THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Serve A Cranberry Mocktail

Cranberry Juice Cocktail
[1] This spicy cranberry mocktail, with muddled jalapeño, easily converts to cocktail.

Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry
[2] Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry is also available in a diet version (both photos courtesy Ocean Spray).

 

For non-alcoholic drinking during the holiday season, offer something more exciting than club soda or cider. Cranberry mocktails are especially popular during the holiday season, their bright red color often accented with a green sprig of rosemary or at least, a wedge of lime.

There are many cranberry mocktail recipes out there for your perusal. This spicy mocktail recipe, sent to us from Ocean Spray, was the first place winner in a contest a few years ago.

The recipe was created by Sharee Hunt, a chef and mixologist.

You can make a pitcher in advance, and turn it into a cocktail for those who request it, by adding vodka or tequila.

Both the juice and the ginger ale/ginger beer are available in diet versions, for a low-calorie drink. (Our favorite diet ginger beer is Gosling’s).
 
 
RECIPE: SPICY GINGER CRANBERRY CHERRY MOCKTAIL

Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 2 thin slices of jalapeño, seeds removed
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry Juice Drink
  • 3 ounces ginger beer or ginger ale (the difference)
  • Ice
  • Garnish: 1 lime wheel, garnish
  • Optional spirits: 4 ounces vodka or tequila
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the lime in half, and slice a wheel for garnish. Squeeze the juice from the other half into a cocktail shaker.

    2. MUDDLE the jalapeño slices and rind from the squeezed lime half in the shaker.

    3. ADD the vodka, cranberry juice and ginger ale/ginger beer. Shake, strain and serve over ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.

     

      

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    GIFT PICK: Disaronno Liqueur With Designer Packaging

    Italy’s most famous Italian liqueur, Disaronno, has launched this year’s limited-edition “Disaronno Wears…” bottle.

    This year, Disaronno wears Trussardi.

    For the past several years, Italy’s most famous liqueur has partnered with a top Italian fashion house to create a limited-edition bottle. This year, the bottle is “dressed” in a Trussardi pattern; the chartreuse figure at the top right of the bottle is an interpretation of Trussardi’s greyhound logo.

    Past designers have included Etro, Missoni, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli and Versace.

    These bottles become collectors’ items, so grab them for amaretto-loving friends.

    The limited-edition collaboration also includes a set of six mini-bottles, which you can apportion as stocking stuffers.
     
     
    MORE ABOUT DISARONNO

    From the time it was first imported into the U.S, in the 1960s, Disaronno, an amaretto liqueur, quickly became a hit in cocktails and food preparation. Americans loved the marzipan flavor.

    Other brands of amaretto are available in the U.S., but Disaronno is the premium brand in the category.

    By the 1980s, it was second in sales only to Kahlùa. (Today, the top liqueurs are Baileys Irish Cream and Malibu Caribbean Rum, but Disaronno remains in the Top 10.)
     
    How To Enjoy Disaronno

    Our two most frequent uses of amaretto are with after-dinner coffee, and as a flavoring in cakes, mousse and ice cream. Amaretto ice cream is a blast, alone or with a slice of amaretto-infused pound cake (need we mention amaretto ice cream on a brownie with fudge sauce?).

    Here’s our list of almost 40 ways to use amaretto, both sweet and savory.

     

    Disaronno Trussardi
    [1] This year’s beautiful limited-edition Disaronno, wearing Trussardi (both photos courtesy Disaronno).


    [2] Three of the six miniatures.

     
    TIDBITS

    Here’s the history of Disaronno.

    Here’s the difference between a cordial, an eau de vie, a liqueur and schnapps.

    Trivia: No almonds are used to make Disaronno. Rather, the marzipan-like flavor is achieved through apricot kernel oil, burnt sugar and a variety of spices.

     

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    GIFT PICK: Tayst Coffee, Biodegradable K-Cups

    Tayst Gift Box
    [1] A gift box of Tayst coffee has 20 to 60 biodegradable K-cups (photo by Mary Ann S. | Yelp).

    Tayst Gift Box
    [2] Finally, the greenest person can use K-cups (photo courtesy Tayst Coffee).

     

    Committed environmentalists and those who try to live green are in a quandary: They may want the ease of single-serving K-cups, but can’t abide the plastic and foil sent to the landfill.

    Tayst Coffee, which has an office coffee program for businesses that use hundreds of K-cups a month, developed an alternative: biodegradable/compostable K-cups for both Keurig and Nespresso machines.

    Individuals can buy them too, via a monthly delivery “club.” You can buy 30, 40, or 60 pods a month, starting at $22.00.

    You can try it yourself, with a free trial shipment that leads into the club.

    Coffee options include

  • Bold & Brazen
  • Bold & Brilliant
  • Medium & Magnificent
  • Medium & Heroic
  • Vintage Vanilla Cream
  • Defiantly Decaf
  •  
    You can try a sampler before making a decision. You can change your selection or cancel at any time.

    You can send a one-time gift, or a 3- or 6-month club.

    Head to Tayst.com for your sample box or to send a gift.
     
     
    BEYOND BIODEGRADABLE

    Tayst Coffee produces its products following the guidelines of:

     

  • Sustainable Agriculture Network standards, which emphasize wildlife conservation and worker welfare.
  • Rainforest Alliance, which certifies that its farmers do not use agrochemicals prohibited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union.
  • Nor do they use chemicals listed on the Dirty Dozen Pesticides. Managers of certified farms are required to use biological or mechanical alternatives to pesticides. Supporting farmers and communities the Rainforest Alliance work with coffee farmers to improve their livelihoods and the health and well-being of their communities.
  •  
    It’s coffee you can feel good about drinking, and gifting.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies For Pumpkin Season

    This past weekend we got into the seasonal spirit by making a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Five dozen of them disappeared over the weekend (we had some guests for brunch), so we’re sharing the recipe with you.

    The last time we made something similar was five years ago, when we made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with spelt flour (photo #2). The spelt flavor adds a touch of flavor sophistication. If you have the flour, try this recipe, too.

    By the way: The reason we haven’t made that recipe since is that we can’t resist them, although we could say that about the classic Nestlé Toll House recipe as well.

    This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, adds a sugar glaze on top of the cookies. This glaze is beyond gilding the lily: It’s drowning the lily!

    We’ve included the recipe for the glaze, with the advice that you pass it by (unless you really want sugar on top of your sugar).

    If you don’t want the nuts, add an extra cup of chocolate chips for a gooier cookie. We substituted white chips.

    Prep time is 45 minutes. Bake time is 17 minutes to 19 minutes.
     
     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 5 Dozen Cookies

  • 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional but recommended: zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  •  
    Ingredients For The Sugar Glaze

  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment paper.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.

    3. BEAT together the butter and sugars in a separate bowl. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat briefly, just until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest, beating to blend.

     

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
    [1] Today’s cookie recipe: pumpkin chocolate chip (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
    [2] Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies made with spelt flour (photo courtesy Shiloh Farms).

    Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
    [3] Bonus treat: pumpkin whoopie pies. Here’s the recipe from Kraft.

     
    4. SLOWLY ADD the dry ingredients, beating to blend. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

    5. SCOOP and drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in 1-1/4″ balls, using a tablespoon cookie scoop or a scoop spoon. Bake them on the middle oven rack for about 18 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes before transferring them to racks.

    6. OPTIONAL glaze: Stir together the sugar, milk and vanilla until the glaze is smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze; or drizzle the glaze over the cookies. Place the cookies back on the rack for the glaze to set.

    7. WRAP loosely, and store for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage. (We placed our cookies between layers of wax paper in a cookie tin.)

     

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    GIFT: Our Favorite Chocolate Christmas Gift From Michel Cluizel

    Michel Cluizel Christmas Chocolate

    Michel Cluizel Winterland Box

    Photo #1: Michel Cluizel’s WinterLand chocolate in dark, milk and white. SEE THE LARGE PHOTO BELOW. The pieces in the box (photo #2) assemble into the holiday scene (photos courtesy Michel Cluizel).

     

    We will write about other chocolate gifts this holiday season, but this is our favorite: the WinterLand Chocolate Box from French chocolatier Michel Cluizel (see the large photo below).

    Since 1948—fifty years before artisan chocolate became or bean-to-bar became familiar terms in the U.S.‚ Chocolat Michel Cluizel has been handcrafting chocolate from bean to bar. Here’s how we described the chocolatier and its unique differences.

    For the 2018 Christmas holidays, they’ve created something very special—and we hope it will be an annual offering.

    You receive a gift-wrapped, three-layer swivel box (photo #2). The “base” layer is a rectangle of white chocolate that allow the dark chocolate Christmas trees and the milk chocolate Santa, reindeer and child to stand up and create a holiday scene, approximately 6″ x 6″.

    There are also nine Sparkling Night Truffles—filled chocolates—to decorate the scene.

    This can be a table centerpiece, but we kept ours on our own private table, enjoying a little treat every day. After we’d consumed the last piece standing, we started on the white chocolate base.

    It’s time to add that the three types of chocolate are equally exquisite, and sent us shopping for Cluizel’s plain dark, milk and white chocolate bars to continue the chocolate happiness.

    Here’s a video showing how easy it is to create your own Christmas wonderland.
     
    BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

    This is a “personal messaging” chocolate box, using ChocoVoice® to record your personal message, should you wish to.

    Head to the Michel Cluizel Website to order yours.

     
     
    WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT CHOCOLATE?

    Our articles will explain everything:

    Glossary Of Chocolate Terms

    The Flavors & Aromas Of Chocolate – Part 1

    The Flavors & Aromas Of Chocolate – Part 2, Single Origin Chocolate

    From Pod To Palate — Part 1 — How Cacao Is Produced

    From Pod To Palate — Part 2 — How Chocolate Is Made

    The World’s Great Gourmet Chocolate Producers
     
    Michel Cluizel Christmas Chocolate

      

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