Taking a Walk with Mr. Stanley.

I love mint. I also love dark chocolate. I love these Magnificent Mint Chocolate Walking Sticks made by Mr. Stanley’s. So you’ll find me walking around with these from time to time. I can’t just eat one either, I must have like 3 or 4, maybe more (yes, more)? I am addicted to anything minty and anything dark chocolate, so when I found these little treat sticks, I knew I was in trouble! These are perfect for me when I am running errands and I’m trying to get out of the house, but I also want something minty – but not gum. I can grab these little sticks and get the kids in the car and away I go! They are not messy, no wrappers to deal with, since I grab them straight from the box. I’d show you the inside of the box, but it’s – uh… empty! (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!) The box itself states, “Tasty Twists of Pure Chocolate Indulgence”, and I have to agree… they are tasty twists of pure indulgence!

If you are not a fan of mint or you like a different flavor, these little sticks come in orange flavor as well!

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I love Mr. Stanley’s classic packaging with the stripes and fun fonts! When I grabbed this box off the shelf at the store, I sort of felt like I was getting myself ready to have some fun! And I have! Because not only did I find the Magnificent Mint Chocolate Walking Sticks, I also found the fun Chocolate Matches with Popping Candy! Seriously! How fun can we make candy? I found the white chocolate matches – and not only do I think they are fun and funky, my kids love biting into them and feeling the little popping pops in their mouth!

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The Chocolate Matches come in a fun box that, why yes, resembles a box of matches! These are matches the kids CAN play with! I am not endorsing any such thing, but these chocolate matches are sure not to spark any flame or fire! But they will spark curiosity fun with kids and candy lovers alike!

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The chocolate matches are probably double the size, maybe a little more, than the mint sticks. But either way, they both are delicious and tons of fun to eat and share! And not to worry, the popping candy in the matches aren’t obnoxiously poppy, they are just enough pop to make you think of the popping sounds and start of a wood fire!

While I have the white chocolate matches, these also come in different varieties: milk chocolate & salted caramel, and Earl Grey dark chocolate matches! Note that these other flavors do *not* have popping candy, but they do have some unique flavors! So there you have it! Some delicious fun from Mr. Stanley’s! These are fun for any occasion, or no occasion at all! Just get them and have fun! But they do make great gifts for young and old, and their fun and classic packaging makes it so inviting to open up and share! Not all gourmet chocolate is this fun!

 

Thank You for the Fun #TravelingSanta!

As promised, we wanted to share our love and fun of #TravelingSanta!

The children will miss #TravelingSanta until next year! Thank you #TravelingSanta for the fun we had this past Christmas holiday season! Farewell, until we meet again!

We hope you enjoy our little video of the adventures we all had together!

The Doctor Is In… With Mousse!

This post is about two things: Dr. Oetker Mousse stuffed into Kane Candy Party Cups! Well, maybe three… It’s National Mousse Day (thanks again to Foodimentary.com)! Time to make ourselves an extravagant and simple treat to celebrate! And since the holidays are upon us, I thought it would be a great day and special way to perhaps show what we can do with some of these products to make our holiday season more festive! And maybe it’s actually about a fourth thing… I do think a doctor also needs to help ME with my decorating skills, at least my holiday decorating skills! As you’ll see in this post, I had high hopes, but I had a great attempt!

 

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Who doesn’t love a good chocolate mousse and who doesn’t love a chocolate candy cup? Put the two together and it’s a party in your mouth! Party, party my people! My youngest helped me prepare the mousse, which is super simple and easy! Just add one cup of cold milk to the Dr. Oetker mix and blend away with an electric mixer for about 3-5 minutes. I find the best way to fill the Kane Candy Cups is to just fill a pastry bag with the mousse and then fill from there. I also leave the Kane Candy Cups in their tray they were packaged in, it helps to keep everything secure while trying to add the filling!

 

What’s perfect about this combination is that the mousse is four servings and you get four cups. Perfect! So fill those chocolate cups to the top and decorate! This treat took less than ten minutes to pull together, so if you find yourself in a rush to make something, put two and two together and you’ve four! Four servings of chocolate bliss! And what’s even cool about the Kane Candy Cups is that this particular package, the Dark Chocolate Party Cups, come with chocolate shavings included – so if you were last minute on prepping the dessert to begin with, they’ve also got you covered in the decorating area as well! What a bonus!

My best work came by just using the shavings that came with the package:

 

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And if you want to see my holiday attempt, here you go! I tried to do a reindeer, but it looks like a sad form of bunny rabbit. I think I will need to use the mini-sized candy canes. The larger ones I think are too bulky, heavy and large for this size cup! So here we go, and feel free to laugh at my reindeer attempt, because I did!

 

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If you find yourself making a fun dessert or treat with Kane Candy Cups or with Dr. Oetker, share your photos and recipes with us! Share here in WordPress or feel free to drop us a photo in Facebook, or tag us in Instagram, or Twitter… post in Pinterest or wherever! We want to see what other people are creating around the world!

And by the way, just in case you were wondering… how did it taste? DELICIOUS! Nom nom nom! I am ashamed to say I had one for breakfast!! Well, no, I should say I ENJOYED one for breakfast as I celebrated NATIONAL MOUSSE DAY!! 🙂

 

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A Post Not to Take Gingerly.

Now that I have your attention, you may have guessed this post may be contain something with “ginger” within it. Well, you guessed correctly! It’s National Gingerbread Cookie Day, but while you may be thinking of the cute little Gingerbread Man when you think of the cookie, we like to think of the the true gingerbread form.

Follow our Instagram for #InTheKnowMan and follow our Twitter for #TravelingSanta to get holiday info and advice!

An earlier blog post had us traveling through Germany with our Vice President Monica. She can be seen below in Germany at Wicklein making her own gingerbread! You won’t see the traditional cute little guy or gal that would be running away from the fox! We are talking about the original, true, Nürnberg lebkuchen a.k.a. gingerbread!

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This original gingerbread is packed with flavor from spices and nuts and this treat is savored all around the world at this time of year! So we encourage you to go out and pick up yourself some gingerbread – hopefully the true and original kind – and enjoy the taste of National Gingerbread Cookie Day!

Not Your Everyday Cookie.

Do you enjoy a tasty treat while enjoying your morning coffee or afternoon tea? Do you want a different cookie that is not like the rest? Look no further because Ambrosiana cookies are coming your way in this very post! These cookies are all the way from Italy and are GMO free! Ambrosiana also has a variety of holiday selections, perfect for your party planning! Check out the different varieties available for your holiday party below!

These cookies sure are beautiful in presentation, but how do they taste? Keep reading as we’ve got several different reviews! One from a local salon and one from yours truly and my handy cookie helper!

We thought we would ask local Rosie Bella Hair Salon to switch out their regular cookies for some of Ambrosiana’s to see which cookies they liked better. We heard that immediately upon replacing the original cookies, the Amborsiana cookies were an instant hit! Delivered to the salon were Ambrosiana’s Ferri Di Cavallo Shortbread with Dark Chocolate and Fior Di Neve Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Shortbread. When pressed for a favorite, we were told, “We really can’t choose… but if our hair depended on it, we’d say the shortbread Cavallo for dipping into coffee, and the hazelnut filled Fior di Neve for… 24/7.” Thank you Rosie Bella Hair Salon for letting us share our cookies with your customers!

I decided to pick up three different boxes of Ambrosiana cookies at Kingma’s Market in Ada. As always, I had my little handy taste testing helper along with me as I dove into the set of cookies. The three different kind of cookies that were tasted: Ferri Di Cavallo Shortbread with Dark Chocolate, Pralinati Hazelnut Cream Shortbread and Fior Di Neve Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Shortbread.

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If you are looking for a cute little cookie to dip in coffee or tea, I suggest the Ambrosiana Ferri Di Cavallo Shortbread with Dark Chocolate. These cute little horseshoe-shaped cookies are the perfect bite size for a hot morning or afternoon beverage. Just enough chocolate to pair with the shortbread makes this cookie a tasty treat.

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If you are a fan of nuts, chocolate, hazelnut and shortbread, then the Ambrosiana Pralinati Hazelnut Cream Shortbread is for you. I think this was by far my favorite cookie of the three. I really like the creamy hazelnut center, plus having the chocolate covered shortbread with nuts gives it a nice little crunch!

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I think my youngest offspring had said that his favorite was the Ambrosiana Fior Di Neve Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Shortbread cookie. While I do have to admit the box shows more powdered sugar on the top of the cookie than what actually came from the box, it works well with young children! My youngest loved this cookie and kept asking for more! This cute shortbread cookie has hazelnut cream filling inside and then is coated by powdered sugar to top off a sweet little zing.

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So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself several boxes of these cookies, brew some coffee or steep some tea and get munching on these delicious treats! It’s time for YOU to get out there and NIBBLE on these cookies!

We’ve Got Ourselves In a Pickle!

DSC_0001In case you were not aware, it’s National Pickle Appreciation Day! There are a vast variety of pickle facts we’d love to share with you! While our favorite brand at Gourmet International is Hengstenberg, you can see the many different brands of pickles, their origin and company all at the Pickle Packers International website, cutely named: ilovepickles.org.

We are sharing the following facts from that website and what better why to start by talking about the origin of “in a pickle” as stated in our title post today! Shakespeare first introduced that phrase in The Tempest. In the play the quote is read, “How cam’st thou in this pickle?” and “I have been in such a pickle!”

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Consumption: How many Americans consume pickles within one year? Well, that answer is 2.5 billion pounds which is 20 billion pickles!  Even more random fact from the site: If you want to reach the moon, it would take 4 billion pickles. Do the math and the amount of pickles consumed in one year could get us to the moon and back more than 2 times! How crazy is that?

World War II Ties: During the days of the war, the United States Government tagged 40% of all pickle production for the ration kits of the armed forces.

Is it a fruit or a vegetable? The United States Government technically classifies pickles as a “fruit” of the vine – much like a tomato, but most people categorize pickles as a vegetable.

What are the more popular varieties of pickles? Dill is considered the most favored variety of cucumber pickle. Other variations and varieties include Sour/Half Sour and Sweet. Let’s explore these varieties a moment…

  • Dill. Herb dill or dill oil is added to impart a distinctive and refreshing flavor. The different types of dill pickles include:
    • Genuine Dill. These pickles are made by the slow “processed” method. Dill weed is added into the tanks during the last stage of fermentation or to the jar after fermentation. These pickles usually have a higher lactic acid flavor than other varieties.
    • Kosher Dill. True “Kosher” pickles are those that have been manufactured and certified in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, and made with dill and garlic added to the brine. The flavor is very popular, more robust than regular dill pickles, so much so, that the name has stuck and kosher dills are the ultimate accompaniment to an overstuffed deli sandwich.
    • Overnight Dill. Cukes are places fresh into brine (which may include a slight amount of vinegar) for a very short time — one to two days. The entire process takes place under refrigeration, and they stay refrigerated when stored and shipped. They bright green pickles taste like fresh cucumbers accented with dill flavor. They are the kind of pickle you usually find at a deli.
    • Other Dills: Include Polish and German Style.
  • Sour/Half Sour. Fresh cucumbers are first placed into a seasoned brine which doesn’t include vinegar. The containers are then refrigerated, and remain refrigerated when stored and shipped. The longer the cucumbers remain in the brine, the more sour they become. Half-sour pickles are extra crispy and keep their fresh cucumber color.
  • Sweet. Sweet pickles are packed in a sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices. The variations include:
    • Bread & Butter. Sweet, thinly sliced pickles made from cucumbers, onions and chopped green or red peppers. They have a distinct, slightly tangy taste. Available in smooth or waffle cut chips or chunks.
    • Candied. These pickles are packed in an extra-heavily sweetened liquid.
    • No-Salt Sweet. These are a relatively new variety of sweet pickle to which no salt has been added. Usually available as chips.
    • Sweet/Hot. The are a “hot” new kind of pickle. They’re made by adding hot spices and seasonings to pickles for a delightful spark of piquant flavor.

Source: ilovepickles.org

You’re probably learning more about the pickle today than you thought you would! And did you know that pickles are identified as on the favorite vegetables of teens per a consumer study that was conducted for the pickle industry.

 

Now how about you? What’s your favorite type of pickle now that you’ve read through all the varieties? I have to say mine would have to be bread & butter. Nothing like the crunch of a nice crisp, bread & butter pickle! Nibble, nibble!

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Homemade Triple Chocolate Ice Cream.

You read that title correctly. Homemade *triple* chocolate ice cream! And I made it! I tried this recipe several years ago when I first received my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker. I made this recipe the other evening with Ghirardelli Baking Chocolate. DSC_0122Do you think making your own homemade ice cream is difficult? It depends on how you make it and what tools you have on hand. For me, my stand mixer is handy with its ice cream bowl attachment. There is some preparation ahead of time, such as preparing the ice cream base at least 24 hours in advance so that the ice cream base is nice and cold. You also have to make sure your ice cream bowl for the stand mixer is frozen cold, once again, at least 24 hours or more. Once those two things are square, and you’ve prepped the stand mixer to GO, you just turn it on, pour in the mixture and watch ice cream happen!

According to Foodimentary, tomorrow is National Sundae Day, so this recipe comes in some good time to prep some ice cream for Saturday!

Please note that this recipe does require a stand mixer with ice cream bowl attachment. Also take note that below is the actual recipe from Kitchen Aid, the only change from my recipe is that the store was out of unsweetened baking chocolate, but I used bittersweet baking chocolate instead.

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A word of note from someone who has made the base of the ice cream before: If you can plan ahead and try to use large glass measuring cups when heating up the items over the stove, the easier it will be to transfer from bowl to stove, and so on. For example, I used a small sauce pan for heating water and my glass measuring cup – in essence, a double boiler. At the very end of all the preparation, I saved the remaining 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream, vanilla and salt in a large mason jar. When I was done mixing all the components in the middle part of the recipe, I just placed all the remaining liquid in the mason jar and mixed from there. It’s also easy storage in the refrigerator and it will be easier to pour the cold mixture into the frozen ice cream bowl mixer. There is a lot of action going on: heating, reheating, and mixing of heated portions. If you can make your life more simple by preparing in advance to avoid spillage and for ease of transferring portions from bowl(s) to pan(s), it would be worth your while, but not necessary to do. I thought I would share this handy hint as I have found myself spilling liquid portions because of carelessness along the way!

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And I have a little added bonus today for you as well! I took some video of the ice cream bowl attachment in action for you all to see! I will admit, it’s just under two minutes, and it does get a tad boring, but you can see the gradual thickening of the ice cream as it churns away in the ice cream bowl attachment.

As this wonderful gourmet journey continues, I hope to continue on with more videos and fun stuff!

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But back to the ice cream… we had the ice cream bowl attachment going for about 15-20 minutes and then scooped the ice cream in a glass container and put it in the freezer overnight. My boys were able to have a small scoop from the ice cream maker itself, but it seems to need an extra blast of freeze in the actual freezer. The flavor and smooth texture of the ice cream is so yummy!

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 2 squares (1 oz. [30 g] each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 squares (1 oz. [30 g] each) unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 bars  milk chocolate chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

  1. In small saucepan, place 1/2 cup whipping cream, semi-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Heat over medium-low heat until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside. Place egg yolks in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and gradually add sugar mixture; mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add chocolate mixture and half-and-half; mix until well blended.
  3. Return half-and-half mixture to medium saucepan; stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy. Do not boil. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
  4. Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher, and drive assembly as directed in attachment instructions. Turn to STIR (Speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR (Speed 1) for 10 to 15 minutes or until desired consistency, adding milk chocolate during last 1 to 2 minutes of freeze time. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes, or freeze in an airtight container.

This recipe makes approximately 16 servings.

Check out some of the photos of the process of preparation!

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Dreamy Chocolate Cone Treats from Italy.

Looking for a tasty chocolate treat wrapped up in the cutest cone package? Look no further because we have it here for you! I was recently introduced to these delicious little cones not long ago and I have fallen in love with them! Messori, from Italy, makes these chocolate creations. They have many different innovative chocolate treats and today it’s the Messori Cono Snack that we are sharing with you!

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What is this Cono Snack and what’s inside it? The Cono Snacks come in three flavors: Hazelnut, Caramel Milk and Choco Parties. Today we have the hazelnut Cono Snack for you to check out. This cone is ALL chocolate, perfect for any chocolate lover!

Once unwrapped, you’ll find a puffed rice on top.

 

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Take your first bite and you’re chewing on some fine Italian hazelnut cream.

 

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Under that hazelnut creamy chocolate you will find some premium dark chocolate.

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Cross section of the Messori Hazelnut Cono Snack.

And how does the cone taste? So crunchy and perfect! It’s the perfect Belgian wafer cone to go along with this mix of hazelnut cream and dark chocolate! YUM! There is chocolate literally ALL THE WAY THROUGH the whole entire cone – with the very bottom of the cone being filled with chocolate as well!

The hazelnut cream is very smooth the puffed rice is a great compliment to that flavor. The Belgian cone is perfectly made and has the perfect crunch. Don’t believe me? Go try one for yourself! You will love this chocolate party in a cone! These are great for parties and holiday celebrations! The Messori Cono Snacks are on my list of treats that I approve for my family as it is GMO free, has no artificial coloring or dyes, free of artificial sweeteners and preservatives and more. Check out Messori’s quality information for more about their quality standards.

 

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If you find yourself snacking on this treat, please do let us know what you think! I, for one, can vouch that these are super dreamy! Nibble, nibble!