THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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RECIPE: Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Addictively good cherry chocolate chip cookies. We thank George Washington for the inspiration.
 

Our tip of the day today is a tasty tip indeed: Make a cherry version of your favorite chocolate chip cookies to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The Father of our Country was born February 22, 1732.

Look for cherry baking chips in baking supply stores or online. Then, make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, dividing the chip quantity between chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips) and cherry chips.

Another variation on the theme is to add an extra half cup of dried cherries to your recipe (with or without the cherry chips).

You also can sprinkle the cherry chips on cupcakes, use them to decorate cakes and puddings, garnish ice cream and add them to muffin and pancake batter.

  • Use this recipe to make the cookies.
  • Try the delicious Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Graeter’s. If you can’t find it locally, they’ll ship it to you.
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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Cherry Pie Day

    Do you love cherry pie…but know that you would love it even more if you could get a top-quality pie filling? Wish no more: Chukar Cherries, a purveyor of the finest cherries and cherry products made from Washington State cherries, makes the best cherry pie and cobbler fillings we’ve ever seen commercially (all natural and certified kosher). Cherry Blueberry filling is made from tart Montmorency cherries plus blueberries (think of it as the high-antioxidant pie filling). Triple Cherry filling combines Bing, Rainier and Montmorency cherries. You can these high-quality toppers on muffins, ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Since George Washington’s actual birth date is February 22nd, bake a pie or cobbler in his honor*—you’ll save so much time with these cherries that you can make a homemade crust. When you order the cherry pie filling, check out the delicious preserves, toppings and barbecue sauces—and the scrumptious dried cherries, far finer than much of what is available.- Read our review of Chukar Cherries pie fillings and other baking products.

    Read our review of Chukar’s premium dried cherries.
    Finish with a look at their cherry preserves and dessert toppings.

      Cherry Pie
    Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy? Anyone can bake one, easily, with Chukar Cherries gourmet pie and cobbler fillings.
    *Historical note: George Washington did not chop down a cherry tree in his youth and then say, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.” This story and others, like throwing the silver dollar all the way across the Delaware River, were fabricated by an earlier biographer. Learn more cherry facts.

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    FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Date Hors d’Oeuvres


    Gourmet dates from Dateland.com. From
    left to right, counterclockwise: Medjool
    dates, Khadrawy dates, Halawi dates and
    Honey dates. Photo courtesy Dateland.com.

      For quick hors d’ouevre that are also perfect for tea parties, after-dinner petit four plates or a little something with a cup of coffee instead of a cookie, fill dried dates with rich, creamy mascarpone cheese and dip the cheese end into chopped pistachio nuts.

    If there are any leftovers (not likely), they make great breakfast treats and midday snacks. Kids love them, too (they’ll also enjoy them stuffed with peanut butter).

    Dates are the oldest fruit cultivated crop by man. Dates are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible. In Biblical times, the fruit was considered sacred.

    More than 30 varieties are grown today. The most famous to Americans is the Medjool date, considered to be the finest variety grown. In ancient times, they were grown exclusively for royalty. Succulent and velvety, Medjool dates are fragile in nature and must be harvested by hand. They can cost 50% more than other varieties, so most people enjoy them for eating only, not for cooking or baking.

     

    Other familiar varieties include:

  • Halawi dates, medium sized and soft golden brown, are originally from Iraq. They have a rich, creamy sweet flavor and a caramel-like texture. “Halawi” means sweet in Arabic.
  • Honey dates are a soft, creamy-textured and sweet-tasting variety that “melt in your mouth.” They are used for snacking and cooking.
  • Khadrawy dates are small and dark-mahogany-colored with a dry, flaky skin. Originally from Iraq, they have a high moisture content and less sugar, with a mild flavor.
  • Thoori dates, originally from Algeria, are dry with a hard flesh and a chewy, nutty flavor. They are used for snacking, baking and cooking.
     
    Today, we know that dates are a healthy sweet snack alternative: low in fat and sodium, high in fiber and magnesium, more potassium then bananas, rich in iron and cholesterol-free. Yes, they have sugar, but it’s natural sugar (sucrose and its natural derivatives, glucose and fructose), not refined sugar.

    Dates are grown in the U.S. The Arizona climate is similar to many areas of the Middle East where dates are cultivated; and southern California also has a welcoming climate.

    You can buy quality domestic dates from Dateland.com. Stuff them with our favorite mascarpone, from Mozzarella Fresca.

    Find more ideas in the Hors D’Oeuvre Section and Gourmet Snacks Section of THE NIBBLE.
      

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    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Win Gourmet Honey Mustards

    Like honey? Then you’ll want to try these three our gourmet honey mustard dips from award-winning specialty food producer Robert Rothschild. There’s Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip, Blackberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip, Honey Chipotle Pretzel Dip and for “dessert,” a Raspberry Chocolate Pretzel Dip. Also included is a book of exciting recipes, in case you’d like to do more with your honey mustards than dip pretzels. (The dips are certified kosher.) Take the quiz and you’ll find out fun facts about honey. Take the quiz here—you don’t have to answer correctly to win. If you’re a trivia lover, all of the quizzes from our prior Gourmet Giveaways are available for your enjoyment.   Honey Mustard
    You could this set of gourmet honey mustards/dips—correct answers not required.
     

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Chocolate Mint Day

    Chocolate Mint Brownies
    We devoured our box of Chocolate Mint Brownies from Solomon’s Gourmet Cookies. They look great, taste great, and are kosher, too.
      February 19th is National Chocolate Mint Day. What is it with these government bodies that are holiday-granters? Didn’t they notice that last week, February 11th, was Peppermint Patty Day (the food, not Charlie Brown’s gal pal)? We love chocolate and peppermint…but why pile up all the wealth in the space of 8 days? Nevertheless, we’ll respond with recommendations for the best chocolate mint yummies:
    – Make your own chocolate mint cocoa. Smash the stems of a few sprigs of fresh mint, and add them to the hot chocolate as it cooks. Strain before serving, and add a fresh sprig to garnish. If you don’t have fresh mint to infuse in the milk when you heat it, use a few drops of peppermint oil. You can stir your cocoa with a peppermint stick, too.
    – Try Robert Lambert’s fabulous Mojito Mint Chocolate Sauce on vanilla ice cream, pound cake, or straight from the jar on a spoon. For a stronger mint infusion, try the Mint Chocolate Sauce from The King’s Cupboard.
    – Indulge yourself with the Chocolate Mint Brownies from Solomon’s Gourmet Cookies (they’re kosher, too). Or, bake up your favorite brownie recipe and add mint oil to the batter, and/or mint chips.
    – Try mint chocolate chip ice cream from an artisan creamery, like Boulder Ice Cream Company or its Colorado neighbor, Spotted Dog Creamery.
    – Try the indulgent, layered Mint Symphony chocolate bar from Coco’s Chocolate Dreams. That’s dark chocolate with fudge mint shortbread and mint butter cookies and…be sure to order more than one. Or, try a straight but fabulous chocolate mint chocolate bar from Divine Chocolate, and support a great Fair Trade co-op of small cacao bean farmers in Africa.
    – Try the great chocolate mint cookies from Sugar Flower Bakery. You’ll never eat another Girl Scout cookie again.
    – Check out our favorite chocolate peppermint barks.
    – Go retro with Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies from Wicked Whoopie Pies.
    – Bake up this recipe for a Chocolate Mint Lava Cake.
    – Or, bake up a ready-to-heat-and-eat Chocolate Mint Soufflé from Heavenly Soufflé, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week (it’s heavenly and kosher, too).
    – Have a box of bonbons filled with handmade mint ganache, from John & Kira’s.
    – Enjoy the delicious Dark Chocolate Mint Coins from Lake Champlain Chocolates (also kosher).
    – Prefer your chocolate to be organic? Dagoba’s Mint 59% cacao chocolate mint bar is organic and kosher, too.
    – Try our favorite Holland Mints from Marich. They’re not only pretty, they’re kosher, too.
    – Another temptation is the chocolate mint fudge from our favorite fudge maker, John Kelly Fudge (a NIBBLE Top Pick OF The Week, and kosher).
    – Poco Dolce’s chocolate mint toffee squares with sea salt are the bomb.
    – A calorie-free option is Once Upon a Tea, the caffeine-free blend of loose tea made of rooibos tea mixed with chocolate nibs, mint and vanilla. It’s from Serendiptea.
    – End with a no-calorie treat, the Chocolate Mint lip balm from Ganache For Lips—made with Scharffen Berger Chocolate.
    Hmm, maybe it’s not so bad having these back-to-back chocolate mint celebrations. We think we’ll celebrate with a Chocolate Mint Martini.

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