The Chocolate Cult

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Alternative Flour Brownies Test #4

This is the fourth, and for the foreseeable future, the last alternative flour testing I'm doing here on The Chocolate Cult. This is a organic oat flour from Relative Foods, a division of Total Food Package in Michigan. This is a 100% dehulled whole grain oats that claims to be gluten-free and organic. Dehulled means that the seed coat has been removed which is a bit confusing since this also has a good deal of fiber in it and I'd expect the fiber to be primarily in the hull.  We'll get to the nutritional information soon. I received a three pound bag of this flour from Relative Foods via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for testing and then reviewing it on the mega site; this article is an unexpected bonus. No other form of compensation was received in exchange for sharing my experiences with this product.

Let's talk nutritional facts from the bag first. Unlike with the three previous alternative flours I've tested which use a 1/4 cup as the serving amount, this uses 1/3 cup which means I had to do some math to do a fair comparison. Let me lay it out for you. My normal whole wheat flour has 440 calories per cup while Relative Foods Organic Oat Flour has 360 calories per cup.  It has the same amount of fiber per cup as my regular flour does as well. Without instructions on the bag about how to use this in place of traditional wheat flour, I went with just following the Hershey's recipe we use for all of these alternative sugar and flour testing.

The oat flour seems more clumpy when I measured it out yet it didn't mix with any problems compared to my regular flour. As I hope you can see in the photo the texture is a bit clumped together but also a slightly beige or yellowish color like is common for unbleached flours. Without directions on the bag, I used it as I would with my regular whole wheat flour but the batter seemed more liquidy. I put the brownies into the oven to bake for 30 minutes first, adjusting the time as the toothpick and side tests indicated. In total I baked these for 32 minutes.

The pan of finished brownies looked a bit odd, the center looked bubbly while the edges were firm but the toothpick came out clean. The slices of brownies (cut the same way as with all the other tests) showed that these didn't not rise up as much as previous tests. As you can see in the photo, the top kept that bubbly look even after it cooled enough to cut. The outside inch was crispy but the inside was soft and fudgy, the cocoa flavor wasn't changed by the flour itself in any way. However, given the price difference I can't say that I'd buy that product again though if you can't have wheat flour but can have oat flour, this is a good choice if you can afford it.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Chocolate Recalls for May 2, 2021

There was a problem at an ice cream facility which has made many of us ice cream lovers concerned. As always, follow the links if you live in the USA and if you live elsewhere, consult your government's food safety department.

---------- Chocolate Recalls ----------

Massive Velvet Ice Cream Recalls


Velvet Ice Cream has announced it is voluntarily recalling all of its ice cream and sherbet products made on or after March 24, 2021 as a precaution 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 illness or injury has been associated with the recalled products, which are being recalled in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The issue was identified as a result of the company’s routine testing.

The products were distributed to Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia through various drug stores, convenience stores and supermarkets. They are packaged in various sizes and containers.

The products were distributed and sold in supermarkets from on or after March 24, 2021 with the following product codes, which can be found at the bottom or side of the container, and the product name. (Note: The Chocolate Cult is only share the chocolate related products, to find all affected products, please follow the link in the article title. Unfortunately, the company did not provide quality images to the FDA so that outlets reporting on the recall could serve you, the consumers very well. I have tried to find better images where possible.)

21104 Buehler’s Chocolate Pail

21104 Buehler’s Neapolitan Pail

21089 Discount Drug Mart Chocolate Swirl Pail

21106 Discount Drug Mart Neapolitan 56oz

21089 Whale of a Pail Chocolate Fudge Pail

21090 Whale of a Pail Cookies n Cream

21104 Whale of a Pail Neapolitan

21104 Whale of a Pail Vanilla Chocolate

Super Dip Chocolate Pail
21090 Super Dip Chocolate Pail

21103 Super Dip Chocolate Swirl Pail

21083 Super Dip Chocolate Swirl Pail

21089 Super Dip Chocolate Swirl Pail

21083 Super Dip Cookie n Cream Pail

21106 Super Dip Neapolitan 56oz

21104 Super Dip Neapolitan Pail

21095 Velvet Buckeye Brownie 56

21091 Velvet Buckeye Brownie 56

21095 Velvet Buckeye Classic 56

21096 Velvet Buckeye Classic Pint

21102 Velvet Buckeye Sandwich 12/10pk

21105 Velvet Campfire Smores 56oz

21106 Velvet Chocolate Pint

21096 Velvet Chocolate Pint

21105 Velvet Cookie Dough Extreme 56oz

21105 Velvet Cookie Dough Extreme 3 gallon

21084 Velvet Cookie n Cream 3 gallon

21092 Velvet Cookies n Cream Pint

21092 Velvet Dutch Chocolate 56

21089 Velvet Dutch Chocolate 3 gallon

21102 Velvet Dutch Chocolate 3 gallon

21091 Velvet Mint Chocolate Chip 56

21102 Velvet Mint Chocolate Chip 3 gallon

21091 Velvet Moose Tracks 56

21095 Velvet Moose Tracks 56

21096 Velvet Moose Tracks Pint

21092      Velvet Triple Chocolate Chunk 56

“We’re conducting this voluntary recall in cooperation with the FDA out of consideration for the wellbeing and safety of our customers and consumers,” said Velvet Ice Cream CEO Luconda Dager. “We continue to be committed to serving consumers with high quality ice cream and sherbet products.”

Anyone who has the recalled product in their possession should dispose of it immediately or return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Consumers with questions may contact Velvet Ice Cream at 800-589-5000 x237 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. Or visit its website at www.velveticecream.com/contact-us


Saturday, May 1, 2021

Alternative Flour Brownies #3

It is time for the third alternative flour test! This one from is similar to the regular flour I use in that it is whole grain but still wheat flour. However, the nutritional information claims it has more fiber than my regular flour so for me, this is an alternative flour. I actually was sent two bags (5 pounds and 2 pounds) of Flourish High Fiber All-Purpose Flour to test out and then review on the Amazon website via their Vine program and the Bay State Milling Company which makes this brand. This article on The Chocolate Cult is an unexpected bonus for them. No other form of compensation was received in exchange for me sharing my experiences with this product.

You use this just as you would traditional wheat flour, so 1:1 ratio of substitution. The bag warns that you may need to use extra water because higher fiber flours "love water." I know that because of the types of flours I normally use in my household but if you are not used to using whole grain or high fiber flours, this comment on the bags is really not very helpful at all. Since I was testing, I used 1 tablespoon of water for the 1 cup of Flourish and it turned out great. The brand however should have done this testing and given more information. As you can see in the photo next to this paragraph, the Flourish looks just like white all-purpose flour. It had no scent to it either and it did not change the taste of the brownies at all. It does have 10 calories less than the whole grain flour I use per 1/4 cup.

The biggest claim the Flourish product claims is that it is "5X Fiber of Traditional Flour." That claim is a bit odd considering the label. 5 X 1 would be 5 but the amount of fiber is 6 according to the bag's own label. Instead, it has 5 grams more fiber per 1/4 cup than traditional flour. I don't use traditional wheat flour. I switched my household to whole grains and higher fiber over a decade back. My regular whole wheat flour has 3 grams of fiber per serving. So, when I compare the price I normally pay to the price of Flourish, this isn't a great buy for me. Oh, I'll keep using what I was sent, but this isn't something I'd spend extra money on for my family since we get a lot of fiber and whole grains as it is. However, if you are looking for a way to increase your household's fiber intake and you do a lot of baking from scratch, this might be a good option for you.

How did the brownies turn out? They were thoroughly baked at the lower time range for the recipe which is 30 minutes. In several of these substitute flours and sweeteners tests, I've had to bake longer or at lower temperatures. The brownies had a crispy top and sides, the brownies were pulled slightly away from the sides of the pan, and as you can see these raised quite nicely resulting in a cake-like texture. The cocoa powder flavor came out as expected and desired, the brownies were not dry nor did they dry out the mouth, and the level of sweetness to cocoa was as expected with this recipe. These were great brownies and I look forward to using all of this product in other recipes. I'll come back and edit this review if I find any problems with it in other baked goods.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Chocolate Recalls for April 25, 2021

Here come more recalls involving chocolate. Remember that if you do not live in the USA, you'll need to consult with your own nation's government agencies that help protect your food and beverages.

---------- Recalls Related to Chocolate ---------

Lake Champlain Bunny Recall

(Right after Easter, too.)

Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC) is issuing a public alert and a voluntary recall on a mis-labeled Mr. Goodtime Bunny with a Best By date of 11/20/21 that may have been purchased between 2/22/21-3/25/21. LCC is issuing this recall after a consumer reported that the product contained almonds, which were not declared on the label.

Any consumer who has a known nut allergy and purchased the Mr. Goodtime Bunny with a Best By date of 11/20/21 should not consume this product. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to almonds run the risk of serious or a life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. Consumers with a mislabeled bunny may request a replacement. To date, no consumers have reported injuries or illnesses.

This product was distributed through 16 retailers in 9 states, through the company’s website and its 750 Pine Street Retail Store in Burlington, Vermont. Affected states include: CA, CT, MA, NH, NY, RI, TX, VT, VA.

Affected items detail:

Only customers who purchased a bunny that looks like the image below with the corresponding label are affected by this recall.

The Country Bunny Basket may contain the affected bunny. See below for image of the Country Bunny Basket.

The FDA has been informed of this voluntary recall and will post this notice on their website.

Lake Champlain Chocolates is committed to quality products and consumer safety and is taking aggressive corrective action to prevent the need for any future recalls of its products. It emphasizes that no other LCC products or batch codes were affected.

Lake Champlain Chocolates apologizes for any inconvenience to its customers. Customer service will be available 8:30am-5pm, EST, Monday-Friday to answer any questions regarding this recall.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Better Sleep with Chocolate?

We cover everything related to chocolate here on The Chocolate Cult. From the basic chocolatey candy to medical and health products to paper made from cocoa leaves and bark. Today I want to share my experience with fx Chocolate's Dream which is a "calming melatonin" dietary sleep aid that uses cocoa nibs and cocoa butter yet looks like a piece of chocolate. I got this sample box of 15 serving via the Amazon Vine group and fx Chocolate in exchange for a review on the Amazon website. This article sharing my test results on this blog is an unexpected bonus for both brands. No other form of compensation was received.


Each square as you can see has this star on it, probably references sleep just as the product name "Dream" references that state. The square is 1 1/8th inch and 3/8 inch thick with 15 calories and no added sugars. I expected it to be dark tasting and yet it was amazingly sweet because of the added allulose, the second of the three ingredients listed; the other two are cocoa nibs and organic cocoa butter. This is definitely not something I'd crave based on the intensity of the sweetness and its aftertaste. I'm actually surprised at the ingredient list. Normally you'd see chocolate mass or chocolate liquor and then cocoa butter; nibs are something else which we've covered a few time on this blog.

While the square of chocolate looks and smell like dark chocolate and cocoa nibs both, inside there are added ingredients of 3 mg melatonin as well as 100 mg of 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) which is a non-scientifically proved mood aid. The box makes a lot of health and dietary claims like vegan, keto, gluten-free, non-gmo, small batch chocolate, and 2X potency tested. Given that pure chocolate would be several of those things and that others are not externally and scientifically proven, I can't place much stock the box's label.

Did the product work? That's difficult to say really. On the nights I tried it I did get to sleep, but I can't say that it was any faster than I normally might or with another melatonin product. I didn't stay asleep for any longer stretched of time.

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