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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 Snacks

FOOD FUN: Popcorn Snowman

Take a bite of Frosty. Photo and recipe courtesy Popcorn.org.

 

Make these today for Christmas Eve, or to enjoy instead of traditional Christmas popcorn balls.

RECIPE: POPCORN SNOWMAN

Ingredients For 5 Snowmen

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 package (16 ounces) large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Decorations: sprinkles, licorice shoelace, gum drops, cinnamon candies, etc.
  •  
    Preparation
    1. MELT marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour over popcorn and stir.

    2. COVER your palms with butter and shape the popcorn into balls. Decorate as desired, using royal icing to affix candies. Let set.

     

    HAT TRICK

    You can make the snowman’s hat from:

  • A miniature cookie and a large marshmallow
  • A nonpareil an a Rolo chocolate caramel candy
  •  
    Stick the pieces together with some royal icing, and use the same icing to affix the hat to the snowman.

      

    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

    PRODUCT: Way Better Snacks Sprouted Tortilla Chips

    Lovers of salty, crunchy snacks are advised by nutritionists to go for whole wheat pretzels or corn chips, which aren’t quite a whole grain but not refined like white flour, either.

    They’d certainly endorse these sprouted, lower sodium, lower saturated fat, high omega 3, high antioxidant tortilla chips that just happen to taste great.

    Way Better Snacks has created the tortilla chip one better by sprouting the corn. Nutritionists have been touting the superior nutritional benefits of sprouted foods for years. There’s more about sprouting below.

    The company also makes sprouted pita chips and crackers. They sent their line of tortilla chips for us to taste. The products are certified gluten free, kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan, with bags available in 5.5-ounce and individual 1.25 ounce sizes.

    The chips are really tasty and also very good looking (the beautiful texture looks great set before guests). Flavors include:

  • No Salt Naked Blues Tortilla Chips
  • Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips
  • Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips
  • Simply Sunny Multigrain Tortilla Chips
  • Simply Unbeatable Blues Tortilla Chips
  • Zesty Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips
  •  

    For the holidays, Cranberry Punkin (not a typo). Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    For the holidays there’s the limited edition Season’s Eatings Oh My Sweet Punkin Cranberry Tortilla Chips. They, like the rest of the line, taste great; although we simply must engage our inner grinch to protest the precious misspelling of pumpkin, which seems totally out of character with the mission of this brand.

    (“What is ‘punkin’?” asked our photographer, a fluent English speaker with the impeccable grammar of a well-educated foreigner who learned the language where it is taught best these days: in a school outside of America.)

     
    *Masa, also called corn masa flour or masa harina, is used to make tamales, tortillas and other foods. Masa harina means “dough flour” in Spanish. In the process of making masa from corn kernels (which are whole grains), the corn are nixtimalized (soaked in an alkaline solution), which softens the tough pericarp (hull, bran), which floats to the surface and is skimmed off. However, the endosperm and the germ remain intact.

     

    Sweet potato + sprouted corn = tasty,
    nutritious chips. Photo by Elvira Kalviste |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    WHY SPROUTED FOODS ARE MORE NUTRITIOUS

    According to the company (and other sources), sprouting is the key to enhanced nutrition. We know that beans, grains, nuts and seeds play an important role in a healthy diet. What is less well known is that they are all difficult to digest and their nutrients can be poorly absorbed.

    Every seed, grain and bean contains natural enzyme inhibitors and barriers like lectins, phytic acid and tannins, which interfere with digestion and absorption. The way to overcome these inhibitors is to sprout the seed.

    Sprouting creates enzymes which start the seed on its way to becoming a plant. When this process begins, the natural enzyme inhibitors that protect them from being digested are no longer present and the nutrients are consolidated, without changing the taste. The plant proteins, essential fatty acids, starches and vitamins become bioavailable for human digestion, resulting in a multifold increase in nutrient absorption.

     
    And of course, enjoy enjoy Better Way Tortilla Chips for the great taste!

    Here’s more information about sprouting.

    Discover more about Way Better Snacks at GoWayBetter.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Christmas Popcorn Balls

    Our grandmother loved to make popcorn balls with candied pecans. They’d be placed in a beautiful Moorcroft bowl for nibbling.

    Our childhood contribution was to add chocolate chips and M&Ms. But these Coconut Popcorn Snowballs with candy canes are spot on for the holiday season. (If you don’t like peppermint, you can leave out the candy canes.)

    The recipe is from the Popcorn Board. While the recipe suggests four-inch-diameter popcorn balls, that’s a huge portion. We suggest making two-inch-diameter balls.

    You can give them gifts and party favors—if you can restrain yourself from eating them.

    RECIPE: COCONUT POPCORN BALLS

    Ingredients For 8 Four-Inch Balls

  • 2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
  • 3 quarts popped popcorn
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  •  

    Coconut popcorn snowball. Photo courtesy The Popcorn Board.

  • 1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
  • 8 candy canes or candy cane sticks, about 3-4 inches
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE a large sheet of waxed or parchment paper over a work surface. Spread coconut onto paper.

    2. SPRAY a large mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray and place popcorn inside.

    3. MELT butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in marshmallows and continue to stir until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.

    4. SPRAY hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into balls. Place balls on coconut and roll and press coconut to coat. While holding popcorn ball, gently press a candy cane into each ball.

    5. SERVE immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage.

     

    White chocolate candy cane popcorn. Photo
    courtesy The Popcorn Board.

     

    RECIPE: WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT BARK

    Ingredients For 1 Pound

  • 5 cups popped popcorn
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips, chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COVER a baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside. Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.

    2. MELT chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Or, melt according to package directions. Stir in crushed peppermints after chocolate is melted.

     

    3. POUR chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Spread onto prepared pan; allow to cool completely. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks for serving.

    4. STORE in an air-tight container at room temperature.
     
    NON-PEPPERMINT VARIATION

    Don’t like mint? Mix ½ cup dried sweetened cranberries and ½ cup sliced almonds with the popcorn. Pour chocolate over the mixture after it is melted.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs

    A tasty, gluten-free snack—organic and
    kosher, too. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Imagine if cheese puffs tasted like peanut butter instead of cheese, and you’ve got Cheeky Monkey Peanut Butter Puffs.

    They’re airy, peanutty, kosher, gluten free and organic.

    The ingredients are simple: organic corn, organic palm oil, organic peanut butter and salt. Produced by Hasadeh Organic, the melt-in-your-mouth snack is good for everyone from toddlers to grown-ups.

    The bags, graced with a humorous monkey juggling peanuts, make fun stocking stuffers and party favors.

    The snacks are gluten free certified by Gluten Free Certification Organization, and certified kosher (parve) by OU.

  • A 2.12-ounce bag is $2.49 on Amazon.com.
  • A case of 12 bags is $31.55.
  • For those who like a spicy kick, there are Peanut Butter Chili Pepper Puffs.
  •  
    Learn more at CheekyMonkeyOrganic.com.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Turkey Flavored Popcorn

    Yes, you did read that correctly. The King Of Pop has followed Jones Soda Company in creating a quirky line of Thanksgiving-flavored snack foods.

    We haven’t tasted the “poprageous” popcorn Thanksgiving feast, but the nine flavors were created to give you every taste of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

    The Thanksgiving popcorn set includes:

  • Apple Pie-Flavored Popcorn
  • Cranberry Sauce-Flavored Popcorn
  • Gravy-Flavored Popcorn
  • Mashed Potatoes-Flavored Popcorn
  • Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Popcorn
  • Strawberry Cheesecake*
  • Stuffing-Flavored Popcorn
  • Turkey-Flavored Popcorn
  • Sweet Potatoes-Flavored Popcorn
  •  

    Flavored popcorn in cranberry, gravy, mashed potatoes, turkey and more. Photo courtesy King Of Popcorn.

     

    You get approximately two cups of each flavor, packaged in a sealed bags for freshness. The set is $34.99; the novelty factor, priceless.

    Get your Thanksgiving popcorn feast at KingOfPop.com.

    *Seriously…who besides this company’s owner serves strawberry cheesecake at Thanksgiving? Couldn’t they make pecan pie popcorn?

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Halloween Caramel Corn

    These cookies from WithACh.com, packed with popcorn and candy corn, inspired us to make something much simpler: caramel corn mixed with candy corn and almonds. If that sounds too sweet for you, mix the candy corn and almonds with plain popcorn.

    This caramel corn recipe is adapted from a base recipe from Golden Blossom Honey. You can also substitute maple syrup or the lower-glycemic agave nectar. (If you use agave, try half a cup, as it‘s much sweeter than honey or maple syrup.)

    RECIPE: HALLOWEEN CARAMEL CORN

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  

    Popcorn-candy corn cookies. Photo courtesy WithACh.com. Here’s the recipe.

  • 6 quarts plain popcorn, popped (3 microwave bags of natural flavor)
  • Mix-ins: 1/2 cup candy corn, 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts (or more of each to taste)
     

    Preparation

    1. MELT butter over medium heat melt heat, then blend in brown sugar. Add the honey, corn syrup and salt, stirring constantly until mixture boils.

    2. COOK uncovered and without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from burner and add baking soda and vanilla. Pour warm mixture over popcorn and toss until coated.

    3. SPREAD popcorn out on two cookie sheets and bake at 250° for one hour. Every 15 minutes stir the popcorn to keep it from burning.

    3. REMOVE from oven and top with candy corn and nuts. Allow to cool. Serve in a bowl; store in an airtight container.

      

  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Harvest Snaps, A Delightful Riff On Vegetable Chips

    Tomato Basil Lentil Snaps. Photo courtesy
    Harvest Snaps.

     

    We have a new favorite crispy snack to enjoy with beer, wine and Martinis. We love them with soup, too. And for general crunching.

    Harvest Snaps are a line of gluten-free snacks made largely from peas (70%) or lentils (65%). Both legumes are packed with nutrients: calcium, folate, iron, potassium and vitamin B, plus highs level of protein and dietary fiber.

    Harvest Snaps have 50% less fat, lower sodium and more fiber than regular potato chips.

    And they have more pizazz. Harvest Chips are deftly seasoned for a sizzle that goes well with a drink. Flavors include:

    Lentil Snaps

  • Onion Thyme
  • Tomato Basil
  •  
    Snapea Crisps

  • Black Pepper
  • Caesar
  • Lightly Salted
  • Wasabi Ranch
  •  
    If you “Like” the brand on Facebook, you’ll receive a buy-1-get-1-free coupon.

     

    The line is non-GMO, including the canola/sunflower oils used to fry the chips (most canola oil is made from genetically modified seeds). The crops are grown “in rich Canadian soils that stretch across the regions of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.”

    That’s agricultural poetry!

    WHERE TO FIND HARVEST SNAPS

    Harvest Snaps are available at the national’s top retailers:

    Albertsons, Andronico’s, Basha’s, BJ’s, Bristol Farms, Costco, Dominick’s, HEB, Ingles, Kroger, Lucky, Publix, Raley’s, Ralphs, Safeway, SaveMart, 7Eleven, Smart&Final, Spartan Stores, Sprouts, Stop & Shop, Target, Von’s, Walmart, Wegnan’s and Whole Foods Market, among others.

    If you need help finding them, here’s the store locator.

    Retail buyers are notoriously tough; but all they needed to do was taste Harvest Snaps. They’re probably as hooked as we are.

     

    Our favorite flavor, Snapea Crisps in Wasabi Ranch. Photo courtesy Harvest Snaps.

     

    Discover more at HarvestSnaps.com.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: The Banana Police

    Here are two of the amazing banana dishes we found on TheBananaPolice.com. There’s quite a selection of them, turned into create fruit plates and cereal.

    And there are simpler versions that any of us could create. See them all at TheBananaPolice.com: boats, butterflies, cars, dogs, dolphins, elephants, horses, snails, sunsets, trees and more.

    The website is the creation of Katy Koontz and Kelsey C. Roy, the writer and illustrator, respectively, of a children’s book called The Banana Police.

    The story takes place in a jungle town where the formerly loveable elephants become increasingly annoying to their neighbors. When the Mayor calls on the Elephant Police to devise a scheme to get the elephants to leave, the town ends up buried in all the extra bananas that the elephants usually eat. The tale underscores the value of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between inherently different groups.

     

    A banana tree, cantaloupe giraffe and honeydew grass. Photo courtesy The BananaPolice.com.

     

    The website also has family-friendly banana recipes and trivia, some of which is included below:

     

    Kiwi and banana alligators poke their heads
    up from a bowl of cereal. Photo courtesy
    TheBananaPolice.com.

     

    BANANA TRIVIA

  • Wise. The scientific name for banana is Musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men.”
  • Plant. Bananas do not grow on trees. While they look like trees, they are actually the world’s largest herbaceous flowering plants.
  • Float. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
  • Hawaii. Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where bananas are grown commercially, although at one time they were also grown in southern California and Florida.
  • Latin America. The overwhelming majority of the bananas consumed by Americans come from Latin America: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.
  •  

  • Cavendish. The type of banana found in supermarkets is the Cavendish banana. The preferred banana variety was originally the Gros Michel, which was largely extinct by 1960, due to a fungus called Panama Disease.
  •  

    Here’s more banana trivia.

      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Haunted Popcorn Hands

    Creative Halloween fare. Photo courtesy
    Popcorn.org.

     

    We love this party favor idea from Popcorn.org. We’d suggest them as trick-or-treat items, but many parents don’t let kids eat the “open” food for safety reasons.

    So, bring them to friends, to the office, and anywhere else you like.

    RECIPE: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN POPCORN
    HANDS

    Ingredients

  • Clear polyethylene food service gloves
  • Candy corn
  • Popcorn
  • Ribbon or yarn
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 1-3 pieces of candy corn at the end of each finger (depending on size of glove), pointy side first, to make fingernails.

    2. FILL the glove with popcorn and tie it off with ribbon or yarn.

     

    If you want to make the Halloween popcorn balls in the photo, here’s the recipe.

      

    Comments

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