THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for October, 2009

PRODUCT: Sara Snacker’s Chip n’ Etzels

Say you like to snack on cookies. And chips. And pretzels. And chocolate. But you can’t just sit down with bags of all three. What’s a girl to do?

If you’re Sara Snacker (legally, Sara Leand), your entrepreneurial journey began in college, where you built and ran a snack company out of your college dorm room, selling cookies and treats across the campus as well as to local merchants. She had to put the business on hold when it started taking too much time away from her studies (and her roommate kept eating all the supplies—oink, but who can blame her).

After more than a dozen years in the entertainment industry as a television agent and producer (she executive-produced shows for E!, Lifetime and TLC), Ms. Snacker, now a wife and mother, is back in the sweet snacks business. Her first product (more to come in a few weeks) is the thing to grab if you can’t choose among shortbread, potato chips and pretzels and chocolate.

A buttery, crumbly cookie is packed with pieces of crunchy chips and pretzels, then dipped in your choice of white or dark chocolate. That’s the Chip n’ Etzel. (Or is that the Cookie Chip n’ Choc n’ Etzel? We’re not sure, but Chip n’ Etzel, though it sounds different, hits only two of the four snack foods.) It’s a bit sweet, a bit crunchy, and a teeny bit salty.

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The Chip n’ Etzel combines four favorite
snacks in one. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

Whatever it is, it’s a soft and lovely treat that’s perfect with coffee, tea, cocoa or a glass of milk. Or nothing at all.

  • Snack on over to SaraSnacker.com: Gift boxes and keepsake tins are available for the holidays. Just don’t go bonkers over the other goodies until we write about them next month.
  • See more of our favorite cookies and cookie recipes in THE NIBBLE’s Cookies Section, including the history of cookies! (OMG, what if they had never been invented????)

 

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RECIPE: Oysters On The Half Shell

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Oysters on the half shell: so delicious,
so low-calorie. Photo courtesy of Carrie
Bailey-Morey.

Heavy cocktail sauces with horseradish are too much for oysters at their prime. We eat great oysters straight from the shell, without even a dab of citrus juice. But for those who like a bit of garnish, here’s a lovely recipe, courtesy of Charleston, South Carolina’s Charleston Grill and Carrie Bailey-Morey, co-owner of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, who recently enjoyed them there.

Combine to taste:

  • Seeded, finely chopped cucumbers
  • Meyer lemon juice
  • Meyer lemon zest
  • Finely chopped mint

Garnish plate with watercress and edible flowers.

  • For more of Carrie’s favorite things to eat in Charleston, read her blog.
  • Read our review of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week and simply divine. (Mario Batali orders them).

Live in Houston? There’s a free tasting of Callie’s today and tomorrow at Rice Epicurean Markets: San Felipe and Post Oak store Wednesday, October 28th from 2:00-6:00pm and the Westheimer and Wesleyan store Thursday, October 29th from 10:00-3:00 pm. from 10:00-2:00pm.

Live in Chicago? The tastings are on November 5th and 6th at Fox & Obel (we love that store!).

 

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RECIPE: Pumpkin Cupcakes With Pumpkin Cheesecake Frosting

Fall is the time to bake up a pumpkin storm, so let’s add to the list with a delicious pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin cheesecake (cream cheese) frosting.

Created by cupcake blogger Stefani Pollack, the cupcakes are made with healthier graham flour and bits of graham crackers, yielding a far more rich-tasting, graham-y cake with a muffin-like texture—no delicate little cup of fluff.

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Holiday flavors: graham flour (used to make
graham crackers) and pumpkin cheesecake
frosting. Photo courtesy Stefani Pollack |
Cupcake Project.

 

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PRODUCT: Sheboygan Bratwurst

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A plump, grilled bratwurst, ready for a “brat
bun.” Photo © Darius Zsankowski | Fotolia.

“Mention my name in Sheboygan / It’s the greatest little town in the world…” sang the Everly Brothers. One thing that makes Sheboygan, Wisconsin so great: the world-famous bratwurst. Just as famed for its brats as its cheese, Wisconsin is a state that knows good food and celebrates it with vigor.

Mention the name “bratwurst” in Sheboygan and you’re sure to elicit a positive reaction from fans of this German sausage, who have strict rules for its consumption. But take Shakespeare’s advice and eat your brat “as you like it” (for example, the locals disparage sauerkraut on their brats, while we think it’s a perfect combination).

The eponymous Sheboygan Bratwurst Company makes delicious brats in the original pork sausage recipe plus several flavors, as well as chicken and beef brats. We enjoyed the sweet Apple Bratwurst, spot-on Cajun Bratwurst, cheese-laden Jalapeño Cheddar Bratwurst and basil-redolent Tomato Basil Chicken Bratwurst. There are 12 total flavors to try, including a Bacon Cheeseburger Brat that’s next on our list. Call friends and schedule a Brats & Beerfest!

How about some wickedly good Wisconsin cheese?

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: The Secret of Great Bakers

The difference between a good cookie or cake and a great one generally isn’t a “secret ingredient.” The secret is using the best basic ingredients: top-grade chocolate or cocoa, fresh organic eggs, artisan flour, real Madagascar (Bourbon) vanilla and fresh-ground spices—not pre-ground ones that have been sitting on the shelf for months (or years!) Try the best ingredients with your favorite recipe and see if they make a big impact. As tough as it is to “waste food,” don’t use old ingredients—toss old spices, cocoa and baking chocolate and don’t try to use up old butter in cake or cookies. Even if the carton says that the eggs are in still in the window of usability, the fresher they are, the better they bake up. When you factor in your labor and the cost of all ingredients, using the best and the freshest is worth it.

  • Visit our Cakes Section for recipes and our favorite gourmet cake products and mixes.
  • See our favorite vanilla beans and vanilla extracts—we tested several to find the best.

 

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