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Top Pick Of The Week

October 9, 2007

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Just say the word, and Divvies will send you a dozen chocolate or vanilla cupcakes (or both, if you wish), with a container of frosting so you can enjoy piling it on. There are sprinkles, too—but we’re purists. The cupcakes and frosting are so good, it’s amazing that they’re egg-free and dairy-free.

WHAT IT IS: Allergy-free treats.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free cupcakes and cookies taste as good as their “fully loaded” counterparts.
WHY WE LOVE IT: You need just one delicious product for everyone: people who observe egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan and kosher diets and people who don’t. Great for gifts, too. We love the packaging—it was hard to throw out the boxes.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Divvies.com.
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Divvies:
Our Cupcake Runneth Over

CAPSULE REPORT: Science has yet to invent the instant happy pill, but maybe there’s no need. Because when a shipment arrives at your door from Divvies, you open the box and...it’s instant happiness (if you get cupcakes, it’s ecstasy). The cupcakes, gourmet popcorn and cookies are so merrily packaged, that one could be happy just looking at the boxes.  But the products taste terrific, too. What’s amazing is that everything is egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free (they’re vegan and kosher, too—they’re just not wheat- or soy-free). Perhaps, not so surprisingly, they are made by a mom with an allergic kid.

The packaging may be even more ingenious than the recipes. The cradles that hold the cupcakes stationary during shipping turn upside down to become festive serving trays. The popcorn box, too magnificent to discard, contains not only individual striped serving bags, but also a cardboard scoop.

The kettle corn is great and the jumbo cookies are tasty. But given what demanding critics we are, it’s hard to believe that the delectable chocolate cupcakes and scrumptious vanilla icing are made without butter. Don’t buy them because they’re cholesterol-free. Buy them to make someone happy. Read the full review below.

  • Read reviews of more of our favorite cakes and cupcakes.
  • See the Table of Contents of the October issue of THE NIBBLE, plus the prior issues archive and our most popular articles.
  • All of the Top Pick Of The Week newsletters are permanently archived on TheNibble.com, in chronological order and by product category.
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Bake Your Own Cupcakes

Cupcakes Galore The Artful Cupcake Crazy About Cupcakes
Cupcakes Galore, by Gail Wagman. A comprehensive collection of all-time classic cupcake recipes, both old favorites and new treats. With more than 120 recipes and 60 fabulous and inspiring photographs. Click here for more information. The Artful Cupcake: Baking & Decorating Delicious Indulgences, by Marcianne Miller. Just 32 recipes, but each one artful and relatively easy to make. Helpful baking advice allows an amateur pastry chef to wow a crowd. Click here for more information or to purchase. Crazy About Cupcakes, by Krystina Castella. All the basics are explained so anyone can whip up a beautiful batch of cupcakes for everyday eating, parties and holidays. Charts and templates help with flavor combinations and designs. Click here for more information.

Divvies: Our Cupcake Runneth Over

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

While no one wishes food allergies on anyone—much less a young child—we nevertheless have to thank grade-schooler Benjamin Sandler. If Benjamin hadn’t had allergies, his mom, Lori, wouldn’t have been a “mother on a mission” to create birthday cakes and cookies so delicious, everyone would want them. She didn’t want Benjamin bringing “special food” to birthday parties and for snacks. She wanted to bake food so special that everyone would beat a path to Benjamin’s door.

She has succeeded: Benjamin is probably the most popular kid in school by now. The cupcakes and cookies at Divvies Bakery are so good, more than half the customers are people with no allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs or dairy (the products are made with wheat and soy flours). The products are also sold at Walt Disney World.

More than good baking, the packaging is so much fun that Divvies make a great gift for any occasion. Each product is designed to make it easy to “divvy up” the goodies. Delicious, attractive, ingenious—we wish there were a special award we could bestow on Divvies. But we’ll vote with our dollars and order a few more boxes of cupcakes to get us through the week.

Divvies Sweets

Boys and girls of all ages will want everything Divvies sells. So you can order it all at once for a weekend celebration—or as we say at THE NIBBLE, “test the products” to see what you’d like to re-order for specific purposes...home entertaining, gifts and the like.

Chocolate & Vanilla Cupcakes

To say that we receive a lot of sweet products to taste at THE NIBBLE is an understatement. Boxes of them arrive every week. Why these Divvies cupcakes stole our heart may be an enigma to those who would rather have the $100 box chocolates or other rarities. Perhaps they were the comfort food we needed, working a long weekend at the office. Regardless, the moist, chocolate sirens called our name.

Under normal social circumstances, one would frost the cupcakes and decorate with the vial of multicolored nonpareils (round sprinkles). Alone with our cupcakes, we reverted to primal Oreo behavior. We ate cupcakes plain. We ate them with the vanilla frosting. We ate the frosting alone. We ate the entire dozen over the single weekend. We drank lots of milk. And we had a heck of a good time. And that, ladies and gents, is what made a food editor—whose office is filled with every delicacy in the world—happy.

Chocolate Cupcakes - Divvies
Cupcake math: 12 cupcakes + 1 container of frosting = heaven. Photo by Victoria Marshman.

We prefer the chocolate cupcakes to the vanilla cupcakes. The cocoa butter in the chocolate, and the richness of the chocolate, compensates for the lack of eggs and butter in the recipe. But, the vanilla cupcakes disappeared almost as quickly.

We must comment on the cupcake trays—you can see one of them, holding six cupcakes, in the photo above, and there’s another stacked underneath it. When you remove the cupcakes and turn the tray upside-down, there are die-cut holes to punch out. The frosted, decorated cupcakes can easily be carried in these holders, cleverly called “Tray Bien.” No sloshing and sliding around on a not-so-tray-bien. That makes this cupcake kit portable to picnics or virtually anywhere.

There are holiday-themed cupcakes, and candy decorations. So if your celebrating ghosts and goblins want orange icing and black, orange and purple jelly bean decor (or Christmas, Chanukah, Valentine’s Day, Easter, et cetera, et cetera and so forth), Divvies has you covered. The company also sells allergen-free chocolate chips, rock candy, gum balls, jawbreakers and goody bags.

Kettle Corn - Divvies
We loved the box so much, we still have it, although the kettle corn is long gone. Photo by Michael Steele
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Gourmet Popcorn

Before you even open the box, the circus seal on the label tells you you’re going to have a good time. And you do, because the Kettle Corn is terrific. Some companies that claim to sell “kettle corn” really don’t. It’s more than corn made in a kettle—you need the sweet and salty balance that Divvies has mastered.

The Caramel Corn is fine, but because this is allergy-free, we miss the nuts that make our ideal caramel corn an upscale version of Crackerjacks. We didn’t have the Chocolate Caramel Corn, alas...but we’re certain it would have compensated for the lack of nuts, big-time.

The three- and five-gallon boxes designed to hold the corn is a masterpiece. Like the cupcake box with its Tray Bien holder, someone deserves a packaging award. The handsome box has a top tray that contains blue-and-white striped paper bags and a cardboard scoop. Underneath is a five-gallon bag of corn. Of course, you can tear right into the bag, but those who wish a bit of movie-theatre fun will scoop the corn into the gaily-striped bags and enjoy the fun. You can also purchase individually-packaged cellophane bags for smaller snacks and party favors.

All of the ingredients are top grade: popcorn plus brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, corn oil and organic expeller pressed palm fruit oil.

Cookies

Soft, chewy cookies, about 2½ inches in diameter, one ounce in weight, are packaged in a nice gift box. The dozen cookies are further wrapped conveniently in packages of two—“one to eat and one to share.” It’s nice to teach children to share, but the second one really hits the spot when you keep it for your next coffee break. The durable wrapping makes them easy to transport.

  • Molasses Ginger Cookies are really super, making us wonder why there isn’t more of this flavor around.
  • Divvies Doubles Cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, are  the best of both worlds. We grew so fond of them, we’re going to work on perfecting our own recipe.
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies have good cinnamon and nutmeg flavor, a nice oat texture and sweet raisins studded throughout.
  • Given these riches, the Chocolate Chip Cookies are probably the least tempting, studded though they are with chips. It’s not that they’re not good...and people with allergies will be happy to have something this tasty. Everyone has an iconic chocolate chip cookie, and ours is a crispy one with lots of brown sugar and nuts. These  are, however, the perfect texture and size for making ice cream sandwiches, which were delicious.
Molasses Cookies - Divvies
Our favorite cookie, Molasses Ginger.

A note in each box of cookies advises that the fresh-baked cookies taste best when eaten right away, but that they can be frozen. Ours were still good four weeks later, unfrozen.

In truth, it’s tough to imagine any Divvies product lasting long enough to be frozen, even if you are a lonely editor surrounded by boxes and boxes of it, with no one else around for two entire days.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who likes cookies, cupcakes and popcorn (who isn’t on that list?).

DIVVIES ALLERGY-FREE

Cookies, Cupcakes and Popcorn

Certified kosher (pareve) by Vaad Harabonim (Vaad Hakashrus) of Massachusetts

  • Box Of 12 Cookies
    $10.00
    Box Of 24 Cookies
    $19.00
  • 12 Cupcakes + Frosting & Sprinkles
    Mix & Match Cake & Frosting
    $24.00
  • Popcorn: Caramel, Chocolate Caramel
    & Kettle Corn

    3-Gallon Box
    $38.00
    5-Gallon Box
    $54.00
    8-Ounce Bag
    $5.00
    5-Gallon Two-Flavor Duo
    $60.00
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Yellow Cupcakes - Divvies

Purchase online at Divvies.com.

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

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