The Chocolate Cult

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Could You Master these Anime Recipes?

This is not an April Fool's Prank!

In honor of National Anime Day (April 15th) let's look at The Anime Chef Cookbook by Nadine Estero. While I have watched a fair amount of anime, I wouldn't claim I was a big fan of that genre. I recognized some of the anime referenced in this cookbook but not nearly the majority of them. We'll get back to that in a few paragraphs. I was sent a hardcover copy of this cookbook via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for reviewing it there. This article on this blog is an unexpected bonus, so no other form of compensation was received for sharing my opinions about it with you all.

The recipes are divided into four groups/chapters of unevenly numbered recipes. There are 16 Appetizers recipes, 26 Mains dishes, 15 Desserts to make, but only 8 Drinks to wash it all down. That's a total of 75 recipes, not bad for a cookbook. Of those, 6 use white chocolate, 7 use "chocolate," and 5 use cocoa powder; many of the recipes use multiple types of chocolate so in reality there are 9 chocolate related recipes or 12%. That's pretty good representation I think.

If you have experience in the kitchen, that will help you when you tackle these recipes which are more complicated than a casual anime fan may expect. If you have patience and experience you can make these. Each recipe is accompanied by a description of what was happening in the anime at the time this recipe was referenced or even made in it. Other included quotes from the anime helped me decide if the show was something I might want to check out if I was unfamiliar with it; as I mentioned, the majority of shows I did not know. I was surprised that some anime that I know focus on cooking in some way were not included, I suspect this was a matter of getting the rights to use them for this book. Each recipe includes information about the ingredients, the tools you'll need, servings it makes, the prep and cooking time, and estimated total time needed to make each one (not including shopping however).

The big negative is the images. I understand why there are drawings of the dishes/drinks instead of a photo of a finished recipe, but why not include one for each recipe then? We can't copy the drawings, but at least it would give us an idea of what the finished dish should be.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Chocolate Recalls for March 26, 2023

As always, follow the links for full information if you live in the USA.

Check with your national food safety agencies if you are a reader from outside the USA.

We want you all to be safe when you enjoy chocolate!

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

Gluten Free Reese’s Pieces Brownie Brittle Recall

We're reviewed several Sheila G products in the past though not this one. I was always pleased by them and would love to feature their new flavors.

Second Nature Brands of Madison Heights, MI, is recalling its 4-ounce packages of Gluten Free Reese’s Pieces Brownie Brittle because they may contain undeclared wheat.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The recalled Gluten Free Reese’s Pieces Brownie Brittle were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through online orders.

The product comes in a 4-ounce pouch UPC 711747011562 marked with lot codes SG 1054 15/NOV/2023 1S and SG 1054 15/NOV/2023 2S on the backside of pouch.

One illness has been reported to date in connection with this problem, to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the gluten-containing product was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of wheat. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by cross-contamination at a co-manufacturer, resulting in undeclared wheat in the product.

Production of the product has been suspended until FDA and the company are certain that the problem has been corrected.

Consumers who have purchased 4-ounce packages of Gluten Free Reese’s Pieces Brownie Brittle with lot codes SG 1054 15/NOV/2023 1S and SG 1054 15/NOV/2023 2S should not consume the product and should contact Brownie Brittle for a full refund.

Consumers may contact the company by calling at (800) 651-7263 Monday-Friday from 8:30AM - 5:00PM EST or via email at Second Nature Brands is conducting this recall with the full knowledge and cooperation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Do Prebiotics and Probiotics Ruin Chocolate?

I'm going to answer that question for one brand in particular, Earth Echo which claims to make healthier for you products. Their Vitality Chocolate Bliss Bites promise great flavor as well as health benefits from prebiotics and probiotics. Let me begin by saying that numerous studies have shown that darker chocolate is healthier than milk or white chocolate, and that it can have specific chemicals that make your feel and function better. This has added in bacillus coagulans, a type of bacteria that is not present in the human body and which creates lactic acid in the gut; it can actually aid the digestion of lactose, too. I received a box of these via the Amazon Vine program to test out and review on that website; this post is a bonus for which no other form of compensation was received for sharing my experiences with you.

The squares are dark in color and have this lovely design etched on the top with the Earth Echo logo. They measure 1.25 X 1.25 X 0.25 so they require a bit of effort to bite into. They are made from cocoa butter, cacao beans, coconut sugar, agave, and sunflower ingredients; all organic. That seems like it should be great, right? Let's find out.

Each chew makes a soft crunch and the texture is a touch gritty like it minimally processed; that isn't a bad thing, just surprising. It has a strong chocolate essence but also a hint of coffeelike flavor that I also wasn't expecting and frankly do not like (remember we have coffee experts for a reason on this blog). The darkness is intense and one square dries out my mouth. I also tried this in my morning oatmeal and enjoyed that better with the counter flavors added to curb the coffee tones. That this has the coffeeness suggests this may be single origin or at least made from beans the same part of the world. Soil and farming techniques affect innate flavor of cacao beans, remember.

Did it help with my digestion or anything else? I tried it for a week straight and I can't say that it helped much. It didn't hurt me however. The Chocolate Cult is not a lab or medical facility; this is the best we can do for testing such claims.

If you think you want to give this a try, consider following our links. When you do so, we get a tiny amount of money as an Amazon Associate. We can that into traveling and sharing more On the Road posts in the future as we did before the covid-19 pandemic.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Stick these Chocolates on Your Fridge

I love magnets and not just because they are amazing. When we travel, I try to pick up a magnet to show what state or city I've visited. I also have just for fun magnets ranging from alphabet letters to mini art pieces to sexy words. So when I was offered a chance to review some chocolate themed magnets I jumped at the opportunity. Since we can't eat these, we'll judge them on how much they look like chocolate and how well they work as magnets. I was sent the HAUTOCO 12PCS Fridge Magnets through the Amazon Vine program; no other form of compensation was received for sharing my experiences with the product with you all today.

Let's focus on the look first. As you can see below, there are 12 different designs. They range in length from 1.5 to just under two inches long (the cat). I've seen molded chocolate, chocolate truffles, and even sections of chocolate bars that would be this size. They represent all the major chocolate types including white (which, yes, should look a bit yellow because cocoa butter is yellow, folks), milk, dark, and perhaps the rose is the rose chocolate that you may have heard about in the past couple of years. Of course, these are not edible, they are resin with magnets on the back. Given the size and look, I strongly caution anyone who has small children to think twice about getting these or giving them as gifts to someone with small kids.

HAUTOCO 12PCS Fridge Magnets, Chocolate

Magnets need to stick to metal or they really aren't magnets at all. These stuck to each other a bit but that is common with all magnets. I tried them on three surfaces I have and they all stuck well and were capable of holding a single piece of paper to the surface, too. The three surfaces were my refrigerator, the metal filing cabinet in my office, and a whiteboard in our hallway that is specifically for word magnets. Since I do most of my articles for this blog in my office, I'm going to keep these on that filing cabinet as a decoration.

I think these would be a great gift for the magnet or chocolate lover in your life. Remember if you follow our links, we do get a tiny bit of money which we can use to attend chocolate events and share them with you in the future.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

In Honor of the Birthday of van Houten

Viddie's Gourmet Cocoa Powder
On this date in 1801, a man who would change how cocoa powder was created was born. Coenraad Johannes van Houten was Dutch chemist who turned his skills to chocolate making. He is the reason we call the processing of cocoa powder using alkaline salts the "Dutching" process and label cocoa made that may as "Dutch," too. The process creates a more intensity chocolate flavor and a darker color but also requiring the use of baking powder not baking soda in most recipes. In honor of Mr. van Houten today, I'm going to share my experience with Viddie's Gourmet Cocoa Powder which I received via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review there. This article on The Chocolate Cult is a bonus and not other form of compensation was received for sharing my experiences.

As you can see below the cocoa powder is lighter in color than I was expecting it to be given the Dutching process; it should be more brown, less red. Could this be a result of the much higher fat content? The fat content of this products ranges from nearly 250% to only 20% more depending on the brands you are comparing to Viddie's. You can also see in this photo that the bag is resealable, not a canister, so you will need to be careful when removing the powder or you will lose some of it. Honestly, I prefer that cocoa powder be in cans for this very reason, plus I find that cans close tighter and keep out moisture better.

Viddie's Gourmet Cocoa Powder in Bag

At first I was concerned that the higher fat content (and lower fiber content, too) would affect how I could use this. It really didn't. However, that more intense chocolate flavor you should get from Dutch Cocoa wasn't as intense as lower fat cocoa processed with alkaline, but instead a creamier flavor. It isn't as dry as an ingredient either, so you may not need quite as much liquids depending on your recipe. As long you realize these two things,  you can adjust accordingly when you use it.

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