Archive for the 'not candy' Category

Sunbelt Sweet & Salty Granola Bar

July 22nd, 2009 by Rosa

When I was contacted about getting samples of Sunbelt’s Sweet & Salty granola bars to review on ZOMG, Candy!, I told their PR contact that granola bars were outside the domain of this blog. I did, however, offer to review them on Sugar Savvy, which I also write for. Soon, a generous shipment of 3 boxes (8 bars each) arrived via UPS.

Unfortunately, Sugar Savvy is currently under reconstruction, so I’m bending my rules and publishing the review here after all. I promised them a review, and I won’t renege on that.

Let’s check out the bars’ press release, shall we?

“Each bar combines whole-grain oats and roasted peanuts, with a chocolate coating on the bottom and a stripe on top.”

Compare that with what’s on the box and the bars’ wrappers: “Chewy Peanut Sweet & Salty Granola Bars.”

Notice the difference? The latter never mentions the chocolate (though it does proclaim the bar to be “fudge dipped”). That’s because there are food labeling laws that require a product to contain cocoa butter (in other words, actual chocolate) in order for it to be called chocolate. A quick glance on the Sweet & Salty bars’ ingredients reveals a total lack of any cocoa product. The “chocolate” on the bar is actually made from palm and soybean oil.

Funny how the labeling law doesn’t seem to apply to press releases. Or to putting photos of chocolate on the box, if not the word “chocolate.”

The bar is on the thin side for a chewy granola bar (compared to Quaker or Nature Valley bars), at about 1 cm tall, but is otherwise normally sized at about 4 cm by 9 cm.

The granola part is mostly whole grain oats mixed with crisped rice and the occasional peanut. The texture of the bar is soft and squishy, and it has a soft bite that gives easily. It’s a bit slipperier (yes that’s the correct form; I looked it up) than I expected from a granola bar, but not exactly greasy.

It tastes mostly of salty peanuts against the oaty nuttiness of whole oats. The bar is a good amount of honeyed sweet – enough to be noticeable, but not so much that it’s cloying or feels like you’re eating a candy bar. The non-chocolate sort of comes through as a light chocolatey finish, but just barely, and it tastes too weak, with no cocoa notes to bolster it.

All in all, the bar tastes pretty decent for a granola bar. It’s not revelatory or anything, but I’ve yet to find a granola bar that blows my palate away. But the complete lack of real chocolate is a letdown, and the nutrition stats are pretty rough. Each bar is 190 calories, 9 grams of fat (14% of your recommended daily intake) and 4.5 grams of saturated fat (a whopping 23% of your recommended daily intake). With those numbers, you might as well have a candy bar.

Sorry, Sunbelt. If you’d used real chocolate instead of all that palm oil and soybean oil, the bar would’ve tasted better, and I daresay it may have been healthier as well. With your current formula, however, you get a null score of .

Category: --, not candy, nuts, review | 3 Comments »

Non-Candy Related Help?

January 29th, 2009 by Rosa

Dear Readers,

I know y’all come from all over the country/world. Maybe y’all can help me out with a quandry?

I had been using Cheez-It Stix in my senior thesis research. They are of crucial size, shape, and composition for my research apparatus, and I really, really, really need them. Unfortunately, they are now nowhere to be found anywhere near New Haven, Boston, or New York City. I’ve called Kellogg (they assure me they’re still being made), I’ve looked online, and I’ve asked my local grocery stores to try to order them, all to no avail.

Do you have Cheez-It Stix in your area? And if so, would you be willing to buy several boxes and mail them to me, in exchange for full repayment, and then some, and candy, and my undying gratitude, and a thank you in my senior thesis, the thesis I need to write in order to graduate from college?

Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you can help me out. And have a nice day!

Update: As I told my senior essay advisor, it looks like I’ll manage to get buy with the kindness of strangers. Thanks to everyone who offered help and to Chelsea for being the first to come through for me!

Category: news, not candy | 2 Comments »

Happy Holidays!

December 24th, 2008 by Rosa

Dear readers,

I am back in Austin enjoying time with my family, and I’m taking the rest of the week off. Have a happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate, and I’ll see you on Monday!

Category: news, not candy | 1 Comment »

Best cookies EVER

December 23rd, 2008 by Rosa

This is only tangentially related to candy: I just discovered the best cookies ever.

From the Chicago Tribune’s cookie contest, 2nd place (only 2nd?!) winner: Dorie’s Dark and Stormies. They are a chocolate revelation when they’re still warm and gooey out of the oven.

Category: news, not candy | 2 Comments »

No school on Monday! Tuesday! Wednesday!

November 23rd, 2008 by Rosa

Dear readers,

I’m lucky enough to go to a school that gives us a full week off for Thanksgiving. So I’m taking the week off to catch up on sleep and homework and life.

Have a great week, and I’ll see y’all back in December!

~Rosa

Category: news, not candy | 3 Comments »

Yes We Can!

November 4th, 2008 by Rosa

And yes we cake.

Back in February, I got to hear Obama speak at a rally in Hartford. I’m so glad I decided to put my schoolwork on hold to make that trip. Because now I get to tell my future kids that I got to hear and see President Obama speak, live, back when he was making his historic run for the White House.

Category: news, not candy | No Comments »

Sweet! A cookbook review

October 29th, 2008 by Rosa

When I got the chance to review a free copy of Sweet!: From Agave to Turbino, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener by Mani Niall, I took it because the interest email I got from their PR said that the book contains candy recipes. And it did, including recipe for meringues, caramels, brittles, lollipops, truffles, fudge, and dulce du leche. What caught my eye, however, was the recipe for Apple-Oatmeal Triangles (Flapjacks). I fell in love with British flapjacks, a sweet, delicious, and buttery oat desert, while in Britain, and I jumped at the chance to make them again.

They came out deliciously, if a bit loosely. I think I underbaked mine, as they didn’t quite set up as sturdily as they should have. But they were still addictive. With butter and sugar and oats as your core ingredients, how could you go wrong? I got permission to reprint the recipe, which is below the cut.

I know flapjacks aren’t candy, though Snickers and Cadbury sells chocolate-covered versions of them in the U.K., but logistics prevented me from trying any of the candy recipes from the Sweet! book before deadline. I’m limited to what can be bought at the only grocery store within walking distance of my apartment, and it doesn’t carry some of the fancier sweeteners (like Sucanat) or ingredients (like cardamom pods) mentioned in the book. Nor do they carry candy thermometers.

When I go home for the holidays, however, I’ll take this book with me and use our better stocked and outfitted home kitchen to try my hand at some of the candies and other recipes from the book. Because at home, Mom and Dad will drive me to fancy food stores and pay for fancy food ingredients. Hooray!

As for the book itself, what did I think? I wish it had more pictures. In my opinion, pictures are the best part of any cookbook, and this one only has 8-pages of color photos in the middle (which are gorgeous, by the way). The recipes themselves are well described, each with its own little personal introduction from the author, list of ingredients, and bulleted steps, but seeing the finished product would make me more want to try to bake it myself.

I like the list of recipes in the front and the organization of the book into chapters based on desert types (breakfast treats, cakes, candy, savory and sweet main courses, etc.). The index in the back was great. I found the apple flapjack recipe when I looked up “apple” after I’d gone apple picking and was on a hunt for ways to bake my apples into delicious treats. And I like how the first chapter details and describes the many different sugars and sweeteners there are in the world while the second chapter gives a helpful guide to common baking ingredients. Did you know that you can make your own cake flour by sifting a tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of unbleached all-purpose flour?

At $18.95, Sweet! is a good deal as far as cookbooks go. Then again, that lowered price is probably a direct result of it not having many photos. It’s a good buy or gift for the experimental cook who wants to try out and learn about a variety of sweetener or anyone who loves baking.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: not candy, review | No Comments »

Free Cold Stone Ice Cream Today

September 25th, 2008 by Rosa

Between 5 and 8 pm tonight, stop by your local Cold Stone Creamery for a free scoop of ice cream. And if you can, make a donation to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Category: news, not candy | 2 Comments »

I have awesome timing

September 12th, 2008 by Rosa

Of course my traffic would triple the day I announce I’m taking a week off because my computer died. Forget time off; I’m capitalizing on my good StumpleUpon fortune. I’ll be posting as usual (my roommate doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to be very understanding and sharing), so all you new readers, stick around!

Category: news, not candy | No Comments »

Computer issues

September 12th, 2008 by Rosa

Dear readers,

My computer, after three and a half years of plodding along, finally died on Tuesday. I stuck into my roommate’s room to use her computer to write this (Hi, Catherine!).

I’m in the process of choosing/getting a new one. In the meantime, zomgcandy.com will be taking a mini-break, hopefully of no longer than one week. If all goes well, I’ll see y’all on the 22nd, at the latest.

Have a great week!
~Rosa

Category: news, not candy | No Comments »