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!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Are You Ready for the 10th Annual Chocolate Walk?

In just three months, I and a few others will meet up in Nashville, Indiana, for a charity event we've been doing for 8 years. The Brown County Humane Society's Chocolate Walk. This year marks the 10th year they've been organizing this event. In honor of that, I recently went to their headquarters to check them out, interview people there, and highlight some of the pets up for adoption in a rare video interview here on The Chocolate Cult. My visit resulted in a nice video that I've broken into three parts so you aren't overwhelmed. Today we'll look at part one and then over the next two weeks, the other two parts. I hope you enjoy it and leave comments either here or on YouTube.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

S'Mores Flashback

Today in honor of National S'Mores Day my family will be making s'mores after dinner. For now, I want to share some memories from previous s'mores articles here on The Chocolate Cult.  Wow, we've done a lot with s'mores over the years, haven't we? Enjoy!

Sterno S'Mores Kit

S'Mores PopTarts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2 Chocolate Recalls for August 6, 2017

Two chocolate related recalls to share with you all today -- baked goods and protein bars.

---------- Recalls ----------

Amrita Health Foods Protein Bars Recall

Hudson Valley Foods, Inc. of Highland, NY has advised Amrita Health Foods of Pleasantville, NY that sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter sold to the company for a short period of time have been recalled.

Amrita Health Foods is recalling a limited number of Amrita Bars because they have 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. No confirmed illnesses have been reported to public health authorities to date.

The recalled Amrita Bars were distributed across the country via retail stores, ecommerce and direct

Amrita Health Foods is recalling the following flavors of Protein bars produced from April 24th, 2017 – May 31st, 2017 with best buy dates of 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018. The Best Buy dates are on the back of the package near the UPC code.

Amrita Chocolate Maca Bar, 60g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Dark Chocolate Quinoa, 60g (UPC 853009004438) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Sunflower Seed Butter, 60g (UPC 853009004414) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Chocolate Chip Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004391) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Mango Coconut, 50g (UPC 853009004018) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Apricot Strawberry, 50g (UPC 853009004056) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Pineapple Chia, 50g (UPC 853009004025) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Apple Cinnamon, 50g (UPC 853009004049) : Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

Amrita Cranberry Raisin, 50g (UPC 853009004032): Best Buy date between 04/24/2018 to 05/31/2018

All affected distributors and retail website customers have been notified. The product was available nationwide in retail stores as well as by mail order/direct delivery.

This announcement applies only to the above list and specific Best Buy dates of Amrita Health Foods Protein bars outlined below and does not include any other items outside of the following Best Buy dates.

No other Amrita Health Foods products are included within this recall. This recall is being undertaken with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There has been no reported illness to date from this recall.

The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by Hudson Valley Farms. Amrita Foods was notified directly by Hudson Valley Farms and the FDA of the potential contamination and risk for illness from this product. Amrita Health Foods immediately ceased production and distribution upon receiving this news for the consideration of our consumers.

“We sincerely apologize for this situation that occurred with one of our ingredient suppliers. As soon as our team was notified, we immediately set our recall plan into action to ensure the safety and health of our customers. Amrita Health Foods will continue to operate with the highest standard of excellence providing customers with full transparency and food safety.” said Arshad Bahl, CEO of Amrita Health Foods.

Consumers should not consume these products. Affected product may be returned to the place of purchase for an exchange. Consumers with questions may contact Amrita Health Foods Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm (EST) at 1-888-728-7779.


Fairway ‘‘Like No Other Market’’ ® of New York, NY Is voluntarily recalling Fairway brand Cookies Blondie, because the product may contain undeclared ingredient, walnuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to nuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The Fairway brand Cookies Blondie were distributed to Fairway stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and also through home delivery programs provided by Fairway E-commerce,
Google and Instacart.

The product is packaged in octagon-shaped plastic containers that are black on the bottom and clear on the top with a standard weight of 10 oz.  The product bears either Item Code 268492 XXXXXX or 263413 XXXXXX.  All ‘‘SELL BY’’ Date codes are being recalled. No other Fairway products are involved.

The recall is the result of a discovery by Fairway personnel. The company has ceased distribution of the Fairway brand Cookie Blondie and removed the product from Fairway store shelves.

Consumers who purchased the affected Fairway brand Cookies Blondie should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (646)616-8265, Monday  Friday, 9 am  5 pm EST.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Milk Chocolate Peanut Powder Cookies

As I mentioned last Saturday Sacrament, as part of the #MyMagazineSharing program through Kroger, I was sent 4 coupons to buy products for free at their stores and three free products to test out and share about for their #OrganicsEveryday campaign. I knew from seeing it in other stores that there are powdered peanut butters out there so I went looking for that the next shopping trip I made to Kroger. It was a bit tricky to find, it was with the peanut butters in the main section of the store and not in the organic foods aisles even though I saw other brands of peanut butter powder over in that section of the store. I did find it through sheer determination to keep looking for it. I used one of those free coupons to get a jar of Simple Truth Organic Peanut Powder in the Chocolate variety. No other form of compensation was received in exchange for writing this review.

I have never used peanut butter powder in any recipe so I did some research before tackling anything. You can substitution half of your flour with the peanut powder but the difference between the two in terms of calories is minor. But your substitution is really about the peanut butter you might put into a cookie, cake, brownie, bar, etc. One of the biggest problems I immediately saw was that the Simple Truth jar is small, only 6.5 ounces which would make buying it to sub for flour a very expensive proposition. While a few of you may have tons of money laying around, I'm betting most of our readers are looking for economical ingredients that are also healthy. Considering that peanut butter's fat is from plants, it isn't unhealthy. You also get more fiber even compared to whole grain flour that I use but the expensive is quite a bit more.

In this photo you can see the cocoa powder I normally use vs this peanut flour in the chocolate variety. Note that the peanut is slightly less brown than the cocoa.

cocoa powder vs chocolate peanut powder

Milk Chocolate Peanut Powder Cookies
By TammyJo Eckhart, PhD

Ingredients: *marks ingredients I was sent to review
 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
2/3 C *Splenda Sugar Blend
1 2/3 C *Simple Truth Organic Peanut Powder, Chocolate variety
2 1/3 C King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C egg substitute
2 sticks Kroger Salted Light Butter melted
11.5 oz Toll House Milk Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lay parchment paper over a baking sheet.

 2. Mix together dry ingredients -- salt, baking soda, brown sugar, Splenda, peanut powder, and flour.

3. Add in vanilla, egg substitute, and melted butter.

4. Blend thoroughly. Dough will be slightly sticky.

5. Fold in the milk chocolate chips.

6. Using a small cookie scoop, place 12-15 mounds of the dough on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

7. Place sheet into oven and bake for 10 minutes.

8. Take sheet out of oven then let the sheet and the cookies slip off of the sheet to the top of a table so they can cool.

9. Repeat steps 6-8 until all the cookies are baked. I made 50 cookies with this recipe. If you want you can press out the cookies a bit to make them flatter. Here is a comparison of mounds vs flattened.

Calories per cookie: 90 (If you used the exact ingredients I did)

Dietary Fiber per cookie: 1.3 grams (If you used the exact ingredients I did) 54% of the fiber comes from the peanut powder.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How do You Color Your Chocolate?

Today is National Coloring Day. In the past I've looked at a coloring book for you all. Do you remember? Here it is again and remember if you use our links, you help out The Chocolate Cult.

Now I want to hear about other coloring books, coloring pages, and coloring utensils you all use when you color something chocolatey.

Leave a comment and let me know what you've enjoyed.

For this post I'll allow images to be put into the comments, too, if you want to share what you have done.