THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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CONTEST: Be A Milk Rock Star

Rascal Flatts

Drink milk and rock with these guys.

We love milk, we think it rocks. So do country rockers Rascal Flatts. Want to sing live on stage with them, in front of 30,000 screaming fans? Just go to MilkRocks.com to pick your favorite Rascal Flatts song, then upload a karaoke-style video of you (or your kids) singing it. The top 10 winners (decided by the Milk Rocks! community) will win signed Les Paul Gibson guitars plus CDs and posters signed by Rascal Flatts. Rascal Flatts themselves will choose the winner from the top three entrants, on April 15th.

Visit the Milk Rocks! website to hear the band speak about milk nutrition facts, also visible on more than 100 million milk cartons, 40,000 school lunch room posters and at Rascal Flatts concert venues.

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NEW PRODUCTS: Starbucks Chocolate

Chocolate lovers: New temptation has been put in your path. Starbucks has launched a new collection of artisan-style chocolates, developed with the Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company (the subsidiary includes Dagoba Chocolate, Joseph Schmidt Confections and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker). Master chocolatiers have created a portfolio of chocolates with flavors inspired by Starbucks coffees and Tazo teas. And, they are darned good. Made with high-quality cacao and other premium natural ingredients, the collection is artistic, flavorful…and extremely affordable. It includes Tazo Chai, Passion[fruit] and Citron tea-infused chocolate tasting squares; Caffè Mocha, Chai, Espresso, Caramel Macchiato and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Truffles; and Milk Chocolate Covered Caffè Verona Coffee Beans. For those who like their chocolate plain, there are dark, mocha and milk chocolate bars and tasting squares. The tea-infused tasting squares are dynamite—perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, or just a burst of fine chocolate. The Citron square is an epiphany, Passion is perfect, and the Chai is enchanting. The milk chocolate-covered coffee beans are among the best we’ve ever had, plump and robust (and let’s face it, if these two companies together can’t master a chocolate-covered coffee bean, who can?). And yes, the truffles are very good too.   Starbucks Chocolate
Look closely at the shape of these bonbons, filled with chai-flavored creme: They’re tea cups!

But the best thing is the low price: The various bags and boxes retail for $2.99 to $5.99 (individual packages) at grocery, mass retailers, club and drug stores nationwide. Alas, the chocolates are not available in Starbucks stores at this time…but I suppose we’re lucky. It would be just too easy to get a bag of chocolate with that cappuccino. Every day.

Read our full review of Starbucks Chocolates.
– Read about more of our favorite chocolates in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
– Read our review of Dagoba Chocolate.

– Read our review of Scharffen Berger Chocolate.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Pound Cake Day


[1] Strawberry shortcake pound cake: Bake the cake in a loaf pan, slice it horizontally, and the strawberries and whipped cream. Here’s the recipe (photo © The Baker Chick).


[2] Pistachio chocolate chip pound cake bundt. Here’s the recipe (photo © King Arthur Flour).


[3] In the summer, add fresh berries to the batter. Here’s the recipe. In the winter, you can use the frozen berries (photo © QVC).

 

A pound cake is a loaf cake, although some people make them in Bundt pans.

The original pound cake recipe, buttery and moist, was made with one pound each of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs (that’s about eight eggs), plus flavoring—hence the name.

Vanilla or lemon are the classic pound cake flavors, but quite a few variations have evolved through the years:

  • Adding buttermilk, cream cheese, or sour cream to the batter.
  • Every flavoring under the sun (amaretto, Black Forest, blood orange, cappuccino, caramel turtle, chocolate/white chocolate, chocolate chip, coconut-macadamia, Grand Marnier, Key lime, peanut butter, pecan, and so on).
  • Fruit or a fruit swirl.
  •  
    See the pound cake recipes below.
     
     
    POUND CAKE HISTORY

    The original recipe, developed in England in the 1700s, made a very large and dense cake. By the mid-1800s, the ingredient proportions had been adjusted to make a smaller, lighter cake.

    The British pound cake is actually a fruit cake containing currants, raisins, sultanas (golden raisins), and glacé cherries. While the cake portion was similar to modern pound cakes, these fruited pound cakes were the traditional wedding cakes.

    Since the ingredients are so simple, it’s hard to make a bad pound cake—just use the freshest eggs and butter you can find, real vanilla extract, and don’t over-bake.
     
     
    POUND CAKE RECIPES

    Pound cakes are so easy to make—why not whip one up to celebrate National Pound Cake Day?

    While a plain piece of pound cake is a joy, some added whipped cream, berries, vanilla ice cream or the full monty—a pound cake hot fudge sundae—makes the occasion even more joyous.

  • Blueberry Pound Cake
  • Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Grilled Pound Cake
  • Maple Pound Cake
  • Orange Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Pound Cake
  • Pineapple Pound Cake
  • Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake
  • Sweet Potato Pound Cake
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    CHECK OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING ON OUR HOME PAGE, THENIBBLE.COM.

     

     
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cupcakes Replace Birthday Cakes

    Have you been to a wedding recently (or seen magazine photos) where the wedding cake has been replaced by a tiered stand of cupcakes? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Few people like the heavy fondant that wraps many wedding cakes; plus, the cakes cost a fortune, and if you’re any kind of sophisticated bride and groom, you really don’t want to stand in front of your friends feeding each other cake while some MC sings “Now the groom cuts the cake, the groom cuts the cake….” So, porting the concept to birthdays, instead of a birthday cake, consider a platter of cupcakes. Beloved by children and adults alike, they eliminate the need to cut and serve, and an assortment provides guests with a choice of flavors. You can further dazzle by serving highly-decorated cupcakes—for example, topped with chocolate medallions or marzipan animals (you can see a photo here).   Cupcakes
    Cupcakes from one of San Francisco’s favorite bakeries, Miette. Visit them in the Ferry Building when you’re in town. One of America’s greatest
    food halls, you can purchase great food—and cupcakes for dessert—and dine outdoors by San Francisco Bay. Wednesdays and Saturdays are farmers market days. Photo by Frankie Frankeny.
    You don’t need to purchase a tiered plate, although ask around to see if you can borrow one. If not, any round platter will do. The cupcake in the center should hold the candle(s). See more of our favorite cupcakes and cakes in the Cookies, Cakes & Pastries Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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    NEWS: Conveyor Belt Sushi Chain Comes To U.S.

    Surf Clam Sushi
    Now, your surf clam can surf over to you via
    conveyor belt.
      Is America about to experience conveyor-belt sushi in a big way? Known as kaiten-sushi, a branch of the largest chain, Sakae Sushi, has made the leap to America (“leap” is an appropriate analogy, since the company logo is a frog on a lily pad—although no frog sushi is served). The premiere is the launch of a goal to be, ostensibly, the first successful sushi chain in America. The company, based in Singapore, has 40 sushi restaurants there, and 20 in other countries—none of which offers the market potential of the large and sushi-hungry American public.
    The high-tech restaurant should also appeal to the experiential dining desires of Americans. There’s a patented interactive menu at each table, enabling patrons to create custom orders, as well as a hot water tap to refill cups of green tea. There is three-tiered pricing—three different colored plates, priced at $1.90, $3.90 and $6.90, depending on the value of the contents. In a bit of architectural irony, the two conveyor-belt restaurant, totaling 97 feet of rolling sushi, sashimi, soups, salads, dumplings, ramen, yakitori and other bites, is located in the venerable Chrysler Building, one of the country’s most dignified architectural landmarks. It’s an easy location for anyone to get to, right across the street from Grand Central Terminal, at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Taking the train into town? Drop in for some sushi before heading to your destination. The speed with which consumers can get their sushi from the conveyor belt gives new meaning to the term “fast food.”The chain was established in Singapore in 1997 with the goal of offering affordable Japanese food. In New York City, which is not known for conveyor-belt restaurants, it will certainly be the king of kaiten. The restaurant, located at 405 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street, is open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7 a.m. to midnight. A 24-hour delivery service will be offered. For more information, visit Sakae-Sushi.com or telephone 1.877.SAKAE-USA.

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