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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Desserts

FOOD 101: The Difference Between Custard & Pudding

chocolate-custard-healthyrecipeblogs-230

Chocolate baked custard. Photo courtesy
HealthyRecipesBlogs.com. Here’s the recipe.

 

Today is National Chocolate Custard Day, which got us to thinking: What’s the difference between custard and pudding?

American pudding is a sweetened milk mixture thickened with cornstarch, then cooked. It has no eggs in it. In the U.K. and Europe, it is also known as blancmange, and is thickened with starch.

But “pudding” means more than that.

  • In the U.K. the word refers to any dessert, but especially to sweet, cake-like baked, steamed and boiled puddings, usually made in a mold.
  • Then there’s the category of creamy puddings—what Americans typically think of as pudding, mostly enjoyed in the form of chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, butterscotch pudding and lemon pudding. They do double duty as pie filling.
  • When a recipe is exceptionally smooth and light, it is often called silk pudding for its silky texture.
  •  

     

    There are also savory puddings and other foods that are called pudding: black pudding or blood pudding (sausage), Yorkshire pudding (baked batter, served as a side), bread pudding (stale bread baked in a custard sauce) and steamed pudding (cake).

    Custard, on the other hand, is an eggy delight that can be either baked or cooked on the stovetop. The egg protein is the thickener.

    There are custard-pudding hybrids, such as pastry cream (the filling of cream puffs and éclairs).

    Check out the different types of custard.

     

    chocolate-pudding-bonchan-230sq

    Chocolate pudding. Photo courtesy Bonchan.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cinco De Mayo Strawberries

    cinco-de-mayo-chocolate-strawberries-harvardsweetboutique-230b

    Fresh strawberries dressed up for Cinco de
    Mayo. Photo courtesy Harvard Treat
    Boutique.

     

    This Cinco de Mayo treat from Harvard Sweet Boutique inspired today’s tip.

    For snacks or desserts, dip fresh strawberries in melted chocolate and decorate in festive colors: aqua, pink, purple or lavender and yellow, for example.

    Start with this easy recipe for chocolate-dipped fruit.

    Then use decorator icing to pipe squiggles and dots

    You can also tint white chocolate pink with food color, and use colored sanding sugar (recipe).

     

    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 egg whites, beaten
  • Food color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIFT together sugar and cream of tartar.

    2. BEAT in 4 beaten egg whites with an electric mixer. Beat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.

    3. DIVIDE the icing and tint with desired food colors.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

    We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

    Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

    We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

    Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

     

    strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

    April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: B Sweet Hot Bread Pudding

    cookies-cream-bowl3-230

    Cookies & Cream bread pudding from B
    Sweet. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Live near a Super Target? Lucky you, if your Super Target store is one of the many to carry B Sweet bread pudding.

    The headline: Delicious bread pudding from freezer to the microwave in minutes.

    Launched last month, B Sweet Bread Pudding is melt-in-your-mouth indulgence that’s a cross between bread pudding and a hot soufflé. Bought frozen in 12-ounce containers resembling ice cream pints, they go into the microwave and hot bread pudding emerges.

    Chef Barbara Batiste’s B Sweet gained fame on the streets of Los Angeles, where her award-winning food trucks sell a variety of freshly baked sweet treats. The hot bread pudding was named Best Dessert of CitySearch Los Angeles.

    There are four flavors:

  • Apple Pie, tasting very much like hot apple pie
  • Cookies & Cream, our favorite, with big pieces evocative of Oreos
  • Fudge Brownie with chocolate drizzle (because fudge brownie isn’t rich enough on its own)
  • Glazed Donut, outshone by the others, the only flavor we didn’t wolf down
  •  

    “NOUVELLE” BREAD PUDDING

    B Sweet isn’t like Mom’s chunky custard-laden bread pudding. It’s “nouvelle” bread pudding.

    The consistency is smooth, like a dense, cakey soufflé. While custard is an ingredient, the eggy custard flavor of conventional bread pudding is replaced by the featured flavors (apple, brownie, chocolate sandwich cookie and glazed donut).

    And reading the ingredients label, pound cake seems to have replaced the stale bread.

    But however the magic happens, the result is quite noteworthy.

  • Eat it from container.
  • Be more civilized, and put it in a bowl.
  • Top it with ice cream, heavy cream or whipped cream.
  •  

    If you’re worried about calories: 1/4 container has the same calories as 1/4 container of Haagen-Dazs.

     

    package-group-230

    The four flavors of B Sweet Hot Bread Pudding. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Guinness Chocolate Mousse & Truffles

    guinnes-Chocolate-Mousse-guinnessstorehouse-230

    Chocolate mousse with Guinness. Photo
    courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

     

    When you’re Justin O’Connor, executive chef at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, you work Guinness stout into every recipe, from Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes to soup.

    Guinness, which has chocolaty notes, is a great match with chocolate desserts. Whip one up for St. Patrick’s Day, and serve it with a small glass of Guinness.

    RECIPE: GUINNESS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 10 egg whites, whisked
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup Guinness Draught
  • Optional topping: whipped cream (try these five
    spice or salted caramel whipped cream recipes)
  • Garnish: fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MELT the dark chocolate and butter in a bain-marie and add in the Guinness.

    2. BEAT the egg yolks and superfine sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture in with egg yolks and slowly fold in the whisked egg whites until everything is smooth.

    3. TRANSFER the mousse to serving dishes and chill. Serve with fresh raspberries or other seasonal berries.

     

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

    Ingredients For 25 Truffles

  • 4-1/3 cups dark chocolate in small chunks
  • 1-2/3 cups cream
  • ½ cup Guinness
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Dessicated coconut (a.k.a. coconut powder), cocoa powder or powdered subgar
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cream and Guinness to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and grated orange zest. Mix together until the chocolate is fully melted; then leave the chocolate mix until it is cool to the touch, but not set.

    2. TAKE generous teaspoons of the mixture and roll in your hands to form small round truffles. Dust in cocoa powder or coconut powder. Allow to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

     

    chocolate-truffles-Guinness-230

    Chocolate truffles with Guinness. Photo courtesy Guinness Storehouse.

     

    PREFER ICE CREAM?

    Check out this chocolate stout float.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Layered Rice Pudding Bars

    Here’s something new for rice pudding lovers: Rice pudding is combined with a cheesecake-like layer with a pecan shortbread-type crust. What temptation!

    Thanks to RiceSelect for the recipe. The recipe uses Jasmati rice, a Texas-grown jasmine rice that has the same fragrant aroma as Thai jasmine rice (which you can substitute).

    Jasmine is the go-to rice for any Asian cuisine or rice dessert. Check out the different types of rice.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cooking time is 20 minutes; the yield is 18 bars.


    RECIPE: LAYERED RICE PUDDING DESSERT

    Ingredients for Crust

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

     

    layered-rice-pudding-riceselectFB-230

    Another way to enjoy rice pudding! Photo courtesy RiceSelect.

     
    2. COMBINE all ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix well with fork; press into bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
     
    Ingredients For Cream Cheese Layer

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese (you can use lowfat)
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients, beating until smooth. Spread over cooled crust.

     

    Texmati Ricetec

    Jasmine rice, grown in the U.S. by
    RiceSelect, is branded as Jasmati. Photo
    courtesy RiceSelect.

     

    Ingredients For Rice Pudding

  • 3½ cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 package (3 ounces) vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
  • 2 cups cooked Jasmati or jasmine rice
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (or to taste)
  • 1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping*, unthawed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
  •  
    *Substitution: We’re not keen on frozen whipped topping—Cool Whip Original includes hydrogenated vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup, among other ingredients. So we made fresh whipped cream instead. The substitution only works if you’ll be serving the bars immediately. On leftovers, it will go flat in the fridge; but you can revive the bars with more whipped cream.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE egg and milk in a 2-quart saucepan. Whisk to combine.

    2. ADD pudding mix; continue whisking until dissolved. Stir in rice, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Cool pudding.

    3. POUR cooled pudding over cream cheese layer. Top with whipped topping; sprinkle with toasted pecans if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
     
    A TWIST ON RICE PUDDING

  • Tofu Rice Pudding
  • Adult Rice Pudding
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorated Goat Cheese Logs

    Goat cheese logs: plain, green and
    pink-themed. Photo courtesy Vermont
    Creamery.

     

    You can take a plain log of goat cheese and decorate it for any special occasion. We’ve included suggestions for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas below. But you don’t need an official holiday—just friends and family who’d appreciate the treat.

    You can serve the log on a cheese board, slice it to top salads, serve for brunch with toast and bagels, top brown rice or other whole grains, etc., etc., etc.

    When selecting the goat cheese, look for logs that are firmer than the rest. Very creamy logs are hard to roll.

    Decide on your custom herb-spice mix, and choose a “base” herb or spice for rolling the entire log, plus an “accent” (or accents) to sprinkle on. The herbs and spices mentioned below are only suggestions. Browse the spice racks, dried fruit and vegetable mixes, nuts, seeds, etc. to see what inspires you.

    For example, you might want a touch of chili flakes, but don’t want to enrobe the entire log in them.

    Minced fresh herbs provide better green color (and fresher flavor) than dried herbs.

     
    RECIPE: HOLIDAY GOAT CHEESE LOGS

    Ingredients (Select A Custom Mix)

  • Valentine’s Day: chili flakes, minced dried cherries or cranberries, paprika, pink peppercorns
  • St. Patrick’s Day: bright green fresh herbs, green peppercorns, pepitas
  • Halloween: turmeric and cracked black peppercorns
  • Christmas: green herbs, green peppercorns, pink or red peppercorns
  •  
    Plus:

  • Goat cheese log
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FREEZE goat cheese logs for 20 minutes prior to rolling (longer if needed), to firm them up.

    2. ASSEMBLE herbs and spices. Line a cutting board or baking pan with wax paper.

    3. ROLL the log in the “base” herb or spice. Sprinkle with the accents. Then roll a piece of wax paper around the log, gently pressing the herbs and spices into the log.

    4. REFRIGERATE until ready to use.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Flambé A Dessert

    Ice cream volcano. Photo courtesy NYY Steak
    | New York City. The number 5 is a design in
    the plate.

     

    When we were browsing the Facebook page of the Manhattan steak restaurant NYY Steak, we came across this photo and uttered Tina Fey’s mantra: “What the what?”

    It turned out to be ice cream: an ice cream volcano, to be exact. It’s a mound of vanilla ice cream covered with Heath Bar Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits.

    The volcano is brought to the table and flambéed, then sliced and served to guests. It inspired today’s tip: Flambé a dessert. Baked Alaska, Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee and Crêpes Suzette are classics.

    Flambé means to douse food with liquor and set it alight briefly. It is done with both desserts and savory dishes (Steak Diane, for example).

    Although the art has gone out of style with the decline of classic French restaurants, you can try your hand at home. It will light up a special occasion (pun intended).

     
    THE HISTORY OF FLAMBÉ

    The practice of igniting food for show can be traced to the Moors in the 14th century. But modern flambéing became popular only in the late 19th century.

    We’re not sure who is responsible. Henri Charpentier, a waiter in Monte Carlo, claimed that he created the concept in 1895, when he accidentally set fire to a pan of crêpes he was preparing with orange liqueur. He discovered that burning the sauce affected its flavor in a wonderful way.

    Oh, and he claims the guests were Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) and his companion, one Suzette. Charpentier said that he named the dish Crêpes Suzette after the her.

    The story is disputed by Larousse Gastronomique, which claims that Charpentier, who was 14 years old at the time, was not old enough to be serving royalty. [Source: Wikipedia]

    MAKE YOUR OWN ICE CREAM VOLCANO

    Most of us don’t have the occasion to make croque-em-bouche (CROAK om boosh), a festive tower of cream puffs held together with crackling caramel threads. You’d have to be good friends with a pâtisserie owner to borrow one (here’s what it looks like).

    But you might possibly have a large chinois (SHEEN-wah), a cone-shaped mesh strainer. Otherwise, you’ll have to shape it “freehand,” which can be easier if you buy vanilla ice cream in a cylinder shape carton (like Edy’s and Dreyer’s) instead of a rectangular carton.

     

    Then, all you need is:

  • Ice cream
  • Heath Bar Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits (the milk chocolate version is preferable to plain toffee bits, because it provides a more “rocky” coating for the “slopes”)
  • Alcohol to flambé
  •  
    If you don’t want to flambé it, serve it as is—perhaps with a candle on top.

     
    Preparation

     

    Heath Bar Milk Chocolate Toffee bits. Photo courtesy T.R. Toppers.

    1. MOUND the ice cream into a volcano (cone) shape. Coat with Heath Bar Bits.

    2. FREEZE four hours or more to firm.

    3. REMOVE right before serving and flambé (see instructions below).
     
    HOW TO FLAMBÉ

    If you haven’t flambéed before, you should practice igniting alcohol before the big event. Remember to be cautious; you are, after all, “playing with fire.”

    To flambé, you need a liquor or liqueur of 80 proof or higher; the higher the proof, the more easily it ignites. You can easily find them at 100 proof or more.* But 80 proof will do; and for those concerned about ingesting the alcohol: most of it burns off in the flames. It does leave some flavor, so choose a liquor/liqueur that is complimentary to the food (chocolate or fruit liqueurs or brandies for desserts and whiskey or brandy for meats).

    If you want, you can embed a small metal cup in the top of the volcano (think the something smaller than a tea candle—we used a repurposed bottle top from an empty bottle of Scotch). It will make the flames “spout from the volcano.” You need to embed it as you are mounding the ice cream.

    It also helps to dim the light in the room. Then, just before serving:

    1. PLACE 1/4 cup liquor and a small metal ladle in a small saucepan. Heat the liquor and the ladle just until the liquor begins to bubble, around 130°F. You will to see vapors rise from the liquid. It must be warm to ignite; but do not allow the liquor to boil off, or it will not stay lit (the boiling point of alcohol is 175°F).

    Option: The liquor also can be heated in a microwave oven in a microwave-proof dish for 30 to 45 seconds at 100 percent power. You can warm the ladle in boiling water.

    2. WITH A CUP: Ladle part of the liquor into the metal cup and ignite it with a long “fireplace” match or barbecue lighter. As the liquor burns, fill the warmed ladle half full with more of the warmed liquor and drizzle it slowly into the eggshell, raising the ladle as high as you safely can. The flame will go out by itself when the alcohol burns off.

    Be sure to ignite the dessert away from guests and flammable objects. A serving cart or other rolling cart is a great idea here.

    WITHOUT A CUP: Pour the liquor around the base of the volcano and ignite immediately so the raw alcohol doesn’t seep in to the food. Or, douse sugar cubes in the alcohol briefly—you want the alcohol to absorb but not to cause the cubes to fall apart. Place the cubes around the perimeter of the dish and light.

    3. SERVE as soon as the flames disappear.
     
    *Examples of higher proof alcohol: Absolut 100 Vodka (100 proof), Booker’s Bourbon (121 proof), Laphroaig Cask Strength Scotch Whisky (114 proof), The Macallan Cask Strength Scotch Whisky (116 proof), Plymouth Navy Strength† Gin (114 proof), Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum (114 proof), Stolichnaya 100 proof. Note that liquors above 120 proof are highly flammable and considered dangerous when lit.

    †FUN FACT ABOUT BRITISH NAVY-STRENGTH GIN: The liquor on warships had to be at least 114-proof. Why? It is the proof level at which the ship’s gunpowder could still be fired should when soaked with booze. The gunpowder was used by the pursars to test that the level of alcohol in the gin was what they had paid for.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Sautéed Bananas

    Whenever we’re at a Chinese restaurant, we order fried banana for dessert. Whether plain, with whipped cream or ice cream, it’s a sweet and creamy treat.

    Eating a serving of it recently, we reflected on what we loved about it. The answer wasn’t the breading or the deep-fat frying or the even the whipped cream. Even the superior “banana tempura” found at some Japanese restaurants, covered in crunchy panko, wasn’t the answer.

    It was the fruit itself: soft, warm banana.

    The next day we started to experiment with a bunch of ripe bananas in our kitchen, and were satisfied with the results. Instead of fried bananas with caramel or chocolate sauce, we made sautéed bananas—“fried bananas lite.”

    We loved the butter flavor so much that we ended up using half oil, half butter, for an extra hit of flavor.

     

    Sautéed bananas as a garnish for a chocolate tart. Photo courtesy Arch Rock Fish | Santa Barbara.

    SAUTÉED BANANAS

    Ingredients For 2 Portions

  • 2 medium bananas, cut vertically into ½ inch thick slices or in spears (halved and halved again, as in the photo)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil (or butter or combination)
  • Optional garnish: 1 tablespoon agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, pistachios or walnuts
  • Optional garnish: two tablespoons vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oil in a small nonstick pan over medium heat.

    2. ADD banana slices and cook on one side for a 2-3 minutes. Flip, sprinkle with brown sugar and heat for another 1-2 minutes until evenly coated. The bananas should be softened yet hold their shape.

    3. REMOVE from heat, plate and top with optional syrup, ice cream and nuts.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pocky Biscuit Sticks

    One day we were squeezed against the crowded bar at David Burke Townhouse (when it first opened, as David Burke & Donatella). It seemed as if the entire, hyper New York foodie crowd was trying to get in the door. There was a 45-minute wait for our table. We consoled ourself with the bar snack: bacon wrapped around a delicious, slender breadstick.

    We couldn’t get enough of them, and the bartender told us the breadstick was actually Pocky Pretz, a Japanese snack.

    The first Pocky flavor, launched in 1966, was biscuit sticks coated in chocolate. The name derives from the Japanese word for crunchy (pokkin).

    Since then, as many flavors of Pocky have appeared as you can shake a biscuit stick at. Most are frosted in sweet flavors: almond, banana, coconut, milk chocolate, green tea, honey, strawberry and so forth.

     

    Some Pocky varieties are filled, this one with chocolate cream. Photo courtesy Glico.

     

    Hugely popular in Asia, they’re a fun snack and delicious with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea. The success has spawned imitators: Lucky, Pepero and Toppo, among and others.

    There’s even a “Pocky Day” celebrated in Japan on November 11 (because 11-11 looks like four Pocky sticks).

    There’s plenty of Pocky in the U.S. You can find them in the international section of many large supermarkets, Walmart and other retailers, in addition to Asian food stores. And of course, there’s a big selection on Amazon.com.

     

    How great is this! See how to do it at
    Utry.It. Photo courtesy Utry.it, which has
    gorgeous recipes.

     

    POCKY IS GREAT GARNISH

    You can garnish just about any dessert with Pocky and enjoy the visual appearance as well as the crunch and flavor. Just a few ideas:

  • Decorate cupcakes
  • Decorate cakes (see photo)
  • Dip in fondue
  • Enjoy with yogurt
  • Substitute for ladyfingers on a charlotte or mousse cake
  • Serve in a vase or small pitcher for snacking
  • Serve with hot chocolate
  • Use instead of birthday candles
  •  

    You can also send a gift box of six assorted Pocky flavors.

    How do you like to use Pocky?

      

    Comments

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