Chuao Chinita Nibs

April 28, 2008

It took a few bites over a few days, but Chuao’s Chinita Nibs and I have developed a respectful relationship. It’s a 4×6 tablet wrapped in gorgeous purple foil. In fact, that purple color is what roped me into buying the bar in the first place.

At first bite, I really disliked it. The nutmeg flavor is quite potent, and it reminded me, honestly, of crab boil seasoning. Now, Chuao’s tagline is “unusual, unexpected, and delicious.” This was the unexpected part I guess, but it wasn‘t delicious. Crab boil is not a flavor that I really want mixed with my chocolate.

I pulled the bar out again the next day with little enthusiasm, but I wanted to write this review. I was quite surprised to find myself appreciating the bar’s earthy flavor. Now that I knew what to expect, I found the bar to be quite pleasant, and the unfortunate crab boil comparisons faded. The bar is grassy and spicy, but not hot.

The bar is full of nibs; they’re quite visible along the bottom of the bar. They’re crunchy and not fibrous at all. The chocolate is 60% cacao, not too dark but still substantial. However, it definitely plays second-string to the nutmeg’s start. It seems lovely and makes me want to get my hands on more of Chuao’s stuff.

Nutmeg is a spice that is easy to overdo, and I think Chuao crossed the line here. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the bar in small doses, but I don’t have any desire to buy another one. Still, I think a lot of people will love this bar, even if I didn’t.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 1/2 a bar. There are 200 calories, 15g of fat (6g saturated), 16g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6/10

Name: Chinita Nibs
Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
Store: World Market
Price: $3.99 (sale)
Weight: 2.82 oz. / 80g

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Citrus Sugar Cookies

April 25, 2008

Sugar cookies fall under two categories in my kitchen — cut-out and drop. Cut-out sugar cookies are fun to decorate but don’t excite my taste buds. Drop sugar cookies, on the other hand, may not be much to look at, but are delicious in the simplest way.

These cookies fall into the latter category. They have crispy edges and chewy middles, but a few seconds in the microwave will turn them into soft and chewy discs. The addition of citrus juice and zest do wonders for the flavor. I’ve tried these with lemon, orange, and lime. Lemon yields a classic sugar cookie, if that’s what you’re going for. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, as all are delicious!

Citrus Sugar Cookies

Oven Temp.: 350°
Approx. Bake Time: 11-13 minutes
Yields: about 18 cookies

Ingredients
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. citrus zest
2 tsp. citrus juice
2 tbsp. beaten egg
extra sugar for dusting

Instructions
– Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter for about 15 seconds. Cream butter, sugar, and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in juice and egg. Stir in dry ingredients.
– Roll level tablespoons of dough in extra sugar. Place on greased or lined baking sheet and flatten slightly.
– Bake in preheated oven. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Strawberry Milkshake Whoppers

April 23, 2008

Weirdly, I love Robin’s Eggs but don’t care for Whoppers. The candy shell makes the difference I guess, but please, don’t ask me how so.

I’ve never been a strawberry milkshake person either. I prefer vanilla or peanut butter. (No, not chocolate — I don’t care much for chocolate ice cream, surprisingly.) I only started eating strawberry ice cream a couple years ago.

So, Strawberry Milkshake Whoppers aren’t exactly my ideal candy, as much as I may love malted milk. Hershey’s introduced the flavor to the Whoppers line about two years ago. I glanced at them, wrinkled my nose, and waited for them to go away. They never did. I don’t know if that was always the intention or if these just sold very well, but they’re still here. Staring at me. Demanding that I try them

Obviously, I finally broke down and did so.

They’re pretty, pale pink little gems, not the pepto-pink color you might expect. The strawberry confection is greasy to the touch but is not unpleasant in my mouth. Of course, it would be nice to have a real white chocolate coating, but we can’t expect much seeing as regular Whoppers have a chocolate-ty versus a chocolate coating.

The flavor is surprisingly pleasant. I suppose they taste a bit like strawberry ice cream, but a little more mellow. They remind me very much of summer, cotton candy, and bubble gum. The malt-ness of the center isn’t very strong, but the salty kick provides a nice contrast.

I think I prefer these to regular Whoppers. I shared with a friend, and she absolutely loved them. So much, in fact, that she went out and bought a big box a couple days later. I wouldn’t buy these for myself, but I’ll munch on a couple if my friend is sharing.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 18 pieces. There are 190 calories, 8g of fat (8g saturated), 26g of sugar, and less than 1g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6/10

Name: Whoppers Strawberry Milkshake
Brand: Hershey
Store: Wal-mart
Price: $0.99
Weight: 3.5 oz.


Toblerone One By Ones

April 21, 2008

Toblerone One by Ones are individually wrapped Toblerone peaks. There are five varieties in the box. My box included nine milk, four white, four milk/white, three praline, and three dark for a total of 23 pieces, close to the box’s specified amount of 20 chocolates.

Dark (black): This one is a slightly fruity, semi-sweet chocolate. It’s far too sweet for my tastes — that often tends to be my problem with dark chocolate. There’s nothing to balance out the sweetness, and the actual chocolate flavors are overwhelmed. I didn’t get any of the honey or almond nougat flavors here.

Praline (red): I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. It’s not bad, but I was hoping for a hazelnut filling, like the Ritter Praline. Instead, it’s a milk chocolate piece with a soft milk chocolate cream filling. The innards are studded with nougat, but the outside is not — that’s how you can tell it from the milk chocolate piece when unwrapped. The taste is quite milky and a little musky. It has a truffle-like melt which is quite nice. I didn’t get the nougat much in this one either.

Milk (yellow): I like this one. I taste coconut, and I love that compliment to my chocolate. I’m not sure where the coconut flavor is coming from, but I won’t complain. The chocolate is quite milky and not too sweet. The strong dairy flavor is brightened up by the honey nougat. It’s not stellar, but it’s solid.

White (white): This is easily the milkiest white chocolate that I have ever had. The dusky milk notes really tone down the sweetness and work well with the vanilla and honey notes. I like it.

Milk/White (blue): This one is adorable. It looks like a little snowcapped mountain, which I’m sure is what they were going for. The (rather boring) name is self-explanatory. It’s a combo of the milk and white chocolates. The white chocolate brings a little more vanilla to the party, but it mostly tastes like the milk chocolate.

Overall, I liked these. They’re attractive candy dish filler, and there is a little something for everyone. I liked all the pieces aside from the dark, which wasn’t actually bad.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 5 pieces. There are 220 calories, 13g of fat, 25g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Toblerone One By Ones
Brand: Kraft
Store: Wal-mart
Price: $3.88
Weight: 7.05 oz.


The Weekly Bite

April 18, 2008

Here are some fun posts from other blogs:

Sneak peak to next week:


Ritter White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts

April 16, 2008

My confession? I enjoy — maybe even love — white chocolate. Well, it’s not much of a confession — I’m not ashamed! It just seems that many people have a distaste for the stuff. That’s fine; everyone has their personal tastes. However, I wonder if more people would like white chocolate if they tried good (or heck, even real) white chocolate. I liken it to dark chocolate. A lot of people try Hershey’s Special Dark and avoid dark chocolate thereafter. But a nice Endangered Species bar or even a piece of Dove might turn them over to the dark side.

White chocolate is similar, but a good white chocolate is even more elusive than a good dark. The white confection that Hershey’s puts out doesn’t even qualify as white chocolate. A bit of the cocoa butter is replaced by other fats, such as tropical or hydrogenated oils. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t guiltily indulge in these things sometimes, but it really ruins the texture and flavor profile of the white chocolate.

I’ve looked around, but a good, readily-available white chocolate bar is hard to come by. I’ve tried and loved Green and Black’s, but the store no longer stocks that variety. Curses.

Enter the Ritter White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts. It delivers real white chocolate, bits of crisped rice, and a nice chunk of hazelnut in every bite. I love the texture of this bar. The chocolate is creamy, the hazelnuts are crunchy, and the rice bits are crispy. The rice brings a hint of malt to the party, but the major flavors are the chocolate and hazelnuts, which balance each other nicely. The hazelnuts never let the chocolate become too cloying.

This may not be the epitome of white chocolate, but I love the combination with the hazelnuts, it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy for me to come by. Ritter and I are forming a nice relationship, and this could become my go-to white chocolate bar.

Show some white chocolate a little love. If he still doesn’t capture you’re heart, he’ll understand. He just wants a chance!

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 6 squares. There are 210 calories, 14g of fat (7g saturated), 17g of sugar, and 3g of protein per serving.

Rating: 9/10

Name: White Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts
Brand: Ritter
Store: World Market
Price: $1.99
Weight: 3.5 oz.


Mint Crisp M&Ms

April 15, 2008

M&Ms has a history of movie tie-ins — at least, I know they’ve done tie-ins with Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean in recent years. The Star Wars campaign brought us the Dark M&Ms, which are now part of the permanent lineup. The white chocolate Pirate Pearls didn’t fare quite as well.

This year the big blockbuster is Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I’m a little young for Indy, but my dad is a big fan. I’ve been rewatching the three movies before I see the fourth with him. I just love Indy’s theme song.

The bag features Green, who obviously has the hots for Dr. Jones. Hey, he’s Harrison Ford, so I totally get it. It also features phrases like “Dig New Mint Crisp M&Ms” and “Get ‘M’ Before They’re Lost.” On the back are two “arti-facts.” Mine are:

1. Green made her first TV appearance in 1997. (I remember this!)
2. The Mola Ram character doesn’t make his first appearance in Temple of Doom until an hour into the movie.

Inside the bag, the M&Ms feature a skull, Indy’s hat, a pyramid/ziggurat, a compass, and a face/mask. Each design incorporates the classic ‘m’ somehow. They’re more than a little irregular, and aren’t all that pretty. They come in various sizes, ranging from tiny to very large, and are lumpy and bumpy.

As for the taste — well, if memory serves me correctly, these taste almost just like the Mint M&Ms that I had during the Christmas season. That’s not a bad thing. It’s a semi-sweet chocolate with a fairly strong mint flavor. The difference is, of course, the crisp. I really like the crisp; it adds fun texture and a burst of salt. The crisp leads these to one-up the Christmas Mint M&Ms.

I like these, though I don’t think I would buy them often. It would be nice if they were added to the holiday line-up, when I seem to crave mint the most (or at least, when mint products are pervasive).

These have also been reviewed by Sugarhog, Candy Addict, and Candy Blog.

Nutrition Breakdown: Please note that this is for the large “tear ‘n share” bag. Serving size is one package. There are 380 calories, 17g of fat (10g saturated), 38g of sugar, and 4g of protein per serving.

Rating: 7/10

Name: Mint Crisp M&Ms
Brand: Mars
Store: Wal-mart
Price: Unknown
Weight: 2.7 oz.