Archive for the 'not candy' Category

Temporary Server Outage

August 28th, 2008 by Rosa

Dear readers, my server hosts have informed me that tomorrow, Friday, August 29th, from 11:30 PM to 3:30 AM EST, they’ll be going down for maintenance, so the site may be down then. Have a nice day!

Category: news, not candy | No Comments »

Emily’s Chocolates’ Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

November 27th, 2007 by Rosa

An extremely generous box of samples arrived from Emily’s Chocolates (BUY on Amazon!) while I was out of town for Thanksgiving break, so I didn’t get them until yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to taste everything in there, but I did try the cookies, and they were most definitely worth the wait. In fact, they were so good that I’ve bumped today’s news story to share this review.

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The sandwich cookies come in mint cream and peanut butter cream. The peanut butter cream cookies come in a similar container, only it’s orange, and it’s snowman had a top hat instead of earmuffs. Isn’t it funny how we now associate orange with peanut butter, all thanks to Reese’s? The packaging is pretty, cute, and festive, making these cookies a great candidate for a hostess gift or a way to suck up to teachers.

Both flavors of cookies are like dark chocolate-covered Oreos with generously thick layers of peanut butter or mint cream. The dark chocolate covering is thick, rich, and delectable. Here’s a shot taken with a flash that shows off how hefty the layers of chocolate and cream are, though it makes the chocolate look lighter than it really is.

The cookies are a great blend of textures – smooth dark chocolate, crunchy chocolate cookie, and creamy filling. The mint cream cookie smelled strongly of mint and chocolate and packed a wallop of mint flavor. I loved it. The mint flavor was strong, but not too strong, leaving the cookie well balanced. The finish was of just chocolate, which I think works well, as a lingering, sugary mint taste isn’t always pleasant. Flavor-wise, the cookie is reminiscent of a Thin Mint, but better – it’s more texturally interesting, the chocolate is of better quality, and there’s more of everything! An enthusiastic ZOMG! for the Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Cream Sandwich Cookies.

The peanut butter cream cookie smelled slightly of peanut butter, and it’s peanut butter taste was present but mild. The finish was pretty much all chocolate, just like that of the mint version. I would have preferred a stronger and saltier peanut butter flavor, though the overall cookie was still delicious. An OMG for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies.

Emily’s also sent me their limited edition boxes of their dark chocolate covered nuts and fruits, a big box of their milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts (apparently still in stock on Amazon as of 11/26), and an adorable dark chocolate-covered cashew-filled snowman. I’m excited to taste those as well, though I think I may save the macadamia nuts to bring home for my folks for Christmas.

What surprised me the most about the Emily’s Chocolates line was how affordable all the products were. They look like they would cost much more than they actually do. I think they’d make great gifts, especially since all the holiday boxes already look like they’re wrapped. If you order by December 10th, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $40. I’ll try to have the rest of my package (minus the macadamia nuts) tasted and the reviews as soon as possible so y’all can take advantage of that offer.

Category: chocolate, cookie, mint, not candy, OMG, peanut butter, review, ZOMG! | No Comments »

That Popcorn Place Decadent Gourmet Popcorn

November 23rd, 2007 by Rosa

Earlier this week, my friend Cassie took me to That Popcorn Place on the downtown Drag near UT. What a wonderful food find! They’ve got dozens and dozens of flavors of popcorn, from the savory (ranch, cajun, sour cream and onion, bacon and cheese) to the candied (caramel, vanilla, orange) to the decadent gourmet (s’mores, cookies and cream, dark chocolate), and oh man are they good!

In accordance with Austin’s Keep Austin Weird philosophy, That Popcorn Place is a literal mom and pop operation. Mark, the “Pop” of the business, was in the shop when we stopped by, and he’s the most gregarious proprietor I’ve ever had the pleasure to come across. He gladly answered all of my questions about the shop and the popcorn and was incredibly generous with the free samples (the portions of which were also generous). In fact, I had to stop him from bringing out even more flavors for us to try because I couldn’t finish it all. I think if we had asked, he would have let me taste every one of his 50+ flavors. Believe me, I felt bad about turning down free samples and leaving popcorn behind on the counter.

I walked out with a small sized (about 9 cups) mix of some of their savory flavors (ranch, loaded potato, and cajun) and a snack sized (about 3 cups) bag of three of their decadent gourmet flavors: s’mores, dark chocolate, and cinnamon roll. Each bag was only $4.50 (the decadent gourmet is more expensive because it’s loaded with chocolate), a popcorn steal. For the record, the snack sized bag was packed full to the brim when I bought it; I ate a bunch on the way home because I just couldn’t resist.

As you can probably guess, I absolutely loved the decadent gourmet popcorn. I tried the cookies and cream (vanilla popcorn tumbled with oreo pieces) in the store and didn’t like it enough to buy it, but even that was good enough for me to polish off my handful of free sample. I ended up choosing cinnamon roll because Mark said that was his favorite and the one he was most proud of, s’mores because the three other customers in the store at the time ordered it, so we figured it had to be good, and dark because Cassie wanted to try it. Mark was wonderful about letting us mix flavors in the bag, so don’t be afraid to ask for that if you’re able to visit them in person. And if you order online, it couldn’t hurt to try and ask for that same accommodation. Or you could just buy a bag of each flavor – it’s worth it!

The cinnamon roll is their caramel bliss popcorn with a hint of cinnamon and drizzled in white chocolate. It has just the right touch of cinnamon – strong enough to make its presence known but not so strong that it overpowers the caramel. The white chocolate is a great evocation of cinnamon roll icing, and it’s good quality chocolate too. The caramel layer is perfect – thick enough to get stuck in your teeth a little, but no so thick that it stays stuck there. The thinness of the caramel layer also gives the popcorn a little bit of a chew and a crunch without making it difficult to bite down, like some other caramel popcorn gets.

The s’mores was their caramel popcorn plus mini marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, and a heavy drizzle of milk chocolate. At first I thought the mini marshmallows were just bits of white chocolate, but nope, actual marshmallow bits. The texture was dry and almost styrofoamy, but the pieces were too tiny for the texture to be noticeable unless you very carefully nibbled apart a marshmallow bit on its own, and the marshmallow taste was spot on. I couldn’t really taste the graham cracker crumbs through the heavy chocolate coating, but every once in a while I’d get a large piece of cracker, and then I could taste it. It couldn’t hurt for them to use larger bits of graham cracker. Finally, the milk chocolate was really good – sweet, smooth, and creamy. I wish I’d thought to ask Mark what brand of chocolate they used.

We asked Mark to throw in just a few pieces of dark, and I didn’t really notice any in our bag. I think that’s because the milk chocolate of the s’mores was so nice that it approaches what some companies try to pass off as dark, because the sweetness of the caramel probably undid the lower sugar content of dark chocolate’s flavor, and because I tore through my bag of popcorn pretty quickly. An enthusiastic ZOMG!!! for the lot. Extra exclamation points for top notch customer service.

I hope That Popcorn Place will be open on Saturday so I can buy more to bring back to New Haven with me. If not, they’ll be one of the first places I visit when I’m home for winter break. They also offer online ordering, though it means missing out on the in store experience! I may resort to that if I need a popcorn fix in the spring semester. The shipping and handling gets a little pricey, but the popcorn is so well-priced that I think I could afford the splurge. They also have cute gift tin options, and I personally would be delighted to receive this popcorn as a gift.

In case you’re wondering, the savory flavors were incredibly, ZOMG!-worthily delicious too. I won’t write about them here because they’re not candy-related, but they’re gooooood, and you should buy some. I especially like the cajun, and the dill pickle is weirdly intriguing.

Category: caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, not candy, review, white chocolate, ZOMG! | 1 Comment »

Jocalat by Larabar

August 9th, 2007 by Rosa

According to Larabar’s website, these bars used to be called Maya bars. They’ve replaced the cocoa nibs in Maya bars with ground cocoa beans for a smoother texture and renamed the result. The Jocalat name sounds swankier (because we’re not sure how to pronounce it), and it lets Larabar use an accent breve (it’s amazing what I still remember from my high school French classes) to create a fancier looking logo.

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Jocalat bars (BUY) are made with organic and fair trade certified ingredients, usually some combination of organic dates, organic nuts, organic cocoa mass, organic cocoa powder, and organic flavoring. They’re gluten free, dairy free, soy free, kosher, vegan, and with no added sugar. Unlike regular Larabars, these are made from only 90% raw ingredients because the cocoa beans must be roasted, but that’s still impressive.

The bars come in chocolate, chocolate mint, chocolate orange, and chocolate coffee. As an energy bar or meal replacement bar, they’re pretty good. I personaly prefer the texture of Clif Bars to Jocalat, but I do find the Jocalat bars much more palatable than Powerbars and Odwalla bars.

food-blog-pictures-021.jpgAll four bars are softy, chewy, and studded with nuts. The texture sort of resembles that of fudge, like a stiff puree with an extremely fine grain.

Chocolate - This bar is nuttier than the others, containing walnuts, almonds, and cashews in addition to dates. That’s according to the label, as I couldn’t distinguish between the different nuts as I was eating the bar. It smells deliciously of rich chocolate with a sweet and sour fruity overtone. While the Larabar website claims it to be as indulgent as a fudge brownie, I find that claim a stretch. Real fudge brownies are much better, but real fudge brownies are also full of sugar and butter and bad for you things. The Jocalat bars are fairly chocolate-y but not cloyingly sweet. Unfortunately, the Jocalat bar also has a bit of a sour aftertaste, possibly due to the dates. It’s not terribly unpleasant, but I could do without it.

Chocolate orange - The bar contains only dates and almonds and smells of a freshly peeled orange, and the taste of orange is definitely there. The sour aftertaste is less objectionable here, I think because orange is supposed to be sour.

Chocolate mint - This date and almond filled bar has a strong smell of peppermint, but it doesn’t taste as minty as it smells. The mint taste lingers a bit after the bar is swallowed, and it serves to completely hide the sour taste I found in the chocolate.

Chocolate coffee - According to the website, this bar has significantly more caffeine than the others. It smells sweetly of chocolate covered espresso beans. Tastewise, however, the coffee flavor is only barely detectable as a light aftertaste. In fact, if not for the coffee smell, it find it nearly indistinguishable from the regular chocolate bar. The chocolate coffee is also sweeter than the other bars, and that slight sour taste is pretty obvious.

Overall, I’m impressed that Larabar made something this tasty out of wholesome, mostly raw ingredients. I would recommend these if you’re on a vegan, raw food, gluten-free, or casein-free diet, and I know several parents of children with autism that may find these to be a valuable addition to the pantry and well worth the cost. As for me, I try to eat healthily, but I’m not health conscious to the point of spurning all processed foods. I’ll probably spend my money on deliciously bad for you candy bars instead.

Category: chocolate, coffee, fair trade, mint, not candy, nuts, OM, organic, review | 4 Comments »

Swedish cookies from Ikea

August 4th, 2007 by Rosa

A week or so ago, I went to Ikea (BUY) with my friend Cassie, who needed cheap furniture for her new apartment. I love poking around Ikea and checking out all the cute, clever, and weird things they sell.

I got a soft-serve frozen yogurt at the cafe near the exit (well, Cassie bought it for me because she had a mini-meltdown and took a break to buy a soda. Ikea can be overwhelmingly large sometimes.) that turned out to be a weirdly translucent cream color. It tasted funny to me, but I usually don’t eat frozen yogurt (the Commons soft serve is ice cream), so maybe fro-yo is supposed to taste…off.

I also picked up two kinds of Swedish cookies: Ballerinas and Gilles. Yes, I realize that cookies are not candy, but they feature chocolate, and that’s good enough for me. After all, Cybele at Candy Blog writes about Pocky (BUY) all the time, and that’s technically not candy too.

food-blog-pictures-022.jpgThe Ballerinas, as you can see from the wrapper, are “cookies with a chocolate hazelnut cream filling.” The cream filling is sandwiched between a solid round chocolate cookie and a O-shaped vanilla cookie, making the Ballerina quite aesthetically pleasing. I had high hopes for these because I’ve loved Nutella ever since my middle school French teacher introduced me to its deliciousness. And by love Nutella I mean I often stand before the giant jars of Nutella at Costco and daydream about how awesome it would be to eat it out of those ginormous jars by the pawful, like Winnie the Pooh going at a pot of hunny.

Back to the Ballerinas. The filling is fluffier than Nutella, with a consistency more like whipped frosting than peanut butter, but it still retains a strong hazelnut flavor, which was wonderful. I wish the cookies were similarly delicious; they turned out to be rather dull and bland in comparison. Think about the difference between an Oreo cookie and a generic store brand cookie. While it’s possible that too-strong cookies could overpower the Ballerina cream filling, I think there was still plenty of room for more flavor. If there weren’t starving children in the world, I’d go through the roll and just lick the filling off all the cookies. That, however, is wasteful and unladylike, so I will instead wonder if Nabisco will ever make an Oreo with a hazelnut filling.

food-blog-pictures-024.jpgThe Gille Double Chocolate Crisps were a decadent delight. They’re also horribly unhealthy because the world is unfair, but you should buy them and eat them anyway. You deserve it. Two thin, crisp cookies sandwich a generous portion of rich, yet sweet dark chocolate. The cookies were just sweet enough to compliment the chocolate without overwhelming it, like an extremely mild oatmeal cookie, and the cookie-to-chocolate ratio was excellent. Clotide on Chocolate and Zucchini posted a plea for a recipe to reproduce these, and it looks like her commenters responded, so you can try to bake these at home and save yourself a trip through Ikea.

If I have a chance to go back to Ikea, I’d like to buy some of the marshmallow petit four-looking things they keep in freezers in the food section. Have any of y’all tried those treats before?

Edit, 09/25/2007 – an O for the Ballerinas and an OMG for the Gilles.

Category: chocolate, cookie, Ikea, not candy, O, OMG, review | 3 Comments »