THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for March, 2011

PRODUCT: Jalapeño Chocolate Chip Cookies

Way back in 2005 we ran across SparX Cookies, a delightful chile-infused cookie line featuring Ancho Oatmeal Raisin, Cayenne Toffee Pecan, Chipotle Chocolate Chip, Chipotle Double Fudge and Jalapeño Peanut Butter flavors.

What a great idea. The cookies were so good, we couldn’t stop eating them. Unfortunately, the line seems to have vanished into thin air. The website doesn’t connect and we can’t track down the owner. But SparX remains a happy memory: sweet little cookies, each specially kissed with a matching chile. (If you have the 411 on SparX, please let us know.)

When we came across Chocopeño, “the world’s first jalapeño chocolate chip cookies,” we had high hopes. Alas for us, they weren’t the sweet, sizzling cookies from SparX. They were chocolate chip cookies with a strong vegetal kick of jalapeño.

We weren’t happy with that flavor profile, and gave the rest of the cookies to anyone who wanted to take them home.

Then it turns out that the home crowd—boyfriends and husbands—really liked Chocopeño.


Chocolate chip cookies with a jalapeño kick.
Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE


Who are we to argue? If you’re looking for something quirky, you can find Chocopeño online at

See our Cookie Glossary for the different types of cookies.

See our Chile Glossary for the different types of chiles.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Portion-Control Dishes

Portion-control dishes have subtle markings
that say, “Stop here.” Photo courtesy
Measure Up Bowl.


Whether it’s a bowl of granola for breakfast or a glass of wine with dinner, we rarely notice exactly how many ounces we’re consuming. Anyone who has been to Weight Watchers knows that weighing and measuring is the way to have your cake and eat it, too.

Portion-control dishes make it easy to check your portions.

  • Wine-Trax offers an 11-ounce wine glass with frosted rings for measuring 4-, 6- and 8-ounce pours. The same company produces Snack Trax, a 2-cup glass bowl with measuring lines at 1/3, 2/3 and 1 cup and a plastic lid for conveniently packing snacks. Meal-Trax, a plate with divider lines, helps out where we need it the most: portion control on the dinner plate.
  • Measure Up Bowl, available in two sizes (shown in photo), is a ceramic variation of the same idea. These Microwaveable Ceramic Portion Control Bowls are similar, but their markings are more like those of measuring cups. (We vastly prefer the former for their subtle elegance.)With these products, you can get an accurate wine pour, keep an eye on your portion sizes and ensure that you’re not inadvertently eating six ounces of granola instead of three ounces.And of course, being able to measure your food in the same bowl you eat from means one less thing to wash.

    The portion-control dishes are so pleasant to use, they take away any resentment about measuring.

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    PRODUCT: Dufflet Small Indulgences

    In this “supersize me” era, small indulgences are most welcome.

    As we nibbled our way through a box of Dufflet’s caramel and milk chocolate coated pistachio nuts, six pieces a day (80 calories), we were reminded how luscious chocolate-covered nuts can be.

    We’ve been serving them, along with other Dufflet Small Indulgences, for dessert, with a cup of coffee or tea.

    The Dufflet line is divided into crackle (brittle), morsels (enrobed nuts and fruits) and tumbles (little cookies). The company, based in Canada, sells in the U.S. at select retailers and at

    Instead of taking time to prepare a dessert after dinner—or for a light dessert after a heavy meal—create a confections plate with two or three choices. It’s fancy and casual at the same time.

    Learn more about Dufflet at

    Find more of our favorite candies in our Gourmet Candy Section.


    What’s for dessert? A trio of treats. From
    top: caramel-enrobed pistachios, chocolate-
    enrobed tart cherries and crackle. Photo
    by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.




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    TIP OF THE DAY: Wash Silver Separately

    Photo courtesy Cambro.


    Kitchen chemistry applies to more than just food preparation.

    If you’re washing sterling silver and stainless steel flatware at the same time, keep them at opposite ends of the dishwasher basket.

    Electrolysis, a chemical reaction between the two metals, will wear away at the silver over time.

    The same thing goes for washing flatware in the sink: don’t soak sterling and stainless together.

    Of course, it’s best to wash fine silver by hand. Abrasive dishwasher detergents will gradually wear at silver’s surface. But facing a large post-party clean-up, the dishwasher is alluring.

  • Here’s how to care for your fine crystal.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Steaming Vegetables

    Most of us don’t eat our recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables (use this calculator to see how much you need).

    You can serve a side of vegetables with breakfast eggs, with lunch and of course, with dinner. At the end of the day, if we haven’t eaten our share, we steam vegetables as a snack.

    We steam them in the microwave, which couldn’t be easier. All you need are vegetables and a microwave-safe container (or a bowl and plastic wrap).

    Steaming retains more nutrients than other cooking methods, and maximizes the flavor and color of the vegetables. You can steam your vegetables to a crunchy/al dente state or any other consistency. But take care not to overcook: Better al dente than mushy.

    See complete steaming instructions for microwave and stovetop.


    Delicious, healthy, low in calories. Photo of
    steamed vegetables courtesy



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