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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 Sugar-Free

Cooking Video: Low Calorie Cocktails

 

You can still enjoy a few drinks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, without breaking the calorie bank.

Registered Dietician Elizabeth Somer provides tips that help you to “drink this, not that,” to borrow a phrase from the popular book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.

In fact, the book series that includes Drink This, Not That, Eat This, Not That and Cook This, Not That will help jump-start your New Year’s diet.

But back to our weekly cooking video: Spend a few minutes with it and you’ll be mindful of which drinks are highest in calories and which alternatives are just as satisfying. Or as we see it, trade off drink calories for a piece of pecan pie or cheesecake.

  • Enjoy these low-carb cocktail recipes at your Christmas dinner, New Year’s party and throughout 2011.
  • Find more food and drink videos in our Cooking Videos Section.
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: The Best Toffee, Regular & Sugar-Free

    Our vote for World’s Best Toffee. Photo

     

    We taste lots of toffee each year, but have never found one we like as much as Enstrom’s.

    It’s a very buttery toffee; and that rich, buttery flavor combined with excellent chocolate and nuts makes the product stand out.

    There’s so much butter that the company recommends refrigerating the toffee (but don’t worry, it’s even delicious right from the freezer).

  • The company also makes a sugar-free toffee that is almost indistinguishable from the full-sugar version (and to compensate for all the butter, we’ve come to prefer it)
  • Toffee popcorn—loaded with real toffee, not caramel syrup—is also made in a sugar-free version
  • Enstrom’s peppermint bark is another “best we’ve ever had” (no sugar free, alas)

  • And, the line is certified kosher!

  • Purchase online here.
  • Find all of our favorite sugar-free gifts.
  • The difference between toffee and buttercrunch.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Minute Maid Light

    A satisying O.J. Lite. Photo by Erika Meller |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    If you’re still stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a good time to read about Minute Maid Light fruit drink, instead of some rich, heavy food.

    At only 15 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate per 8-ounce glass, it’s an orangey way to start your day or quench your thirst throughout it. Each 8-ounce serving contains 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

    We tried Orange Tangerine and Lemonade fruit drinks. The products are made with real juice from concentrate, sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), and are certified kosher by Triangle K. Both can also be used as low-calorie cocktail mixers.

  • Orange Tangerine scored well with us; we’ll buy it again. For very few calories, we’ll trade the natural O.J. at 110 calories a glass for 15 calories per glass. You know you’re drinking a light version, but for those who can quickly drain an eight-ounce glass, it’s a good substitute (and makes a nice reduced-calorie Screwdriver).
  •  

  • The Lemonade didn’t fare as well with us. Even though we added a two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, it didn’t perk up as we’d hoped. We could taste the artificial sweetener and the drink reminded us of Crystal Light. It’s easy to squeeze a lemon and make a glass of fresh lemonade sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar or a packet of sucralose (e.g., Splenda).
  • The line also includes Limonada-Limeade and Raspberry Passion, which we couldn’t track down at our local markets. A colleague tells us that Limonada-Limeade, some Orange Tangerine (substituting for the Cointreau) plus tequila makes a lower-calorie, No Sugar Added Margarita.

    Minute Maid, the world’s largest marketer of fruit juices and fruit drinks, is a brand owned by The Coca-Cola Company.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Paciugo Gelato

    If there’s a Paciugo Gelato near you, you may want to head over for a few scoops and see why the readers of DMagazine in Dallas chose it as “Best Gelato.”

    Christina and Ugo Ginatta and their son Vincenzo moved from Turin, Italy to Dallas, where they started the city’s first gelato caffè in 2000. Using artisan techniques and the finest ingredients, they developed a recipe list of 200 flavors in rotation (with a selection of 30 to 38 available on any given day). The company is now a mini-chain of more than 40 stores in 11 states plus Mexico.

    Just looking at the list of flavors makes you want to try every one (and if you really want every flavor, ask about having your own franchise).

    What we especially like about Paciugo Gelato is its ability to provide a frozen treat for just about everyone.

     

    Gelato for everyone! Photo courtesy Paciugo.

     

  • Vegan or lactose-intolerant? No worries: There are gelato flavors made with soy milk, as well as dairy-free sorbetto.
  • Cutting back on sugar? The No Sugar Added gelato is terrific: If No Sugar Added gelato tastes this good, who needs sugar?
  • On a lowfat diet? The fat content is 3.5%—much lower than a superpremium ice cream (which can be up to 16% milkfat).

     
    While we’ve only gotten through eight of the 200 flavors, we’re in love with the Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel and the No Sugar Added flavors (we tried NSA Hazelnut and Panna cotta flavors). (We haven’t tried the soy-based gelato yet, but we look forward to it.)

  • See how gelato is different from ice cream.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Regular Or Sugar-Free Sorbet

    It’s easy to make sugar-free sorbet.
    Photo by Dusan Zidar | BSP.

     

    There’s a lot of good “No Sugar Added” ice cream out there, but it’s tough to find a sugar-free sorbet.

    If you’re on a sugar-free diet and miss sorbet, you can make it with unsweetened fruit juice or puréed fruit.

    Sugar or no sugar, sorbet is a better choice in general than ice cream: it’s fat free, cholesterol free and full of nutritious fruit. Whether you want a sugar-free or a sugared dessert, make some from delicious fall fruits. We adore apple and pear sorbets. Clementine/orange/tangerine, cranberry, grapefruit, kiwi and persimmon are other fall favorites.

    For a juice-based sorbet:

  • Freeze 2 liters of unsweetened juice in your ice cream maker, along with artificial sweetener equivalent to one cup of sugar (you can adjust the sweetener to taste—the less you use, the better).
  • Sweeten with maltitol, a low-glycemic sweetener that can be purchased online in crystal or syrup form. Splenda is a good second choice.
  • Experiment with spices—cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla, for example; fresh basil or mint, which compliment most fruits; or a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
  • Think about the presentation—which dish or glass plus garnish—that will make your sorbet look irresistible.
  • To make sorbet with fresh or frozen fruit:

  • Dissolve 2/3 cup sugar or non-caloric equivalent in 2/3 cup boiling water. Chill syrup.
  • Purée 4 cups fruit to yield 2 cups fruit purée. Sieve fruit as necessary (to remove berry or kiwi seeds, for example).
  • Mix sugar syrup into fruit.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Find more sorbet recipes in our Gourmet Ice Cream Section.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Chili Chocolate Sauce & Caramel Sauce

    Our new favorite chocolate sauce is Three Chilies Chocolate Sauce from The King’s Cupboard. The excellent Three Chilies Caramel Sauce is the runner up, only because we prefer chocolate to caramel.

    Imagine ice cream that is both hot and cold. That’s what you get when you pour Three Chilies Chocolate Sauce on it. The cayenne, chipotle and jalapeño spice blend is a terrific complement to The King’s Cupboard’s superb dessert sauces.

    In addition to ice cream, the sauces can be used to enhance poached pears, pound cake, waffles or any food in need of chocolate or caramel sauce.

    The King’s Cupboard is one of our perennial favorite brands of dessert sauce. The ingredients are the finest; the regular and flavored chocolate sauce and caramel sauce varieties are just perfect. There’s a sugar-free chocolate sauce that is a godsend for chocolate lovers who need to restrict sugar. And, the products are certified kosher by OU.

  • Read the review of The King’s Cupboard, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
  • Find more of our favorite dessert sauces, plus recipes.
  •  

    Spice up your ice cream with “hot”
    chocolate and caramel sauce. Photo
    by Philip Wilkerson | BSP.

  • Learn about the different types of dessert sauces in our Dessert Sauce Glossary.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Sugar-Free Barbecue Sauce

    Barbecue sauce can have as much refined sugar as dessert (we call the super-sweet ones “meat sugar”). People on sugar-free diets have limited choices if they want some BBQ.

    One manufacturer offering help is Chef Hymie Grande. The company has created a line of all-natural barbecue “glazes” flavored with low-glycemic agave nectar instead of other sugars.

    Chef Hymie Grande claims to be the first BBQ sauce [glaze] to carry the American Diabetes Association mark on the bottle’s label; the company contributes 5% of sales to the ADA. The line is also vegan-friendly.

    Three varieties are available:

  • Mild New Mexico Sweet Barbecue Glaze, sweet and gentle-tasting with a suggestion of sweet spice (think cinnamon).
  • Polapote* Barbecue Glaze made with ancho and chipotle, billed as medium-heat but delivering a nice amount of mild-to-medium heat.
  • We have no idea what “polapote” means. It’s not in the dictionary.

     

    An BBQ glaze for people on sugar-free
    diets. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

  • Cascabel Express Barbecue Glaze labeled “Surprisingly Hot,” but actually a full-medium heat.
  • All three glazes have a nice texture from crunchy onions. Two tablespoons contain 30-35 calories plus 5g-6g sugars, 7g-8g total carbohydrate and 15mg sodium.

    By the way, glaze is a thin sauce. If you haven’t used glazes, the consistency is more like a vinaigrette dressing than a traditionally thick barbecue sauce.

    If you’re looking for a sugar-free traditional barbecue sauce, take a look at Bellycheer Grilling Sauces.

    Find all of our favorite barbecue sauces in our Rubs, Marinades & Glazes Section.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Sugar-Free Margarita Mix

    Have a Margarita for just 5 calories on top
    of the liquor calories. Photo by Katharine
    Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

     

    A few weeks ago we wrote about Skinnygirl Margarita, a 100-calorie Margarita-in-a-bottle sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar.

    There’s a new contender on the market: The Original Skinny Margarita, made by Jordan’s Skinny Mixes. It’s joined by the Original Skinny Appletini and the Original Skinny Cosmopolitan.

    The mixes are made with natural flavors and sweetened with sucralose (Splenda). The Margarita mix has five calories per four-ounce serving; the other varieties contain zero calories.

    The five calories make a difference: The zero-calorie varieties were more “diet” tasting. It’s easier to make a lemon-flavored, almost-calorie-free Margarita mix than to duplicate the flavors of apple schnapps or cranberry juice.

    There’s a need in the marketplace for sugar-free or low-glycemic agave-based cocktail mixes. A regular mix adds hundreds of calories, many of them sugar, to a cocktail. We applaud the introduction of these sugar-free cocktail mixes, and hope that a line of agave-sweetened mixes is forthcoming.

    There’s a store locator on the SkinnyMixes.com website, plus links to purchase online.

  • Find more cocktail mixes and drink recipes in our Cocktails & Spirits Section.
  • Comments (2)

    RECIPE: Have A Cow—A Black Cow (a.k.a. Root Beer Float)

    How now, Black Cow? Make one and find
    out. Photo by ShagPhoto | IST.

     

    A Black Cow is another name for that popular old-fashioned ice cream soda, the root beer float. Made with vanilla ice cream, it is called a brown cow or chocolate cow when chocolate ice cream is substituted.

    Today is National Black Cow Day—the perfect day to make one.

    But first: How did a root beer float get such an unusual name?

    Pharmacist Charles Hires introduced commercial root beer to the public in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. It was a hit, and other beverage companies went into root beer production.

    The Black Cow dates to an August night in 1893 in a bustling mining town. Frank J. Wisner, owner of the Cripple Creek Cow Mountain Gold Mining Company in Cripple Creek, Colorado, also owned a tavern. He produced carbonated soda waters, popular with adults and children alike.

     

    As the story goes, Wisner wanted to create a special drink for the local children. One night, he added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to his glass of root beer. Here’s where the cow comes in: Looking out the window, he saw the snow-capped Cow Mountain in the moonlight.

    The float was an instant hit and was christened “Black Cow” by the children for the dark color of the root beer and Wisner’s reference to Cow Mountain.

    BLACK COW OR ROOT BEER FLOAT RECIPE

    This recipe can be made sugar-free (we do it all the time) with diet root beer and no-sugar-added ice cream (we prefer Breyers Smooth & Dreamy vanilla). We leave out the chocolate syrup because we haven’t yet found a good one that’s sugar-free.

    Garnishing the float with whipped cream and a cherry is showy, but not essential to the flavor of the float. We generally leave it off so we can get straight to the ice cream. But if you want to use a marschino cherry, buy the best, from Tillen Farms.

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  • Chilled root beer
  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherry
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    Preparation

    1. Scoop ice cream into a tall glass. Add chocolate syrup.

    2. Slowly pour root beer over ice cream being careful not to let it foam up over the side of the glass.

    3. Garnish with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry—or with a flute cookie, as in the photo. Serve with a straw and a long spoon for the ice cream.
     
    Find all the August food holidays.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Zoku Ice Pop Maker

    You can become the most creative glacier in town with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams-Sonoma.

    It’s easy to create your own customized frozen pops, including cream-filled varieties, in as little as seven minutes.

    Use your favorite juices and other beverages (coffee, tea, kefir, smoothies) or fresh fruit purées to make the gourmet pops of your dreams.

    Designed to be very user friendly—quick freezing, easy release from molds, reusable plastic pop sticks that have drip guards—Zoku looks to be the best pop-making option we’ve seen.

    Why should you give up storage space to a pop-making machine?

     

    It’s easy to make gorgeous ice pops with
    your favorite flavors and add-ins. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

    • You can make gourmet pops in the exact flavors you want, and express yourself artistically in flavors, colors and patterns. (One of our favorites is to freeze cocktail mixes into Margarita Ice Pops and savory Bloody Mary Mix ice pops. Alcohol doesn’t freeze well, but you can try a teaspoonful per pop.)

    • You have something new and special to serve guests.

    • Things you’d normally drink for health can be turned into pops—from pomegranate juice to probiotic peach kefir.

    • You can control for dietary needs—reduced sugar, no sugar or kosher, for example—and allergies.

    • Ice pops have fewer calories than ice cream and are fat- and cholesterol-free (unless you elect to make cream pops).

    • It’s a fun way to teach the whole family that they can enjoy preparing their own food.

    • And thanks to the plastic sticks, there’s no yucky wood flavor that we so dislike with commercial ice pops.

    Find more of our favorite frozen treats, plus recipes, in our Ice Cream Section.

    Comments

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