feast Day of St. Macarius the Younger, 4th century patron of confectioners

January 3 = National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

January 5 = National Whipped Cream Day -- it is actually pretty easy to make chocolate whipped cream.

January 6 = National Shortbread Day

January 8 = National English Toffee Day

January 10 = Bittersweet Chocolate Day; National Cream Cheese Brownie Day

January 19 = National Popcorn Day

January 21 = National Granola (bar) Day -- I already have a post and a recipe planned for this day, this is why it was not on the poll above.

January 23 = National Pie Day

January 27 = National Chocolate Cake Day

January 30 = National Croissant Day

January 31 = National Hot Chocolate Day (apparently also in December?)