The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - Part 5
THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods

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Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cocktail For The Kentucky Derby

[1] The Woodford Spire bourbon cocktail, served in a julep glass (both photos © Woodford Reserve).

[2] Woodford Reserve, smooth and tasty, is an excellent Bourbon to drink straight or in cocktails.

[3] Lemonade from frozen concentrate is second-best to fresh-squeezed (photo © Minute Maid).


Tomorrow you’ll be able to watch “the most exciting two minutes in sports” on T.V. Yes, there will be some spectators at Churchill Downs, socially distanced. And in addition to Mint Juleps, they may be drinking a Woodford Spire, created by Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Woodford Reserve is the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.

If you’re new to Woodford Reserve, it’s a great value at its price point*. It’s smooth taste makes it a fine Bourbon to drink straight; or of course, to mix in any Bourbon cocktail.

So ladies: put on your most festive hat. Gentlemen: look dapper with a bow tie.

And both of you: Get out tall glasses or your julep cups, and start mixing!

While you can buy bottled lemonade, it doesn’t taste as good as fresh-squeezed.

But in second place is frozen lemonade. Buy a can of concentrate and dilute it with water. Check the label to see that it’a made from real lemon juice—not reconstituted juice. It will be tastier (and less expensive) than ready-to-drink lemonade.

Serve the Woodford Spire in a mint julep cup. If you don’t have one, substitute a copper Moscow Mule cup, or any other glass, including a wine glass.

Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1.5 parts Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 2 parts lemonade
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: lemon twist

    1. MIX the Woodford Reserve, lemonade and cranberry juice in a shaker or pint glass, with a bar spoon.

    2. POUR into a mint julep cup, and add crushed ice to the top of the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

    *You can find the Woodford Reserve 750ml for less than $40. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is more.



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    Zuzu Sparkling Cocktails In Calamansi & Passionfruit Flavors

    Zuzu is a sparkling cocktail made with 100% agave* spirit and fresh citrus juice. And it’s just 90 calories per 250ml (8.4 ounces), 5g sugar, and 5% A.B.V.† (10 proof). That’s about half the A.B.V. of a glass of white wine. So in addition to being delicious, Zuzu is refreshing and elegant.

    The sparkling drinks, in Passion Fruit and Calamansi Lime, have:

  • Zero cholesterol, fat, saturated fat or trans fat
  • 30 mg sodium
    Zuzu is part of the trend towards lower alcohol refreshments. The drinks are all natural ingredients, with no preservatives.

    It’s great at the end of the day, to open a bottle, put on some music and relax.

    We’re big fans and highly recommend Zuzu—as an upcoming Mother’s Day treat or gift, or for any day when you’d like some sophisticated, sparkling refreshment.

    While some ingredients are imported, Zuzu is 100% U.S.-made. First, 100% pure agave spirit is distilled using the agave juice (or aguamiel) extracted from the organic agave plants of a family farm outside of Jalisco, Mexico.

    The product is produced in Missouri. Calamansi juice, passion fruit purée, sparkling water and a dash of organic agave syrup are mixed with the agave juice, and bottled.

    The bottles are then “tunnel pasteurized,” a hot water bath that protects the nuances of flavor and effervescence, but renders the drink shelf stable for more than a year.

    Discover more at

    Here’s a store locator in the New York area, for in-store purchase or delivery.

    Here’s how to order it online.

    Citrus x Citrofortunella mitis, known as the calamansi or calamondin lime in the U.S., is also known as the Chinese, or China, orange; the Panama orange; golden lime; and the scarlet lime.

  • In the Philippines, it is known as kalamondin, kalamunding, kalamansi, calamansi, limonsito, or agridulce.
  • Malayan names include limau chuit and limau kesturi (“musk lime”).
  • In Thailand, it is ma-nao-wan.
    The rind color can be green or orange (photo #1), even variegated (photo #5); but the flesh inside is always orange in color.

    The orange versions, with orange rind and flesh, are sometimes mistakenly called calamondin oranges.

    The juice is very acidic juice, leading to wide culinary use.

  • People with access to calamansi limes use them in cranberry sauce, chutney and marmalade.
  • Wedges are served with iced tea, seafood and meats, and were commonly served with beverages in Florida before limes became widely cultivated.
  • The preserved peel is added as flavoring to other fruits stewed or preserved; the juice is used in beverages, gelatin dishes and custard pie or chiffon pie.
    In the U.S., the domestic calamonsi crop is grown in Central Florida, yielding abundant fruit throughout the year. They can also grow in Arizona, California, Louisiana and South Texas.

    *Different varieties of agave are used to make mezcal and tequila.

    †According to the National Institute Of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the typical pour of wine (an average of both red and white) is 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol [source].


    [1] Zuzu refreshing sparkling cocktails are available in two flavors, Calamansi Lime and Passion Fuit (photos #1, #2 and #3 © Zuzu).

    [2] The bottles are ready-to-drink cocktails for guests…and certainly, for yourself!

    [3] A passion fruit, also spelled passionfruit.

    [4] Calamondin / calamonsi limes. The rind can be green or orange—or variegated, as in the next photo. But the fruit inside is always orange (photo Fotolia).

    [5] A variegated variety of calamansi / calamondin limes (photo © Specialty Produce).



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    Holm Made Toffee With Hazelnuts & Flavors Galore Great Gifts

    Our Top Pick Of The Week is Holm Made Toffee, a 30-year-old family enterprise that began as many artisan food companies do: by making toffee gifts for friends and family. As with most of these small businesses, the thundering enthusiasm from the recipients led them, ultimately, to a small commercial enterprise. As more people tasted Holm Made Toffee, demand grew and now, Randi Holm has created a family business positioned to be a legacy for her children and grandchildren.

    The toffees focus on hazelnuts, a local crop in Oregon, where Holm is based. A whopping 99% of the U.S. hazelnut crop is produced in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. (There’s more about hazelnuts below.)

    The delicious flavors include:

  • Birthday Cake Hazelnut Toffee
  • Cardamom & Vanilla Hazelnut Toffee
  • Cherry Cheesecake Hazelnut Toffee
  • Espresso Hazelnut Toffee
  • Himalayan Pink Salt Hazelnut Toffee
  • Lavender Hazelnut Toffee (a personal favorite—amazing lavender flavor!)
  • Original Hazelnut Toffee
  • Oregon Spirit Bourbon Hazelnut Toffee
  • Spicy Red Pepper Hazelnut Toffee
  • Strawberry Shortcake Hazelnut Toffee
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Hazelnut Toffee
    Plus, there are seasonal flavors, and a dozen gift box assortments.

    If this is too much choice for you, just order the six-pack of most popular flavors.

    We tasted six different flavors, and have just this to say: Each flavor is so special, that we’d skip the Original in favor of tasting as many flavors as we can.

    Cardamom? Espresso? Lavender? Spicy? Anything else? You can’t go wrong.

    In addition to pieces of toffee and gift boxes of toffee, there are Toffee Bits: little pieces you can use to garnish ice cream; rim cocktails, coffee, hot chocolate, even milk; roll to coat ice cream sandwiches, and so much more.

    For gifts, or to treat yourself, head to

    Your taste buds will thank you.

    When we were growing up, nut assortments and chocolate-covered nuts were called filberts. Why?

    It is believed that the name was based in Catholicism. The feast day for France’s St. Philbert is August 20th, the same time that France’s hazelnut crop is ready to be harvested. Hence, a celebration of both.

    On the other hand, some historians believe that “filbert” derives from the German vollbart which means “full beard.” The husked shell of the hazelnut resembles a beard.

    Hazelnuts are also called cobnuts. Here’s more about it.

    Americans’ greatest consumption of hazelnuts is probably in the chocolate hazelnut spread, Nutella, and its imitators.


    The hazelnut originated in Asia Minor (Anatolia), a peninsula that comprises the major part of modern Turkey.

    Chinese manuscripts dating back 5,000 years discuss the nut. The Greeks and the Romans spread it all over Europe, where it has been grown from ancient times to the present. Many of today’s cultivated varieties were developed in the 19th century, following a great interest for hybrids [source].

    Turkey remains the main producing country for hazelnuts worldwide, followed by Italy, Spain and the U.S.

    More hazelnut trivia: Botanically, most nuts are the seeds of a fruit, while true nuts—such as chestnuts, acorns and hazelnuts——are fruits in and of themselves [source].


    Most food historians believe that the toffee we know today, made with caramelized sugar and butter, emerged by the early 19th century.

    It may have happened in England, one of the northern European dairying countries that plentiful supplies of butter.


    [1] A treat for friends and family. Quite frankly, we didn’t put our toffee in a bowl: We ate it straight from the box (all photos © Holm Made Toffee)!

    [2] In addition to pieces of toffee, you can buy “toffee bits” for garnishing (photo #3).

    [3] Toffee bits are available in four flavors.

    [4] Sweet and salty combine in Himalayan Pink Salt Toffee.

    [5] Make it a happy birthday with Birthday Cake Toffee.

    The Oxford English Dictionary first mentions the word “toffee” in 1825; and historians note that words can be in use for decades before they became widespread enough to be included in a dictionary.

    English toffee and American toffee diverged with the preferred use of sugar type. English toffee is made with brown sugar, while American-style toffee, known as buttercrunch is made with white table sugar (granulated sugar).

    Buttercrunch is typically dusted with crushed almonds or other nuts. Some are enrobed in chocolate—dark, milk or white.

    And sometimes, as with Holm Made Toffee, the toffee is flavored with espresso, lavender, spices, etc.

    It’s important to note that the use of the terms toffee and buttercrunch in the U.S. are not consistent. Many producers who use granulated sugar and nuts call their products “English toffee” or simple, “toffee.”

    Why? Perhaps they aren’t aware of the difference; perhaps because “English toffee” may have more consumer appeal than “buttercrunch.”

    But now, you’re an educated consumer: You know the difference.

    But does it make a difference whether it’s called toffee or buttercrunch?

    Only if you’re a nit-picking food historian. (We are.)

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    Bake Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies, With Or Without Sugar

    [1] Make these red velvet cheesecake brownies anytime you want to express your love (photos #1, #2 and recipe © Thomas John | Purecane).

    [2] Purecane replaces sugar in a 1:1 ratio. It’s that easy!

    [3] That irresistible red color! Here’s the recipe from McCormick (photo © McCormick).

    [4] Red velvet is such a popular flavor that Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur created a version. Here’s more about it (photo © Diageo).

    Red Velvet Pancakes
    [5] You can even make red velvet pancakes. Here’s the recipe (photo © Taste Of Home).

    [6] Red velvet donuts. Here’s the recipe from Farmgirl Gourmet (photo © Farmgirl Gourmet).

    Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwich
    [7] How about a red velvet ice cream sandwich (photo © Melt Bakery | New York)!


    With home baking exploding during the pandemic, more of us will be motivated to bake something special for Mother’s Day. This delicious recipe was made with Purecane zero calorie sweetener, but you can substitute table sugar on a 1:1 basis. It’s that easy, and the brownies freeze well, too.

    If you don’t have a heart-shape cookie cutter, just slice rectangles like conventional brownies.

    Thanks to Thomas John and Purecane for the recipe.

    Ingredients For The Red Velvet Brownie Base

  • 3-1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups Purecane zero calorie baking sweetener (or sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (or 1 teaspoon red food gel)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
    Ingredients For The Cream Cheese Layer

  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Purecane zero calorie baking sweetener (or sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10″x15″ cookie sheet with butter, or line with parchment paper.

    2. WHISK together in a large bowl the dry brownie ingredients: flour, Purecane, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

    3. WHISK together in a medium bowl the wet brownie ingredients: eggs, vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla extract, red food coloring and white vinegar.

    4. MIX together the dry and wet ingredients, until completely combined. The batter will be a really thick, moldable texture.

    5. REMOVE 3/4 cup of the batter and place it in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of milk (into the 3/4 cup of batter you just took out). Set aside the 3/4 cup batter.

    6. POUR the remaining batter into the prepared cookie sheet. Using a spatula, smooth out the batter to reach all the edges.

    7. BEAT the cream cheese and 3/4 cup Purecane in a stand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until combined and there are no lumps.

    8. POUR the cream cheese mixture on top of the red velvet layer and smooth the mixture until it touches all the edges. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining red velvet batter (that you mixed with milk) onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Drag the tip of a knife through the red velvet and the cheesecake layers to create swirls.

    9. BAKE for 20 minutes*, rotating halfway through, or just until the center is set and it no longer jiggles. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

    10. USE a medium sized heart cookie cutter to create the perfect Valentine’s Day treat! Tip: Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes prior to cutting, and make sure the cookie cutter is wiped clean between each cut.


    “The history of red velvet is not black and white,” says Deborah Harroun, author of the recently published Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook.

    Stories detail its discovery in the 1870s in Canada and in the 1950s in Pennsylvania. Some give credit to the Deep South, where red velvet cake is topped with cream cheese frosting.

    Originally made from beets or beet juice and cocoa (and the best recipes still are), the cake yields a reddish brown color with a mild chocolate flavor.

    Today’s recipes made with red food coloring can be a florid red. A thick white frosting is traditional (we vote for cream cheese!).

    Today, many recipes use red food color instead of beets, which leaves a rosy red and arresting color but a more bland flavor and texture. A light-textured chocolate layer-type cake with a deep reddish brown color.

    Our first experience with red velvet cake, long before the craze of the last decade, was a type of chocolate cake with red food coloring. Our mom baked a recipe called Red Devil’s Food Cake from the 1950s.

    But think again, says Deborah Harroun: “The cocoa taste actually appears as just a hint when done correctly. I say that a red velvet cake or cupcakes taste like butter cake with just a hint of cocoa. It may be a hard flavor to describe, but once you’ve had it, you probably won’t forget it!”

    And while many committed bakers deride red velvet for its use of “fake” red food coloring, there are natural ingredients that can be used to achieve the same red hue: cranberries, other red berries, pomegranates.

    Mom used beets in her Red Devil’s Food Cake. And what a great cake it was!

  • Baileys Red Velvet Irish Cream Liqueur
  • Baked Red Velvet Donuts
  • Green Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • Jumbo Red Velvet Cupcake
  • Red Velvet Cheesecake
  • Red Velvet Cookies
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes
  • Red Velvet Raspberry Truffles



    *The shorter baking time, says Thomas John, is “because it’s a mix of brownie and cheesecake batter. The recipe we modified originally stated 30 minutes, however, some recipes bake slightly different with Purecane. When we baked these, the center set at 20 minutes and you don’t want to overbake them since they continue to bake a little after you pull it out of the oven. I recommend keeping an eye on it.”


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    Cinco De Mayo Recipes That Are Great On Any Day Of The Year

    Looking for recipes for Cinco de Mayo?

    Most people we know whip up guacamole and Tex-Mex favorites: burritos, quesadillas, tacos, tortillas.

    We love these “classics.”

    But of you’d like something new, here are more options for Cinco de Mayo breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts.

  • Breakfast Foods
  • Cashew Salsa & Other Salsa Recipes
  • Ceviche Acapulqueno & Fish Veracruz Style
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chipotle Meatballs
  • Cinco De Mayo Baked Potatoes
  • Fried Egg Quesadilla
  • Gourmet Chilaquiles
  • Grilled Chicken Or Fish With Pico De Gallo
  • Guacamole Party Bar
  • Hispanic Cheeeses
  • Homemade Salsa
  • Homemade Tortillas
  • Jalapeño Compound Butter
  • Jalapeño Pasta Bake
  • Lobster-Topped Guacamole
  • Menudo Soup
  • Mexican Cheese Course
  • Mexican Cheeses
  • Mexican Chicken Lasagna
  • Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup
  • Mexican Fiesta Won Tons
  • Mexican Hummus
  • Mexican Meatloaf
  • Prickly Pear Fruit Salad
  • Savory Mexican Parfait Appetizer
  • Taco Party
  • Tricolor Tortilla Chips

  • Baked Churros
  • Grilled Mango Bowls For Ice Cream
  • Homemade Dulce De Leche & Dulce De Leche Rice Pudding
  • Ice Cream Tacos
  • Noche Bueno Dulce De Leche Cookies
  • Tres Leches Cake

  • Agua Fresca
  • Blood Orange Margarita
  • Different Margarita Rimmers
  • Michelada Beer Cocktail
  • Pineapple Margarita
  • Popular Mexican Cocktails
  • Tequila Shots


    [1] Beyond stuffed peppers, try Mexican meatloaf (photo © Pampered Chef).

    Blood Orange Margarita Recipe
    [2] It’s the season for a blood orange Margarita (photo © Betty Crocker).

    Baked Churros Recipe
    [3] For dessert: baked churros with chocolate sauce. Ice cream is optional (photo © The Baker Chick).

    Lobster Guacamole Salad
    [4] Feeling flush? Have lobster guacamole (photo © RA Sushi).



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