THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Marshmallow Valentines

Lavender Marshmallows
Artisan marshmallows like these, flavored
with real lavender buds, can be as pretty as a box of chocolates.
  If your Valentine doesn’t like chocolate, how about marshmallows? Gourmet marshmallows come in a variety of flavors that will delight the young and charm the food sophisticate. In addition to Valentine gifts, we like serve them as “petit fours” after dinner with coffee. The medley of available colors and flavors match holiday themes and other occasions. And the flavors are heavenly.- Read our review of America’s best artisan marshmallows.
– Check out Plush Puffs brand of marshmallows.
– People on sugar-free diets will love La Nouba sugar-free marshmallows.
– The fudge-covered marshmallows from Momma Reiner must be experienced.
– The great Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini also makes gourmet marshmallows.

Try some of these beauties and you just might develop a marshmallow habit.

 

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TIDBIT: Chocolatier Vs. Confectioner

What’s the difference between “chocolates” and “confections?” Is a “chocolatier” or chocolate shop the same as a “confectionary?”

A confectionery (also spelled confectionary) is a confectioner’s shop—more popularly called a candy store or sweet shop in modern times.

A chocolatier (a French word, pronounced cho-co-la-tee-YAY) is both the chocolate shop and the person who makes the chocolate.

While both of these words are commonly used in American chocolate circles, the French words for confectioner, confiseur, and candy shop, confiserie, are not.

So what’s a confection?

The term “confection” refers to all candies and sweets, including candy bars, candied nuts, chocolate, fudge, hard candies, licorice, lollipops, marshmallows, marzipan, nougat, mints, toffee and other products, from cotton candy and candy canes to gum drops and gummi bears.

The term applies to snack items, so any baked goods and ice cream sold at a confectionery are included in the term—even though they also repose in other categories as well.

 

Strawberry Pistachio Nougat

A rose by any other name…could be an exquisite confection! Here, it’s rose-pistachio nougat from A Cozy Kitchen.

 
So…if chocolate is also a confection, what’s the difference between a chocolate shop and a confectioner’s shop?

  • A chocolatier is a chocolate specialist, and generally makes some or all of the chocolates sold on the premises.
  • While a chocolatier often makes marshmallows, marzipan, toffee and other confections, most of what is sold is chocolate-based or chocolate-coated.
  • In a confectionary, you’ll find a balance of sweets, of which only a portion is chocolates.
  •  
    Discover more about chocolate in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. If you want to find the confectionery, you’ll have to look in the Candy Section and under Cookies, Cakes & Pastries.

      

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    FREEBIE: Italian Cookbook From Barilla

    Pumpkin PastaFettuccine With Pumpkin and Bread Crumbs will be a hit at your table.   Last year, Barilla created a free downloadable cookbook featuring Italian recipes from celebrities and prominent chefs. For every cookbook downloaded, Barilla donated $1.00 to America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network, which helps the needy. This year, five celebrities—Chris Daughtry, Debra Messing, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei and Stanley Tucci—contributed their favorite recipes, which were further developed by Mario Batali into this year’s cookbook. Party planner David Tutera contributed table setting concepts. The cookbook is available through the end of this month at CelebrityItalianTable.com. So download your free copy and feast on Eggplant Involti With Ricotta and Scallions, Farfalle with Pancetta, Rucola and Truffle Paste, Penne Alla Vodka, Penne In Spicy Sauce With Capers and Olives, Rigatoni with Basil and Gorgonzola, Sicilian Chickpea Fritters, Spaghetti al Tonno and Steamed Cockles in a Haban?ero Chive Broth.
    Follow the main course with desserts like Cherry Jam Tart, Chocolate Hazelnut Fritters and Torta di Cioccolato Abruzzese.

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Cream Cheese Brownie Day

    Why add cream cheese to brownie batter? You might logically say, for more richness. Cream cheese makes a denser, fudgier brownie, and the tangy quality of the cream cheese is a nice counterpoint to both the deep chocolate flavor and the sweetness of the sugar. Some cream cheese brownies simply incorporate the softened cream cheese into the batter; others create a marbled swirl in the batter, still others add a cream cheese layer on the top of the brownie, as shown in the photo at the right. (Then, there’s the full cheesecake topping that makes a half cheesecake, half brownie delight called the “zebra.” But that’s another holiday). Here’s the cheesecake brownie recipe from the photo:
    Ingredients

    Brownie Mixture:
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup superfine sugar
    1/2 cup self-rising flour
    1/8 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

      BrownieWhip up a batch of cream cheese brownies. Photo and recipe courtesy of Diana’s Desserts.
    Cream Cheese Mixture:
    3/4 cup (180g) cream cheese at room temperature
    1 egg
    1/3 cup superfine baker’s sugar
    1/4 cup self-rising flour
    1 tsp. vanilla extract


    Instructions

    1. Butter and lightly flour an 8 x 8-inch square cake pan. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

    2. Combine the flour and salt. Set aside. Melt the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan, then stir in the cocoa until blended and set aside. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and stir in the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour/salt mixture over the top and fold it into the mixture. Add vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    3. Make cream cheese mixture. Whisk together cream cheese, egg and sugar (or use an electric mixer). Sift 1/4 cup self-rising flour over this mixture and fold in. Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

    4. Pour three-quarters of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread the cream cheese mixture over it. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie mixture on top, making swirls with a knife. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is springy to the touch, being careful not to over-bake. Cool brownies in the pan, then cut into squares.

    Makes 16 brownies.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Valentine Cake

    Heart Shaped CakeMake these individual Valentine cakes with a 3-inch heart cookie cutter.   Bake your sweetie a devil’s food chocolate cake with our Valentine cake recipe from Michael Recchiuti. It uses a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut mini-heart cakes from a sheet cake. For one large cake, heart-shaped cake pans are available at any kitchen supply store. Write a customized message on the top of your Valentine cake and decorate with seasonal candies (cinnamon red-hots, Hershey’s kisses). If you’d rather buy than bake, check our favorite heart-shaped cookies and cakes in the Gift Finder section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. Try them with some of our favorite, romantic Valentine’s Day wines and liqueurs.
     

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