THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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REVIEWS: Baking Up A Storm

Elizabeth Falkner, Demolition Desserts
Elizabeth Falkner proposes everything from
The Real McCoy Ice Cream Sandwich to Blueberry Paper.
  We put an ace baker to work, finding the best new baking cookbooks. After baking up a storm, here’s Part I of her recommendations (Part II arrives next month):

Classic Stars Desserts, by Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef at Jeremiah Tower’s pioneering San Francisco restaurant, Stars
Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts, recipes from the famed San Francisco sweet spot, Citizen Cake
The Greyston Bakery Cookbook, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, featuring recipes from a community bakery in The Bronx whose brownies are used by Ben & Jerry’s
Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich, one of the Bay Area’s legendary bakers, called “The First Lady of Chocolate”If you’d rather buy a great dessert than bake one, check out the Cookies and Desserts & Ice Cream sections of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Almond Day

Go nuts—it’s National Almond Day. This versatile nut is not just a snack or baking ingredient but a flavor-enhancer in sandwiches and salads—and of course, slivered on green beans. Almonds can purchased whole, slivered, chopped and in stick form (we like the elegance of slivers). Try smoked almonds, too: They really perk up egg, tuna, chicken and green salads. Almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Our favorite foods with almonds:- Almondina low-calorie cookies
Enstrom’s Almond Toffee, our favorite toffee (it’s kosher, and also available in sugar-free)
Lake Champlain Almond Buttercrunch (also kosher)
Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownies, made with apricots marinated with Amaretto Di Saronno plus large chunks of almonds
Frontier Soups Asparagus Almond Soup
Minnie Beasley’s Lace CookiesNatasha’s Health Nut Cookies, made with almond flour, low carb, low cal, gluten free
  Almond Brownie - Dolcielo
Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownie
, laden with
Amaretto-marinated apricots and large chunks of almonds.
Pariya Foods Almond Nougat, our favorite nougat
Peeled Snacks Fig-Sated, our favorite healthy snack with figs, dates, almonds and pistachios
Poco Dolce Almond and Coconut Almond Chocolate Tiles with sea salt
Recchiuti Burnt Caramel Almonds
Vosges Chocolate Barcelona Bar, dark milk chocolate, roasted almonds and sea salt
Sophia’s Sweets Panforte, gluten free
Terra Medi Green Olive and Almond Bruschetta

Recipes:
Almond Biscotti recipe from Mario Batali
Almond Hummus
Chocolate Almond Beet Torte from Michael Recchiuti
Mulled Wine With Almonds

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ARTICLE: Gouda, Holland’s Most Famous Cheese

Gouda
Most people are familiar with small, red-waxed Goudas from the supermarket. We’ve found glorious Goudas that will change your mind about this cheese.
  As with neckties, politics and diets, various cheeses go in and out of fashion. The best-known cheese from The Netherlands, Gouda’s reputation has been in decline for some time. Some connoisseurs sniff that it’s a bland cheese with no character. It’s true that most Goudas are milder cheeses, smooth-textured and even buttery. Mass-produced Goudas, which are the only kind most Americans have experienced, can indeed be lackluster and dull. But there’s a whole little world of small creameries out there, producing Goudas in more varieties than you knew existed. And aged Goudas, which too few Americans have tasted, are a thing of beauty, with crunchy, tyrosine crystals and the taste of caramel. By the way, Holland is a southern region of The Netherlands, where Gouda originated. Since Gouda was never name protected, cheese called Gouda can be made anywhere in the world. Some fine artisan Goudas are made in the U.S., as you’ll discover in this article. Go Gouda—read all about it. Discover many other fine cheeses, and learn a lot about cheese, in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Low-Calorie Fruit Kabobs

If you’re ready to switch gears after chocolate-filled Valentine’s Day festivities, fruit kabobs with yogurt dip are a sweet transition—low-calorie and healthy, too. For a snack or light dessert, simply skewer pineapple chunks, melon balls, berries, grapes, orange segments—whatever catches your eye in the produce section—in interesting patterns (or, serve them as fruit salad). You can make an easy yogurt dip from one cup of vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. The diet dip version substitutes plain, fat-free yogurt and 2 packets of sweetener—hold the honey. Our favorite plain, fat-free yogurt, FAGE Total, is so delicious, we’re happy with the fat-free version. Read our review of FAGE Total Yogurt. Find more low-calorie foods in the Diet Nibbles Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Yogurt
Make fruit kabobs with berries, grapes, pineapple, etc.; or just enjoy this delicious and healthy snack as a fruit salad with yogurt topping.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day

raspberry-cream-230

Strawberry cream fills this chocolate bonbon from Fanny May.

 

Fittingly, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is also National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day.

Cream-Filled chocolates were made possible by Jean Neuhaus, the Belgian chocolatier who invented the first hard chocolate shell in 1912. Using molds, it enabled fillings of any kind and consistency—creme, whipped cream, soft caramel, light ganache, liqueurs, etc.

Previously, only solid centers like caramels and nut pastes could be enrobed in chocolate—anything else would have leaked out. In enrobing, the center—marzipan, fruit jelly or nuts in caramel, for example—were hand-dipped into liquid chocolate. The center had to be solid enough to be held and hand-dipped.

With Neuhaus’ chocolate molds, chocolates could now be made in pretty shapes, too—flowers, butterflies, fleur-de-lis, crowns, berries and others that are now familiar to us.

 

Thanks, Jean Neuhaus, for vastly expanding our world of chocolate bonbons. Today, bonbons with chocolate shells are known as Belgian style, and dipped chocolates as French style.

Some chocolatiers work in only one style, some create a mixture of both. Chocolate shells have a thicker chocolate covering than dipped chocolate, so consumers have their preferences, based on whether they like more chocolate flavor or more flavor of the center.

Read more about filled chocolates, a.k.a. bonbons, in our article on chocolate truffles and ganache in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE webzine.
 
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH CREME VS. CREAM?

The difference between cream and creme is just the spelling.

Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème—pronounced KREHM, with l’accent grave, the downward sloping accent mark that turns the “e” sound into “eh.”

Creme was most likely first used in the U.S. to make the dish sound more special: a creme pie versus a cream pie, for example.

But why mispronounce and misspell another language’s word for cream, or create a new spelling when there’s a perfectly good and accurate existing word?

That, dear reader, is the challenge of allowing “amateurs” to name things. In France, the Académie Française, established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, is the pre-eminent authority for matters pertaining to the French language, and publishes an official dictionary of the French language. In recent years, a committee of 40 had to rule on whether newer words like “le computer” are permitted in the dictionary, as opposed to French for “a machine that computes information.”

Back to creme vs. cream: Unless it’s a French recipe with an appropriate accent, such as Coeur à la Crème, stick to cream.

  

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